The Germans Are Coming, Part 6

The Germans are Coming  Part 6

In previous chapters of this blog, The Germans are Coming, Parts 1 to 5, I acquainted you with details of the lives of Friedrich Richter and Joseph Klee, the two young men that claimed about 100 acres of land on the Nisqually “Bottom” marshland and higher, forested property that sits on the edge of the Nisqually delta at the south end of Puget Sound. This land would eventually become the centerpiece of the dairy farm belonging to the Braget family that I wrote about in For the Good of the Order: The Braget Farm and Land Use in the Nisqually Valley (Gorham Printing, 2021).

When we last left him, in 1880, Mr. Richter’s life had come to an abrupt end. He drowned in the Nisqually River while boating across it. Mr. Klee eventually sold off his portion of their Nisqually land and moved on to Tacoma, where for 47 more years he lived the life of a moderately successful mechanic and businessman, married twice, and experienced his own tragedies with the death of loved ones.

In one sense, Richter’s story was done; while it took almost two months for searchers to find his body (most likely, in June, when he went overboard, the river was still “up,” making it difficult to locate floating and possibly sinking objects). But soon after they did, he was buried not far from his cabin on the edge of the slough. There his bones rested until disturbed by a road-building Braget, some 70 years later.

However, there actually is quite a bit more to the Richter story, an interesting and complex last chapter, due to the fact that Richter’s estate, such as it was, had to be probated. He left no will, but he did have considerable land and probably what was the average list of possessions of an immigrant bachelor on the “frontier” in the second half of the 19th century. The story of their accounting and dispersion is one worth the telling.

Mounts Petitions the Court

Three weeks after Richter disappeared in the river, his neighbor, Daniel Morgan Mounts, filed a petition in the Probate Court of Pierce County, Washington Territory, to the effect that Friedrich had “died intestate, leaving property real and personal, in said county.” Moreover, it was Mounts’ belief that Richter had no relatives in the territory, but that they “reside somewhere on the Continent of Europe.” And finally, as a “resident householder and freeholder within said County of Pierce,” and a standup guy, he, Mounts, should be appointed (and paid to be) administrator of the estate.

With approval of this petition, Mounts undertook a legal process that would consume the better part of six years, produce 163 pages of legal documents (all handwritten in varying degrees of legibility) and involve at least thirty people, all men, in a variety of roles in the processing. While the steps in the legal procedure might prove fascinating to some of the more obsessive types among my readers, it is the stories of the people involved that I wish to tell. The participants represent a cross-section of the men on hand in the county at this time, late in the 19th century: in addition to Richter and Klee, at least seven were recent German immigrants, six were first or second generation English or Scottish, one was Canadian by birth, one was French, and two were full or part Indian. The rest had moved west from Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland or New York. The group ranged in age from 18 to 75 and in employ from grave digger to farmer, to scribe, lawyer, and judge. Let’s meet them in the order that they became involved with Mounts’ handling of the estate.

Daniel Morgan Mounts

First on the list, of course, was Dan Mounts himself. I wrote of him at length in For the Good of the Order, of his marriage to Catherine, daughter of Hudson’s Bay Company’s employee John McLeod and Clay-qua-dote, a Nisqually Indian, and of their ten children, who would divide up the Mounts estate themselves eventually (interestingly, Mounts also left no will, and so died intestate). A transplant from Illinois, eighteen-year-old Daniel arrived in the West in 1850, stopping first in Oregon and perhaps California, before taking a land claim in the South Bay region on the west side of Henderson Inlet, in Thurston County, in 1853. His extended family, including his parents, Thomas Jefferson Mounts and Mary Ann (Barbee) Mounts, followed and took an adjacent claim. With the coming of the Indian War in 1855, Daniel spent a three month’s enlistment in Company B, 1st Regiment of the Puget Sound Mounted Volunteers (Capt. Gilmore Hays) along with 88 of “most of the able-bodied farmers of the surrounding countryside,” while many of their families took refuge in Olympia.[1] After the war, Mounts left his claim on the clay and gravelly loam of the South Bay area to take positions as agricultural instructor and acting agent of the new, 4,000 acre plus Nisqually Reservation, which straddled the banks of the Nisqually River. There he met and married Catherine, in 1860; six years later they purchased a land claim from Joel Myers (who we will soon meet) in the fertile soils of Nisqually. Now, at age 48 in 1880, Mounts was well on his way to amassing the more than 1000 acres that would make up the largest farm in the valley, and Catherine had already given birth to seven youngsters. Land-conscious and also civic-minded, Dan Mounts seemed the obvious one to take on the administration of Richter’s estate and, by the bye, take possession of the papers and photographs the young German left behind that would make their way to me, thanks to Mounts’ great-grandsons, Del and Bud McBride.

Thomas Jefferson Mounts and Mary Ann (Barbee) Mounts

Daniel Mounts’ request to become administrator of Richter’s estate was directed to and approved by one Charles Henry Botsford, judge of the Probate Court of Pierce County, which, in mid-1880, was still located in Steilacoom (it would move to Tacoma later in the year). “C.H.” to the public, Charles was the only Canadian by birth in our story, having been born in 1805 into a family of judges living in Westcock, a tiny town in southeastern New Brunswick. (Almost 100 years later, according to Wikipedia, “Westcock had 1 post office, 1 sawmill, 1 grist mill, 1 church and a population of 150.”) Charles was the son of William Botsford (1773-1864), a native of Connecticut who attended Yale before beginning a long career in the law and politics in Saint John, on the Bay of Fundy, that ended with his appointment to the Supreme Court of New Brunswick. C.H.’s older brother, Amos Edwin Botsford, also had an illustrious career in the province’s military, judicial system, and government, and was a founder of the New Brunswick and Prince Edward Railway Company.

At 75 the oldest player in the Richter story, C.H. Botsford would resign from his job as Probate Judge before the end of 1880, and die three years later. His wife, Amelia Jarvis Botsford (1817-72), predeceased him, and both are buried at the Fort Steilacoom Cemetery in Lakewood.

More enigmatic than Botsford was C.W. Hartman, who submitted Mounts’s request to the court. Mounts’s lawyer and creator of many of the documents that made up the estate’s brief, Hartman was born about 1842 in Ohio, according to census forms, and so was 38 years of age at the time of the probate filing. His parents appear to have come to the Buckeye State from New York and Iowa, where he married his wife, Martha. Hartman and his family were living in Steilacoom in 1879, but it seems that they were relatively recent arrivals. The censuses record that their first three children, Mary, Grace, and Horace, were born in California between the years 1871 and 1875. Most likely gold fever brought the Hartmans west.

The family appears to have moved from Steilacoom to Olympia in 1889, but then the record on these Hartmans dissolves. Of note is that another but apparently unrelated family of Hartmans, headed by a David Hartman (1851-1935; also from Ohio and Iowa) and his wife Mary Jane, second daughter of James McAllister, was prominent in the story of Nisqually. So far, I have discovered no links between C.W. and David.

Written by Hartman, Daniel Mounts’ petition to the probate court to become administrator of Richter’s estate was approved by Judge Botsford, with the condition that he post a $200 bond, “with two or more sufficient sureties…. for the faithful discharge of the duties of his trust, according to law.” Those that Mounts chose to guarantee his faithful discharge were N.H. Orr and Martin Gimel, residents of the town of Steilacoom.

For a bit of context, it is important to know that for about 30 years after the arrival of Michael T. Simmons and his party at the falls on the Deschutes River and the founding of the first American settlement in Oregon Territory north of the Columbia in 1845, the economy, politics, and society of the pioneers in the South Sound, such as they were, centered on a 25-30 mile region along the Southern Puget Sound coast encompassing Olympia and Steilacoom. Steilacoom was the first to be incorporated, in 1854, and also was the seat of Pierce County until 1880. Olympia became the county seat of brand new Thurston County in 1852, and was incorporated in 1859. By 1860, the combined population of the two tiny towns was still less than 1,500—a pretty tiny pond awaiting lots of big fish. The power center of the region did not really begin to shift to the north for another decade. Seattle was not permanently incorporated until 1869, Tacoma in 1875. The coups de grâce were administered by the Northern Pacific Railroad, for Tacoma, and the development of maritime enterprise, for Seattle. Tacoma’s population in 1880 was just under 1,100; by 1890 it was 36 times larger.

Destined to become Steilacoom’s favorite son, guarantor Nathaniel Hope Orr was born in the village of Washington in Washington County, Virginia in 1827.[2] He was the oldest son of Arthur and Jane Hope Orr, and great, great grandson of Arthur Orr “The Elder,” who emigrated from Ireland in the late 18th century. Nathaniel departed for the five-month trip on the Oregon Trail in the spring of 1851 as a twenty-four year old. Already an accomplished carpenter, specializing in wagon making, Orr took advantage of an encounter in Oregon City with Henderson Luelling to become an orchardist as well. A horticulturalist from North Carolina (with Welsh roots), Luelling had come to Oregon four years earlier, after years in the nursery business in Indiana and Iowa. Luelling‘s sojourn west may have been influenced by his reading of Lewis and Clark’s journals, first published in 1814. However, the fact that he and his Quaker wife had been drummed out of the Salem (Iowa) Monthly Meeting of Friends for their abolitionist views and participation in the Underground Railroad may have had something to do with it, as well.

The Luellings (Henderson, his wife Jane, and eight children) brought west with them a wagonful of fruit trees and established a nursery, first in Milwaukee, between Portland and Oregon City, and later in the California Bay area. From there they supplied the orchards of settlers brought west by the opening of Oregon Territory and the passage of the Donation Land Claim Act in 1850. Apparently first and foremost a Quaker, however, Luelling left California (and his wife) a few years after meeting Orr to attempt to establish a utopian community in Honduras. Unsuccessful, he returned to California, where he died in 1878.

Alfred Plummer.
Courtesy the UW Library Collection

After a short and informal internship with Luelling, Nathaniel Orr continued on to Steilacoom, where he arrived on August 24, 1852, just one year after Captain Lafayette Balch and John Chapman took adjoining claims and laid out Port Steilacoom  and Steilacoom City, respectively. (In 1854, the legislature of year-old Washington Territory joined the two claims into the town of Steilacoom, the first incorporated community in the territory. The name of the town originated in the presence of Native Americans inhabiting the Tacoma drainage basin.) Balch’s tireless promotion of the South Puget Sound region soon attracted a string of pioneers whose names and businesses dominate the region even to today: Thomas Chambers, A.J. Pope and Andrew Talbot (founders of Port Gamble), Alfred Plummer and Charles Bachelder (founders of Port Townsend), and the Meekers.

Orr quickly began building a wagon shop in Balch’s Port Steilacoom and eventually took a 160 acre claim on nearby Anderson Island at Oro Bay. But when hostilities broke out in 1855, he returned to town and enlisted in Company D of the 1st Regiment of Washington Territory Volunteers, under Capt. William Wallace. After the war, Orr completed his shop, with living quarters above, and began turning out the necessities of life. In addition to wagons, he built tables, chairs, beds, washing machines, quilting and rug-making frames and quilting wheels, and coffins.

Soon Orr was making other invaluable contributions to the town and its inhabitants. In partnership with entrepreneur Phillip Keach, he established a commercial fruit tree orchard in Chapman’s Steilacoom City, and in 1857 accepted a job as clerk to the new Steilacoom school district. The same year he made a bid for the Democratic ticket to become a representative to the territorial legislature, only to be beaten out by Ezra Meeker’s older brother, Oliver, who had a general store in Steilacoom with his brother and father. (Oliver eventually would drown while procuring supplies for the store from San Francisco when the steamship Northerner struck a rock off Cape Mendocino.) Finally, in 1858, Orr got himself elected to the Pierce County government.

Nathaniel and Emma Orr
Courtesy of the Steilacoom Historic Association

Nathaniel Orr remained a confirmed bachelor until the age of 41, when he encountered Emma Thompson, from Victoria, B.C., a woman of twenty-one “with golden hair and creamy complexion,”  at the water well behind his wagon shop. They married in May, 1868, and over the next twenty-two years produced eight children, only four of which survived into the 20th century. Orr died in 1896 and was buried in the Steilacoom Masonic Cemetery, the land for which Nathaniel and Emma had sold to the Lodge for the paltry sum of $50, years before.

A more elusive figure than Orr, the other guarantor, Frenchman Martin Gimel, was born about 1828. By 1880 be had been a keeper of a saloon at the corner of Main and Lafayette Streets in Steilacoom for at least four years, a position that apparently gave him a reputable enough standing in the community to provide “suritie” for Daniel Mounts. That may not always have been the case. Historian Herbert Hunt reported that the area, from Steilacoom to the very young town of Tacoma, was plagued by a series of murders in 1873. One, an attack by James Carey on John Lewis, occurred after “Carey and Lewis had been drinking in the saloons of John Brown and Martin Gimel, low resorts near John Rigney’s place on the railroad line.”[3] Hunt ascribed a rising crime rate to the recent arrival of the railroad from the south: “Along the right of way were saloons and other low places which seemed to have controlled rather than to have been controlled, and they were the scene of fighting and robbery all the way from the Columbia River [to Tacoma]….There were flocking to this part of the country adventurers of every variety and petty crimes grew alarming to the citizens.”[4]

A western bar scene

By the time our tale of Richter’s estate begins, Martin had married Margaret, ten years his junior; according to the 1880 U.S. Census, Margaret’s father was also French, while her mother was from British Columbia. Between them Martin and Margaret produced eight children. One, Mary, will show up again later in this tale. Another, also named Martin (1870-1900), died in a streetcar accident in Tacoma. Their youngest son, George (1883-1968), would become proprietor of the Union Saloon on the corner of Main and Commercial in Steilacoom. The elder Martin died in 1886 at age 61, only three years after George’s birth.

The Appraisal

Once Dan Mounts had been appointed administrator of Richter’s estate, the next step was to have it appraised. An application for appointment of appraisers was made to the Court, and on June 30, 1880, Judge Botsford ordered three individuals, Edward Huggins, James E. Orr, and Henry Walker, “three disinterested persons, competent and capable to act,” to provide the service. On July 8, Huggins, Orr, and Walker swore before Lawyer Hartman, in his capacity as a Notary Public, that each would “truly, honestly and impartially appraise the property of said estate which shall be exhibited to him, according to the best of his knowledge and ability.”

Edward Huggins , a young, impoverished Englishman without prospects who signed up with the Hudson’s Bay Company and ventured to the New World in 1849, may well have left the greatest legacy to the history of the early Pacific Northwest of any of the men involved in Richter’s story. His roles at Fort Nisqually in the second half of the nineteenth century put him right in the middle of the story of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the transition of control of its lands to American ownership. His extensive reporting of events, often decades after they occurred, in journals and in letters to Tacoma newspapers and to such notables as Clarence Bagley, himself a pioneer historian and author of detailed histories of Seattle and King County, have provided invaluable detail about pioneer life in the region.

Edward Huggins

However, the fact that Huggins’ reports were often much removed in time and place from the original events raises questions of their accuracy and even veracity. Writing  for Occurrences: The Journal of Activities at Fort Nisqually Historic Site, for example, Dixie Lowman suggests that Huggins used the commercial documents and records assembled by the fort’s chief factor, Dr. William F. Tolmie, as the basis for his own writings, some 45 years after the events, and “interspersed with a few of his own interjections, omissions and memories. The result… was that in Huggins’s published version his role in the action was enhanced from what it actually was.”[5]

Nonetheless, Huggins was on hand for a mind-boggling array of important historic events, and had extensive relationships with those in the pioneer community. In addition to his time with Dr. Tolmie himself, Huggins married Letitia Work, a daughter of a high-ranking HBC official, John Work, and Josette Legacée, a Metis[6] whose mother was from the Spokane tribe. The Works were “members of the Pacific Coast fur trade elite” according to Lowman, and Mrs. Work was sister to Dr. Tolmie’s wife, Jane. Ultimately, with Dr. Tolmie’s transfer to Fort Victoria in 1859, Huggins was given charge of Fort Nisqually until its closure in 1870, at which point he retired from the HBC, became an American citizen, and filed a claim for the Fort’s land. As an American, he became active in county politics, as county commissioner and auditor. Eventually, when their farm, now some 1000 acres in extent, became too much for them, the Huggins sold their land to the DuPont Company, which wanted to build an explosives factory. And the rest is history…[7]

As a close neighbor, Huggins performed many roles in Richter’s story, from purchaser of his marsh grass, to recorder of his demise, to, with Daniel Mounts, overseer of his burial. Now, he was an appraiser.

The second gentleman so appointed, James E. Orr (1831-1898), was the younger brother of Nathaniel Hope Orr of Steilacoom. There is no clear evidence concerning the timing of his arrival in Washington Territory. A census shows that he was still living with his parents and other siblings in Virginia in 1850, and his presence in Polk County, Oregon is recorded in 1870. But he does not show up in the Washington Territorial Census until 1878, with an address in the Muck area and with wife, Nancy Bell Orr (1836-1902).[8] No children are mentioned, but then two years later, the year of Richter’s death, James and Nancy appear to be living in Pierce County close by the Edward Huggins family, and they have an eleven year old “daughter” named Olive.

This is where things get complicated. A quick search for Nancy (“Bell, “Belle”) reveals that James was her second husband; she married her first, John Shelden from Vermont, in Illinois in December, 1850. The Sheldens arrived in Oregon Territory with a two-year old daughter named Learny and took up a place, and Shelden the blacksmith trade, near Salem, in Polk County, about 1853.

Then in 1867, a man with the good Scottish name of John Martin Knifong married Learny, age sixteen. The record shows that Learny gave birth to Olive two years later, still in Polk County. But in 1870 things started to get a little dicey. Nancy Bell and John Sheldon went their separate ways after some 20 years of marriage, and Nancy married James E. Orr. The Federal Census for 1870 shows the infant Olive living with the Knifongs, but subsequent comments by descendants suggest that the child was living with Grandma Nancy and James that year as well. Somewhere along the line the Knifongs split (he would remarry, also in 1880, and have five more children before dying at the young age of 49), and after that it may be that Olive moved back and forth between the households of her mother, Learny, and grandmother, Nancy. The Territorial Census shows her living with Learny near Muck in 1878, but by 1880 she was recorded in the Federal Census as the daughter of James and Nancy at their home near the Huggins.  She moved with the Orrs to Steilacoom in time to be recorded by census there in 1883, and then on to Tacoma by 1885.

Interestingly, in 1887, when he is 56 years of age, James E. Orr appears in a census at the home of older brother Nathaniel, Nathaniel’s wife and eight children, in Tacoma. Most likely James was just visiting when the census taker arrived, but there is no sign of Nancy, or Olive.

James succumbs in 1898, eighteen years after performing his service as appraiser for Richter’s estate. Two years later the census shows Learny (called Lucy now) at the Orr home in Lake City, perhaps taking care of her mother, and listed as “divorced.” Nancy passes away in 1902. Olive briefly resurfaces in the record as Mrs. Christopher Hussey, but is widowed by 1909. The Hussey’s daughter, Bessie, who had been born in 1886, passes away in 1932 from a cerebral hemorrhage. That’s all, folks!

Henry Walker was born in Ohio in 1829 and, according to an Olympia newspaper death notice, “was a ‘49er and came to this county not many years after the memorable rush to California.” The accuracy of that report, however, is brought into question by a census that places Walker, a married man, in Ohio in 1863. Two years later, though, he is single and in the Nisqually Valley in time to buy the former Packard claim from Warren and Hepsibah Gove who, only two years before, had bought it from Packard himself (the Goves would go on to buy nearby property on the river that would later become part of the Braget farm).

Warren Gove

By 1880, Walker is 51 and firmly planted in the region where, as reported by the newspaper at his death, he “amassed considerable wealth,” in part by running a ferry across the Nisqually River, the main route between Steilacoom and Olympia. It was just downriver from Walker’s Ferry that Richter entered the water one too many times.

Henry Walker’s claim to fame in the history books is that in 1884, at age 55, he married a Nisqually woman, Kitty. Kitty’s date of birth is not known, and her parentage is contested. Many have reported that she was daughter of Quiemuth, Leschi’s brother, who was murdered in Gov. Stevens office in 1856, during the Indian War. Other informants suggest that she was daughter of an older Nisqually of some renown named Lashmere, which is what she named her first child. Kitty (whose name at any point in time included some of the following: Kate Walker Tenas Puss “Kitty Etta” Kautz Quiemuth), at a young age, first married August Valentine Kautz.

A great deal of ink has been spilled about Kautz, and about Kautz and Kitty. Born in Baden-Baden, August immigrated to Ohio as a youth and there began an illustrious military career that spanned at least four wars (the Mexican-American War, the Rogue River [Indian] War, the Puget Sound Indian War, and the Civil War) and brought him to the rank of major general in the Union Army.[9] Kautz’s main assignment in the Northwest was to Ft. Steilacoom, and it was there that he met and married the teenage Tenas Puss, also known as Kitty, in the 1850s. They had two sons, Lashmere Nugen Kautz and August Kautz, but then Kautz left his family in the Territory to go east, drawn by the Civil War and advancement in the military.

August Kautz

Conventional wisdom puts it that Kautz abandoned Kitty and the boys. In his journals he referred to her as a squaw and used other racist and misogynistic terms that were common to men of that time and station, and eventually he remarried, first to Charlotte Tod, in 1865, and then to Fannie Markbreit (another German from Baden-Baden), in 1872. He never resumed familial relations with Kitty and the boys, but according to August’s biographer and distant relative, Lawrence Kautz, he provided for them and stayed in touch with the boys. Through Edward Huggins he arranged for them to be placed in foster care with families in the Valley and sent money for their expenses “for many years.”[10]

Kitty remarried as well, to William Diggins of Olympia (originally from Indiana), in 1875, but that marriage ended in divorce less than two years later. Diggins moved on to San Francisco and, eventually, Dakota Territory. Kitty married Henry Walker in 1884.

By the time of their marriage, Henry is a man of some means, a fact that made him a suitable appraiser for Richter’s estate. He has been farming the Packard claim for almost twenty years; after another five years he sells out to Samuel Y. Bennett (1836-1914) and family. (Samuel’s grandson, Rodger, was one of Kenny Braget’s best friends.) Kitty died in 1891 and was buried in the public cemetery in Yelm. Henry moved to Olympia after selling his farm, and then joined his wife in Yelm Cemetery in 1905.

The farm of S.Y. Bennett, ca. 1892

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

While  Huggins, Orr, and Walker were performing their sworn duty of appraising Richter’s holdings, one day’s service for which they were paid three dollars each, Mounts and Lawyer Hartman caused to be entered into the legal record a description of the land in question, fully laid out in the township and range language of the US Public Land Survey System (the N.E. ¼ of the S.W. ¼ , the N. ½ of the S.W. ¼ of the S.W. ¼ … of Section Thirty Three in Township nineteen North range one east…), containing altogether 233 acres. At the same time, Judge Botsford ordered the administrator of the estate, Daniel Mounts, to give notice to “all persons having claims against the… deceased,” that they had a year to submit their claims. This was to be accomplished by publication in Steilacoom’s Weekly Puget Sound Express of said notice for at least four weeks in a row.

Then on July 12, with a completed appraisal of Richter’s property in his pocket, Daniel Mounts filed a petition for an order to sell Richter’s land and personal items. Mounts reported that funeral expenses and accounting costs had already amounted to $57, an amount that he anticipated would rise to $140 before all was said and done. Richter had had $59 in cash at the time of his death, and the appraisal of his personal property had come in at $135.75. Therefore, reported Mounts, everything would need to be sold to cover the costs of administration expenses, including a funeral, and taxes.

Judge Botsford approved the petition on the same day, stipulating that the sale of Richter’s personal property by conducted “at the Court House door or at the late residence of said deceased, or at some other public place,” and that notice of the sale, its location, date and time, be published in at least 10 public places in Pierce County for at least two weeks previously. The list of items to be sold, and their appraised value as set by Huggins, Orr, and Walker, follows:

Personal Estate – Household Furniture[11]

1 Cooking stove                                                                                  valueless

Feather bed & 1 Blanket                                                                    $ 6      00

2/3 doz Knives & Forks, 1 Butcher Knife                                               1     25

11 Spoons                                                                                                       50

5 Tea Cups + Saucers, 1 dish, 1 tin coffeepot & 4 tin plates                         75

1 Horn (Copper)                                                                                       1    00

1 Belt                                                                                                              122

3 Towels                                                                                                         25

1 Silk Handkehf                                                                                              50

1 Hat & Linen Coat                                                                                        25

1 Linen Handkehf                                                                                           25

Twine & old 2 foot Rule                                                                                25

2 pr Cott, drawers; 1 wite Shirt; 2 Cott. Hdkfs; 1 Cott. Under Shirt & 1 Vest                                                                                                 25

1 Imit. Meerscham Pipe                                                                                 50

I Gun, Pouch, Flasks (2)                                                                           2    00

1 Trunk                                                                                                      1   00

1 Pillow Case                                                                                                  122

                                                                                                            _Total________            15.00

Personal Estate – Farm Implements

1 box small Tools                                                                                    1     50

1 pr Compases, 1 pr Callipers, 1 Square 4 in                                          1     00

1 grain Cradle                                                                                          3     00

2 Forks $1.00; 2 Scythes & Snathes [scythe handles] $1.00                   2     00

1 Coulter [plow blade] & Clamp $1.00; 1 plow Wheel $1.50                2     50

1 Hoe 122 ; 1 draw Knife .75; 1 Hatchet .25                                            1     122

1 Maul & set of Rings .50; 1 Pick & handle $1.00                                 1     50

1 Brush Hook .50; 1 Buck Saw $1.00                                                     1     50

1 Iron Square 25¢; 3 Augers .50                                                                     75

2 Chisels .25; 1 Cross Cut Saw $1.00                                                      1     25

2 Stone Jars $1.00; 1 oil Can 122                                                            1     122

Saddle & Bridle                                                                                       2     50

1 pr Skates                                                                                                      50

1 Hammer (Anvil)                                                                                   1     00            21.25

1 Iron toothed Harrow                                                                                             2.50

3 Cows  2 ea. $15.00 & 1 at $10.00                                                40.00     

2 Yearlings   1 @ $8.00    1 $4.00                                                  12.00                    

2 Calves   each $4.00                                                                                                8.00

1 Mare                                                                                               20.00                        

1 Boat & Sail                                                                                                    6.00

Poultry [2 dozen chickens]                                                                                           6.00

½ Interest in Scow                                                                                                   5.00

[Signed:] Edward Huggins, James E. Orr, Henry Walker, July 10, 1880.

Richter’s land holdings would be sold by a separate auction [see The Germans Are Coming, Part 6 continued]; his personal property, adjusted for $6.80 owed him by the Steilacoom baker, Frederick Eisenbeis, and $22.50 owed him for “30 bush. Potatoes, Oats 12 bush; Barley 7 bush; Wheat 1 bush” by James Cross, was valued at $204.35 in the appraisal. Altogether, before auction, Richter was worth $616.05 when all was said and done.

Just a quick introduction to Richter’s debtors, Mr. Eisenbeis and James Cross, before signing off this episode of The Germans are Coming! Another Prussian, Frederick E. Eisenbeis was born in 1825 and spent his first 18 years in his father’s flour mill. Frederick and his younger brother, Charles, emigrated to New York in 1853, and soon after they were on their way to California and the gold fields. Accounts differ, but Hines, who wrote about Frederick when he was still alive, has him staying in California only a year before moving on to Victoria and then to the Fraser River mines. Both brothers eventually arrived in Port Townsend, where Frederick worked as a carpenter for a while before moving on to Steilacoom and buying Ezra Meeker’s general merchandise store. By 1863, according to Hines, he tired of the life of a shopkeeper and resumed the pursuit of gold, this time at the Cariboo mines in British Columbia. That venture was short-lived, however, and before the end of the year he returned to Steilacoom to marry Ohioan Rosa Denger, with whom he would have six children. Then he began frequent trips to San Francisco to import goods for resale in Steilacoom in his own store, an occupation that kept him busy for the rest of his life, and apparently it was this store for which he needed Richter’s grain.

Brother Charles, meanwhile, remained in Port Townsend where, beginning with a bakery that sold crackers and breads for the crews of sailing ships, he expanded his holdings to include extensive residential and commercial real estate in the growing town. Eventually he became the lead of the so-called “Group of Five,” the men that controlled the economy of the city: the entry ports along the wharfs, the railroad, the first National Bank, several small commercial banks, and the steelworks, among others.

Charles Eisenbeis

The depression of 1893, and the shift of local politics to the left that followed, hit Charles severely, but not before he had built major structures to beautify the city, including the 120-bedroom Hotel Eisenbeis, which overlooked the site of the terminal proposed to receive the railroad (which it never did) and which never opened; a hospital; and a home for his family, “three floors in brick and stone, with a roof in slate and with the best comfort of that period.” That building still stands and is now a hotel called “Manresa Castle.” Charles’ footprints remain all over Port Townsend.

Charles died on March 9, 1902; his family received a telegram that Frederick, still in Steilacoom, had passed away the same day.

Over $22 of the debt to Richter was owed by James Cross, Puyallup Indian, or at least partly so. James (Pah-how-at-ish) was born not far from the eastern shore of American Lake. His father was William Cross, about whom I have been unable to find any information. Various sources attribute partial—as little as one quarter—to full Native American heritage to James, but apparently it was significant enough that he lived on the Puyallup Reservation and was buried in the Indian Willard (aka Firwood) Cemetery in Puyallup. These same sources do not agree on James’ date of birth, but he seems to have been in his mid to late twenties at the time of Richter’s death. James married Lucy (Dee Hop Day Hab Pey Ouge), who was a few years older than he, about 1877, and the couple and three children (Henry, Silas, and Guy), show up in the census of 1900 as living on the Reservation.

Lucy Cross died in 1916 at age sixty-six or -seven. James lasted another 14 years before succumbing to acute heart disease. Both were buried in Indian Willard Cemetery in Puyallup.

Coming next in The Germans Are Coming, Part 6, continued: All the neighbors turn out for the “pop-up sale” of Richter’s personal possessions; the auction of the land in Nisqually follows but then gets complicated; Mounts completes his assigned tasks; a divorce transforms the landscape.

[1] The Mounts Family at South Bay. Complied by Delbert J. McBride, a great-grandson of Daniel M. Mounts. Undated.

[2] Thanks to three sources for information about Orr and the early days of Steilacoom: The Steilacoom Historical Museum Association (, the Town of Steilacoom (; Accessed 6/1/2022), and Town on the Sound: Stories of Steilacoom, Curtis, J., A. Watson, and B. Bradley, eds., 1988, Steilacoom Historical Museum Association.

[3] Retired soldier John Rigney and his clan were early pioneers in Tacoma and Steilacoom and are represented by a number of descendants still in the region. See Town on the Sound.

[4] Hunt, H., Tacoma: Its History and Its Builders; a Half Century of Activity, Vol. 1, p. 231. 1916

[5] “The Murder of Bob: A clue to the source of Huggins’ memoirs,” by Dixie Lowman in Occurrences: The Journal of Activities at Fort Nisqually Historic Site, Vol. XI No. 1, Fall 1992.

[6]  According to the Canadian government, “The Métis people originated in the 1700s when French and Scottish fur traders married Aboriginal women, such as the Cree, and Anishinabe (Ojibway). Their descendants formed a distinct culture, collective consciousness and nationhood in the Northwest. Distinct Métis communities developed along the fur trade routes.” Accessed 6/1/2022

[7]; “Edward Huggins: An Englishman at Fort Nisqually”, Jennifer Crooks, SouthSound Talk, 2/18/2020. Accessed 6/1/2022

[8] The Muck area generally refers to the watershed of Muck Creek, a tributary of the Nisqually River, that runs west from the city of Roy to the river, some five miles north of Yelm.

[9] August Valentine Kautz, USA: Biography of a Civil War General, Lawrence G. Kautz. McFarland & Co., 2015

[10] An alternative view to Lawrence Kautz’s rather hero-worshiping biography of his relative, August Kautz, is provided by Nicole Ann Kindle in “The Many Wives of General August V. Kautz: Colonization in the Pacific Northwest, 1853-1895” (2019). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5358. (accessed 3/20/2022).

[11] This listing stays true to the original spelling and punctuation as much as possible. At this time half-cent pieces were still in use in Washington Territory and are indicated by the superscript 2; e.g. 122 would be twelve and a half cents.