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The Northwest coast; or, Three years' residence in Washington Territory Swan, James G., 1818-1900 1857

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By   JAMES   G.   SWAN.

0:1)10 toork is Hespectfullg Mmzxibzb
The intention of this volume is to give a general and
concise account of that portion of the Northwest Coast
lying between the Straits of Fuca and the Columbia
River—a region which has never attracted the explorers
and navigators of the Northwest, since the times of
Meares and Vancouver, sufficiently for them to give it
more than a passing remark.
The fine bay north of the Columbia (Shoal-water Bay),
which was discovered and named by Meares in 1789,
and surveyed by Lieutenant Alden, of the United States'
Coast Survey, in 1852, was actually passed through by
the boats of Wilkes's Exploring Expedition, who merely
mentions the fact, without considering the bay of sufficient importance either to give it a passing notice or
even place it on his chart.
At the present time, when every thing relating to the
Northwest frontier is looked upon with interest, and particularly the country around the Columbia River, Gray's
Harbor, and Puget Sound, it was thought that some later
information than can be found in the works of Ross Cox,
Lewis and Clarke, and Irving, would be acceptable, both
to those persons desirous of emigration to the region west
of the Rocky Mountains, as well as those who already
have friends in the Territory. VI
To make the work of interest to the general reader, I
have Tbeen obliged, while endeavoring to bring forward
each subject worthy of interest, to condense and confine
myself within certain limits, so as not to elaborate too
much any one topic.
I have, so far as possible, only related such circumstances as have come under my immediate observation;
and, whenever I have been obliged to deviate from this
rule, I have invariably given credit to the proper source,
and have been particularly careful to endeavor to be accurate as to date in matters of historical information, narrating all facts, whether as regards my own personal adventures, or tales of the Indians, or anecdotes of the settlers, in a simple manner, and in the order of their occurrence ; consequently, most of the narrative will be
confined to the immediate Pacific coast, and to descriptions of Shoal-water Bay during my residence of three
In all matters relating to the Indians, I only give an
account of those I have lived with, the Chenooks, Che-
halis, and one or two tribes north of Gray's Harbor.
Having lost a valuable collection of notes, made during my residence among the Coast tribes, I am unable to
give the interesting legends and mythological tales I
should have done, and which might have been of interest
to many persons; still, enough has been written to give
a general idea of facts concerning the Indians of the Bay
which have not before been mentioned, with vocabularies
of their language and specimens of their music.
I take this opportunity to acknowledge my obligations to the Hon. J. Patton Anderson, Delegate to Congress from Washington Territory; HenryR. Schoolcraft,
LL.D., of Washington City; J. Carson Brevoort, Esq., INTRODUCTION.
and Professor W. Gibbs, of New York; John M'Mullen,
Eso., Librarian of New York Society Library; Dr. J. G.
Cogswell, Librarian of the Astor Library, and Mr. Poole,
Librarian of the Boston Athenaeum; also, Hon. William
Sturgis, and William Tufts, Esq., of Boston, for valuable
information, and assistance in enabling me to refer to
such works of history, voyages, or statistics as were necessary while writing.
Voyage from San Francisco to Shoal-water Bay.—Brig Oriental.—
Passengers on board the Brig.—Ship a heavy Sea.—Mouth of the
Columbia.—Quantities of Drift-wood.—Cross the Bar at Shoal-water
Bay.—Heavy Sea Page 17
0.:'.    .. CHAPTER H.     .\. .m:  .       '•-■-;  ..
Discovery of Shoal-water Bay by Meares in 1788.—His Description of
it.—Indians come out of the Bay in a Canoe.—Thick Fog.—Meares's
Long-boat Expedition to the Bay.—Attack by Indians.—Vancouver's Description.—Alden's Survey.—First Settlers.—Description of
Shoal-water Bay  20
Russell's House.—Description of Toke and Suis.—Russell tells the Indians I am a Doctor.—Style of Medicine.—Salmon Fishing on the
Palux.—Old Cartumhays.—Our Reception at his Lodge.—Camp on
the Palux.—Duck Shooting.—Great Quantities of Salmon.—Falls of
the Palux.—The Devil's Walking-stick.—Singular Superstition of
the Indians ",  33
Wreck of the Willemantic.—Joe the Steward and his curry Stews.—
Climate of the Pacific.—Causes of the Mildness of Temperature.—
Quantities of Rain.—Early Spring.—Method of learning the Indian
Language.—Captain Purrington clearing Land.—Immense Trees.—|
Indians' Small-pox.—Indians die.—Russell sick.—Tomhays sick.—j
Queaquim dies.—Solemn Scene  43
Arrival of Indians from the North.—Description of the Oysters and
Oyster-fishers of Shoal-water Bay.—Hospitality of early Settlers.—
Joel L. Brown.—Captain Weldon.—Winter in Oregon  59
■w!' '■■"  ". '   CHAPTER VI.     . '   " ^f     /V*o
St5ny Point.—Visit of Walter and myself to the Memelose Tillicums, or
Dead People.—Basaltic Boulders.—Indian Tradition respecting them. X
—Legend of the Doctor and his Brother.—The Giants build a great
Fire to heat Stones.—They boil out the Bay.—The Doctor finds his
Brother in a Fish's Belly.—Bear-hunt on Stony Point.—Bartlett kills
the Bear.—Method of burying the Dead.—We find a Mummy.—Russell sends the Mummy to San Erancisco.—Opinions of scientific Persons respecting the Mummy.—An instance of another Bodyjbeing
preserved.—I get capsized at Stony Point.—Take a Claim on the
Querquelin River.—Description of the Claim and our mode of Living.—Method of Canoe-making.—Seal-catching.—Method of catching Eish.—Indian Eood.—Description of the Roots and Berries.—Sea
Otter.—River Otter.—Beaver.—Eurs Page 67
Visit to the Columbia River.—Our Troubles while crossing the Portage.—Description of the Beach around Baker's Bay to Chenook.—
Scarborough's Hill.—Captain Scarborough.—The Priest's House at
Chenook.—Bill M'Carty or Brandywine.—Salmon-fishing at Chenook.—Splendid View of Mount Saint Helen's.—Description of the
Salmon and of the Eishery.—Indian Customs on the first Appearance of Salmon.—The present Remnant of the Chenook Tribe.—
Description of Chenook Village.—Its favorable Location.—Washington Hall, Esq., the Postmaster.—Indian Lodges.—A Description of
the method of building them.—Our Return home, and the funny
Scenes we passed through.—Old Champ and his Eish  97
The Country of the Columbia.—Discovery of the Columbia.—Gray's
Harbor.—The Coast north of the Columbia.—Euca Strait.—Puget
Sound.—Geographical Errors in naming Places.—Excellent Harbors.
—Mount Olympus.—Separation of Washington from Oregon.—The
Columbia and its Tributaries.—The Dalles.—Wappatoo Island.—
Heceta's Voyage.—Attack by Savages.—Point Grenville and Destruction Island.—River St. Roc.—Vancouver.—Sloop Washington
and Ship Columbia.—Captain Gray.—Lieutenant Broughton and the
Brig Chatham.—Account of the Outfit of the Ship Columbia in 1787.
—Captain John Kendrick.—Gray discovers the Columbia.—Building
of the Adventure at Clyoquot  117
The Oystermen celebrate the 4th of July.—A Speech and a great Bonfire.—Arrival of Emigrants.—Colonel H. K. Stevens.—Fishing-party
on the Nasal River.—We go up the River to an Indian Camp.—Method of catching Salmon.—We catch rotten Logs.—The Colonel falls
overboard. — A Chase after a Salmon.—Indian Style of catching
Trout.—Their Medicine to allure Eish.—Immense Quantities of Salmon in Shoal-water Bay.—Wreck of Brig Palos.—Description of my CONTENTS.
House.—High Tides.—Quantities of TOld-fowl.—A Gale of Wind.
—Heavy Rain.—The Gale increases, and blows down our Chimney.
—Damage done by the Storm.—Narrow Escape from being killed by
a falling Precipice.—Arrival of Indians.—Pepper Coffee.—Ludicrous
Plight of the Natives.—Their Superstition.—They try to shoot a
Ghost.—They are scared by a Pumpkin Lantern.—Poisoning Crows.
—Method of preserving Cabbages from the Indians Page 133
Old Suis relates about the Indians of the Bay.—A Description of the
Coast Indians.—Writers apt to confuse the Reader in Accounts of
Indians.—General Appearance.—Dress of Women.—Dress of Men.
—Smoking.—Fondness for Ardent Spirits.—Whom they received the
first from.—Gambling.—A Description of gambling Games.—Ornaments.—Description of the Howqua or Wampum.—Method of obtaining the Shells.—Evidences of Wealth.—Great Weight of Ear Ornaments.—Position of Females among the Coast Tribes.—Duties of
Women. — Various Manufactures. — Lodge Furniture. — Ancient
Method of Cooking. — Bread-making.—Peter's Method of making
Bread.—Time of Eating.— Slaves.—Fondness of Indians for their
Children.—Method of flattening the Head.—Flat Head a mark of
Aristocracy.—Reception of Strangers.—Reception of Friends.—Singular Custom.—Great Newsmongers.—Polygamy.—Customs toward
'young Girls.—Singular Superstition.—Fasts.—Religion.—Heathenism  151
Doctors, or Medicine-men.—Simples used as Medicine.—Polypodium.
—Wild-cat Hair.—An excellent Salve.—Disinclination of Indians to
impart Information in regard to their Medicines.—Necromancy of
the Doctors.—Sickness of Suis.—Sacodlye, the Doctor, and his Magic.— Old John, the Doctor, and his Method.— John removes the
Devil and Suis recovers.—Old Sal-tsi-mar's Sickness and Death.—
Description of the Burial.—Funeral Ceremonies.—Death Songs.—
Change of Names on the Death of a Friend.—Meaning of Indian
Names.—Superstitions and Ceremonies.—Effects of Christianity.—
Missionaries.—The Indian Idea of the Christian Religion  176
Amusements.—Games.—Children's Amusements.*—Imitate the Priest.
—Readily learn Needle-work.—Fond of Singing.—Songs.—History
of the Chenooks and Chehalis.—Difficulty of understanding the Legends.—Creation of Man.—Origin of Coast Tribes.—Evidences of
Emigration.—Tradition of a Junk wrecked at Clatsop Beach.—Beeswax found on the Beach.—Remarks on the various Theories respect-
ing the Origin of the Indians.—Lewis and Clarke's Names of Tribes.
—The correct Names of the Tribes.—Former Tribes of Shoal-water
Bay.—Evidences of great Mortality among the Coast Tribes.—The
Feeling of the Indians respecting the Dead.—Meares's Account of
the Nootkans being Cannibals.—Vancouver doubts the Truth of
Meares. — Indian Dread of Skulls.—Anecdote respecting their
Fears , Page 197
Trip to San Francisco.—Captain Smith and his Goggles.—We get nearly wrecked by reason of the Fog on Captain Smith's | Specks."—'Arrive safe at last.—Return to the Columbia in Steamer Peytona.—
Port Orford.—Captain Tichenor.—Cedar of Port Orford.—Mouth of
the Columbia.—Not so terrible as generally represented.—Arrival at
Astoria.—History of Astoria.—Captain Smith, of the Ship Albatross.
—John Jacob Astor.—Ship Tonquin, Captain Thorne.—Ship Beaver,
Captain Sowles.—Ross Cox's Description of Astoria.—Loss of the
Tonquin.—Ship Lark.—Astoria sold to the Northwest Company.—
The Raccoon Sloop-of-war.—Brig Peddler.—Ship Isaac Todd and her
Passengers.—First white Woman.—Death of Mr. M'Tavish.—Restoration of Astoria to the Americans.—H. B. M. Frigate Blossom sa-
lutes the Flag.—Various Expeditions, &c.—First Emigration.—Jesuits.—Present Appearance of Astoria.—Military Road, &c  215
Cross the Columbia to Chenook.—Meet Fiddler Smith.—We start for
Shoal-water Bay with Captain Johnson.—Johnson falls overboard.
—John Edmands.—Ox-team Express.—Get stuck in the Swamp.—
Captain Nichols and his Whale-boat.—The Fiddler and myself take
Passage.—Safe Arrival.—Another Start for Astoria.—Detention by
Storm.—General Adair, of Astoria.—Canoe Adventure with Peter.—
Sturgeon-fishing. — Salleel and his Sturgeons' Heads. — Johnson's
Lake.—A hard Walk.—Toke in the Mud.—Brook Navigation.—Indian Method of making Fire.—Rate of Speed home.—Strawberry
Expedition  239
Visit to the Queniult Indians with Winant and Roberts.—Cross the Bay
and camp with the Indians.—Carcowan and Tleyuk.—Trouble on
starting.—Arrival at Gray's Harbor.—Armstrong's Point.—Difficulty
with Caslahhan.—Sam fires at Caslahhan.—A Settlement.—Swarms
of Fleas.—Our Camp.—We proceed up the Beach.—Adventure with
a Bear.—Reach the Copalis River.—Wreck of the Steamer General
Warren.—The Current north of the Columbia.—Appearance of the
Coast.—Point Grenville.—Arrive at Queniult.—Peculiar Variety of
Salmon.—Indian Tricks.—I am taken sick.—Old Carcowan wishes CONTENTS.
to have me killed.—Description of the Queniults.—Start for Shoal-
water Bay.—Indian Hospitality.—Bird Feast at Point Grenville.—
Style of Cooking.—Heavy Surf aiid a Capsize.—We proceed through
the Breakers.—Arrive at Gray's Harbor.—A Feast.—Fine View.—
Reach Home Page 250
Arrival of Winant and Roberts.—An Election. — Our first Justice,
Squire Champ.—Big Charley.—First Court in the Bay.—Constable
Charley makes an Arrest.—A Trial, and a celebrated Verdict.—
Another Arrest and Trial.—Joe locked up in a Hen-house.—First
Vessel built in the Bay.—Bruce Company.—Uncle Ned.—Captain
John Morgan.—-Monument of Oyster Shells to Russell.—Hay-e-mar.
—A Trip up the Whil-a-pah for Salmon.—Walter's Point.—Sam
Woodward's Claim.—Roaring; Bill.—Ancient Mariners.—Old Chille-
wit.—Night Fishing.— Lively Time.—Start for Home.— Shoot a
Lynx.—Otter Shooting.—Charley sees the Memelose or dead Folks.
—Singular Occurrence.—We get rid of Charley.—First Trail from
the Cowlitz.—Lime-kiln for burning Shells  277
County Line.—Jury Duty.—United States Court at Chenook.—The
Court-house.—Grand Jury.—Trial of Lamley for killing an Indian.
—Grand Jury Room very Fishy.—Witnesses.—Captain Johnson.—
His funny Address to the Court.—He throws himself on the Mercy
of the Court.—Captain Scarborough.—Bill Martindill.—The Captain's Advice to Bill.—The District Attorney and his Address.—
The Counsel for the Defense quotes from the "Arabian Nights."—
He gains the Case. — Captain Johnson's Vinegar Speculation.—
Johnson's Death.—Death of Captain Scarborough.—Fidelity of an
Indian Squaw.—Return home.—Sharp Work in a Canoe.—Adventure with Caslahhan  292
Language of the Indians.—The Jargon.—Different Methods of spelling
Words by Writers.—Difficulty of rightly understanding the Jargon.
—How a Language can be formed.—Origin of the Indian Language.
—Remarks of Mr. Squier.—Irish-sounding Words in the Chehalis
Tongue.—An amusing Parable.—Views of Mr. Duponceau.— Remarks of Gliddon. — Resemblance between Chehalis and Aztec
Words.—Facts relative of Indian Journeys south.—Mrs. Ducheney's
Narrative.—Difficulty of Indians in pronouncing certain Letters.—\
Cause of the chuckling Sound of the Northwest Languages.—Persons apt to misunderstand Indian Words.—Dislike of Indians to
learn English.—Winter Amusements.—Tomhays and the Geese.—
Arrival of Settlers.—Doctor Johnson.—The Doctor and myself act w*
as Lawyers in Champ's Court.—Strong Medicine.—Kohpoh mistaken
for a 'Coon.—Visit of the Klickatats.—Christmas Dinner on Crow.—
Baked Skunk.—Fisherman's Pudding Page 306
Indian Treaties.—Invitation to be present at a Treaty on the Chehalis
River.—Journey to the Chehalis.—Various Adventures.—We reach
the River and encamp.—A lively Scene going up to the Treaty-ground.
—Description of the Encampment. — Governor Stevens.—Whites
present.—Indians.—Uniform of the Governor.—Colonel Simmons.—
Story-telling.—The Governor backs up my Stories.—Judge Ford.—
Commissary Cushman.—The Treaty.—Indians will not agree to it.—
Number of Indians in the Coast Tribes.—Tleyuk.—Governor takes
away Tleyuk's "Paper."—Indians have no Faith in the Americans.—
The Conduct of the Hudson Bay Company contrasted with that of
the Americans.—»We start for Home and encounter a Storm.—Chehalis River.—Adventures on our Journey home.—Colonel Anderson's
Adventures  327
The Whale.—Toke in the Whale's Belly.—Blubber Feast.—Doctor
Johnson and myself as Counsel.—Higher Law.—Champ's Decision.
—Loss of Schooner Empire.—Captain Davis.—Captain Eben P. Bakes.—M'Carty's Child among the Indians.—Her Rescue.—Feelings
of the Indians toward Whites.—Remarks on the Indian Character.—
They can live peaceably with Whites.—Course adopted by the Hudson Bay Company toward Indians.—Suggestions about a System of
Sub-agencies.—Correct Views of the Hudson Bay Company respecting Indians.—The Conduct of the Company toward Americans.—
They do not wish Americans among them.—History of the Hudson
Bay Company and their Proceedings toward Americans.—Cause of
the Outbreak among the Indians.—Gold Mines.—General Palmer.—
General Wool.—Remarks, &c.
Description of Washington Territory.—Face of the Country.—Mountains, Minerals, Rivers, Bays, and Lakes.—Objects of Interest to the
Tourist.—Falls of the Snoqualmie.—Colonel Anderson's Description.
—Anecdote of Patkanim.—He forms an Alliance with Colonel Mike
Simmons.—Constructive Presence of Colonel Simmons at a Fight.—
Productions of the Territory.—Governor Stevens's Remarks.—Northern Pacific Rail-road.—Military Roads.—Public Spirit.—Appropriations by Congress.—Judge Lancaster.—Population.—Advantages to
Emigrants.—Whale Fishery.—Russian Trade.—Amoor River.—Vancouver's Views on Climate.—Winter of 1806 in Latitude 56° North.—
Salmon, 1807.—Closing Remarks.—Letter from Colonel Anderson.
—Advice to Emigrants  392 »
1. Map of the Western Part of Washington Territory, compiled by the
Author from the U. S. Coast Survey Charts, and from the Map of the
Surveyor General at Washington.
2. Frontispiece. An Encampment of Lieutenant Peter Puget, while
making his Exploration of Puget Sound. From an original Sketch by
John Sykes, one of Vancouver's Draughtsmen.
3. Vignette on Title-page. Territorial Seal. The Motto, Al-ki, is an
Indian word, meaning hereafter, or by-and-by.
4. C. J. W. Russell's House and Indian Lodge. From an original
Sketch by the Author Page 32
5. Camp on the Palux.    From an original Sketch by the Author 37
6. Indian Implements. § I j I |      39
7 and 8. Flowers.   These are drawn one third their natural size 47, 48
9. Forests in Oregon 52
10. Oystermen waiting for the Tide  61
11. Bear-fight on Stony Point.    Sketch by Author  71
12. Querquelih River, and Residence of J. G. Swan. Sketch by
Author.    Toke's Lodge on the right of the Cut  75
13 and 14. Canoes. From the Original in Possession of the Author.
The Head or Bows of all these Canoes are to the left hand on the
Cuts 79, 80
15. Otter Hunt 93
16. Salmon Fishing at Chenook.    Sketch by Author  106
17. Medal of Ship Columbia  131
18. Indian Cradle. The Child in this Cut is elevated from the cradle, so as to show the method of compressing the Head, which would
not be seen in its real Position, where nothing of the Infant is visible
but its Face  163
19. Method of Burial.    Sketch by Author  187
20. Port Orford Rock 218
21. Fight on Battle Rock 221
22. Queniult Village.    Sketch by Author  262
23. Point Grenville. 1      |        "       269
24. Inside of Indian Lodge.      j        1      331
25. Camp on the Treaty Ground.    Sketch by Author  336
26. Outside of Indian Lodge. 1      §       1      339
27. Blubber Feast ....! 361
28. Medal of Lewis and Clarke	
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luu*a' <*m?jva*Lug tne ^ng, xnax mere were several
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.-..-: • ■_:.■:■§»■.■•'.•: |e  CHAPTER I. •       ^ -   v "
Voyage from San Francisco to Shoal-water Bay.—Brig Oriental.—
Passengers on board the Brig.—Ship a heavy Sea.—Mouth of the
Columbia.—Quantities of Drift-wood.—Cross the Bar at Shoal-water
Bay.—Heavy Sea.
During the fall of 1852, having received an invitation
from my friend, Mr. Charles J. W. Russell, of Shoal-
water Bay, to make him a visit, I determined to accept
his kind offer, and accordingly secured a passage on
board the brig Oriental, Captain Hill, which was bound
up the Bay for a cargo of piles and spruce timber. I
had always, from my earliest recollections, a strong desire to see the great River Columbia, and to learn something of the habits and customs of the tribes of the
Northwest. This desire had been increased by the visit
of a chief of the Clalam tribe of Indians from Puget
Sound, who arrived at San Francisco, where I was then
residing, and who received a great deal of attention from
me during his visit of two or three weeks.
This chief, whose name was Chetzamokha, and who
is known by the whites as the Duke of York, was very
urgent to have me visit his people. Subsequently, on
his return home, he sent me a present of a beautiful canoe, and a bag containing a quantity of cornelians, which
are found along the shores of the bays and rivers of
Washington and Oregon Territories.
I found, on joining the brig, that there were several 18
passengers bound to the Bay, and I concluded, as they
were all captains of vessels, we should have a very pleasant time. There was Captain Hill, the master, Captain
Pratt, the mate, and Captain Baker, Captain Weldon,
Captain Swain, Captain Russell, and myself for passengers. I believe, with the exception of myself and the
cook, who was called Doctor, every one on board the brig
had held some office. I was the only one addressed as
Mister, and, as Captain Baker remarked, it was quite refreshing to have one person on board without a title..
We left the harbor of San Francisco about noon on
the 20th of November, and the old brig being very light,
we were tumbled about in a lively manner while crossing the bar, where there was a tremendous swell running
in from the southwest. However, we suffered no damage, and soon found ourselves on our course with a fair
wind. We continued on in this manner for three days,
without any thing occurring of interest, and the monotony of the scene only broken by the stories of the company of captains, who, sailor-like, never let slip an opportunity of relating a jest or an anecdote. On the
fourth day, being in the latitude of the Columbia River,
the wind came out ahead, and blew with violence from
the northwest. This soon raised a heavy sea, and the
brig could make but little progress. On the evening
of the 24th, while standing by the cabin table with the
captain, looking over the chart, we shipped a sea which
stove in the window of the cabin (which looked out on
deck), knocked me clear over the table, drenched the captain, put out the lights, and set the whole cabin afloat.
The other passengers had turned into their berths,
where they lay telling stories, and they were most intensely delighted with the adventure. The steward soon
came, who lighted the lamp, swabbed up the floor, and
set us to right™  The next morning we found ourselves 'X_
about thirty miles to the westward of the Columbia River, from which a huge volume of water was running, carrying in its course great quantities of drift-logs, boards,
chips, and saw-dust, with which the whole water around
us was covered. During the freshets in this river, the
force of the current of fresh water discharged from it is
sufficient to discolor the ocean for sixty miles from the
The wind continuing to blow from the northwest, we
beat about till the 28th, when, running in-shore, we made
Cape Shoal-water, the northern point at the entrance to
Shoal-water Bay. A heavy sea was breaking on the
bar, and no opening presented itself to us. Russell, who
was acting pilot, felt afraid to venture, and wished to
stand off; but, by the time he had made up his mind,
we had neared the entrance, so that it was impossible for
us to turn to windward, and the only alternative was to
go ashore or go into the harbor.
Every man was stationed at his post—Captain Hill
and one man at the wheel, Captains Swain and Russell
on the fore-yard, looking out, Captain Weldon heaving
the lead, the sailors at the braces, and Captain Baker
and myself watching to see the fun. The breakers were
very high, and foamed, and roared, and dashed around
us in the most terrific manner; but the old brig was as
light on them as a gull, and, without shipping a drop of
water, passed over and through them all; and after running up the channel about two miles, we came to anchor in smooth water, and found ourselves safe and sound
in Shoal-water Bay. 20
Discovery of Shoal-water Bay by Meares in 1788.—His Description of
it.—Indians come out of the Bay in a Canoe.—Thick Fog.—Meares's
Long-boat Expedition to the Bay.—Attack by Indians.—Vancouver's Description.—Alden's Survey.—First Settlers.—Description of
Shoal-water Bay.
Shoal-water Bay lies north of the Columbia River,
between Capes Shoal-water and Disappointment. Cape
Disappointment is in latitude 46° 16/ north, and longitude 124° 01I west from Greenwich. And Toke's Point,
or the extreme northwest point of Cape Shoal-water,
and the northern shore at the entrance of Shoal-water
Bay, is in latitude 46° 43/ north, and longitude 124° 02'
west, making the distance from the entrance of the Columbia River to that of Shoal-water Bay twenty-seven
Cape Shoal-water and Shoal-water Bay were discovered by Lieutenant John Meares, commanding the East
India Company's Ship Felice, of London, on Saturday,
July 5th, 1788. Meares, who had been to Nootka, and
other trading-posts north, for the purpose of collecting
furs, had* left a part of his company to build a small
schooner, and was proceeding to the south to explore the
great river discovered by the Spanish navigator Heceta
on the 15th of August, 1775, and named by him Rio de
San Roque, or River of St. Roc, and which was afterward entered by Captain Robert Gray, in the ship Columbia, of Boston, in 1792, and named by him the Columbia. Meares writes, "At noon our latitude was
47° 01/ north, and the lofty mountains seen the preceding
day bore east-northeast distant seven leagues.    Our dis- «^V^-^-*^*-*'WTOirW£^i*^£.
tance might be four leagues from the shore, which appeared to run in the direction of east-southeast and west-
northwest, and there appeared to be a large sound or opening in that direction. By two o'clock we were within two
miles of the shore, along which we sailed, which appeared to be a perfect forest, without the vestige of a
habitation. The land was low and flat, and our soundings were from fifteen to twenty fathoms, over a hard
sand. As we were steering for the low point which
formed part of the entrance into the bay or sound, we
shoaled our water gradually to six fathoms, when breakers were seen to extend quite across it, so that it appeared to be quite inaccessible to ships. We immediately hauled off the shore till we deepened our water to
sixteen fathoms.
| This point obtained the name of Low Point (now
keadbetter Point), and the bay that of Shoal-water Bay,
and a headland that was high and bluff, which formed
the other entrance, was also named Cape Shoal-water.
The latitude of the headland we judged to be 46° 47/
north, and the longitude 235° 11' east of Greenwich."
(Vancouver makes the latitude of Cape Shoal-water 46°
40' north, and longitude 236° east, while Captain Al-
den, of the United States Coast Survey, makes the latt
tude 46° 43' minutes north, a mean which is most probable to be correct.)    | The distance from Low Point to
Cape Shoal-water was too great to admit of an observation in our present situation.    The shoals still appeared
to run from shore to shore, but when about midway we
bore up near them in order to discover if there be not a
channel near the cape.    We accordingly steered for the
mouth of the bay, when we shoaled our water to eio-ht
fathoms.    At this time the breakers were not more than
three miles from us, when it was thought prudent to
again haul off.    From the mast-head it was observed
7 p
that this bay extended a considerable way inland, spreading into several arms or branches to the northward and
eastward. The back of it was bounded by high and
mountainous land, which was at a great distance from us.
"A narrow entrance appeared to the northwest, but it
was too remote for us to discover, even with our glasses,
whether it was a river or low land. We had concluded
this wild and desolate shore was uninhabited; but this
opinion proved to be erroneous, for a canoe now came
off to us from the point with a man and a boy. On
their approach to the ship they held up two sea-otter
skins; we therefore hove to, when they came alongside
and took hold of a rope, but could not be persuaded to
come on board. We then fastened several trifling articles to a cord, and threw them over the side of the ship,
when they were instantly seized by the boy and delivered by him to the man, who did not hesitate a moment to
tie the otter skins to the cord, and waved his hand as a
sign for us to take them on board, which was accordingly done, and an additional present conveyed to him in
the same manner as the former.
" These strangers appeared to be highly delighted
with their unexpected treasure, and seemed at first to be
wholly absorbed in their attention to the articles which
composed it. But then their curiosity was in a short
time entirely transferred to the ship, and their eyes ran
over every part of it with a most rapid transition, while
their actions expressed such extreme delight as gave us
every reason to conclude that this was the first time they
had ever been gratified with the sight of such an ob
ject. * * * * During the time we had been lying
to for these natives, the ship had drifted bodily down to
the shoals, which obliged us to make sail, when the canoe paddled into the Bay.
P It was our wish to have sent the long-boat to sound THREE  YEARS AT  SHOAL-WATER BAY.
near the shoals, in order to discover if there was any
channel, but the weather was so cloudy, and altogether
had so unsettled an appearance, that we were discouraged from executing such a design. Nothing, therefore,
was left to us but to coast it along the shore and endeavor
to find some place where the ship might be brought to a
secure anchorage.
" On the morning of the sixth, the wind blew from the
north, with a strong, heavy sea. At half past ten, being
within three leagues of Cape Shoal-water, we had a perfect view of it, and with the glasses we traced the line
of coast to the southward, which presented no opening
that promised any thing like a harbor. A high, bluff
promontory bore off us southeast at the distance of only
four leagues, for which we steered to double, with the
hope that between it and Cape Shoal-water we should
find some sort of a harbor.
"We gave the name of Cape Disappointment to the
Meares having failed to discover the Columbia, or, as
it was then called by Heceta, the San Roque, steered for
the north, and entered Fuca Straits, and being anxious
to procure some farther information and knowledge of
the people of Shoal-water Bay, he fitted out his longboat, and manned her with thirteen of his men, with pro^*
visions for one month, intending to send her down to
the Bay; but the boat was attacked while in the strait
by the Indians, and the project abandoned.
Vancouver writes that in 1792, "after leaving Cape
Disappointment, we made Cape Shoal-water, and endeavored to enter Shoal-water Bay; but considering,
from the appearance of the breakers, that the harbor was
inaccessible to the ship, and having a fair wind, we sailed
'on to the northward."
Although Shoal-water Bay is laid down on the charts 24
of Captain Cook and Captain Meares, in a publication
November 18, 1790, by J. Walter, No. 169 Piccadilly,
London, on which the mouth of the Columbia is laid
down as Deception Bay, yet it is not laid down on any
subsequent publication till since the survey of Captain
Alden in 1852. The probable reason is that Meares,
having failed to discover the great river San Roque, or
Oregon, concluded that it found its passage to the Pacific
Ocean through Fuca Straits, and has so laid it down
on his map; and the subsequent discovery by Captain
Gray proving the inaccuracy of Meares's chart, it was
thrown aside altogether, and his account of Shoal-water
Bay considered fabulous.
In 1852, Lieutenant Commanding James Alden, in
the United States surveying steamer Active, made a reconnaissance of Shoal-water Bay, and on October 4th of
the same year, in a letter to the superintendent of the
coast survey, he writes: " We have made a reconnaissance of the entrance to Shoal-water Bay, and all the
northern portion of it, comprising an area of about one
hundred square miles. The remainder, which we were
prevented from examining for want of time, is a broad
sheet of water, from four to five miles wide, extending in
a southerly direction to within four miles of Baker's Bay,
Columbia River, and is shut out from the sea by a narrow peninsula, which commences just behind Cape Disappointment, and runs due north some twenty-five miles,
forming at its terminus the south point of the entrance.
It is full of shoals, as its name implies, but there is plenty of water among them, and they are generally bare at
low water. They are easily found, and quite accessible.
The land is well timbered, and I suppose there is plenty
of it sufficiently good for agricultural purposes. At
present there are no whites in the Bay, except a few*
who are employed in collecting oysters for the California market." THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
The next morning after our arrival I went ashore with
the rest of the passengers to the house of Mr. Russell,
with whom I intended to remain for a short time. I
found a few other settlers in the Bay, who were located
there (as was also Mr. Russell) for the purpose of procuring oysters for the market of San Francisco. It
was during the year 1851 that the first oysters were introduced into the San Francisco market by Mr. Russell,
who was then engaged in trade at Pacific City, at the
mouth of the Columbia River, and who carried them
down in the steamer from Astoria. Sometime in the fall
of the same year Captain Fieldsted entered the Bay in a
schooner and obtained the first load of oysters ever taken
to San Francisco.
A few settlers then came at intervals to locate themselves ; and on my arrival there were the following individuals, who constituted the only white inhabitants of
the region, viz., Charles J. W. Russell, Mark Winant,
John Morgan, Alexander Hanson, Richard J. Milward,
Thos. Foster, George G. Bartlett, Richard Hillyer, John
W. Champ, Samuel Sweeney, Stephen Marshall, Charles
W. Denter, A. E. St. John, and Walter Lynde.
There were also a few persons engaged in cutting
timber on the banks of one of the streams emptying into
the northeast part of the Bay, and who had engaged to
load the brig with piles for the San Francisco market.
Their names were Brown, Dousett, Shaonds, Chatwick,
and Tothill, but they all left in a few months.
While the brig was taking in her cargo, I went with
Mr. Russell to examine the Bay. I found it to be, as
Captain Alden has described it, a broad sheet of water,
full of shoals, through which the different rivers running
into it have worn deep channels, where, at all times of
tide, there is a good anchorage and plenty of water. The
principal river is the Whil-a-pah, a fine stream empty-
B 28
ing into the Bay at its northeast corner. This river, together with the Necomanchee or Nickomin, and two or
three small creeks running into the north end of the Bay,
have formed a fine beaten channel, which is known as the
North Channel, and is the principal entrance to the Bay
at present used by the vessels trading there. Farther to
the south, the Palux or Copalux River runs through the
shoals, and joins the North Channel near the entrance to
the harbor. About fifteen miles south of the Palux the
Marhoo or Nemar, and Achaitlin or Big River, join their
waters with those of the Nasal, a noble stream, and these,
together with the Bear River, Tarlilt, and sundry small
creeks and brooks, have worn the deep and excellent
passage known as the South Channel. At low tide the
flats and shoals are all bare, and the water rushes through
the channels with great velocity, making an attempt to
stem the current, either in boat or canoe, a very laborious, and, at times, dangerous experiment.
The shoals are covered with shell-fish, among which
the oyster is the most abundant, and constitutes the principal article of export. Several varieties of clams, crabs
of the largest size, and of a most delicious flavor, shrimps,
mussels, and a small species of sand-lobster, are in the
greatest abundance, and furnish nutritious food, not only
to the different tribes of Indians who resort to the Bay
at different seasons to procure supplies, but also to the
white settler, whg is thus enabled to greatly reduce the
expenses of living when compared with those settlements
on the Columbia River and interior where provisions of
all kinds are usually scarce and high.
The waters of the Bay, and all the streams that enter
into it, are well stocked with fish, Salmon of several
varieties abound, and are taken in great numbers by the
Indians for their own food or for trading with the whites.
Sturgeon of a very superior quality are plenty, and form
a principal item in the stock of provisions the Indians lay
by for their winter use.
The rivers and mountain streams abound in trout.
Flatfish, such as turbot, soles, and flounders, are plenty, and in the spring, innumerable shoals of herring visit
the Bay, and are readily caught by the Indians, either
with nets, or in weirs and traps, rudely constructed of
twigs and brush.
The shores of the Bay, with the exception of the west
or peninsular side, are mostly composed of high banks
of a sandy clay, intermingled with strata of shells and
remains of ancient forest-trees that for ages have been
buried. The faces of these cliffs are generally perpendicular, particularly when washed by the waves of the
Bay; but in some places they gradually descend to the
water, having a level space, covered either with grass or
bushes, close to the water's edge. The peninsula is a
flat, marshy, and sandy plain, elevated but a few feet from
the water level, and covered, as is also the whole region
around the Bay, with a dense growth of gigantic forest-
trees, principally spruce, fir, and cedar, with a few specimens of maple and ash, and black alder, which here
grows to a tree.
There are three islands in Shoal-water Bay; one, at
the North Bay, called Pine Island, is a small sand-islet
of some four or five acres in extent, covered with low,
stunted pine-trees and beach-grass. Some of the oyster-
men reside on it, as it is near the channel and the oyster-
That portion of the Bay from its northern extremity
to the southern point at the mouth of the River Palux
(called Goose Point) is termed the North Bay, and all
to the south of Goose Point, South Bay. About seventeen miles south of Goose Point is another island, called
Long Island, some six or eight miles long, but narrow, It
and not over a mile and a half wide at its greatest width.
This island is covered with a thick forest, except in a few
places, where there are small prairie patches, very rich,
and easily cultivated. The timber, however, is of little
account, and would scarcely pay the labor of clearing.
South of Long Island is another small islet, called
Round Island, from its shape. It is small, not over
two acres in extent, and covered with spruce-trees and
The various rivers running into the Bay are not of
any great length. The Whil-a-pah, which is the longest, is navigable for vessels drawing from twelve to fifteen feet of water twenty miles from its mouth, and for
boats to within a short distance of the Cowlitz River.
The Palux and Nasal are only navigable for large vessels for a few miles from their mouths; but all the rivers, large and small, run through fine prairie-land, exceedingly rich. That portion nearest the Bay is liable to be
overflowed once or twice during the highest tides of winter, and are termed tide lands. This overflowing is,
however, of no detriment, although the water is salt, as,
wherever the lands have been properly cultivated, they
have yielded heavy crops.
These prairies are all covered with grass of an excellent quality, making good grazing for stock, or a nutritious fodder when cut and made into hay.
Elk, deer, and antelope are very plenty, and find ample
sustenance at all seasons of the year. The other wild
animals which abound are black bears, wolves, lynx, panthers, and in the streams are otter and beaver. There
are also raccoons, foxes, rabbits, skunks and squirrels,
minks, martens, and a singular species of rat, called the
bush-tailed rat (JVeotoma Drummondii). This animal is
of a very mischievous nature, seeming to take delight in
collecting all sorts of things, and conveying them to its THREE  YEARS AT  SHOAL-WATER BAY.
nest; instances are known of great confusion being occasioned among settlers at the sudden disappearance of
articles which were afterward found hidden away by
these rats. I have found in an old boot, that had been
laid away during the summer, coffee, beans, dried apples,
nails, ends of cigars, old pipes, and a variety of other
loose trash, which were not fit for food, and could only
have been collected for mischief.
The feathered tribe are numerous, and during the season flock hither in clouds: white and black swans, white
geese, Canada geese, brant, sheldrake, cormorants, loon,
mallard ducks, red-head, gray, and canvas-back ducks,
teal, curlew, snipe, plover, pheasant, quail, pigeons, and
robins. During the summer months pelican are plenty,
and go sailing round in their heavy, lazy flight, occasionally dashing down into the water in the most clumsy
manner to catch a fish, and at all times an easy prey and
an acceptable banquet to the Indians, who swallow their
coarse, fishy, oily flesh with the greatest avidity. Innumerable flocks of gulls of various species are constantly
to be seen, and at times, when attracted by any quantities of food, appear like clouds. These birds, also, are
readily eaten by the Indians, who never are at a loss to
find means to appease their appetite.
Porpoises and seals are plenty in the Bay, and the latter are very easily killed either with spears or by shooting. Their flesh, particularly the young ones, is very
palatable, and their blubber makes excellent oil, which
is eaten by the Indians. Whales are frequently thrown
ashore on the beach bordering the Pacific during the
winter and spring months, and their blubber forms an
important article of diet with the natives. The salmon,
seal, and whale oils form the same important part of the
domestic economy of the coast Indians as lard, butter,
or olive oil do with the whites; and the Indian who has
not at all times in his lodge a good supply of oil or blubber not only feels very poor, but is so considered by all
his acquaintance and friends.
Shoal-water Bay, as a harbor, will be of great importance to Washington Territory as soon as its advantages
are known and the cdUntry becomes settled. The entrance to the Bay from the ocean is very direct and easily found, and the excellent chart by Captain Alden enables vessels of a light draft of water to run in at all
times of tide. There is always, at the lowest stages of
tide, from three to three and a half fathoms of water on
the bar; and as the volume of water discharged from the
Bay is never so great as from the Columbia, there is not
so heavy a swell or so dangerous breakers as may be
found occasionally at the Columbia's mouth; while the
distance between the entrances of the river and bay, being only twenty-seven miles, makes it a ready and safe
harbor of refuge for vessels that, from storms and heavy
breakers, dare not risk crossing the bar of the Columbia ;
and I have known of several instances where vessels
have availed themselves of the opportunity.
As a fishing-station, this bay presents many advantages. It is directly and immediately on the whaling-
ground, and small vessels can be fitted out for a cruise
and placed in the right position as readily as the former
whalers of Nantucket, who performed their voyages of a
few weeks or months in sloops or small schooners. By
establishing a trading-post where vessels could obtain
supplies, which can always be speedily replenished at
San Francisco, a fleet of five or six schooners, of a hundred tons each, could be fitted and maintained for less
than the cost of a three years' voyage for one ship from
New Bedford; while the ease with which the oil could
find a market would enable the capital employed to make
many returns before a ship having to make a voyage
round Cape Horn could possibly be heard from.   THREE YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER BAY.
Codfish and halibut abound on this part of the coast,
and an important and lucrative business in that branch
of industry might be readily established. The ease with
which communication can be had with San Francisco by
means of the mail steamers at Astoria renders the Bay a
more desirable locality than points farther north, while
the dangers of the entrance are far less than at the Columbia.
Russell's House.—Description of Toke and Suis.—Russell tells the Indians I am a Doctor.—Style of Medicine.—Salmon Fishing on the
Palux.—Old Cartumhays.—Our Reception at his Lodge.—Camp on
the Palux.—Duck Shooting.—Great Quantities of Salmon.—Falls of
the Palux.—The Devil's Walking-stick.—Singular Superstition of
the Indians.
Russell's house was the only frame building at that
time in the Bay, and was used by him as a trading-post
as well as a dwelling. His business was collecting and
shipping oysters to San. Francisco, and he consequently-
employed a great number of Indians to work for him.
Near the house was a large lodge, owned by an old chief
named Toke, who, with his family and slaves, had taken
up their abode, although his own place was across the
Bay, at its south side, near Cape Shoal-water, at a point
known as Toke's Point, a name still retained by Captain
Alden on his chart. Toke had been a man of a great deal
of importance among the Indians, but advancing years
and an inordinate love of whisky had reduced him to being regarded as an object of contempt and aversion by
the whites, and a butt for the jests and ridicule of the
Indians. But, when the old fellow was sober, he was
full of traditionary tales of prowess, and legends of the
days of old.    He was also one of the best men in the
B 2 34
Bay to handle a canoe, or to show the various channels
and streams ; and often afterward I have called his services into requisition, and always found him faithful and
His wife, Suis, was a most remarkable woman, possessing a fund of information in all matters relative to
incidents and traditions relating to the Bay, with a
shrewdness and tact in managing her own affairs uncommon among the Indian women. The other Indians, who
were working for Russell, and who belonged at some distance, either among the Chenooks at the south, or the
Chehalis and Queniult tribes at the north, were camped
around the house in little tents made of mats or their
Russell, who had a good deal of the romancing spirit
of the Baron Munchausen in his composition, and who
wished not only to appear great in the eyes of the Indians, but to make them believe all his friends were of
importance, introduced me to these savages as a celebrated doctor, a fable which my utter ignorance of their
language prevented my denying. However, by the aid
of a medicine-chest of his, containing a few simple drugs,
I went to work, and soon effected some wonderful cures.
The most celebrated and potent medicine was a mixture
of aqua ammonias and whale oil, prepared in the form of
a liniment. "This was effectual in curing headaches and
rheumatic affections of various kinds. The patient was
first required to smell the medicine, which was afterward
rubbed on the affected part, and then faith was expected
to finish the cure. This was a very popular medicine,
and was considered, from its pungency, to be very potent.
The rest of my stock of medicine consisted of nearly a
pound of dried boneset herb, a couple of pounds of flowers of sulphur, and a pound or so of salts. My stock in
trade was on a par with my stock of information; but THREE YEARS AT SHOAL-WATER BAY.
great faith on the part of the Indians, with their most
excellent constitutions, enabled me to perform my duties
to the great satisfaction of all parties.
It was not long, however, before what was at first a
mere jest on Russell's part turned out more real than
either of us anticipated; for the small-pox breaking out
among the whites and Indians, I was obliged to render
my services in a far more important and trying manner
than I ever expected. A full account will be given of
that sad time in another chapter.
As we had brought up barrels and salt from San Francisco for salmon, it was proposed by Russell that we
should go out on a fishing expedition, although the season was very far advanced, and the fish had nearly done
running for that year. Accordingly, he procured five Indians, and, taking two canoes with us well stocked with
provisions, we started for the Palux River, about four
miles to the south. We went up the river about ten
miles, where we found there were three forks or branches—one running to the southeast, another, or the middle
fork, to the east, and called Tomhays River, from an Indian who lived at its junction with the other branches,
or north fork. This Indian, whose name is Cartumhays,
and certainly one of the greatest liars and thieves I ever
saw, continually talks about his great honesty. " No
lie, Tomhays," "great chief," "good man," are about
the only English words he knows, and which, parrot-like,
he constantly repeats when addressing the whites. Tomhays had long been among the whites, both with the
Hudson Bay Company people at Chenook, or with the
settlers at Astoria, and is pretty generally known to every person around the mouth of the Columbia River;
and being, withal, a shrewd fellow, had picked up quite
a number of ideas of the white men's style of living.
It was to the lodge of this worthy that Russell direct- 36
ed our Indians to proceed, "for," said he, "we shall
have to pass over a big snag up the river, and we may
as well wait till near high water, when we can haul over
the canoes much easier; and, besides, old Tomhays will
give us a good cup of coffee and some nice broiled salmon.'' We soon landed, and were received by a yelping pack of dogs, who were repaid for their civilities by
sundry blows from sticks and stones, indiscriminately
bestowed by our copper-colored attendants as a sort of
largesse, as the heralds of the knights of old threw purses
and handfuls of coin among the retainers of the nobles
whom they were about to visit.
The noise made by the dogs and Indians called out
old Cartumhays, who, after giving vent to his disgust
and indignation at the treatment his hounds and curs
had received, invited us into his lodge, which was situated up the hill a short distance from the landing.
He soon prepared a meal, and gave us a nice cup of
coffee, which he ground in a hand-mill that he had undoubtedly stolen from some white person.
We remained an hour with him, when, finding the tide
to be about right, we started off, and proceeded up the
north fork about a mile, where we came to the snag, which
was an immense spruce tree fallen directly across the
river. We soon hauled the canoes over, and proceeded
up three quarters of a mile farther, where we went ashore
and camped. The river at this place runs through a deep
mountain gorge, and at that time, at low tide, was but a
shallow stream, very narrow, and easily forded. The winter rains had not fairly set in, or we could not have camped where we did, for in the rainy season, and in times of
freshets, the water comes tumbling, and foaming, and
roaring down that narrow pass in a fearful manner. Our
camp was easily made. The bushes were cut down,
and a couple of forked poles stuck into the ground, hav- THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
i v
ing another pole laid parallel across their tops. From
this ridge-pole a boat-sail we had with us was hung, so
as to form a sort of roof to keep off the dew or rain, and
in front of this was kindled a fire. <* *
While we were getting the camp ready, two of the Indians went to catch some salmon for supper, while I took
my gun to try some of the ducks that were flying through
the gorge in myriads, The great spruce and fir trees
on either side of the river threw their long branches so
as to interlace with each other quite across the stream,
forming not only a dense shade, but obliging the wild
fowl to fly within such circumscribed limits as to be
easily shot. It was nearly dark when we had finished
the camp, but before night the Indians had caught a
dozen fine salmon, and Russell and myself had killed as
many ducks. Our supper was soon prepared, Russell
and myself eating duck, which we cooked to suit our
taste, and the Indians confining their attention to the
salmon, of which they ate inordinate quantities. 38
.If i
After we had smoked our pipes and built an enormous
fire, we rolled ourselves in our blankets and went to sleep,
from which we were awakened before daylight by the
rush of wings of the ducks and other wild fowl getting
ready for their morning meal, and the splashing of the
salmon in the river. I was thoroughly roused up by the
report of a gun, fired off, as I thought, close to my ear.
It proved that one of the Indians, who had waked before
the rest, discovered a couple of sheldrake in our camp,
feasting on the remains of our last night's supper. He
stealthily reached over to where I was lying, and took
my gun, which was beside me, loaded, and shot both the
sheldrake at one discharge. The noise, of course, roused
us all up, and we at once commenced preparations for
the day.
The implements used by the Indians for catching salmon were a hook and a spear. The former is in size
as large as a shark-hook, having a socket at one end
formed of wood. These hooks are made by the Indians
from files and rasps, which they purchase of the traders,
and are forged into shape with ingenuity and skill. The
socket is made from the wild raspberry bush (Rubus
spectablis), which, having a pith in its centre, is easily
worked, and is very strong. This socket is formed of
two parts,.which are firmly secured to the hook by means
of twine, and the whole covered with a coat of pitch.
Attached to this hook is a strong cord about three feet
long. A staff or pole from eighteen to twenty feet long,
made of fir, is used, one end of which is iitted to the
socket in the hook, into which it is thrust, and the cord
firmly tied to the pole. When the hook is fastened into
a salmon it slips off the pole, and the fish is held by the
cord, which enables it to perform its antics without breaking the staff, which it would be sure to do if the hook
w^as firmly fastened.    The spear is a flat piece of iron   THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
with barbs made of elk horn, and fastened in the same
manner as the socket to the hook. This spear-head has
also a line attached to it, which is fastened to the staff in
a similar manner as the hook is. The spear is generally used in shallow water, and the hook in deep water at
the mouth of rivers, before the fish run up the streams.
Although the river was filled with salmon, and the
banks literally piled with the dead fish killed in attempting to go over the falls, yet, the season being so far advanced, there were comparatively few really prime ones.
The salmon, after casting its spawn, grows thin, and the
flesh loses its bright pink color. The fish then is of little value either to the whites or Indians. Our Indians,
who were well skilled, started up stream to commence,
as their custom always is to go up the stream, and then,
letting the canoe float down, catch the fish as they pass.
As the tide fell, the Indians left their canoes and waded
in the stream. We joined them, and such a splashing
and dashing I never before witnessed. I caught seven
and Russell about as many, when, getting tired and thoroughly wet, we went back to the camp, and amused ourselves shooting ducks. When the Indians were tired,
they came in, having been about four hours at work, and
during that time succeeded in killing over a hundred fine
salmon. After we had eaten our dinners we started up
the stream to see the falls, which were a few miles distant. We found this rather a rough job, as the bed of
the river was full of fallen trees, old logs, and rocks. As
we approached the falls, we had to clamber up the steep
sides of the banks, which were covered with a growth of
shrubbery similar in appearance to sumach, and having
its stems covered'With sharp thorns, which readily pierce
the flesh, and sting like nettles. The name given to this
most villainous shrub is the Devil's walking-stick. Before we got into a position to see the falls, we had both THE NORTHWEST  COAST;   OR,
received several tumbles and got our hands full of the
prickles. However, we felt repaid for our trouble. The
falls are a succession of cataracts from ten to twenty feet
high, and the whole fall of the river is some two hundred feet. Although there was not much water, the
scene was fine, and, could it be viewed when the river
was full, must be magnificent. We did not remain long,
but scrambled back to camp, where we arrived just in
time for supper. It was our intention to have remained
several days, but the Indians, from some superstitious
ideas, refused to fish any more.
One of their superstitions is that the spirits of the
dead are always hovering about the homes they left on
earth, and when they are displeased with any of the doings of their relatives or friends, they make known their
presence in various ways; and when the Indian thinks
there are any of the " dead people" about, he will, if away
from his home, leave the place he may be at, or, if in his
own house, will take measures to drive off the spirit, either by firing a gun or getting the medicine-man to work
spells. Our Indians, it appeared, had heard the whistling of a plover the previous night, which I had also
heard. They said it was a dead person. Russell told
them it was a bird. No, said they, birds don't talk in
the night;- they talk in the daytime. But, asked Russell, how can you tell that it is the "memelose tillicums,"
or dead people ? They can't talk. No, replied the savage, it is true, they can't talk as we do, but they whistle
through their teeth. Tou are a white man, and don't
understand what they say; but Indians know, and they
told us not to catch any more salmon, and we are afraid,
and must go back to-morrow.
And, sure enough, they did get ready in the morning,
and no promises of reward that Russell offered them
would induce them to stop one minute after we had done
As we proceeded down the river on our homeward
course, we startled myriads of wild fowl, and had some
fine shooting. The Palux River, from the junction of
its three forks to its mouth, some eight or ten miles, runs
through fine prairie land and marshes covered with luxuriant grass, furnishing excellent grazing for stock. Vessels of four or five hundred tons burden, and drawing
eighteen feet of water, can proceed up the river two or
three miles, and find every facility for loading timber,
which is very easily and readily procured on the banks
or up the various creeks and small streams emptying into
the main river.
We reached Russell's house about noon, and, after having had our fish cleaned, we salted and packed them in
Wreck of the Willemantic.—Joe the Steward and his curry Stews.—
Climate of the Pacific.—Causes of the Mildness of Temperature.—
Quantities of Rain.—Early Spring.—Method of learning the Indian
Language.—Captain Purrington clearing Land.—Immense Trees.—
Indians' Small-pox.—Indians die.—Russell sick.—Tomhays sick.—
Queaquim dies.—Solemn Scene.
The brig sailed for San Francisco shortly after this,
and Russell being obliged to leave for Astoria on business, I remained alone in charge of the house and store,
with no companion but the family of Indians.
I did not remain so long, for the schooner Willemantic having been wrecked in Gray's Harbor, eighteen
miles north of us, we received her crew, who were divided
round among the settlers. Captain Vail, her owner,
with the mate and crew, went down the beach with the
different residents; Joe, the steward, came and stopped
with me.    Joe was a Dane, but had lived some years at
—< 44
Sumatra, where he had learned to be an excellent cook,
and was particularly fond of curry, which he could prepare to perfection; and when he left the wreck, he managed to save his bottle of curry, which enabled us to have
many a savory mess: curried ducks or geese, venison,
bear meat, oysters, or fish; and when these failed, he
would get up a dish of curried beans; every thing but
our coffee or bread was sure to be seasoned with curry.
However, Joe was a capital fellow, full of his sea yarns,
and, what with his curries and stories, we managed to
pass off the short days and long nights very pleasantly.
There had been a fall of snow, although the weather
was not very cold, and we amused ourselves in making
paths. The climate is very mild, and never so cold as
in the same parallel of latitude on the Atlantic coast.
This is a fact noticed by all the writers on the Pacific
and Northwest Coasts that I have seen. Ross Cox, who
was employed by the Fur Company at Astoria, writes
that " the climate on the Columbia River, from its mouth
to the rapids, is mild. The mercury seldom falls below
the freezing point, and never rises above 80°. Westerly winds prevail during the spring and summer months,
and are succeeded by northwesters, which blow pretty
freshly during the autumn; October ushers in the south
wind and the rain, both of which continue without intermission till January, when the wind begins to bear to
the westward; but the rain seldom ceases till the termination of April."
In Greenhow's " History of Oregon and California,"
he remarks, " The countries on the Pacific side of North
America differ materially in climate from those east of
the great dividing range of mountains situated in the
same latitudes, and at equal distances from and elevations above the ocean. These differences are less within
the torrid zone, and beyond the 60th parallel; but in rr
the intermediate space, every part of the Pacific section
is much warmer and drier than places in the Atlantic or
Arctic sections under the same conditions as above expressed. Thus the northwesternmost regions of America appear to be as cold, and to receive as much rain and
snow from the heavens, as those surrounding Baffin's
Bay, or those in their own immediate vicinity in Asia.
But in the countries on the Pacific side, corresponding
in latitude and other respects with Wisconsin, Canada,
Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, the ground is rarely
covered "with snow for more than three or four weeks in
each year, and it often remains unfrozen throughout the
Mr. Lorin Blodget, in a letter to the National Intelligencer, published about the first of January, 1857, says
of the climate on the Pacific coast:
" Not only the extreme limit at the 49th parallel is
warmer than Washington for the winter, but a distance
like that from Paris to Aberdeen must be passed over,
beyond the extreme limit at the north of Pugefs Sound,
to find a winter as cold as that of this city, Washington.
The winter at Puget's Sound is warmer than at Paris,
the mean being 69J° at the first, and 38° at Paris; and
the winter at Sitka is warmer than that at Washington
(30^° and 36° respectively), notwithstanding they differ
18 degrees of latitude, or nearly 1250 miles, in position
on the meridians. Aberdeen, in Scotland, is somewhat
warmer, having a winter temperature of 39°, though at
the 57th parallel." j|
Again: "At Washington we were taught by the experience of last winter—and the opening of the present
winter repeated the lesson—that the rivers and navigable waters here may be closed by ice for months in succession. Vegetation is dormant for several months, and
in this respect the condition is practically similar from
— 46
New York to the north of Georgia. This city is near
the 30th parallel, and San Francisco is nearly at the
38th; yet, at this last-named city, it was remarked as
singular that roses and flowers were cut off temporarily,
as they were in the early part of the last winter, though
they subsequently recovered their freshness ; and through
February and March the temperature was as soft as that
of the south shores of the Mediterranean. At Puget's
Sound, in Washington Territory, ten degrees of latitude
farther north, the winter was still mild and open, and the
grass in constant growth. Continuing along this course
to Sitka, ten degrees of latitude still farther north, it was
yet, doubtless, much warmer than at Washington, since
the average for the winter is warmer, and the changes in
extreme years are there very far less."
My own experience goes to prove the truth of the foregoing remarks, and the cause of this mildness is to be
attributed to the fact mentioned by Cox, that the wind
blows almost invariably from the ocean. During the
winter months the wind is generally from the south to
the southeast, veering at times to the southwest. These
winds, blowing from the tropics, bring with them warm
rains, and it is only during the winter season that thunder and lightning accompany the rain, and these only
during the most violent storms. The only severe cold
is felt when the wind blows from the northeast, and
whenever it gets in that quarter the effects are precisely
the same as the northwest winds in the Atlantic states;
but I have never known excessive cold weather to continue longer than twelve or fourteen days, when the wind
will return to the south, and a warm rain brings on a
general thaw.
It is these facts with respect to the climate that make
a residence in either Oregon or Washington Territories
so desirable; and the remarkable fact should not be lost THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER BAY.
sight of, that, although Washington Territory is in the
same latitude as Nova Scotia, yet the climate is as mild
in winter as Pennsylvania, nor is the heat of summer so
oppressive as in the same parallel east of the Rocky
Mountains. I have seen the thermometer, during the
hottest day I ever felt at Shoal-water Bay, reach 95°,
but it was but for a few hours, and, as Cox remarks, it
rarely exceeds 80°. During the winter the rain falls in
the most incredible quantities, but it does not, as has
been asserted, rain without intermission. A storm will
commence which will last a week, some days raining
violently, and accompanied with heavy gales of wind.
These blows will last perhaps twenty-four or forty-
eight hours, when it will lull, and the rain subside into
a gentle shower, or mere mist and fog; then perhaps it
will clear off, with eight or ten days of fine, clear weather.
The spring commences much earlier also; and I may
mention at this time, in evidence, that on the 10th day
of March, 1853, while making a botanical collection, I
gathered the blossoms of the wild raspberry (Rubus
spectablis), the fruit of which is ripe in June, the wild
strawberry, the Trillium (Dikentra formosa), and various
other small flowers; while in the month of my arrival,
December, 1852,1 collected and preserved the blossoms
of the Sallal (Gaultheria Shallon).
sallal (Gaultheria Shawn). THREE YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
What part of the country east of the Rocky Mountains, in the latitude of 46° north, can be shown where
flowers bloom from March to December ? But to return
from this digression. As I had not much to amuse myself with, and being desirous of learning the Indian language, I went frequently to the lodge to learn to talk.
There were several young men and boys who aided me,
and, in particular, one named Cherquel Sha, and by the
whites called George, who had been employed for a long
time in a small steamer on the Columbia, and could talk
English pretty well. George was very sick, and had
often come to me for medicines, and had formed a great
friendship for me. He would sit by the hour, either in
the lodge or at the house, repeating words which I would
write down to enable me to remember them. I found
at first the Indians were inclined to tell me wrong, but I
adopted a plan which proved effectual to enable me to
get correct information, which was this : I would repeat
the word slowly until I had a correct idea of the sound,
then would write the word so that when any other white
man saw it he could pronounce it and produce the same
sound. Thus I knew that I had correctly spelled the
word. Then I would at some other time pronounce the
word to a different Indian, and ask him what it meant,
when, if he explained it as the first one had, I knew my
spelling and explanation were correct. By this method
I soon obtained a vocabulary which enabled me to converse readily with them. These Indians were of the
Chenook tribe, although some of them belonged to the
Chehalis tribe, on Gray's Harbor; consequently they
talked either language fluently. I shall refer in another
chapter more fully to the tribes of Shoal-water Bay.
Russell, after an absence of a few weeks, returned,
bringing with him Captain James S. Purrington, formerly master of a whale-ship, and who, for forty years,
C 50
had been engaged in the whaling business. Captain
Purrington had been at work on the Columbia, and had
lost all his labor by two successive freshets, and he concluded to try his hand in Shoal-water Bay. Russell
was desirous of making a garden, and we all went to
work clearing up a spot near the house. This was not
so easy a task as might be imagined. The proposed
garden was occupied by some thirty or more immense
spruce-trees, from six to eight feet in diameter, and over
a hundred feet high.
These immense trees, falling from time to time, make
a walk through the forest very difficult, and at times
dangerous. I was out one day with Captain Purrington, a few months afterward, to examine a piece of land
on our claim, when we came to an open space apparently quite level, and covered with dead wood, moss,
and a fine growth of raspberry bushes laden with fruit.
While we were engaged picking and eating the berries,
all at once the captain disappeared. I called out for
him, and directly heard a faint halloo, as I thought, under
ground. Directly after, down I went,, and then found
that the place was a small ravine about thirty feet deep,
over which the trees had fallen in every direction so as
to completely cover it over, and these, in their turn, had
been covered over by an accumulation of limbs, branches, moss, and at last by the bushes. The falling of the
trees had been evidently caused by some whirlwind years
previous. I asked the captain if he was hurt. "No,"
said he, " I came down as easy as if I had lit on a feather bed; but if you have a match about you, pa$s it to
me, and I will soon let daylight into this heap. I don't
like the idea of burning up all those nice berries, but I
have a great curiosity to see how this place will look
when it is cleared up." The old man soon kindled a
blaze, which very materially altered the appearance of   THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
the face of the country before it was put out by the rain.
We were fortunate in escaping without injury; but the
experience was useful, for, in our future explorations, we
were more careful where we went.
The enormous growth of the timber trees on the Pacific coast, from California to Hudson's Bay, has often
been written about. Ross Cox writes: "The general
size of the different species of fir far exceeds any thing
east of the Rocky Mountains, and prime sound pine
(spruce) from two hundred to two hundred and eighty
feet in height, and from twenty to forty feet in circumference, are by no means uncommon. A pine tree discovered in Umpqua county, to the southeast of the Columbia, measured two hundred and sixteen feet to its
lowest branch, and in circumference fifty-seven feet."
Ross Cox speaks of these trees as pine, but he is mistaken ; for, with the exception of a scrubby growth of
the Pinus palustris, found directly on the sea-coast, I
have never seen a specimen of pine from the Columbia to
Fuca Strait. The timber is white and yellow spruce,
red, white, and yellow fir, hemlock, cedar, and yew. Oak
is not found on the immediate range of the coast, but is
plentiful on the Columbia, and in the region of Puget
Sound. A fine quality of ash is also found in those localities. Lewis and Clarke, speaking of the immense
size of the trees near Astoria, mention a fir two hundred
and thirty feet high, and one hundred and twenty feet
of that height without a limb, and its circumference twenty-seven feet. These trees are not to be confounded with
the great trees of California: they are a distinct species,
and are known as red-wood trees, and the wood bears a
resemblance to Spanish cedar. But the growth of Oregon and Washington is like the spruce, fir, and hemlock
of the State of Maine.
We soon, with the aid of some of the settlers, made a 54
havoc among the trees, and in a few days most of them
were cut down. News now came that several vessels
had been wrecked on the coast, north of Cape Disappointment, and Russell and the captain, with several others, started off to render assistance, leaving Joe and myself once more to make and eat curry stews. It is one
thing to cut down a big tree, and quite another to clear
it away; but, by the time Russell returned, we, with the
help of the Indians, had cleared away all the branches,
leaving the trunks of the trees ready for the saw. The
wrecking party was absent a week, and brought, on their
return, a quantity of boards from the wrecks, which were
much needed, as at that time there were no saw-mills
in the Bay. They reported that the small-pox had
broken out at Clatsop, south of the Columbia. Russell
was in great fear lest the Indians should bring the disease over to Shoal-water Bay, and remarked that if he
thought it would come, he would at once leave for San
Francisco, for he dreaded the small-pox more than any
other complaint, although he had been vaccinated.
Joe and the captain now went to work to cut the trees
into logs, which we then blew open with powder, and
then with beetle and wedges reduced the blocks small
enough to handle, and then piled them round the stumps
and set fire to them. We usually kept these fires going
all night, and the light these tremendous bonfires made
could be seen for miles. The Indians enjoyed the fun
of piling on logs and making a blaze, and every evening
were sure to gather round and have a frolic. We had
two young Indians, brothers, working for us, Se-yal-ma
and Que-a-quim, funny, lively fellows, always in good
nature, and the smartest and best Indians I ever saw.
Que-a-quim, the younger, was a great favorite with us
all, and, when we had a gang of Indians at work, could
always, by his pranks and fun, keep them pleasant. THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
This young fellow took delight in perching himself on a
log every night near the fire, and, pointing out the different constellations in the starry heavens, would tell me
the legendary tales of their mythological belief. At such
times his demeanor was entirely changed, and, gazing
upward with a wild and excited look, would impart his
information in an earnest and solemn manner, that showed
how deeply he was interested in his subject.
The winter was now wearing away, and the snow had
all disappeared, although January had not quite gone, and
every pleasant day the sun shone out warm and bright,
giving token of an early spring. While we were thus
engaged in clearing up land and burning trees, a party of
Indians from Chenook arrived, consisting of old Carcum-
cum (sister of the celebrated Comcomly, the Chenook
chief mentioned in Irving's Astoria, and also by Ross
Cox), and her son Ellewa, the present chief of the Che-
nooks, with his wife and two or three slaves. They
made a camp on the beach near the house, where they
lived under a little old tent. They had been to the
wrecks, and among other things found was an India-
rubber pillow, which Ellewa had filled with some kind
of spirits he had also procured at the same place. He
and his squaw, Winchestoh, managed to keep drunk
for three or four days, when, their liquor giving out,
they were obliged to get sober. As it commenced to
rain, they were very miserable, and Ellewa requested
Russell to allow the squaw to lie down by the fire in the
house, which he did, and the same day Ellewa, with old
Carcumcum, returned to Chenook. At supper-time I
gave the squaw some tea and toast, and remarked that
her face and neck were covered with little spots like flea-
bites. I said to Russell, "This woman has either got
the small-pox or measles." "Oh!" said he, "don't
say that, for I would never, have had her in the house 56
if I suspected any such thing." "Well," said I, "we
shall see."
Soon after supper I went to bed, as did Joe and the
captain, leaving Russell writing. About nine o'clock he
called me to come down, for he thought the woman was
dying; and, sure enough, when I got down stairs she
was entirely dead. We laid her in the store, and the
next morning the captain and Joe made her a coffin, and
after we had put her in we carried her about five hundred rods from the house, and, having dug a grave, buried
her in a Christian manner.
Some ten or twelve days after this Russell was taken
with a violent pain in his head and back, and had to
take to his bed. Joe and the captain also were attacked, but very slightly, however. They all attributed their
sickness to severe colds, but I knew that in Russell's
case it was something more serious. I did not dare tell
him, as I knew it would only frighten him; nor did I dare
tell my fears either to the captain or Joe, or any of the
other settlers; there was such a panic in the minds of
all, that I knew the bare mention of small-pox would
drive them all away from the house, if not from the Bay.
I could not leave, as there was no vessel in the Bay at
the time, nor would I leave during his illness, although
I could easily have gone to Astoria; so I made up my
mind to do what I could and keep my own counsel, which
I did so effectually that Russell did not know what was
the matter till the fever had passed and he was nearly
blind, and the captain and Joe did not know what ailed
him till he was nearly well and all danger had passed.
Joe was so scared that he ran off the same day, but the
old man complimented me on my caution, and said that
he could then account for the violent attack he had experienced, and which he thought was a severe cold.
As soon as Russell was able, he went to San Francis- THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
co, leaving me in charge of his affairs. His cousin, Walter Lynde, had insisted on seeing him while he was sick,
and he was taken next, and I nursed him through, but
his attack was very slight.
Several cases occurred among the other settlers, but
mostly Indians in their employ, and several of the Indians died. I thought my hospital duties were at an
end, but the hardest case was yet to come off. Poor
Que-a-quim was taken with the unmistakable symptoms,
and, rather than have him in the lodge with the other Indians, where I was afraid the infection would spread, I
had him brought over and placed in a comfortable position in the chamber near my bed, where the captain and
myself did all we could to make him easy. During his
sickness, old Cartumhays, whose wife had just died of
the small-pox, sent for me to go to his house on the Palux, as he had the same complaint. I accordingly went,
and found the old fellow in his bed making great lamentations. After a little time he pulled out from a chest a
package of about a dozen different kinds of medicine,
that he had either begged, borrowed, or, more probably,
stolen. He said he was very sick, and wished me to
help him.
Judging, however, from the presence of five or six
empty whisky bottles that his complaint was not a very
dangerous one, I recommended him a dose of salts, to be
followed up with half a cupful of sulphur and molasses,
to be taken instead of preserves or sweetmeats. The
prescription in his case was happily effective, and in two
days he was well.
Poor Que-a-quim, however, grew worse. He had, besides the small-pox, an affection of his liver, which had
troubled him a long time. He knew he should die, and
told me so. ( His brother, to whom I told this, remarked, "Well, if he wants to die, he will die."    He then
C2 58
brought into the house, from the lodge, all the little property of his brother, consisting of a few shirts, a blanket
or two, and some few trinkets, with a request that they
might be buried with him. The day Que-a-quim died,
we felt satisfied, from appearances, that such must be the
case, and the captain remarked, "He will die this evening at high water;" and at nine o'clock, just as the tide
began to ebb, he died.
Now, then, was a job before us. The Indians would
not have any thing to do with the body, nor would we
let them, for fear of their taking the infection, neither
did we feel disposed to remain all night with the corpse;
so the captain procured a piece of old canvas, and, wrapping the body up in several blankets, taking care to inclose all the things which had been brought in from the
lodge, the whole was then sewed up in the canvas, and
the corpse lashed on to a board, and launched out of the
chamber window by the captain, while I received the
body from below, and laid it on a barrel till the captain
came with a lantern and two shovels, when we took up
the corpse, resting the board on our shoulders. Poor
Que-a-quim ! he was not very heavy, and we soon reached the spot where but a few weeks before we had buried
the squaw. It did not take us long to dig a grave in
the soft sand, and we soon laid him beside the wife of
"We buried him darkly at dead of night."
The little clock in Russell's house struck twelve as we
closed the door on our return.
The time, the place, and the occasion gave rise to the
most solemn feelings ; neither of us could speak a word.
But the old captain, who had seen many a scene of death,
and assisted often in launching the bodies of his shipmates into the blue waters of the ocean, could not refrain
from shedding a tear to the memory of the poor Indian THREE YEARS AT SHOAL-WATER BAY.
lad, a tribute of sympathy in which I most heartily
joined. This was the last case of small-pox I was called
on to attend, and I trust I may not be obliged to pass
through such another trial, feeling perfectly satisfied with
my acquaintance with that most disgusting and conta-
ious disease.
Arrival of Indians from the North.—Description of the Oysters and
Oyster-fishers of Shoal-water Bay.—Hospitality of early Settlers.—
Joel L. Brown.—Captain Weldon.—Winter in Oregon.
The weather was now propitious for prosecuting the
oyster-fishery, and hundreds of Indians came to the Bay
from Chenook and the tribes at the north. Some of
the Indians came as far as the region round Puget
Sound. These wandering beings begin to grow restless
when the winter approaches its termination, and, as soon
as the wild geese make their appearance, the Indians are
ready to start on a tramp. I do not know, nor do I assert, that the flight of the wild-fowl and other migratory
birds is any sign by which the Indian governs his movements ; but I have noticed that they generally commence
operations about the same time.
These Indians, during the summer months, resort to
Shoal-water Bay to procure clams and crabs for their
own eating, and oysters to sell to the whites. The
Shoal-water Bay oysters are different from the oysters
on the Atlantic coast, and very much resemble, in taste
and appearance, the English Channel oysters, having the
same strong, coppery taste. This is acquired, not from
any presence of copper, but because they grow in beds
on the mud flats, instead of growing, as the Atlantic
oysters, in clusters on rocks or on a hard bottom; and
what is called a coppery taste is simply a strong, fishy, 60
salt-water flavor, which, however, is driven off by cook
These oysters are found on the flats and in shoal water, in different parts of the Bay, and are readily procured, either by collecting them by hand at low tide,
when the flats are bare, or, in the deeper water, by oyster-tongs, rakes, or dredges. The best method is by
using the tongs. When the tide is nearly out, the boats
and canoes start for the oyster-beds, where they wait till
the water is gone, when they go to work picking up by
hand into baskets, which are emptied into the canoes.
These hand-picked oysters are the best, as they are all
good; those taken by the tongs, being half shells, have
to be carried ashore and culled over, and then put on the
beds. Each oysterman has a bed, which is marked by
stakes driven into the flats, and can be reached at any
time, either by foot at low water, or in boats at high
As the tide rises and covers the flats, the boats and
canoes begin to creep ashore ; and as soon as they arrive
at the beach a lively time ensues, trading, measuring, and
shoveling the oysters, and for an hour or two all is bustle. This over, the day's work is done, and the Indian
goes off to eat and lounge away the rest of the time till
the next tide, and the white settler to work in his garden,
or do what work is necessary to be done round his house.
The arrival of a schooner from San Francisco is a time
of general excitement, and particularly at that early time
when I first arrived, for, as we had no opportunity to
replenish our supplies except by the schooners, the arrival of one was a matter of moment.
After each one had procured what few stores he had
sent for, the day of loading would be designated, and then
each man exerts himself to the utmost to get as many on
board as he can.   The scows, boats, and canoes are load- llliiii iifci! I i fell
ffl i ill
■ i'...Mi I i
i|!   I! ill
illliili HBllW
ed at low tide, and, as soon as they float, they start off for
the vessel. First come, first served, is the motto, and a
bustling scene ensues.*
The schooners carry from twelve hundred to two thousand baskets of oysters, and some have even taken four
thousand baskets; but it is not considered safe to take so
many at once, as the bottom ones are apt to die on the passage. These vessels are loaded with great dispatch ; and
often I have known a schooner to receive a load of twelve
hundred baskets, the cargo all paid for, and the schooner
under weigh in four hours from the time she begins to
load. These oysters bring, on an average, a dollar a
basket alongside the vessel, and, as the exports from
the Bay are about fifty thousand baskets per annum,
which are paid for in gold on the spot, it can be seen
that there is quite a circulation of specie among the
hardy oystermen of Shoal-water Bay. They are not,
howe\«r, exempt from losses, for the year of which I
write proved very disastrous to several who had shipped
oysters to San Francisco on their own account. The
Bruce Company, consisting of Messrs. Winant, Morgan,
Hanson, Milward, and Foster, lost several cargoes, the
oysters dying on the passage; and Russell, and a company who reside in San Francisco, lost between them
some eight or ten thousand baskets of oysters, which
were destroyed by the skates and drum-fish. While in
Shoal-water Bay, during the winter of 1853-4, every one t
of us lost our oysters during a heavy frost that lasted
three or four days.
The early settlers, whose names I have already men-
* In 1855 there were employed in the oyster trade in the Bay,
1 schooner of 20 tons, capable of carrying   600 baskets oysters ;
28 boats, 1 1 2200
21 scows,
13 canoes,
a 64
tioned, were some of the most hospitable men that could
be found in any part of the world. Their isolated position, far from any other settlement (the nearest being at
Chenook, some forty miles distant), seemed to knit them
together in a common bond of brotherhood, and each
seemed to vie with the other in acts of kindness to every
stranger that might visit the Bay, either from motives of
curiosity or to become permanent settlers. As emigrants
were now coming in very fast, the hospitality of the worthy settlers was often put to a severe test, and it was not
till after so many persons had arrived that it was impossible to provide for them without remuneration that
these hardy pioneers consented to ask for pay from those
seeking for food and lodging.
Among these emigrants arriving was Mr. Joel L.
Brown, who, with a party, arrived in the Bay, and took a
claim on the River Palux, where he intended erecting a
store for trading purposes, and formed a town. Mr.
Brown and his associates had cut a wagon-road on the
portage, crossing from the Bay to the Columbia River,
and quite an interest was excited by him among the.
emigrants of Oregon to make Shoal-water Bay their
home. But, before his plans were hardly commenced, he
died at his house on the Palux, lamented by every one
with whom he was acquainted. Mr. Brown was a man
of energy and perseverance, and, had he lived, would
have made a fine settlement, and undoubtedly induced a
large emigration. Some of the persons who came with
Mr. Brown were, Samuel Woodward, Henry Whitcomb,
Joel and Mark Bullard, and Captain Jackson. Mr. James
Wilson and his family settled at the portage, and afforded assistance to the travelers going or coming to the Bay.
The same season Captain Charles Stewart arrived, and
took a claim at the mouth of the Whil-a-pah River.
Captain David K. Weldon, with his lady, also came from THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER BAY.
San Francisco. Captain Weldon erected a fine house and
store at the mouth of the Necomanchee or North River, and, together with Mr. George Watkins, erected the
first saw-mill. Mrs. Weldon was the first lady who came
to the Bay to reside. The settlers now began to come
in fast; but, as it is only my object to speak of some* of
the pioneers, a further mention of names will be unnecessary, except as they may be used in the course of the
Although it has been stated that the winters in Oregon and Washington are milder than in the same parallels east of the Rocky Mountains, still it must not be
supposed that a winter's residence in either territory is
attended with the delights of a tropical climate.
The rains are very violent, and at times are attended
with heavy gales from the southeast. From the high
latitude of Shoal-water Bay, the days are very short,
and but little out-door work can be done, and the settler
finds it a difficult task to pass off the long, stormy nights,
unless with the aid of books or some useful in-door employment. At such periods it is very difficult and dangerous to cross the Bay, and communication with the
Columbia is very rarely attempted, and it is only the
direst necessity that will compel the settlers to procure
supplies from Astoria; consequently, every one, at the
time I refer to, depended on the oyster schooners to bring
them up their supplies of provisions. The winter of
1852-3 was a hard one for the oystermen. They had
supplied themselves, as they supposed, with sufficient
provisions for the winter, but the unusual calls on their
hospitality from new-comers straitened their means so
that they were reduced to pretty short allowances; but
they did not complain. Those that had not an abundance were cheerfully supplied by those that had, and as
there appeared to be a sort of pride that no stranger 66
should suppose them in want, they managed to change
and shift their commodities so as to get through the winter without any difficulty. If one man had a little more
flour than he needed, he would exchange with a neighbor who had a surplus of pork; and another, who might
have an extra barrel of beef, would get a few potatoes or
onions from some one else; so with rice, sugar, molasses,
coffee, or tea. Nothing mean or niggardly was known
among these people. Their hospitality was the theme
of remark all over the Territory, and the oyster-boys of
Shoal-water Bay were looked upon as a community of
generous and noble-hearted men.
This founding of an infant colony on our extreme
northwest frontier was no holiday work, neither was it
child's play. The emigrant, come which way he would,
either by land or by sea, had to endure much toil, privation, and hardship, and when located in his new home
had nothing but work, and hard work at that, to make
that new home a comfortable abode. When we consider
those families who have struggled their way over the
great wilderness of the west, where every mile is marked
by the grave of some unfortunate and perhaps much-loved
one—who have had to endure the perils of the hostile
savage, of sickness or starvation, but yet have manfully
pushed on, and now have opened out that beautiful and
fertile region, which is a common wealth to our whole
country, should we not allow that they who are but the
wards of Congress have a right to look to that guardian
of our country to bestow upon them its assistance with
no niggard hand ? The wealth of Oregon and Washington has scarce begun to be developed ; but when the vast
importance of those territories is appreciated, it must be
admitted that every dollar expended by the nation for
their support or defense is money well applied, and which
will make a hundred-fold return. THREE YEARS AT  SHOAL-WATER BAY.
Early writers speak of the beauty and fertility of
Washington Territory. In 1792, Vancouver, in remarking of the country around Port Discovery, Admiralty
Inlet, and Puget Sound, writes:
I To describe the beauties of this region will on some
future occasion be a very grateful task to the pen of the
skillful panegyrist. The serenity of the climate, the innumerable pleasing landscapes, and the abundant fertility that unassisted nature puts forth, require only to
be enriched by the industry of man with villages, mansions, cottages, and other buildings, to render it the most
lovely country that can be imagined, while the labor of
the inhabitants must be rewarded in the bounties which
Nature seems ready to bestow on cultivation." Lewis
and Clarke, Ross Cox, and others, also remark favorably
upon the region. That it is destined ere long to be of
vast importance to our interests in the Pacific must be
apparent to the most casual observer.
Stony Point.—Visit of Walter and myself to the Memelose Tillicums, or
Dead People.—Basaltic Boulders.—Indian Tradition respecting them.
—Legend of the Doctor and his Brother.—The Giants build a great
Fire to heat Stones.—They boil out the Bay.—The Doctor finds his
Brother in a Fish's Belly.—Bear-hunt on Stony Point.—Bartlett kills
the Bear.—Method of burying the Dead.—We find a Mummy.—Russell sends the Mummy to San Francisco.—Opinions of scientific Persons respecting the Mummy.—An instance of another Body being
preserved.—I get capsized at Stony Point.—Take a Claim on the
Querquelin River.—Description of the Claim and our mode of Living.—Method of Canoe-making.—Seal-catching.—Method of catching Fish.—Indian Food.—Description of the Roots and Berries.—Sea
Otter.—River Otter.—Beaver.—Furs.
Before Russell returned from San Francisco I had
several walks with his cousin, Walter Lynde, who, being 68
the northwest coast; or,
fond of collect]
;ady foi
very lona ot collecting curiosities, was always ready lor
a tramp. One day we took our hatchets, determined to
explore the heights of a promontory called Stony Point,
about an eighth of a mile south, on which were said to
be a number of old canoes and other Indian remains.
The place was considered sacred, and no Indian ever
ventured there. Their usual superstitious reverence,
and fear of any thing belonging to the " memelose tilli-
cums," or dead people, prevented their ever going near
the spot. Stony Point is a narrow strip of land, or rather sandy clay, with a little soil on the top, extending
into the Bay some three or four hundred rods. It has
been washed away by repeated storms, so that now it is
not more than ten rods wide, perfectly precipitous, with
an elevation of some sixty feet from the water. It is
approached either by a path from the end next the Bay,
or from its junction with the main land. At that time
it was thickly covered with spruce-trees, and a thick undergrowth of vine maple, sallal bushes, vines, and other
obstructions; and as at the time of our visit no white
man had ever had occasion to go upon it, we expected to
have quite a job. This promontory rests on boulders
of basaltic rocks, which have been washed bare as the
waves of the Bay have encroached on the clayey soil of
the Point. These rocks are remarkable from the fact
that they are the only rocks of the kind that are to be
found in the Bay. They appear at some period to have
been subjected to the action of fire. The Indian tradition relating to them is that, ages ago, a celebrated medicine-man or doctor, accompanied by his brother, came
from the north on a visit to the Bay for the purpose of
obtaining clams. One day, while wading in the water
for crabs, the brother of the doctor fell into a deep channel, where he was seized by some great sea-monster and
swallowed.    His lengthened absence from home caused three years at shoal-water bay.
much anxiety, and the doctor, by his divination, ascertained what was the cause. At that time giants, or strong
men, lived in the mountains near "the Bay. These the
doctor caused to bring huge stones, while he himself collected great firs, dried spruce, and other trees wherewith
to build a great fire. When this was done, the stones
were piled on the top of the wood after the present method the Indians have of heating stones for cooking purposes ; and, when the wood was burned down, the red-
hot stones were thrown into the Bay, which caused it to
boil so violently that the water soon evaporated. The
doctor then seeing the great sea-monster, killed it with
his club, and, ripping its belly open, released his brother,
who very joyfully proceeded with him to Chenook,
where, after performing sundry famous cures, they gave
offense to some person more potent than themselves, who
changed them to stone. Two rocks near Scarborough's
Hill, at Chenook Point, are still shown as the doctor
and his brother. As every thing about the region denotes volcanic action, there is no doubt that the origin
of the tradition was some great convulsion of nature, the
account of which has thus been handed down from generation to generation, clothed with the ideal imagery of
the Indian's mind.
These rocks were also the scene of a bear-hunt at a
later period. Two of the oyster men, George G. Bartlett,
or, as we used to call him, Tom Bartlett, and Stephen
Marshall, were one day going round the Point at about
half tide, when a large portion of the rocks are bare,
when they discovered a half-grown cub on the outer
rocks, and, hastily hauling their boat ashore, they got
between the bear and the land, and attempted to catch
him. Steve had a boat-hook, with which he manfully
approached the animal, who felt not a little surprised at
his position.    Tom had an oar.    Their object was to 70
the northwest coast; OR,
drive the bear into the water, and then keep him offshore
till he was exhausted, when they hoped to secure him.
But Bruin was not to be so easily taken. After wasting about an hour and gaining no advantage, Stephen
rushed up to give the animal a punch with the boat-
hook, but he slipped when close up, and in a second the
bear broke the boat-hook to atoms, and tore the frock off
Marshall's back, who roared out most lustily for Bartlett
to aid him. The bear, however, did no more damage,
but let him go, which he did in a hurry, never stopping
till he had reached his house, screaming and roaring all
the way, 9 Turn out, boys! turn out! Tom Bartlett has
been killed by a bear at Stony Point!" This roused
up the men of the beach, who ran to Bartlett's assistance, and found him coolly tumbling the bear into his
boat, having shot him with a revolver. Marshall was
often rallied on his running away, when he always replied, " Well, boys, but I was scared, that's a fact!"
Walter and myself, after a deal of cutting among the
vines and bushes, came to the old canoes, which had
evidently been there many years. They had been used
as coffins for the dead, according to the usual custom
of the Coast Indians, who place their dead in canoes,
which are elevated on four posts, and resting on horizontal bars running through holes mortised in the tops
of the posts.
While thus engaged, we attempted to clamber over
what we supposed to be a small mound, which was covered with wild currant bushes. As we took hold of
these to aid us, they gave way, and we discovered the
mound to be an old canoe of large dimensions, which,
years before, had fallen from its perch in the air, and had
beeh overgrown by moss and bushes. On turning the
canoe over, we discovered under it a small canoe containing the body of an Indian in a complete state of liiiti
a I 111 ii life
1   i ii iii
■iilV I. ■■■■
kiiii  three years at shoal-water bay.
preservation. It looked like a dried mummy. In the
canoe, also, were the skeletons of two children, and a lot
of beads, brass wrist-rings, and other trinkets. We
took out some of the ornaments, and covered the whole
up as we had found it. This mummy was afterward
visited by every man nearly in the Bay, and several
months or a year afterward it was boxed up by Russell,
who claimed to have discovered it, and shipped by him
to San Francisco, where it* excited the wonder and admiration of the quidnuncs, and learned opinions and
lengthy dissertations were delivered to show that the
North American Indians understood the process of embalming bodies ; and one writer went so far as to assert
that the veins of this specimen had been injected with
pitch. Now my own opinion is simply this : the man,
at the time of his death, was much emaciated, and being
placed in a current of pure air, that is always fresh at
Stony Point, had simply dried up; and this opinion is
based on the fact that, during the summer months, all
along the Pacific coast the air is very pure and dry.
Meat, when placed in the open air, where there is a good
circulation, does not putrefy, but dries. I have also
made diligent inquiry among the Indians, who have invariably assured me that they knew of no preserving
process, and they thought as I did, that the body had
dried. There is a peculiarly preservative quality in the
land round the Bay. It abounds in silex, which is held
in solution, forming petrifactions of various kinds. Agates and cornelians of great beauty are Common, and
many fossil remains are to be met with.
Some time after this, a young Indian died near my residence, and was placed by his relatives in a large camphor-wood chest, and buried in the sand, where the body
remained one year, when it was taken up to be reburied
across the Bay, and on opening the chest, the corpse was
D 74
found as perfect as the day it was buried. Now, if I
had sent that specimen to San Francisco without comment, the wise men and philosophers would have been
as badly puzzled as they were by the mummy.
I had one more incident occur to me at Stony Point
shortly after this. I was going through the rocks with
a barrel of beef in my canoe during a heavy squall, when
a sea struck her, and she capsized, and the barrel and
myself were thrown overboard. I managed, fortunately,
to get on the rocks, and got hold of the canoe as she
came drifting past, righted her, and paddled her round
the Point into calm water, where I bailed her out, and
went to the house for a dry suit. I found the beef at
low tide the next day.
Russell having returned to take charge of his own affairs, the captain and myself concluded to take a claim,
and try our luck at the oysters, which were then selling
at a good price, two dollars per basket being asked and
Old Toke, learning my intentions, offered to show me
a good place, and taking his canoe, with Peter, a young
fellow in his lodge, to assist, he paddled me to a little
stream called the Querquelin, or Mouse River. This is
a creek emptying into the Bay about two miles south of
Russell's house, and half way between it and the Palux.
I had frequently passed by this river without supposing
there was any thing more than a mere brook. Quite a
cove making in at that point, the distance from the usual
direct line of boats passing up or down the Bay to the
mouth of the creek was so great, that no one, unless they
had especial business, ever thought of going in there,
and I was astonished to find a fine stream, about two
hundred feet wide, which ran close under a precipitous
cliff, a hundred feet high, covered thickly with spruce
and fir, and at the water's edge with black alder.    On m
1111 In
the other or north side of the stream was a fine level
prairie, containing five or six acres of marsh, and as many
more of elevated land above the reach of the highest
tides. Two acres of this land was clear of trees, and
had been formerly the site of an Indian village. Back
of this cleared spot, a fine grove of spruce trees sheltered the place from the north wind. The western side
was open to the Bay, with a clear view of the Pacific,
and of the two entrances to the Bay. The river wound
round this point in the form of a horse-shoe, and then
threaded its way through a rich prairie for eight or nine
miles, when it forked into two small brooks. This place,
from its peculiar position, had always been a favorite residence with the Indians ; but the chief having died, the
village was deserted, the houses burned down, and the
whole grown over with rose-bushes, blackberry vines,
wild gooseberry, and a most luxuriant crop of nettles
and ferns.
Toke told me that the Indians were afraid to go back
there to live on account of the dead people ; but if a white
man went there they would go back too, for the dead
people, memelose tillicums, were afraid of the whites. I
was very much pleased with the locality, and on my return agreed with the captain to move down there. On
the first of May we took possession, and I was perfectly delighted with the place. As no saw-mill had then
commenced operation (although Captain Weldon was at
work on his), we had to do as well as we could for a
shelter. The brig Potomac being then in the Bay, I
purchased of the captain a spare topsail, with which we
made us a famous tent, or sail house, as the Indians called it. It was a very comfortable place, and we soon
commenced operations. Although so early in the season
as the first of May, the nettles and ferns were three feet
high.    However, we cut and slashed among them, get- 78
ting most woefully stung, and in the course of a few
days, had a place cleared away large enough to plant
some potatoes, squashes, beans, and other vegetables.
The soil was the richest kind of loam, but it had a great
many shells in it, and there were heaps and mounds of
shells containing thousands of bushels, the accumulation
of years of the refuse of the Indians. The ground was
full of all kinds of insects, bumble-bees, spiders, ants,
beetles, cut - worms, and caterpillars, which, however,
wanted only a year or two stirring-up to be banished.
We soon had a garden planted, and now turned our attention to oysters. As soon as the Indians found the
place was inhabited, they flocked there in numbers, and
we had our hands full of trade. They preferred coming
to us, as the place was easy of access at all times of tide,
and, in case of any gale, their canoes were perfectly safe
in the smooth water of the river, which was not so down
the beach with the other settlers; for at high tides, in
storms, the swell of the Pacific would roll into the Bay,
making quite a surf on the beach, often smashing up
boats and canoes, and creating considerable damage.
Among the Indians who came to the Bay to work was
a chief of the Queniult Indians, a tribe who live on the
banks of a river of the same name, which empties into
the Pacific five miles north of Point Grenville, or about
sixty miles north of Shoal-water Bay. This tribe is
considered a very hostile race by the other Indians, and
numerous massacres have been committed by them on
the white traders in earlier times. The chief, whose
name is Kape, was accompanied by two of his sons and
a large party of his people. He came in a large canoe,
which he wished to sell me, and as I wanted one of that
description, I purchased his. The old fellow remained
with me a couple of weeks, and we formed a great friendship for each other.    His sons were the finest-looking THREE YEARS AT  SHOAL-WATER BAY.
Indians I have ever seen. The oldest, whose name is
Wamalsh, was about twenty-two years old, six feet high,
and most perfectly proportioned. The younger, named
Wy Yellock, a lad of eighteen, although much shorter,
was full as well proportioned, and very handsome. Neither Kape or his sons could understand a word of the
Chenook language, and I had to employ an Indian to interpret. He was also a Queniult, and came with Kape.
His name was Hait-lilth, and called by the whites John.
He had been with some person from Oregon to the California mines, and could talk very good English. They
all stopped with us in our tent, sharing our meals, and
sleeping on mats. They were very pleasant, quiet, and
well behaved. John, who was the spokesman, was quite
intelligent and full of anecdotes, which helped to make
the time pass very agreeably. This visit was the foundation of a friendship with Kape and his tribe, which
lasted unbroken during my residence in the Territory.
The canoe which I had purchased was a beauty. She
was forty-six feet long and six feet wide, and had thirty
Indians in her when she crossed the bar at the mouth
of the Bay. She was the largest canoe that had been
brought from up the coast, although the Indians round
Vancouver's and Queen Charlotte's Islands have canoes
capable of carrying one hundred warriors. These canoes
are beautiful specimens of naval architecture. Formed
of a single log of cedar, they present a model of which
a white mechanic might well be proud.
The other canoes are the forms used by the Indians
about Fuca Straits and farther north, as being best adapted for rough water, and the Cowlitz canoe, which is
mostly used on the rivers of the interior. The broad
bow of the latter form is to enable the Indian to have a
firm footing while he uses his pole to force the canoe
over the rapids. The paddle is the shape used by the
Indians in deep water, and is different from the Chenook
paddle, which is notched at the end.
The manufacture of a canoe is a work of great moment
with these Indians. It is not every man among them
that can make a canoe, but some are, like our white mechanics, more expert than their neighbors. A suitable
tree is first selected, which in all cases is the cedar, and
then cut down. This job was formerly a formidable
one, as the tree was chipped around with stone chisels,
after the fashion adopted by beavers, and looks as if
gnawed off. At present, however, they understand the
use of the axe, and many are expert choppers.    When THREE YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER BAY.
the tree is down, it is first stripped of its bark, then cut
off into the desired length, and the upper part split off
with little wedges, till it is reduced to about two thirds
the original height of the log. The bows and stern are
then chopped into a rough shape, and enough cut out of
the inside to lighten it so that it can be easily turned.
When all is ready, the log is turned bottom up, and the
Indian goes to work to fashion it out. This he does
with no instrument of measurement but his eye, and so
correct is that, that when he has done his hewing no one
could detect the least defect. When the outside is
formed and rough-hewn, the log is again turned, and the
inside cut out with the axe. This operation was formerly done by fire, but the process was slow and tedious. During the chopping the Indian frequently ascertains the thickness of the sides by placing one hand on
the outside and the other on the inside. The canoe is
now again turned bottom up, and the whole smoothed
off with a peculiar-shaped chisel, used something after
the manner of a cooper's adze. This is a very tiresome
job, and takes a long time. Then the inside is finished,
and the canoe now has to be stretched into shape. It
is first nearly filled with water, into which hot stones
are thrown, and a fire at the same time of bark is built
outside. This in a short time renders the wood so supple that the centre can be spread open at the top from
six inches to a foot. This is kept in place by sticks or
stretchers, similar to the method of a boat's thwarts.
The ends of these stretchers are fastened by means of
withes made from the taper ends of cedar limbs, twisted
and used instead of cords. When all is finished, the water is emptied out, and then the stem and head-pieces are
put on. These are carved from separate sticks, and are
fastened on by means of withes and wooden pegs or treenails.    After the inside is finished to the satisfaction of
D 2 82
the maker, the canoe is again turned, and the charred
part, occasioned by the bark fire, is rubbed with stones
to make the bottom as smooth as possible, when the
whole outside is painted over with a black mixture made
of burned rushes and whale oil. The inside is also
painted red with a mixture of red ochre and oil. The
edges all round are studded with little shells, which are
the valve joint of the common snail, and, when brass-
headed nails can be obtained, they are used in profusion.
This description I give is of the making of a canoe near
my house, and I saw the progress every day, from the
time the tree was cut down till the canoe was finished.
This was a medium sized canoe, and took three months
to finish it.
As old Kape was an excellent shot, we frequently
went out for seals, which abound in the Bay. At such
times some of the party would stop on the flats to gather
crabs, while others were engaged in catching turbot and
flounders. This is very good sport for the Indians.
These fish are found in the little pools of water on the
flats which have been left by the receding tide. The
drabs, which are of a large size, very fat, and of delicious
flavor, are plentiful in the spring and early part of summer. We would gather them by the bushel, and when
boiled I think them superior to any lobster or craw-fish
I have ever eaten. When the Indians eatch them they
break off the shell, saving only the claw part. This
method not only reduces the bulk to be carried, but most
effectually cures the biting propensities of these crabs,
who can give a pretty severe nip. I was with old Toke
one day, and, while wading in one of these pools, a large
crab seized him by the heel, which it bit so severely as
to draw blood. Old Toke was frantic, and, seizing the
crab with both hands, threw it far on the flats; then
rushing up, he jumped on it till it was smashed to atoms, THREE  YEARS   AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
uttering all the time the most violent expressions of
The turbot and flounders are caught while wading in
the water by means of the feet. The Indian wades along
slowly, and, as soon as he feels a fish with his feet, he
steps quickly on it and holds it firmly till he can reach
hold of it with his hand, when he gives it a jerk, and
away it flies far into the flats. This process is repeated
till enough fish are caught, when they are picked up, put
in a basket, and carried to the canoe. The turbot are
much like the English turbot, but smaller; the largest I
have ever seen weighed twenty pounds. The flounders
are similar to those of the Atlantic at New York or Boston. They are easily taken by this method of the Indians, as their rough backs prevent them slipping from
under the feet. The catching affords a deal of fun, as
usually quite a number are engaged in the sport, and
their splashing, slipping, screaming, and laughing make
a lively time. These fish, like all the fish in the Bay,
are very fine and well flavored.
Whenever Kape would shoot a seal, which was often,
the bullet-hole was first stopped up to save the blood,
and as soon as the animal was brought ashore, the following process was invariably adopted. A couple of
round logs, eight or ten inches in diameter, were laid parallel to each other, a foot or two apart, and between them
kindled a brisk fire of dry chips. The seal is then laid
across the logs over the blaze, and, commencing at the
nose, the whole body is rolled over and over till all the
hair is thoroughly singed off. The skin, which is, by
this process, pretty well roasted, is scraped clean with a
shell or knife. The blubber is next cut off in strips,
which are boiled in water, and the oil skimmed off with
shells. After it has settled and cooled, it is poured into
a bottle (as they call it), made of the paunch of the ani- 84
mal blown up like a bladder, and dried. In every lodge
may be seen these bladder-like bottles, and the more
an Indian has the greater his wealth. The meat, which
is,dark, is boiled with the blood, which they are particular to save, and, when cooked, is tender, and not very
unpalatable. The liver, particularly, of a young seal is
very nice, and, when fried with pork, resembles hog's
liver. The oil is eaten freely with all their food, and,
when freshly boiled, is as sweet and free from fishy flavor
as lard.
Toke's method of killing seals was by the spear. This
is the ancient style, and, as old Toke had been famous
for his prowess among these animals, he chose to retain
the style of weapons he had been most accustomed to.
The staff of his spear was about twenty feet long, made
of fir or yew. The head of the spear, made like a salmon spear, but larger, was attached to a line thirty
fathoms long, and of a size known on shipboard as a
hand le^d-line. With this armament the old savage
would sally forth, and proceed to some sand island to
the leeward of the seals, who are always, at low tide,
seen basking in the sun, particularly in the spring, when
the young ones are about. Having: fastened his canoe
and divested himself of his clothes, with one end of the
line fastened round his body, and the rest coiled up on
his left arm, he goes into the water, with the spear firmly grasped in his right hand, and floating just under the
surface of the water. No part of his person, except the
face and top of his head, could be seen, and the hair
floating round made him look very much like a seal.
Cautiously and slowly he gets between the seal and the
deep water; then wading ashore, careful to keep his
body submerged till he is near enough, he suddenly rises
up, and, darting his spear into the body of the animal,
runs back on the sand, and, setting his heels firmly, THREE  YEARS AT  SHOAL-WATER BAY.
braces himself up for the contest. He lets but little line
out at first, and, if he is the strongest, easily gains the
mastery. But with a large old male a fierce struggle ensues, and it is sometimes attended with the loss of the
line; but generally the old fellow comes out victorious.
When the animal is dead, the first thing is to stop up
the spear-hole with a wooden plug, or a bunch of grass
or fern, which is always carried in the canoe for the
purpose. The prize is then carried home, and the same
process gone through as before mentioned. Toke, like
all other Indians I have met with, never ate any thing
before he left home on these seal hunts, and sometimes
he would be twenty-four hours without food. He said
it made him feel lazy, and he would wonder why I always insisted on eating my breakfast before starting off
on these early morning expeditions.
The large clams and quahaugs are more prized by the
Indians than oysters. The large clam called by them
metar or smetar are found in the sand about a foot deep.
Their long snouts or necks thrust up to the surface indicate their position. They are then dug up by scraping away the sand with the hand, a process in which the
squaws are particularly expert. The quahaug or hardshell clam, called by them clolum, is found near the surface, and in some locations perfectly bare. These clams
are cured for use as follows: the smetar is opened with
a knife, and the clams stuck on skewers holding about
two dozen; these are then washed clean, drained, and
dried in smoke. The clolum is opened by being heaped
on stones previously heated, then covered with sea-weed
and mats. The water contained in the clam runs down
on the hot stones, causing steam, which, being confined
by the mats and sea-weed, soon cooks the whole pile,
containing usually from ten to twenty bushels. From
twenty minutes to three quarters of an hour are gen- 86
erally occupied in performing the operation, and the coverings are then removed. The shells, now being open,
are easily separated, and the meat stuck on skewers, like
the 7netdr, and dried in the smoke. These dried clams
are a great article of trade with the Indians of the inte-
rior, and quantities are annually carried from Shoal-water Bay up the Columbia. When these clams are first
taken out of the steaming heap they are most delicious,
very tender and sweet, but after they are dried they are
rather tough chewing. They are usually cooked by
boiling them, when they get a little softer, and taste
pretty well, particularly to a hungry person, the smoky
flavor being no objection. My favorite method of cooking these shell-fish was to make a chowder of the qua-
hogs, and, after cleaning the great sea clam, roll them in
meal, and fry them with salt pork. The long sand clam
or razor-fish was also cooked by frying. Another clam,
resembling the common clam of Massachusetts in shape,
is also found, and usually eaten raw by the Indians.
This is called by them aryuk, and, fried in batter, is very
nice. There are several varieties of mussels found, one
of which, a white-meated one, grows singly on the flats
near the oyster-beds. Whenever I could obtain these
mussels, which are not very plenty, I always found them
preferable to oysters. Some other varieties of mussel
grow in immense beds, and, by making shoals, are a nuisance to the oystermen, whose boats frequently get
aground on them, and have to wait sometimes six or
eight hours for the return tide. These mussels, although
eaten by the Indians, are not very good, and are seldom
partaken of by the whites; still, I never heard of any
ill effects attending their use as food.
The common barnacle grows very large on the old
logs about the Bay and up the coast. Some of the Indians, particularly the Queniults, are very fond of them, THREE  YEARS AT  SHOAL-WATER BAY.
but I never saw any of the Bay Indians use them. ' In
the creeks that run into the Bay a small crab is taken
in great quantities, which are boiled by the Indians and.
eaten, shells and all. These shell-fish are not taken
during the winter months, and then, if the Indian has
been improvident or neglectful of his winter supplies, he
is at times reduced to great distress. But as soon as
the weather begins to get a little warm, which it does in
February or March, he is no longer in want. Vegetation starts very early and grows rapidly. A variety of
roots and plants are eaten. The stalks of the cow parsnip and the wild celery are eaten raw. The outer skin
is first peeled off, and the tender and aromatic vegetable
forms a very grateful addition to the dried salmon eggs
which are now brought on for food. The leaves of the
yellow dock are boiled, then bruised up into a pulp, and
eaten with sugar or molasses, if they can be obtained, or
else with oil. The root of the common skunk cabbage,
after being boiled and partially deprived of its acrid
properties, is eaten with avidity, but I was never very
partial to the dish. The most pleasant, cooling, and
healthy vegetable is the sprout of the wild raspberry
(Pubus sjpectablis). This shoots up with great rapidity,
seeming to grow as fast as asparagus. These sprouts
are collected in bundles and brought into the lodge,
where they are denuded of their tough outer skin, and
the centre is as crisp and tender as a cucumber, and, being slightly acid, is delicious. They are slightly astringent ; and as the herring begin to make their appearance
at the same time, and from their oily nature, and the immoderate manner in which the Indians eat them, are apt
to produce disorders of the bowels, the sprouts, being
freely eaten at the same time, counteract the effect. So
with the berry of this plant, which is ripe in June, when
the salmon begin to be taken in the Columbia.    This 88
fruit, wliich is called the salmon-berry, and is found in
the greatest abundance, is also beneficial to counteract
any ill effects that might be occasioned by inordinate
eating: of the rich salmon. There is*also another variety
of the raspberry (Rubus odoratus), but its fruit is inferior, and of but little account. Its blossoms differ from
those east of the Ilocky Mountains, being white instead
of pink.
Among the different roots eaten by the Indians in the
Bay are three varieties of fern, which are cooked by baking. The root of the common cat-tail flag is eaten raw,
and I found it, sliced with vinegar, very palatable. Small
roots resembling snake-root in appearance, but without flavor, when cooked by boiling are dry and mealy,
and are eaten with oil. The root of a species of rush,
found on the sea-shore, of the size of a walnut, is eaten
either raw or baked ; its taste raw is similar to the Jerusalem artichokes, and baked resembles a mealy potato.
There is also a plant of the Mesembryanthemum species,
with a root like a yam, which, baked or boiled, is excellent. This, also, is found on the sea-side, in the sand
near the beach. As the season advances and the fruits
ripen, great quantities are used as food, to the exclusion
of fish and meats. The dry, mealy berries of the Arbutus* uva ursi, or bear-berry, are bruised and eaten
with oil, and the dried leaves, called quer-lo-e-chintl, are
smoked like tobacco. The salmon-berry just mentioned
is the first fruit ripe, and is soon followed by strawberries, great quantities of which are found in the plains of
the peninsula, and in all the prairie lands on or near the
coast. Then comes the whortleberry, blueberry, and a
beautiful coral-red berry like a currant, called red whortleberry, but of a different character. This fruit tastes
like and resembles the common red currant, and I think,
ultivation, it would make not only a beautiful and
ornamental shrub, but the quantity and quality of the
fruit would be improved. Blackberries, gooseberries,
and wild black currants next follow, and then comes the
sallal {Gaultheria Shallon). This beautiful evergreen
shrub may be found varying in height from two feet to
ten. The leaf is a'dark green, like the laurel; the bark
on the smaller limbs and twigs is red, or of a reddish-
brown. The flowers are in clusters, like the currant,
having from fourteen to twenty-one on one stem. The
fruit, when ripe, is a very dark purple, almost black,
rough on the outside, very juicy, and of a sweetish,
slightly acid taste, and of the size of large buck-shot.
It is excellent cooked in any form, and is dried by the
Indians, and pressed into cakes containing some five or
six pounds, which are covered with leaves and rushes, so
as to exclude the air, and then put away in a dry place
for winter's use. This plant continues to blossom till
late in December in certain localities, although it has but
one crop, which is ripe in August. The wild crab-apple
also grows in abundance, and is eaten by the Indians
after being simply boiled. These apples are very small,
of an oval shape, with a long stem, and grow in clusters
of from six to ten. The cranberry, which is very plentiful, and forms quite an article of traffic between the
whites and Indians, is next in season, and is followed by
a species of whortleberry, called by the Indians shot-
berries, which last till December, when the rains beat the
fruit off the bushes. The berries grow in clusters, and
resemble the prim. The leaf is small, of oval shape,
with finely-serrated edges. It is also an excellent berry, and, if kept dry and cool, can be preserved fresh for
several months. It is, however, usually dried by the Indians, and eaten early in the spring, before the other berries begin to ripen.
On the Columbia River, an excellent root, called the 90
wappatoo, which is the bulb of the common Saggitafolia,
or arrow-head, is found in abundance, and is a favorite
food of t he wild swans, which are very plentiful. The
wappatoo is an article much sought after by the interior
Indians, but there is none found on the coast, except
in very small quantities. The Ca/mmasid esculenta is
found all over both territories, and is known by various
names. The Indians call it Pa Ca?nma$s, which is the
name taught them by the early French voyageurs. This
is spelled by different writers as Kammseus, Lackamas,
Camarus, Camash, and Kamas, but they all mean the
same. Every tribe, in its own peculiar language, has a
different name for this root; but in conversation with the
whites, they use the Jargon, or trade language, which is
a barbarous mixture of Chenook, English, and French;
and if writers of Indian Jargon words would but consider
their origin, they would not be so liable to such wide dif-
ferences in their method of spelling.
This root, which resembles an onion in appearance, is
a species of lily, found in moist places on the prairies.
After the plant has done flowering, or when the Indians
consider it ripe, which is usually in September and October, the root is dug up by the squaws, who go out in parties for the purpose, and are generally absent several
days. After sufficient has been collected, the leaves and
loose out husks are removed, and the whole roasted on
hot stones. The method is as follows : A large pile of
dry wood is made, on the top of which a quantity of
stones are piled ; fire is then applied, and kept up till all
the wood is burned, leaving nothing but the hot stones
and ashes. Fem-leaves are then laid on the stones, and
on these mats are placed; the cammass-roots are then
placed on the mats, and spread level; water is then
thrown over them, and immediately they are covered
with mats, blankets, and the whole covered up with sand, THREE YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
every care being taken to keep in all the steam. This
heap is allowed to remain till it is cold, which, according
to the size of the fire and the quantity of roots used, varies from twelve to twenty-four hours. The roots then
are soft and very sweet, much like a baked sweet potato.
The natives preserve them by pressing them into loaves,
which, when eaten, are cut in slices like pudding. I
never have met with a white person who was not fond
of baked cammass, and I do not know any vegetable, except fried bananas, so delicious. There are, undoubtedly, many other roots, fruits, and vegetables eaten by the
Indians, but I do not recollect any others except those
Old Kape and his sons were good hunters, and every
season came to the Bay laden with furs, which they carried to the store of the Hudson Bay Company at Chenook, on the Columbia River. The most valuable skins
they brought were the sea-otter, which they shoot in
considerable quantities at Point Grenville, on the coast,
about sixty miles north of Shoal-water Bay. The sea-
otter is the most valuable of the fur animals taken on
the Pacific coast, those to the north of the Columbia being considered of more value than those taken south and
along the coast of California.
In Jewett's narrative of a three years' residence among
the savages at Nootka, in 1803-6, he gives the following
description: " The sea-otter is nearly fiye feet in length,
exclusive of the tail, which is about twelve inches long,
and is very thick and broad where it joins the body, but
gradually tapers to the end, which is tipped with white.
The color of the rest is a shining, silky black, with the
exception of a broad white stripe on the top of the head.
Nothing can be more beautiful than one of these animals
when seen swimming, especially when on the look-out
for any object.    At such times it raises its head quite 92
above the surface, and the contrast between the shining
black and white, together with its sharp ears, and a long
tuft of hair rising from the middle of its forehead, which
look like three small horns, render it a novel and attractive object.
"The skin is held in great estimation in China, more
especially that of the tail, which is finer and closer set
than that on the body. ,
" The value of a skin is determined by its size, that
being considered as a prime skin which will reach in
length from a man's chin to his feet.
PS The food of the sea-otter is fish, which he is very
dexterous in taking, being an excellent swimmer, with
feet webbed like those of a goose."
At the time Jewett was on the coast, fire-arms had
not come into general use, the bow and spear being the
weapons. The otters then were not at all shy, and
might be seen at any time swimming about. He men-
tions seeing the old ones with their young, like so many
rats, frolicking and sporting about in the most lively
manner. They usually have four young ones at a time,
born early in the spring. The sea-otter is never found
in fresh water, or in any of the rivers of the interior.
Like the seal, its home is in the salt water, and its haunts
about the rocks and ledges of the coast.
The river-otter, which abounds all over the Territory,
may be taken easily either by traps, or by hunting with
dogs, or shooting. I have had good sport chasing otters,
for, once get them out of the water, although almost as
spry as a cat, they are no match for a dog in speed ; but
they are very savage when at bay, and, unless a dog is
well trained, he is very likely to be hurt. These otters
breed in holes either under some old stump or in the
side of a hill, always being sure to have such ready ac-
cess to the water that they can take to it on the least
The beaver is also found in incredible numbers, but
as a description can be had in any work on natural history, I will merely subjoin the following extract from
Lewis and Clarke's description, which may interest some.
P The beaver of this country is large and fat. The
flesh is very palatable, and at our table was a real luxury. On the 7th of January, 1806, our hunter found a
beaver in his traps, of which he made a bait for taking
others. This bait will entice a beaver to the trap as far
as he can smell it, and this may fairly be stated to be at
the distance of a mile, as their sense of smelling is very
acute. To prepare beaver-bait, the castor or bark-stone
is first gently pressed from the bladder-like bag which
contains it into a vial of four ounces with a wide mouth.
. Five or six of these stones are taken, to which must be
added a nutmeg, a dozen or fifteen cloves, and thirty
grains of cinnamon, finely pulverized and stirred together, and as much ardent spirits added as will make the
whole to the consistency of mustard. This must be
carefully corked, as it soon loses its efficacy on exposure
to the air. The scent becomes much stronger in four or
five days after its preparation, and, with proper caution,
will retain its efficacy for months. Any strong aromatic spices will answer, their sole virtue being to give variety and pungency to the scent of the bark-stone.
I The male beaver has six stones, two of which contain a substance like finely pulverized bark, of a pale
yellow color, and are called bark-stones or castor. Two
others, which, like the bark-stones, resemble small bladders, contain pure strong oil, and are called oil-stones.
The other two are the testicles."
Formerly the Americans had a very extensive trade
for furs on the Northwest Coast, and this was carried on
principally by the merchants of Boston. The Indians,
hearing the name of Boston so often repeated, supposed 96
that to be the name of the country these people and ships
came from; consequently, all Americans are to this day
called by the Northwest Coast Indians Boston tillieums,
or Boston people. English, Scotch, and Irish are called
King George people, and the French, Passaieux. Tire
derivation of this last term I do not understand, but it
is undoubtedly an Indian corruption of some Canadian
French patois word. This Northwest fur trade has been
gradually taken from the Americans by that grasping
monopoly and incubus on all attempts at American enterprise in the Territory, the Hudson Bay Company,
who will be noticed more at length in another chapter.
Whenever Kape or any of the Queniult people came
down with their furs, they usually called at my place,
as it was convenient for them to stop at to rest themselves before they proceeded to the Columbia River,
some forty miles distant. Kape generally, on such occasions, would remain all night. After supper he would
open his sacks of skins and display the rich furs, with
the expectation of inducing me to trade; for, if he could
make a sale in the Bay, it saved him the trouble of a
long journey to Chenook and back. However, not desiring to purchase, I contented myself with looking over,
his assortment, with the desire to gain information, and
to see the variety of furs found along the coast. He
seldom brought any others than the sea and river otter
and beaver, but occasionally he had a few mink, sable,
silver and red fox, and black bear skins.
The whole coast region is full of fur animals, which
have wonderfully increased during the last twelve or fif-
teen years, from the fact that the Hudson Bay Company,
having turned their attention to agricultural and mill
purposes in their possessions around the Columbia, have
not held out inducements to the Indians to procure furs,
being more inclined to require their services in catching THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
salmon, or working among the lumber or on the farms,
trusting to the other portions of their vast territories for
their supplies of fur; hence there has been but little
trapping or hunting in the whole Territory from the Columbia to Fuca Straits, and wild animals have increased
very fast as a consequence.
Visit to the Columbia River.—Our Troubles while crossing the Port-'
age.—Description of the Beach around Baker's Bay to Chenook.—
Scarborough's Hill.—Captain Scarborough.—The Priest's House at
Chenook.—Bill M'Cartv or Brandy wine.—Salmon-fishing at Che-
nook.—Splendid View of Mount Saint Helen's.—Description of the
Salmon and of the Fishery.—Indian Customs on the first Appearance of Salmon.—The present Remnant of the Chenook Tribe.—
Description of Chenook Village.—Its favorable Location.—Washington Hall, Esq., the Postmaster.—Indian Lodges.—A Description of
the method of building them.—Our Return home, and the funny
Scenes we passed through.—Old Champ and his Fish.
Although I had been for several months a resident
of Shoal-water Bay, I had not seen the Columbia, and,
having an opportunity, I started in a sa'il-boat on Friday, June 3d, in company with Mr. F. Rotan (the owner
of a schooner then loading in the Bay, and who was going to Astoria to take the steamer for San Francisco),
John W. Champ, and a young man named Baldt. It
was .nearly high tide, and the wind was blowing a fine
breeze from the west, when the boat with the three individuals came up the little river, and requested me to go
with them. I was not long getting ready, and we were
soon under weigh, going along at a fine rate. Champ
remarked that, with the breeze we then had, we would
reach Wilson's house at the portage before sundown, and
then, crossing over to M'Carry's house, on the other side
of the portage, could take a canoe, which would carry us
E 98
the northwest coast; or,
down the Wappalooehe, or Chenook River, to its mouth,
where we would land and walk to Chenook Beach. As
we could not expect to perform this feat that night, we
proposed stopping at M'Carty's, and start early in the
We had a very pleasant sail for seventeen miles till
we reached Long Island, when the wind began to die
away, and by the time we reached Round Island, at the
mouth of Bear River, it fell dead calm, and we were
obliged to take the oars, and pull up the river against
the tide, which was now running strong ebb. We had
about three miles to go before reaching Wilson's house;
but it was now past sundown, and the wind, which had
been from the west and northwest all day, now blew from
the southeast in short puffs, with every indication of
rain. As night closed in, it grew intensely dark, and it
was with difficulty we reached the landing at Wilson's,
and not till ten o'clock.
Before we were all ashore it began to rain, and, to
crown all, we found the house closed, the family having
gone to Chenook to attend the fishery for salmon, which
had just commenced. Rotan, who had been over the
portage before and had stopped at the house, knew how
to open the door, and we all went in; but there was neither wood cut, nor axe to cut with; so we were obliged
to go out and feel round under the trees for some dry
branches and chips. While engaged in this occupation,
old Champ slipped on a clay bank, and slid, otter fashion, plump into the spring, from whence he emerged wet,
muddy, and angry. However, we managed to get some
wood and make a roaring blaze, and, while old Champ
was drying his clothes, the rest of us, having found some
salt salmon and potatoes, and an iron pot, made out to
boil a mess for supper, which we ate with a good appetite, and then lay down to sleep, Rotan and Baldt sleep- *£■
ing in a bed which was in the front room, and Champ
and myself rolled up in blankets before the fire, the old
man having taken the precaution to hang his clothes up
in the fireplace to dry, where also the others had set their
boots and placed their hats for the same purpose. I was
tired, and slept very soundly till toward morning, when I
was waked up by a stream of water running through a
hole in the roof directly into my ear. I found that it
was storming violently, and the rain pouring down in
torrents. Champ declared he had been kept awake all
night by a bush-tailed rat, who was performing a waltz
in an old tin baker which was on a table near by. The
old fellow, however, was pretty comfortable, as his head
was out of the wet. Thinking it time to get up, he reached his hand into the fireplace for his pants, and was disgusted and enraged to find that a stream of water had
been running directly through them and into his boots,
which were full. The fireplace was a bed of mud. The
pot of fish and potatoes left from our supper of last
night was spoiled, and the boots and hats of Rotan and
Baldt were drenched. I had slept with my clothes on,
so the rain had not troubled me, and I came out perfectly dry. Although we were far from a merry mood, we
could not help laughing at the intense indignation of
Champ, who squeezed the water from his pantaloons
with any thing but expressions of pleasure. As it was
impossible to build a fire, we started off for a tramp over
the portage to M'Carty's house, where we hoped to get
some breakfast. The road was the one made by Mr. J.
L. Brown, and was a mere cart-path, full of stumps and
logs, over high hills and down deep valleys, soft from the
rain, and nearly knee-deep with mud and water. Over
this trail we climbed, and slipped, and splashed, and
jumped, till finally we emerged from the woods at M'Carty's house, covered with mud, and wet to the skin from 100
rain and the wet bushes we had passed through. M'Car-
ty and his people were also absent at Chenook, catching
salmon ; but an old hump-backed squaw in a lodge near
by, who had remained to take care of the pigs and chickens, gave us a breakfast of broiled fish, cold water, and
hard bread, while we dried our clothes at the lodge fire.
While waiting for the tide, which was out, the rain
ceased, and the wind, changing to the west, gave assurance of a pleasant day; and by the time the tide was up
enough to float the canoe, the sun shone out bright and
warm, serving to cheer our spirits and dry our clothes,
which were still somewhat damp, notwithstanding the
smoke and heat of the fire in the lodge. The squaw
carried us down to the mouth of the river, where we landed at the house of Mr. George Dawson, who had, like the
rest of the settlers, gone to Chenook to fish. We had
now to walk nine miles to reach the village, arfd our road
lay for the whole distance over the beach; but the tide
rising very fast, and with a heavy surf from the effects
of the storm the previous evening, we were obliged to
keep high up among the drift logs and loose sand, which
impeded our progress, so that we did not reach the village till late in the afternoon.
The beach from the Wappalooche River to Chenook
Point forms the eastern side of Baker's Bay, at the mouth
of the Columbia River. The view from this beach, looking westward, is directly out to sea. On the right, in
the distance, Cape Disappointment, a bluff, rocky promontory, rears its weather-beaten and forbidding-looking
front, and to the left the low sand-spit, called Point
Adams, stretches far out into the river, while midway be^
tween the two capes lies a sand-island covered with drift
logs, timber, and the debris of the saw-mills up the river.
All along the beach we were walking, the drift stuff of
the river formed a continued row at high-water mark, THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
where it had been thrown by the waves, and left by the
receding tide.
Huge trees that had been torn up by the roots, timber
that had been prepared for the mill, logs of spruce, fir,
cedar, and ash, sycamore and cottonwood, with boards,
and joist, and scantling, were mixed in most inextricable
confusion, and in a manner that nothing but the waves
of ocean could have effected. As we approached Chenook Point, the tide had fallen enough to enable us to
walk on firmer sand, and far enough down to clear all
the drift stuff. As we turned the Point, the beautiful
green hill known as Scarborough's Hill presented itself
to our view. This hill, which is one of the most prominent objects seen while entering the Columbia, and
which has the appearance of a green field, is a clearing
which has been made either by accident or design, and
is thickly covered with fern. Captain James Scarborough, the owner of the claim, had for many years been
in the employ of the Hudson Bay Company as master
of one of their vessels trading on the coast, and, having
left their service and taken a claim at Chenook, was officiating as river pilot to the mail steamers from California. The captain had a fine farm, with excellent fruit-
trees, and a large herd of cattle. Like all old sea-captains, he was fond of his own opinion, and was looked
upon as a sort of oracle by the neighbors, and particularly
by those who, like himself, had formerly been in the Company's employ. Although he claimed to be an American
citizen, as did also all these former employes of the
Company, yet they never could forget the time when the
Hudson Bay people held undisputed sway, and they
looked upon the advent of the trading, swapping Yankees from across the plains with peculiar aversion, and
lost no occasion to prejudice the minds of the Indians
against the Boston tillicums, as all Americans are desig-
jm 102
nated. Still the old captain was a good man. He had
received a good education, and always knew when he
met a gentleman, and to any such he was at all times
most courteous. He had good cause for his antipathy
against the American population, having been swindled
by some sharpers out of large sums of money at different times.
Passing by Captain Scarborough's house, we next
came to the dwelling of the Catholic priest, called by the
Indians Le Plate, being as near as they can pronounce
the French Le Pretre. This priest, who was a Frenchman, had resided at Chenook for several years, devoting
his time to the conversion of the Indians, but with indifferent success, the whole known fruits of his labors
consisting in the various names he had baptized them
with. This fact he afterward acknowledged in a letter
written by him, on his return to France, to the postmaster of Chenook.
We now drew near the village proper, which consisted
of some twelve or fourteen houses, occupied by whites,
and nearly the same number of Indian lodges. It was
in the beginning of the salmon season, and every one*
from the priest to the Indians, was engaged in the fishery.
Champ, who was our pilot, took us directly to M'Carty's
quarters, who had a nice zinc house, and was driving a
smart business in the fishery. M'Carty soon had an excellent meal of fresh salmon set before us, which, with
hard bread, and coffee with milk—a luxury I had not
seen for months—enabled us to suppress our feelings of
hunger which our walk on the beach had produced.
Old Bill M'Carty, or, as he was called, old Brandy-
wine, from having formerly sailed in the Brandywine
frigate, had lived for several years on the Columbia River, and having married an Indian girl, a daughter of old
Carcowan, chief of the Chehalis Indians, he had taken a aSm
claim at the portage we had just crossed, where he had
a fine farm cleared and planted. M'Carty was a very
hospitable man, and no one was ever refused by him either a night's lodging or a hearty meal. He was, however, shortly after this time, drowned by the upsetting
of a canoe, leaving a little daughter some ten or twelve
years old.
After we had eaten our supper and smoked our pipes,
M'Carty advised us to go to bed, so as to be up in the
morning to witness the salmon fishing. We readily
complied with his suggestion, as we were both tired and
The next morning, at early dawn, we were aroused by
Mac, who was hallooing to his Indians to get ready for
work. I went out and perched myself on a log that
overlooked the busy scene. Looking up the river, almost in a line due east, Mount St. Helen's reared its
snowy head high in the region of the clouds. The rapidly increasing morning rendered it distinctly visible, although a hundred miles in the interior.
And now the whole population of the village was
astir—white men and Indians, squaws, children, and
dogs—all were awake and eager to enter upon the labors
of the morning, and long before the sun was up all were
intently engaged.
The Chenook salmon commences to enter the river
the last of May, and is most plentiful about the 20th
of June. It is, without doubt, the finest salmon in the
world, and, being taken so near the ocean, has its fine
flavor in perfection. The salmon, when entering a river
to spawn, do not at once proceed to the head-waters, but
linger round the mouth for several weeks before they
are prepared to go farther up. It has been supposed
that they can not go immediately from the ocean to the
cold fresh water, but remain for a time where the water
- — •■" 104
is brackish before they venture on so great a change.
Be that as it may, one thing is certain, that the early
salmon taken at Chenook are far superior in flavor to
any that are subsequently taken farther up the river,
and this excellence is so generally acknowledged that
Chenook salmon command a higher price than any other.
These salmon resemble those of the Kennebec and
Penobscot Rivers in Maine, but are much larger and fatter. I have seen those that weighed eighty pounds; and
one gentleman informed me that twelve salmon he had
in his smoke-house averaged sixty-five pounds each, the
largest weighing seventy-eight pounds. The Chenook
fishery is carried on by means of nets. These are made
by the whites of the twine prepared for the purpose, and
sold as salmon-twine, and rigged with floats and sinkers
in the usual style. The nets of the Indians are made
of a twine spun by themselves from the fibres of spruce
roots prepared for the purpose, or from a species of grass
brought from the north by the Indians. It is very
strong, and answers the purpose admirably. Peculiar-
shaped sticks of dry cedar are used for floats, and the
weights at the bottom are round beach pebbles, about a
pound each, notched to keep them from slipping from
their fastenings, and securely held by withes of cedar
firmly twisted and woven into the foot-rope of the net.
The nets vary in size from a hundred feet long to a
hundred fathoms, or six hundred feet, and from seven to
sixteen feet deep.
Three persons are required to work a net, except the
very large ones, which require more help to land them.
The time the fishing is commenced is at the top of high-
water, just as the tide begins to ebb. A short distance
from the shore the current is very swift, and with its aid
these nets are hauled. Two persons get into the canoe,
on the stern of which is coiled the net on a frame made ml;i 'Wi'iflw^ij]^^  THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
for the purpose, resting on the canoe's gunwale. She is
then paddled up the stream, close in to the beach, where
the current is not so strong. A tow-line, with a wooden
float attached to it, is then thrown to the third person,
who remains on the beach, and immediately the two in
the canoe paddle her into the rapid stream as quickly as
they can, throwing out the net all the time. When this
is all out, they paddle ashore, having the end of the other
tow-line made fast to the canoe. Before all this is accomplished, the net is carried down the stream, by the
force of the ebb, about the eighth of a mile, the man on
the shore walking along slowly, holding on to the line till
the others are ready, when all haul in together. As it
gradually closes on the fish, great caution must be used
to prevent them from jumping over; and as every salmon has to be knocked on the head with a club for the
purpose, which every canoe carries, it requires some skill
and practice to perform this feat so as not to bruise or
disfigure the fish.
The fishermen are not always lucky. Sometimes the
net is hauled repeatedly without success ; but in seasons
of plenty, great hauls are often made, and frequently a
hundred fine fish of various sizes are taken at one cast
of the seine. It happened to be a good day while we
were there, and M'Carty caught about forty, which was
considered good fishing for so early in the season. The
others did quite as well, some even getting more than he
It was formerly the custom among the Chenook Indians, on the appearance of the first salmon, to have a
grand feast, with dancing and other performances suited
to the occasion; but the tribe has now dwindled down
to a mere handful, and they content themselves simply
with taking out the salmon's heart as soon as caught—
a ceremony they religiously observe, fearful lest by any 108
means a dog should eat one, in which case they think
they can catch no more fish that season. The fish taken
by the whites are served in the same manner by the Indians in their employ.
As soon as the tide has done running ebb, the fishing
for the day is over, and the Indians, after selecting what
they wish for themselves, take the rest to the whites to
trade off for different articles, whisky in all cases holding
the pre-eminence; but, as the United States law is very
stringent, and attended with a severe penalty, it is very
difficult for them to get liquor at Chenook, although they
can readily get it across the river at Astoria.    They will
j    o %/
manage some way or other to get it, even if they have
to go a hundred miles for a supply. During the fishing
season a good deal of drunkenness may be seen among
them, and for the most part they are a miserable, whisky-drinking set of vagabonds. However, the race of the
Chenooks is nearly run. From a large .and powerful
tribe in the days of Comcomly, the one-eyed chief, they
have dwindled down to about a hundred individuals,
men, women, and children.
We did not wait till the fishing was over for our
breakfast, but, when the sun got up high enough to shine
clear above the peak of Mount St. Helen's, old Brandy-
wine called us up from the beach, and gave us a glorious
repast of salmon, just out of the water, cooked in real
Indian style by his Indian wife.
The choice part of a salmon with the Indians is the
head, which is. stuck on a stick, and slowly roasted by
*/ «/
the fire. The other part is cut into large, flat slices,
with skewers stuck through to keep them spread; then,
placed in a split stick, as a palm-leaf fan is placed in its
handle, with the ends of this stick or handle projecting
far enough beyond the fish to be tied with a wisp of
beach grass to secure the whole, this stick is thrust in THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
the sand firmly and at the right distance from the fire,
so that the fish can roast without scorching. Clamshells are placed underneath to catch the oil, which will
run from these rich, fat salmon almost in a stream. Neither pepper, salt, nor butter were allowed during this culinary operation, nor did I find they were needed ; the
delicate and delicious flavor would have been spoiled by
the addition of either.
I was so much pleased with this style of cooking salmon that I never wish to have it cooked in any other
form, either boiled and served with melted butter, or fried
with salt pork, or baked with spices. The simpler a fat
salmon can be cooked, the better; it retains its flavor
with perfection, and is more easily digested; and the only
styL 4s to roast it before an open fire.
After breakfast we went to the Hudson Bay Company
trading store, kept by their very polite and hospitable
agent, Mr. Roc Ducheney. Mr. Rotan here purchased a
new outfit to replace his damaged garments, which were
about spoiled during our adventures on the portage, and,
together with Champ, went across the Rivef to Astoria,
where he was to take the steamer for San Francisco.
Baldt and myself had nothing else to do but to stroll
around and see the place.
Chenook is situated on the north bank of the Columbia, near its mouth, where the river widens out into Baker's Bay. From Point Ellice to Chenook Point, a distance of about two miles, the land is little more than a
sand-beach, from half a mile to a mile wide in its widest,
and from twenty to fifty rods at its narrowest place, running all the way under the bluff of a range of hills terminating at Chenook Point with the high green hill
known as Scarborough's Hill or Head.
This is the head-quarters of the once powerful tribe
of Chenook Indians, and it was here that their chief, 110
Comcomly, celebrated in the annals of Astoria, and mentioned by Ross Cox, Lewis and Clarke, and Irving, held
his sway. The tribe then was numerous; but those
scourges to the human race, measles and small-pox, have
swept them off in such numbers that at present they
number but little over a hundred persons, and these are
a depraved, licentious, drunken set, of but little use to
themselves, and of no account to any one else. Chenook
has always been celebrated for its salmon fishery, and it
was to prosecute this business that induced the whites
to first settle there. It is, however, so favorably situated
as a place of landing or debarkation for persons having
business either at Astoria or up the river, that it is most
generally the point resorted to by the settlers of Shoal-
water Bay, and has grown to be a little village of considerable importance; and no one seems to take a greater interest in its welfare than the worthy postmaster,
Washington Hall, Esq., who was one of the first to settle there.
The little soil that has gathered on the sands is very
rich, and yields good crops of garden vegetables, and,
except in these cleared patches, is covered with bushes
and young trees, thriftily growing to the edge of high-
water mark.
The Indian lodges, like all that I have seen on the
Northwest Coast, are made of boards split from the cedar. The Indians perform this operation by means of
little wedges, and manifest a good deal of dexterity and
skill; for, if the wedges are not placed properly, the board
will be full of twists and creeps. The lodges are strongly and comfortably made by first setting posts firmly into
the ground four or five feet high, one at each corner. The
tops of these posts are notched, and poles laid along to
form the eaves. The ridge-pole is supported at its ends
by the boards of the outside, which are placed upright, THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
and in the centre by posts elevated for the purpose.
From the eaves to the ridge-pole rafters are laid, and on
these the boards of the roof are laid, with feather-edges
overlapping each other to shed the rain, and secured, by
withes to the rafters to keep from blowing off in gales of
wind. The sides and ends are formed of upright boards
driven into the soil, with overlapping edges, and with
chinks and crevices stopped up with moss. The top
boards of the roof next the ridge-pole are movable, so as
to be easily opened from the inside to admit a free passage for the smoke. All round the interior of the lodge,
next the side, are arranged sleeping-berths, similar to
those on board vessels, and in front of these berths is a
raised platform, five or six inches high, on which mats
are spread to sit or lie upon. All the rest of the centre
of the lodge floor is used for fire and for cooking purposes. Overhead, poles are laid, on which salmon, berries, or any thing else they wish to preserve is placed to
be dried by the smoke. At one end is the door, which
is usually a round or oval hole, just big enough to creep
through, and secured by a door made of a single piece
of board, which hangs loose by a string, like a sort of
pendulum, and is sure to close of itself after any ingress
or egress. Some of these lodges are very large, and can
contain several families. They are very comfortable habitations, and are often used by the white settlers while
building their own houses.
Baldt and myself went into several of these, to see the
method the Indians adopted to cure their salmon. In
all cases the women perform this duty. The salmon is
split down the back, so as to separate the head, back-
bone> ribs, and tail from the rest of the body. The backbone, which has a large portion of the fish adhering to it,
is generally eaten first, and is cooked either by boiling or
roasting; the heads and tails are strung together and m
dried. The rest of the fish is sliced in thin wafers, and
is also dried in the smoke without salt. When perfectly
cured, it is packed in baskets for winter's use or for
trading, and stored in a dry place. For trading with
the interior Indians, the salmon is frequently pounded
up fine, and firmly pressed into baskets of ten or twelve
pounds each. While the Indians are engaged in curing
salmon, or when they are boiling the blubber of a whale
or seal, they are as necessarily dirty as the crew of a
whale-ship or butchers in a slaughter-house; and at such
times, casual visitors form an opinion that they are a
filthy, greasy set, and we find many writers willing to
assert that they regularly anoint their bodies with fish-
oil and red ochre. Such, however, is not the fact. As
soon as their work is done, they wash themselves, and
generally bathe two or three times a day. All the painting or oiling I have ever seen them do is to rub a little
grease and vermilion, or red ochre, between their hands,
and then smear it over their faces. The women will
also paint the head, in the line of the parting of the hair,
with dry vermilion, and give an extra touch to their eyebrows ; but I never have seen either men or women put
oil or grease of any kind on their bodies. The women
tattoo their legs and arms with dotted lines, but without
any particular figure or design ; they are also fond, during the blackberry season, of dotting their limbs with
blackberry juice. The tattooing is done with charcoal
and water, and pricked into the skin with needles. I
very seldom saw a man with tattoo-marks on him, and it
appears more as a sort of pastime—like sailors on board
ship—than any sort of system or religious ceremony.
Whatever may have been the former practice among the
Chenook Indians relative to personal decoration, they
certainly have relinquished the custom, and are only anxious at present to get white people's garments to clothe ■mm
themselves with, wearing, as their only ornament, a sort
of band of black ostrich feathers round their caps, which
they purchase of the Hudson Bay Company.
As Champ did not return from Astoria till the afternoon, too late to start for our return to Shoal-water Bay,
it was agreed to be ready.early in the morning. We
had all made purchases, and as to our own loads Champ
wished to add two or three hundred pounds of salt salmon, we hired two Indians to take us in a canoe to
M'Carty's portage, where old Mac had told us we might
find his horse and pack-saddle, both of which we could
use to transport our things over to Wilson's landing.
The next morning, after an early breakfast, we
launched the canoe, and, having made room for an old
gentleman who was waiting to go to the Bay (Mr. Samuel Woodward, Sen.), and getting all our things -stowed,
we began to look up our Indians, and found those worthies quite drunk; but Champ, who officiated as master
of ceremonies, soon got them into the canoe, one at the
head and the other at the stern. One of these savages
was old Toke, who, with his people, had been some time
at Chenook, and the other a powerful fellow named Yan-
cumux, who lived in Baker's Bay, and who owned the
canoe. We paddled out into the stream, and were rapidly carried by the swiftly-ebbing tide to Chenook Point,
and from thence slowly made our way to the mouth of
the Wappalooche River, which we entered; and as the
tide by that time was too low for us to go up, we went
ashore at the lodge of an Indian named Sal-leel, who had
been catching sturgeon, from which he prepared us a very
palatable meal.
As the tide rose we proceeded up the stream. There
were two creeks, which joined near M'Carty's house,
forming one, and, at certain stages of the tide, either of
them could be used.    Champ insisted on going up the 114
first one we came to, but the Indians objected on account
of a log which lay directly across, a short distance up.
But Champ was determined; so on we went till we
came to the snag, which lay in such a manner that we
could neither go under or over it. The Indians refused
to go back, saying that they would remain till the tide
rose, or, if we would help, they would put the canoe over
the log. This was a feat we all considered impossible,
for the canoe, with all our things, weighed over a ton;
so we decided to go ashore and walk to M'Carty's house,
where we would wait for the canoe.
As we were going ashore, Yancumux asked me if I
was afraid. I told him I was not, but I had no desire
to sit in the canoe with old Toke and himself waiting
for the tide. He said I would not have to wait long, as
he was going to put the canoe over the log himself. I
was curious to see the operation, and consented to wait.
Both the Indians stripped themselves and jumped into
the water, which was only a few inches deep, but the
mud was soft, and they sank nearly to their waists in it.
They placed themselves at the bow and stern; and, as
the bottom of the canoe, like all those of Chenook, was
flat and smooth, they worked her gradually on the soft,
greasy mud, up the side of the bank, till she was nearly
as high as the log. The mud here was a little firmer,
and I took hold and helped them, when, with a powerful
jerk, we started her, and away she launched over the
log, and down the other side into the water, the Indians
yelling and laughing all the time. The uproar caused
Champ and Baldt to come and see what was the matter,
and they were perfectly astonished at the wonderful feat
of strength performed by those two half-drunken Indians.
While the tide was rising enough to enable us to get
to the landing-place, we left the Indians and canoe to
hunt up the old squaw who had the key of the house
where the pack-saddle was.
After a long search, we found her, with two other
squaws, picking berries, and soon had her back to the
house and the saddle ready; but, while we were hunting for her, a couple of Indians had come from Shoal-
water Bay, bringing some whisky with them, which they
had given to our Indians, whom we found quite drunk
again. They, however, started out for the horse, who
was quietly feeding in trie meadow. They could not
catch him, after chasing him round for an hour. I told
Champ I would wait no longer, but, with Baldt and old
Mr. Woodward, would take what we could pack on our
backs, and go over the portage to Wilson's house, where
we would clean out the boat and get supper ready.
The road had dried up since we had passed over it,
and we found no difficulty in reaching Wilson's. As it
was still daylight, we had time to clean the boat and get
our supper ready. We waited till long after dark for
Champ, who had not yet made his appearance, when,
getting tired, we ate our supper, and, while smoking our
pipes preparatory to going to bed, heard the voices of
Indians singing. Baldt remarked that Champ must have
pressed some new recruits into his service, for Toke and
Yancumux were not in a condition, when we left them,
to be very tuneful. The singers soon came in, and
proved to be a couple of squaws that Champ had hired
to help him pack his fish. He came in a few minutes
afterward, and, as soon as he could get breath, related
that he had loaded the two Indians with the fish, but,
after they had proceeded a quarter of a mile, they threw
down their loads, and using them as pillows, were soon
sound asleep. The old fellow's outcries and frantic attempts to wake them had attracted the attention of the
squaws, who were in the woods picking berries, and they II
went to find out the cause of the uproar, when Champ
hired them, and left the two men fast asleep.
We did not have a very pleasant night, for no sooner
had we lain down than the house was filled with swarms
of gnats and sand-flies, that filled our hair, nose, ears,
and eyes, and stung us so that sleep was impossible,
and we were glad at early dawn to get into the boat and
start down the river for Shoal-water Bay.
It was a glorious morning, rendered doubly delightful
by the songs of myriads of birds, who filled the air with
their sweet notes. As we proceeded down the stream,
we roused great flocks of water-fowl—swans, geese, and
ducks of various kinds—which whirled away with a
mighty rushing sound, alighting a short distance in advance, to be again and again startled as we proceeded on
our course. Every where the paths of elk and deer
could be seen, where they had broke through and beat
down the sedge on the river banks as they had crossed
the stream. Turning a sharp angle in the river, we
came suddenly on a big black bear, who was seated on
an old spruce stump that overhung the stream. In his
hurry and fright he slipped, and fell some ten feet, with
a great splash, into the water, out of which he scrambled
with some trouble, and disappeared in the forest. We
had no fire-arms with us, or we could have shot plenty
of game.
We ran down the river and bay with the ebb tide in
fine style, with every prospect of a quick trip, till we
were nearly half way across, when Champ, who was pilot, ran us high and dry on a sand-bank, where we had
to remain six hours for the returning flood. While
waiting here, we amused ourselves by gathering oysters
and clams, and in tracing out the course of the channel,
which at low tide is distinctly visible and easily marked.
I was not sorry for the opportunity of learning the right
way to navigate up and down the Bay, and I never afterward got aground, although almost constantly cruising
about the Bay and creeks.
There is no difficulty at present for persons wishing
to visit Shoal-water Bay, as usually boats can be had at
the portage, or Indians can be hired at Chenook who
will go through. This is the best method of traveling
in any Indian country; that is to say, always, whatever
may be the party, have some Indians in the company,
who are useful as guides or servants, and in a new country are far better pilots than most of the white men that
can be obtained.
As soon as the tide had risen enough to float our boat,
we made sail, and with a fair wind reached our quarters,
not a little pleased to be at the termination of our cruise.
The Country of the Columbia.—Discovery of the Columbia.—Gray's
Harbor.—The Coast north of the Columbia.—Fuca Strait.—Puget
Sound.—Geographical Errors in naming Places.—Excellent Harbors.
—Mount Olympus.—Separation of Washington from Oregon.—The
Columbia and its Tributaries.—The Dalles.—Wappatoo Island.—
Heceta's Voyage.—Attack by Savages.—Point Grenville and Destruction Island.—River St. Roc.—Vancouver.—Sloop Washington
and Ship Columbia.—Captain Gray.—Lieutenant Broughton and the
Brig Chatham.—Account of the Outfit of the Ship Columbia in 1787.
—Captain John Kendrick.—Gray discovers the Columbia.—Building
of the Adventure at Clyoquot.
The region west of the Rocky Mountains drained by
the Columbia and its tributaries, and which may properly
be termed the Columbia country, is contained in the space
between the forty*second and forty-ninth parallels, and is
about four hundred thousand square miles in superficial
extent. Its southernmost points are in the same latitude with Boston and with Florence, while its northern- 118
most correspond with the northern extremities of Newfoundland and with the northern shores of the Baltic
The Pacific coast of this territory extends in a line
nearly due north from the boundary between California
and Oregon to Cape Flattery. The shores south of the
Columbia are perilous to navigators, from the steep and
rocky shores, and the presence of reefs and sand-bars.
There are no large harbors on this line of the coast, but
small vessels find safe anchorage at Port Orford, and
can also enter the River Umpqua, a short distance north,
and also a small inlet named Coose Bay.
North of the Columbia the coast is less beset with
dangers, and offers the excellent harbor of Shoal-water
Bay, where at high water vessels drawing eighteen feet
can safely enter. Immediately north of Shoal-water
Bay, and directly under the forty-seventh parallel, is
Gray's Harbor, a small port, safe and good for vessels of light draft. This bay was discovered in May,
1792, by Captain Robert Gray, of the ship Columbia, of
Boston, and named by him Bulfinch Harbor, after one
of the owners of his ship, though it is commonly called
Gray's Harbor, and is frequently represented on the old
English maps as Whidbey's Bay.
North of Gray's Harbor there is no other bay or river
that can be entered from the ocean, although several fine
streams flow directly into the Pacific ; but their mouths
are so choked up by the waves beating directly into them
that they have openings scarce large enough to admit canoes. There are several rocks and islets lying between
Gray's Harbor and Fuca Straits, but none of them are
worthy of particular notice except Destruction Island, in
latitude 47 J degrees, named by the captain of an Austrian
ship in 1787, in consequence of the murder of some of
his men by the natives of the adjacent country. THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
The Strait of Juan de Fuca is an arm of the sea separating the great island of Quadra and Vancouver, or, as
it is now called, Vancouver's Island, from the continent
on the south and east. It extends from the ocean eastward about one hundred miles, varying in breadth from
ten to thirty miles, between the 48th and 49th parallels
of latitude; thence it turns to the northwest, in which
direction it runs, first expanding into a long, wide bay,
and then contracting into narrow and intricate passages
among islands, three hundred miles farther, to its reunion with the Pacific under the 51st parallel.
From its southeastern extremity, a great gulf, called
Admiralty Inlet, stretches southward into the continent
more than one hundred miles, dividing into many branches, of which the principal are, Hood's Canal on the west,
and Puget Sound, the southernmost, extending nearly to
the 47th parallel. ^This inlet possesses many excellent
harbors, and the adjacent country being delightful and
productive, make it one of the most valuable portions
of the territory, agriculturally as well as commercially.
A strange geographical error has gained credence in the
commercial world of calling all the waters on the north
of Washington Territory Puget Sound.
This error has been principally caused by ignorant
newspaper reporters, particularly those of San Francisco, who always report vessels arriving from any of the
different harbors in Fuca Strait as from Puget Sound.
There are many excellent harbors in the Strait of Fuca,
of which the principal are Port Townsend, near the entrance to Admiralty Inlet, said by Vancouver to be one
of the best in the Pacific ; Neah Bay, called by Vancouver Poverty Cove, and by the Spaniards Port Nunez
Gaona, situated a few miles east of Cape Flattery; New
Dungeness, False Dungeness, and Bellingham's Bay, an
arm of the Gulf of Georgia; while in Admiralty Inlet 120
are several bays on Whidbey's Island, Seattle, Alki, and
Tekalet, on Hood's Canal. Cape Flattery was named
by Captain Cook. It is a conspicuous promontory, in
the latitude of 48° 27', near wThich is a large rock called
Tatooche Island, united to the promontory by a rocky
ledge, at times partially covered with water.
The shore between the Cape and Admiralty Inlet is
composed of sandy cliffs, overhanging a beach of sand
and stones. From it the land gradually rises to a chain
of mountains stretching southwardly along the Pacific
to the vicinity of the Columbia, the highest point of
which received, in 1788, the name of Mount Olympus.
The whole of this region was organized as the Territory of Oregon, by which name it was known till 1853, when
it was separated into two territories, that lying north of
the Columbia being called Washington. The Columbia
is the dividing line between the two territories from its
mouth to near Fort Walla Walla, where the 49th parallel is the boundary the rest of the distance. " This
magnificent river," says Greenhow, "enters the Pacific
Ocean between two points of land seven miles apart—
Cape Disappointment on the north, and Cape Adams on
fiie south, of which the former is in the latitude of 46°
16' (corresponding nearly with Quebec, in Canada, and
Geneva, in Switzerland), and in longitude 47° west from
Washington, or 124° west from Greenwich. The main
river is formed at the distance of two hundred and fifty
miles from its mouth by the union of two large streams,
one from the north, which is usually considered as the
principal branch, and the other, called Snake River, from
the southeast. These two great confluents receive in
their course many other streams, and thus they collect
together all the waters flowing from the western sides of
the Rocky Mountains, between the 42d and the 54th parallels of latitude. THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
I The northern branch of the Columbia rises in the
-Hocky Mountains, near the 53d degree of latitude. One
of its head-waters, the Canoe River, runs from a small
lake situated in a remarkable cleft of the great chain
called the Punch Bowl, at the distance of only a few feet
from another lake, whence flows the westernmost stream
of the Athabasca River, a tributary to the Mackenzie,
emptying into the Arctic Sea. This cleft is described
by those who have visited it as presenting scenes of
the most terrific grandeur, being overhung by the highest
peaks in the dividing range, of which one, called Mount
Brown, is not less than sixteen thousand feet, and another, Mount Hooker, exceeds fifteen thousand feet above
the ocean level.
"At a place called Boat Encampment, near the 52d
degree of latitude, Canoe River joins two other streams,
the one at the north, the other, the largest of the three,
running. along the base of the Rocky Mountains from
the south. The river thus formed, considered as the
main Columbia, takes its course nearly due south through
defiles between lofty mountains, being generally a third
of a mile in width, but in some places spreading out into
broad lakes, for about three hundred miles, to the latitude of 48 £ degrees, where it receives the Flatbow or
M'Gillivray's River, a large branch, flowing also from the
Rocky Mountains on the east.
" A little farther south, the northern branch unites
with the Clarke or Flathead River, scarcely inferior, in the
quantity of water supplied, to the other. J The sources of
the Clarke are situated in the dividing range, near those
of the Missouri and Yellow Stone, whence it runs northward along the base of the mountains, and then westward, forming, under the 48th parallel, an extensive sheet
of water called the Kullerspelm Lake, surrounded by rich
tracts of land, and lofty mountains covered with noble
F 122
trees. From this lake the fiver issues in a large and
rapid stream, and, after running about seventy miles
westward, it falls into the north branch of the Columbia
over a ledge of rocks. From the point of union of these
two rivers the Columbia turns toward the west, and
rushes through a ridge of mountains, where it forms a
cataract called the Chaudiere or Kettle Falls. Continuing in the same direction eighty miles, between the 48th
and 49th parallels, it receives, in succession, the Spokan
from the south, and the Okinagan from the north, and
from the mouth of the .latter it pursues a southwardly
course for one hundred and sixty miles to its junction
with the great southern branch, near the 47th degree of
Of the great southern branch of the Columbia, the
Snake River, the farthermost sources are situated in deep
valleys or holes of the Rocky Mountains, near the 42d
degree of latitude, within short distances of those of the
Yellow Stone, the Platte, and the Colorado. The most
eastern of these head-waters, considered as the main river, issues from Pierre's Hole, between the Rocky Mountains and a parallel range called the Tetons, from three
remarkable peaks resembling teats, which rise to a great
height above the others. Running westward, this stream"
unites successively with Henry's Fork from the north,
and the Portneuf from the south. Some distance below
its junction with the latter, the Snake enters the defile
between the Blue Mountains on the west and another
rocky chain, called the Salmon River Mountain, on the
east, and takes its course northwestward for about six
hundred. miles to its union with the northern branch,
receiving many large streams from each side. The
principal of these influent streams are the Malade, or
Sickly River, the Boise, or Reed's River, the Salmon
River, and the Kooskooske, from the east, and the Mal-
heur and Powder River from the Blue Mountains on the
Of these two great branches of the Columbia and the
streams that fall into them, scarcely any portion is navigable by the smallest vessels for more than thirty or
forty miles continuously. The northern branch is much
used by the British traders for the conveyance of their
furs and merchandise, by means of light canoes, which,
as well as their cargoes, are carried by the boatmen
around the falls and rapids so frequently interrupting
their voyage. The Snake River and its streams offer
few advantages in that way, as they nearly all rush, in
their whole course, through deep and narrow chasms between perpendicular rocks, against which a boat would
be momentarily in danger of being dashed by the current.
From the point of junction of these two branches, the
course of the Columbia is generally westward to the
ocean. A little below that point it receives the Walla
Walla, and then, in succession, the Umatilla, John Day's
River, and the Chutes, or Falls River, all flowing from
the south, and some others of less size from the north.
Near the mouth of the Falls River, eighty miles below
the Walla Walla, are situated the Chutes, or Falls of the
Columbia, where the great stream enters a gap in the
Cascade range of mountains. Four miles farther down
are the Dalles (a corruption of the French D'Aller, a
term, as I was informed, applied by the Canadian French
to the raceway of a mill, which this part of the river resembles). The Dalles are rapids formed by the passage
of the water between vast masses of'rock; and thirty
miles below these are the Cascades, a series of falls and
rapids extending more than half a mile, at the foot of
which the tides are observable, at the distance of a hundred and twenty miles from the Pacific. 124
A few miles below the Cascades, a large river, called
the Willamet (the Multnomah of Lewis and Clarke), enters the Columbia from the south by two mouths, between which is an extensive island named Wappatoo
Island, from an edible root {Saggitafolia) so called,
found growing upon it in abundance. Twenty-five
miles from the mouth of this river are its falls, where its
waters are precipitated over a ledge of rocks more than
forty feet in height. Beyond this point the Willamet
has been traced about two hundred miles, in a tortuous
course, through a narrow but fertile valley, to its sources
in the Coast Range mountains, near the 43d degree of
latitude. In this valley were formed the earliest agricultural settlements by citizens of the United States west
of the Rocky Mountains.
Descending the Columbia forty miles from the lower
mouth of the Willamet, we find a small stream, called
the Cowlitz, entering it from the north ; and thirty miles
lower down, the great river, which is nowhere above more
than a mile wide, expands to the breadth of four, and in
some places of seven miles, before mingling its waters
with those of the Pacific. It, however, preserves its
character as a river, being rapid in its current, and perfectly fresh and potable to within a league of the ocean,
except during the very dry seasons and the prevalence
of violent westerly winds.
The discovery of the Columbia, which has been the
cause of so much controversy between England and
America, is now universally awarded to Captain Robert
Gray, of the ship Columbia, of Boston. But Gray was, in
fact, the rediscoverer, as the river was first seen by Captain Bruno Heceta, commanding the Spanish ship Santiago, on the 15th of August, 1775. The ship was accompanied by a small schooner called the $onora, commanded by Lieutenant Juan Francisco de la Bodega y THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
Quadra. These two vessels sailed together from San
Bias on the 15th of March, 1775, and, after stopping at
various places on the coast, came to anchor on the 10th
of June in a small roadstead, where they landed, and
took possession of the country in the name of their sovereign with religious ceremonies, bestowing upon the harbor the name of Port Trinidad. After having erected a
cross near the shore with an inscription, setting forth
the fact of their having visited the place and taken possession of it, they sailed for the north on the 19th of
June, and were obliged 'to keep out of sight of land for
three weeks, at the end of which time they again came
in sight of it, in the latitude of 48° 27/. Here they expected to find the Straits of Fuca, but, being disappointed, they came to anchor near the land, though at some
distance from each other, to procure wood and water
and to trade with the natives.
Here a severe misfortune befell the schooner Sonora
on the 14th of July. Seven of her men, who had been
sent ashore in her only boat, although well armed, were
attacked and murdered by the natives immediately they
had landed, and it was with difficulty the savages were
prevented from boarding the schooner, which was surrounded during the whole day by the Indians, in great
numbers, in their canoes.
In commemoration of this melancholy event, the place
was called Punta de Mar tires—Martyrs' Point. It is
in the latitude of 47° 20', and on English maps is called
Point Grenville. A small island, situated a few miles
farther north, was also named Isla de Dolores—Isle of
Sorrows. Twelve years afterward, this same island was
named by the captain of the ship Imperial Eagle, of Os-
tend, Destruction Island, in consequence of a similar
massacre of some of his crew by the Indians on the main
land opposite.   These Indians are known as the Quaitso 126
tribe, and those at Point Grenville as the Queniult, and
were formerly very savage and dangerous.
This disaster, together with the appearance of the scurvy among the crew, decided Heceta to return to Monterey ; but he was opposed by Bodega, and finally gave
his unwilling consent to proceed north, which they did
on the 20th of July. They were, however, shortly afterward separated in a storm, whereupon Heceta determined to go back to Monterey, while Bodega persevered in
his endeavors to accomplish as far as possible the object
of .his expedition.
After Heceta parted company with the schooner he
steered south, and on the 15th of August arrived opposite an opening, in the latitude of 46° 17', from which
rushed a current so strong as to prevent his entering it.
This circumstance convinced him that it was the mouth
of some great river. He, in consequence, remained in
its vicinity another day, in the hope of ascertaining the
true character of the place; but still being unable to enter the opening, he continued his voyage toward the
This opening in the coast thus discovered Heceta
named Ensenada de Asuncion—Assumption Inlet; calling the. north point Cape San Roque, and that on the
south Cape Frondoso—Leafy Cape. In the chart published at Mexico soon after the conclusion of the voyage, the entrance is, however, called Ensenada de Heceta
—Heceta's Inlet, and Pio de San Poque—River of St.
Roc. Greenhow remarks that it was undoubtedly the
mouth of the greatest river on the western side of America, the same which in 1792 was first entered by the ship
Columbia, and the evidence of its first discovery by Heceta is unquestionable.
Thirteen years afterward, Meares, as has already been
stated, attempted to find this River of St. Roc, but with- THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER BAY.
out success. After changing the name of Cape San
Roque to Cape Disappointment, in token of his failure,
he writes, " We can now with safety assert that there is
no such river as that of St. Poc exists as laid down on
Spanish charts."
In 1792 Vancouver sailed up the coast, and when in
the latitude of 46° 19/ he came up with Cape Disappointment, and, considering the opening of the Columbia
to be what Meares had previously named Deception Bay,
he writes, "Not considering this opening worthy of more
attention,! continued our pursuit to the northwest," being satisfied "that all the rivers or inlets that had been
described as discharging their contents into the Pacific
between the 40th and the 48th degrees of north latitude
were reduced to brooks insufficient for our vessels to
navigate, or to bays inaccessible as harbors for refitting."
On the' 29th of April, 1792, Vancouver spoke the Columbia, of Boston, commanded by Robert Gray, who informed him that he had lain off the mouth of a river in
the "latitude of 46° 107, where the outset or reflux was
so strong that for nine days he was prevented from entering it; but as Vancouver »had passed the same place
on the forenoon of the 27th, he gave no credit to Captain
Gray's statement, and writes "that if any inlet or river
should be found, it must be a very intricate one, and inaccessible to vessels of our burden, owing to the reefs
and broken water."
Satisfied with his conclusions, Vancouver continued
on to the north, while Captain Gray, determined to ascertain the truth of his belief that he had seen the mouth
of a river, proceeded on his course south. It was while
in command of the sloop Washington, in August, 1788,
that Gray discovered and attempted to enter the opening near the 46th degree - of latitude; but the sloop
grounded on the bar and came near being lost, and was 128
also attacked by the Indians, who killed one man and
wounded the mate; but she escaped without farther injury, and reached Nootka on the 17th of September.
Gray was shortly afterward transferred to the command of the Columbia, and returned to Boston, and was
now on another cruise, 1792.
After parting with the English commander, Gray
sailed along the coast south, and on the 7th of May he
discovered, in latitude 46° 58', the entrance to a bay,
which he passed through, and found himself in a good
harbor, " well sheltered from the sea by long sand-bars
and spits," where he remained three days trading with
the natives.
He named this place Bulfinch Harbor, but it is now
known as Gray's Harbor.
At daybreak on the 11th he resumed his voyage, and
shortly afterward discovered "the entrance of his desired port bearing east-southeast distant six leagues;"
and unlike Meares and Vancouver, who had pronounced
the breakers impassable, he boldly steered between them,
with all sail set, and at one o'clock anchored "in a large
river of fresh water," ten miles above its mouth, where
he remained three days engaged in trading with the natives and filling his casks with water, and then sailed up
some ten or twelve miles farther along the northern
shore, where he came to anchor, being unable to proceed
any farther from having, as he writes, "taken the wrong
channel." During the following week several attempts
were made to go to sea, but they were unable to cross
the bar till the 20th, when, a fresh breeze springing up
from the west, they beat the ship out, and at five P. M.
were clear of all the bars and in twenty fathoms of
On leaving the river, Captain Gray gave it the name
of his ship, the Columbia, a name it has ever since re- M*
tained, and also named the sand-bank which makes out
from the southern side of the entrance Point Adams, and
the bluff, rocky promontory on the northern side he
called Cape Hancock, but afterward changed it to Cape
Disappointment, on learning that Meares had previously
bestowed that name upon it.
After leaving the Columbia Gray proceeded to Noot-
ka, where he met the Spanish commander Quadra, to
whom he gave a rough chart of the river. Vancouver,
who had been prosecuting his discoveries in the Straits
of Fuca, returned to Nootka, where he was furnished by
Quadra with copies of the charts given him by Gray.
On the 13 th of October, 1792, he sailed from Nootka
with his three vessels, the Discovery, Daedalus, and
Chatham, and on the 17th, being opposite the entrance
to Gray's Harbor, he detached Lieutenant Whidbey, in
the Daedalus, to examine the bay, while he himself proceeded with the other vessels to the Columbia. Being
still convinced of the impossibility of his ship passing, he continued his course south for the Bay of
San Francisco, leaving Lieutenant Brought on, in the brig
Chatham, to enter the river, which he did without difficulty on the 20th of October, and to his surprise found
the brig Jenny, of Bristol, Captain Baker, lying there
at anchor, having arrived from Nootka a few days previous., Lieutenant Broughton then proceeded up the
river in his boat eighty miles, when, finding the current
too strong for them to proceed without great labor, they
abandoned the survey and returned to the brig.
The point of land where they were obliged to relinquish their design was named Point Vancouver, and an
inlet on the north shore of the river, where Gray had
anchored, was named Gray's Bay, and another inlet,
immediately inside Cape Disappointment, was named
Baker's Bay, in compliment to the captain of the brig
F 2 130
Jenny. Both the Chatham and Jenny sailed from the
Columbia on the 10th of November, and arrived at San
Francisco before the end of the month. Greenhow remarks I that, had Gray, after parting with the English
ships, not returned to the river and ascended it as he did,
there is every reason to believe that it would have long
remained unknown ; for the assertions of Vancouver that
no opening, harbor, or place of refuge for vessels was
to be found between Cape Mendocino and the Strait of
Fuca, and that this part of the coast formed one compact, solid, and nearly straight barrier against the sea,
would have served completely to overthrow the evidence
of the American fur-trader, and to prevent any further
attempts to examine those shores, or even to approach
them." • .|
As the names of Robert Gray and his ship will always
be* remembered in connection with the Columbia River,
Gray's Bay, and Gray's Harbor, a brief statement of the
original outfitting from Boston will be of interest.
In 1787, some merchants of Boston, who were engaged
in the China trade, finding that, from the inferiority of
the articles of American manufacture, they were unable
to cope with the English or other foreign nations in the
Canton market, formed an association for the purpose of
combining the fur-trade with the traffic in teas and silks.
The names of these copartners were Messrs. Barrell,
Brown, Bulfinch, Darby, Hatch, and Pintard.
During the summer of 1787 they fitted out the ship
Columbia, of two hundred and twenty tons, and the sloop
Washington, of ninety tons, and loaded them with blankets, knives, iron bars, copper pans, and other' articles
proper for the trade with the Northwest Indians.
The Columbia was commanded by John Kendrick,
who had also the command of the expedition. The name
of the mate was Joseph Ingraham. THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
The Washington was commanded by Robert Gray.
They also carried with them, for distribution among the
natives, a number of halfpence recently coined by the
State of Massachusetts, and also medals of copper struck
expressly for the purpose, having a representation of the
ship and sloop, with their names and that of Captain
Kendrick on one side, and the names of the owners,
with the date and object of the enterprise, on the reverse. These medals are but rarely met with at the present time. The two vessels sailed from Boston on the 30th
of September, 1787, and, after touching at the Cape
Verde and Falkland Islands, they proceeded on their
voyage, and in January, 1788, doubled Cape Horn, where
they were separated during a violent gale. Nootka having been appointed as the place of rendezvous, both vessels steered for it. They did not reach the Northwest
Coast till the following August, when, as has before
been mentioned, Gray first saw the mouth of the Columbia,-where he came near losing the sloop Washington, and it was not till the 17th of September that he
reached Nootka, having been nearly a year out from
'M   The Columbia arrived a few days after, and the two 132
' m
vessels remained in Nootka Sound all winter, the Washington occasionally making short trading excursions
north and south for furs, which were placed on board the
Columbia, who remained at anchor. After the ship was
loaded, it was agreed between the two captains that Gray
should take command of the Columbia and proceed to
Canton, while Kendrick should remain on the coast and
take charge of'the sloop. Gray accordingly proceeded
to Canton, where he arrived on the 6th of December,
1789, and, having sold his furs and taken in a cargo of
tea, he sailed for Boston, where he arrived on the 10th
of August, 1790, having carried the flag of the United
States for the first time round the world. Gray, having
speedily refitted his ship, again sailed from Boston on
the 28th of September (1790), and arrived at Clyoquot,
near the entrance to the Straits of Fuca, on the 5th of
June, 1791. While trading and exploring the islands
and coast in the vicinity of Queen Charlotte's Island,
he met with a melancholy accident at a place called
by him Massacre Cove. His second mate, named Caswell, and two men, were murdered there on the 22d of
The Columbia wintered at Clyoquot, where her crew
built a small vessel called the Adventure. This was the
second vessel built on the Northwest, Meares having
constructed one at Nootka during the year 1788, which
was named the Northwest America.
The following spring of 1792, as has already been related, Gray sailed south for the purpose of exploring the
Columbia, which purpose he effected ; and, after leaving
the mouth of the river, sailed to the east coast of Queen
Charlotte's Island, where his ship struck on a rock, and
was so much injured that she was with difficulty kept
afloat till she reached Nootka, wThere she was repaired;
and as soon as Gray had completed his business, he THREE YEARS AT SHOAL-WATER BAY.
sailed for Canton in September, and thence to the United
Gray continued to command trading vessels from Boston till 1809, about which time he died.
The Oystermen celebrate the 4th of July.—A Speech and a great Bonfire.—Arrival of Emigrants.—Colonel H. K. Stevens.—Fishing-party
on the Nasal River.—We go up the River to an Indian Camp.—Method of catching Salmon.—We catch rotten Logs.—The Colonel falls
overboard.—A Chase after a Salmon. — Indian Style of catching
Trout.—Their Medicine to allure Fish.—Immense Quantities of Salmon in Shoal-water Bay.—Wreck of Brig Palos.—Description of my
House.—High Tides.—Quantities of Wild-fowl.—A Gale of "Wind.
—Heavy Rain.—The Gale increases, and blows down our Chimney.
—Damage done by the Storm.—Narrow Escape from being killed by
a falling Precipice.—Arrival of Indians.—Pepper Coffee.—Ludicrous
Plight of the Natives.—Their Superstition.—They try to shoot a
Ghost.—They are scared by a Pumpkin Lantern.—Poisoning Crows.
—Method of preserving Cabbages from the Indians.
After my return from Chenook, nothing of any particular interest transpired till toward the first of July,
when it was announced to me that the boys, as the oystermen were termed, intended celebrating the 4th of July
at my tent; and accordingly, as the time drew near, all
hands were engaged in making preparations ; for it was
not intended that I should be at the expense of the celebration, but only bear my proportionate part. The day
was ushered in by a tremendous bonfire, which Baldt
and myself kindled on Pine Island, which was answered
by every one who had a gun and powder blazing away.
Toward two o'clock they began to assemble, some coming
in boats, others in canoes, and a few by walking round
the beach, which they could easily do at any time after
the tide was quarter ebb.
Each one brought something: one had a great oys- 134
ter pie, baked in a milk-pan; another had a boiled
ham ; a third brought a cold pudding; others had pies,
doughnuts, or loaves of bread; and my neighbor Russell came, bringing with him a long oration of his own
composing, and half a dozen boxes of sardines. When
all were assembled, the performances were commenced
by the reading of the Declaration of Independence by
Mr. St. John, extracts from Webster's oration at Boston
on Adams and Jefferson, then Russell's oration, which
was followed by the banquet, and after that a feu-de-
joie by the guns and rifles of the whole company.
These ceremonies over, it was proposed to close the
performances for the day by going on top of the cliff op-i
posite, and make a tremendous big blaze. This was
acceded to, and some six or eight immediately crossed
the creek and soon. scrambled to the top of the hill,
where we found an old hollow cedar stump about twenty
feet high. We could enter this on one side, and found
it a mere shell of what had once been a monster tree.
I had with me a little rifle, which measured, stock and
all, but three feet long. With this I measured across
the space, and found it was just six lengths of my rifle,
or eighteen feet, and the tree undoubtedly, when sound,
must have measured, with the bark on, at least sixty
feet in circumference.
We went to work with a will, and soon had the old
stump filled full of dry spruce limbs, which were lying
about in great quantities, and then set fire to the whole.
It made the best bonfire I ever saw; and after burning:
all night and part of the next day, finally set fire to the
forest, which continued to burn for several months, till
the winter rains finally extinguished it. The party
broke up at an early hour, and all declared that, with the
exception of the absence of a cannon, they-nev^r had a
pleasanter " fourth." THREE  YEARS  AT  SHOAL-WATER  BAY.
The emigrants now began to come into the Bay, and
| claims" of land were taken up on all sides. Among
others who came to settle was an old friend, Colonel H.
K. Stevens, who, with a friend named Hinckley, had
taken a claim on the Nasal River, which he had named
the Kennebec. The colonel was not a colonel then; he
had not been elected to that high office at that early day.
He was simply Harry Stevens, and remained as such
until the ensuing year, when the residents, feeling a
dread of the aborigines, chose him as their leader.
He had brought some goods over from the Columbia
to trade with, and intended to build a store on the Point,
where he had located himself. Although I had been repeatedly urged by him to make a visit to the Nasal, I
never found any fitting opportunity till toward the last
of August, when the salmon first begin to run up the
rivers of Shoal-water Bay.
One day old Toke came to me with the information
that there were plenty of salmon in the Nasal, and he
wished to borrow my large canoe, as his was not large
enough to carry all his people. I consented, provided I
could go with them; to this he gladly assented, and we
soon got our things ready for a week's sport. After we
had safely stowed our blankets, guns, hooks, spears, and
provisions, we started off, with my little canoe in tow to
act as a tender. The Nasal was distant about eighteen
or twenty miles, and as the Indians did not feel in any
hurry, we did not reach the mouth of the river till after
dark; when, not seeing any light or signs of Stevens's
house, we went ashore on the opposite side of the river,
where there was a fine spring, near which we made our
camp, and remained all night.
A person traveling with Indians, particularly in canoes, should make up his mind not to be in a hurry;
they move just as it suits them.    If the wind is fair, 136
they make sail if they have one, or, in lieu of that, will
hoist a blanket, and go as the wind blows. But if it is
ahead or is calm, they paddle along in a very lazy sort of
manner. If night is likely to overtake them before getting
to their destination, they always try to go ashore before
dark, where they can find fresh water