As the complicated processing of Friedrich Richter’s estate moved forward, a new wrinkle appeared, the interests of his surviving family. You may remember that the executor, Daniel Mounts, stated early on that he knew of no existing family of the deceased. But in mid-July, 1880, a letter arrived at the Probate Court in Steilacoom from the German Immigration and Aid Society of Sedgwick County, Kansas, inquiring on behalf of Emil Richter, Friedrich’s brother.[i] According to the letter, Emil recently had been informed by one J. Anton Miller of Steilacoom (also formerly from Germany) of Friedrich’s passing, and “that his brother at the time of his death possessed several hundreds [sic] acres of land and considerable personal property.” Further, the letter stated that Friedrich was survived by his parents, in Germany, and seven brothers and sisters “living partly in Germany and partly in the United States.” The letter was written by Emil’s attorney, Julius Junkermaim, and it reported that a sister who resided in Wisconsin had already hired a lawyer to represent her. Junkermaim requested a statement of Friedrich’s property and liabilities, so that Emil “may be enabled, before proceeding further, to ascertain whether there are interests sufficient to justify him in making a journey to your territory for the purpose of attending to the settlement of his brother’s estate.”
The only evidence of an answer to the letter from Kansas in the estate papers is a cryptic note over attorney Hartman’s initials, indicating that a response was sent on May 3rd, 1881. That was just a few days before legal steps were taken to acknowledge Friedrich’s outstanding debts at the time of his death and the first steps in preparing for sale of his land. However, subsequent estate documents indicate that the Richter family’s bona fides as Friedrich’s beneficiaries had been established.
Before we move on to the sale of Richter’s land in the Nisqually Valley, however, we need to conclude the account of the auction of his personal property, a list of which was provided in the previous blog post (The Germans Are Coming, Part 6). Estate sales like Richter’s must have offered his neighbors a variety of benefits, in addition to the simple acquisition of material goods, though the opportunity to obtain some of the essential tools of farm existence in 19th century, rural Washington Territory, especially at used and/or bargain prices, must have been a strong draw. But, to judge from the journals of folks like the Mounts men—Daniel and his sons John and Tristan—and Edward Huggins, opportunities to socialize, exchange news, and conduct business in groups were few and far between, especially distant from urban centers, and highly valued. Such gatherings, when recorded, also would later provide an important resource to inquiring minds, such as mine, in search of information about patterns of settlement and commerce.
So it was that at least eleven men and one youth gathered at the Mounts home on the last day of July, 1880, to bid on Friedrich’s “considerable personal property,” which had been estimated likely to bring in a total of $135.75. Among them, one of those who came away with the most was his recent business partner, Joseph Klee.
Very little evidence of the nature of Richter’s and Klee’s relationship exists. Other than the obvious—a common Prussian birthright, participation in Salomon’s “army,” and the shared travels through California to Washington Territory—we know nothing about why the two men should purchase the Nisqually land together. Most likely it was an economic decision—the pooling of resources—and, to judge by entries in Huggins’ journal and other sources, they seemed to have differing relationships to the land. Richter rather aggressively farmed the land and built himself a small cabin there. Klee spent much of his time in mill towns and Tacoma as a laboring mechanic, and eventually sold off his portion of the Nisqually property, while Richter stayed put. When it came time to parcel out Friedrich’s personal possessions, the list of Klee’s purchases reflects his apparent lack of interest in the farming life, compared to other bidders at the auction, and a certain closeness to the personal side of Richter’s life.
Klee was high bidder on Friedrich’s feather bed and pillows ($4), two pairs of cotton drawers, a white shirt, and a vest (12¢), his gun, bullet pouch and two powder flasks ($2.38), his horse (a mare), saddle and bridle ($23.50), and his ice skates (50¢). His purchases of two scythes (with handles – 25¢), a harrow ($1.25), and a year-old heifer ($4.50) may have reflected his needs as an urban dweller (a lawnmower, a sod-buster, and a source of meat for the year). It was probably his work as a mechanic that prompted bidding on the pairs of compasses and calipers and a 4-inch square (38¢), but his purchase of Richter’s half share in a scow (probably the one Friedrich fell off of on the river) seems odd. Altogether Klee spent $41.88 on the possessions of his old comrade.
The only one to outspend Klee was the man who estate administrator Daniel Mounts had hired to assemble Richter’s possessions so that they could be appraised and eventually auctioned off, a task that may have given him an significant advantage in knowing the value of certain items beforehand. His name was James Cross, a partly Native American[i] in his late twentys or early thirties, a son of William Cross, about whom I have found no information yet. At the time of the auction a territorial census listed James as married to Lucy, an Indian and some 6-7 years his senior. James’s biggest scores at the auction of Richter’s possessions were some of his livestock—two cows and a calf ($30) and a yearling bull ($5.50)—and a boat with a sail ($7.50). The remainder of his purchases were a square and three augers ($1.25), a grain cradle ($3.50), and two stone jars and an oil can ($1.25). James total was $49.00.
According to the territorial census, by 1899 James and Lucy had three children, Henry (age 13), Silas (3), and Guy or George (1). By 1900, they were living on the Puyallup reservation, and Silas’ and George’s ages were given as 10 and 8, respectively. Lucy died in August, 1916, and was buried at the Firwood Indian Cemetery in Puyallup. Then in his mid 50s, James married Alice, whose lineage is unknown. He died of acute heart disease at age 78 in December 1930 and was also buried in the Firwood Cemetery.
Between the two of them, Klee and Cross accounted for almost 75% of the income from the sale of Richter’s possessions. The next “big spender,” dropping a relatively measly amount at the auction, was John Adams O’Neil. John was born in 1848 in Frederick County, Maryland, and so was thirty-two at the time of the auction. I was able to confirm very little about John’s past. The fact that he was buried eventually in the Washington Soldiers Home Cemetery in Orting (Pierce County), gives some credence to the possibility that he was the John A. O’Neil that, at age 16, enlisted in the Union Army in Ohio in October, 1864, only to be captured by the Rebs in December and imprisoned in Tennessee. He was returned to the Union side in a prisoner exchange and mustered out of the Army the following May. I am confident that our John eventually married a woman named Drusy, also from Kentucky (Harlan County) and some ten years younger. Purportedly, John worked as an engineer on early Puget Sound steamboats. John and Drusy were together until John’s death in his mid-70s in August, 1924. Drusy lasted another ten years, and was survived by at least three daughters. She was buried in Evergreen-Washelli Memorial Park in Seattle. The announcement of her death in the January 7, 1935 issue of the Seattle Daily Times included a reference to John’s role as a pioneer Puget Sound steamboat engineer.
O’Neil’s purchases at the auction were meager: A butcher knife (38¢), a brush hook and mattock ($1.00), a crosscut saw ($1.00), and a cow and calf ($10.50). Altogether he spent $12.88.
Next in line in the big spender column was William Stillman. An 1879 census has him as a farmer, single, living in Steilacoom, having been born about 1837 in Rhode Island to parents from New York and North Carolina. He bought Richter’s knives and forks (2/3rds of a dozen, $1.50), cups and saucers (five, for 50¢) plates and dishes (five, for 50¢), his belt (12.5¢), and two dozen chickens ($4.50). Sounds like he may have been setting up house. In any case, the $12.23 he spent was only slightly more than the amount he charged the estate for caretaking Richter’s possessions after his death and until the auction.
Some people seem to have come to the auction of Friedrich’s possession with specific needs in mind—tools, livestock, and perhaps household goods, for example—likely for their own farms and homes. Others may have come simply for the social time and out of respect for their friend and neighbor, and their purchases seem more whimsical to some extent. George Gilmore McAllister, for instance, was the one who got the bugle ($1.75) that Richter held in the photograph that I was given by Bud McBride (see The Germans are Coming, Part 3). He also picked up a blanket ($1.00), eleven spoons (50¢) and a small box of tools ($2.25), but I bet he was most pleased to get the bugle.
We’ll spend some time with George, for of all the people involved with Richter’s life, only the Mounts and the McAllisters still had relatives in the Nisqually Valley when I began hanging out there. The McAllisters and McBrides, relatives by marriage, deserve a blog chapter all their own, but for the moment we’ll keep their early history brief. George was Bud McBride’s maternal grandfather, for one, Kelly McAllister’s great grandfather for another. I am seriously indebted to Kelly, a local author and historian in his own right specializing in things Mounts, McAllisters, and McBrides, for much of the detail that follows.[ii]
George was born to John Wesley and Mary Jane McAllister at their farm on Chambers Prairie[iii] in July, 1856, one of their nine children. From Kentucky and Virginia, respectively, John and Mary Jane crossed the plains in 1852 and, via Oregon, eventually took a donation land claim on 320 acres bordering the river in the Nisqually Valley, adjacent to the land of James McAllister, John’s cousin. George began raising livestock at an early age, and at nine years old he helped two older brothers shepherd a flock of sheep belonging to the Hudson’s Bay Company, for which they were paid $30 a month.
George went out on his own at age sixteen in 1872, initially as a raiser of sheep, and, according to Kelly, would spend “much of his life raising livestock, helping others with their hay crops, and a myriad of other activities associated with farming.” Five years later, George and an older brother, John, were charged with Grand Larceny, accused of stealing 79 sheep from W.H. Stevenson, a Canadian immigrant living out in the Muck area. They were eventually acquitted, probably helped by the testimony of one Frank Goodwin, purportedly the villain that had swindled George’s parents over a failed agreement to buy a farm on Muck Creek, resulting in the loss of their Nisqually property as well. Despondent, John and Mary Jane subsequently moved to a claim near Olympia and, suffering from poor health, John declined and died in 1874. Mary Jane married pioneer Philander Washburn a year later.
In 1880, the year of the auction of Richter’s effects, George was a 23-year-old bachelor, though a letter found by Kelly indicates that he was already courting Christina, at eighteen the oldest child of Daniel and Catherine Mounts. They would marry a year later, in July, 1881, and have four children: Ruby, James, Grover (Kelly’s grandfather), and Pauline (Delbert and Albert “Bud” McBride’s mother).
Eventually George bought a 160 acre homestead near the Nisqually River and about two miles south of the Mounts farm, Christina’s family home. George was a successful farmer, but also a “natural musician,” according to Kelly. His skill on violin and banjo made him (and some of his friends, like Frank Mounts and Wint Bennett) in demand at local country dances in the Valley and as far off as Roy. He was an artist, too, frequently drawing pictures and carving small animals from scrap wood.
George’s correspondence with young Christina, sent from a sheep farm in Oregon, before their marriage, indicated a dissatisfaction with the life of a sheep herder that, and with the unhappy life of his father as a model, couldn’t have left him feeling very comfortable with being a small farmer in the territory in the 1880s. Most likely he looked up to his successful and wealthy father-in-law, Daniel Mounts, as well, and so it was with alacrity that he jumped at the business opportunity Mounts offered him, a chance to buy into what was to be called “Nisqually City.”
It all began with the advent of the railroad in the Valley. The iron horse had first arrived in the area in 1873, when a line of the Northern Pacific was extended through Tenino and Yelm from Kalama on the Columbia River to Tacoma, recently designated as the Northern Pacific Railway’s western terminus. This branch missed the Valley proper, but then in 1890, a direct line was built between Olympia and Tacoma by the NPR’s Tacoma, Olympia and Grays Harbor Railroad. This line passed through Sherlock Station at the head of the valley, taking chunks out of the Mounts Farm and its neighbor, the Bennett Farm. Not to be outdone, representatives of the Union Pacific Railroad, which had been battling the NPR for control of Tacoma and environs, proposed running a line south from Lake City to a site on the Nisqually Plain, north of Daniel Mounts’ farm. There, on land put up by Mounts, the UPR men (most likely including entrepreneur and developer Frank Ross from Tacoma) proposed to establish “Nisqually City,” alternately referred to as “The Central City of the Inland Sea” and “The Pennsylvania of the West,” a reference to the site’s mineral resources.[i]
George and Christina were among those friends and relatives of Daniel Mounts who bought up lots on the Nisqually City plat and, in George’s case, built a home and a general store there in hopes of imitating the success of his older brothers in the grocery business. Then, suddenly, it was 1893, the bottom fell out of the economy, and development projects, including Nisqually City, shuddered to a halt. Basically, George and Christina and all the others who had bought lots lost everything. According to their great grandson, Kelly, Nisqually City was no more, and, in 1918, when Pierce County began its condemnation of land for Camp Lewis, the county acquired over a thousand lots in the “City,” many of which were owned by Dan Mounts’ heirs, for as little as $1.24 per lot.
George would again seek something beyond the drudgery of farm life when in 1905 he went to work for the Northern Pacific at the logging town of Gate in southern Thurston County for a couple of years. Meanwhile the McAllister ranch was being rented out, and the family had moved closer to “town” (Tacoma). Eventually, at age 60, George died suddenly of an infection, ultimately diagnosed as a form of meningitis. Christina lived another thirty years, never remarried and, as her eyesight failed, depended on her daughter, Pauline, for assistance. George and Christina’s legacy survives through their children, Grover McAllister and Pauline McAllister McBride; daughter Ruby had no children, and son, Jimmy, died young.
It is no surprise that Edward Huggins was on hand for the sale of Richter’s effects. After all, his participation in their appraisal had given him the chance to spy out choice pieces, and perhaps he attended just to be sure that all went well. At 48, with a working farm not far away, he also may have been in need of some tools. These he found in the form of a bucksaw for cutting firewood ($1), a hammer and chisel ($1), and twine and a 2-foot rule (25¢), for good measure. He also bought a couple of blankets ($1.75), perhaps for his wife, Letitia. Total, $4.00.
I’ve already acquainted you with Mr. Huggins and his involvement in Richter’s life and death in Blog Posts #4 and #6, so I will refer you to those pages. Here I will simply add that Huggins was just finishing up his first term as a Pierce County commissioner about this time; he would go onto a second term as commissioner and then was elected county auditor. Huggins would go on to become a member of the board of the Washington State Historical Society and was vice president of the National Bank of Commerce of Tacoma. He died in January, 1907, at age 75; Letitia was 79 when she died in September, 1910.
Still a bachelor like George McAllister, young John Northover, age 22, probably came to the auction with George and members of the Mounts family, for the evidence shows that the Mounts, McAllisters and Northovers were close, both in terms of land holdings and socio-culturally. In all three families, intermarriage and mingling of native and white cultures were the norm: Catherine Mounts (Daniel’s wife) and Christina her daughter (George McAllister’s wife) were biracial and in their daily lives brought together white and native traditions and peoples. John Northover, himself, was the offspring of a white father and a biracial mother and so probably experienced a similar mixture of cultures in his upbringing.
John’s story is a good example of how difficult it can be to trace someone’s parentage through the various sources of genealogical data, especially when Native Americans, whose primary sources of information have been oral, not written, are involved. The Anglicization and/or phonetic spelling of non-English names can add to the confusion.
John’s parents were William Northover, born in England about 1830, and Catherine (Kitty/Katy) Staliup (Sasqualt Stalib). One source has Catherine born in Snohomish County in 1831, another that she was a Nisqually woman, “daughter of sakatallo.” A third, the report of a direct descendant, says that Kitty was the child of an Irishman named Corcoran and a Cowlitz woman. However, the fact that her child, John, would eventually marry the daughter of a Corcoran suggests the possibility that this source may have had the generations confused.
William and Kitty were together as early as 1854, and they had five children, June, Emma, John, Joseph and William. William Sr. achieved a certain notoriety for his association, a fatal one, with a member of the Vigilante Committee, a group of men that for a while took justice into their own hands in Pierce County, in the 1870s.[ii] According to the Daily Pacific Tribune (Feb. 8, 1870), William likely quarreled with one of the vigilantes, Charles Calder, over the group’s recent killing of men named Gibson and McDaniel. Later, according to the newspaper’s next-day post, Calder left Steilacoom, arrived drunk at Northover’s, and began insulting one of his daughters (June or Emma), “a half-breed, and nearly a woman grown.” When William “remonstrated with him for his brutal conduct,” Calder shot him in the stomach and then went after the daughter, “intent upon adding the outrage of her person to the crime already committed upon her father.” She escaped, William died, no doubt a very painful death, and Calder went to the Penitentiary for seven years. Ten days after William Northover’s death, William Benston petitioned the Probate Court to appoint a guardian for John and his siblings; his brother, Adam Benston, was appointed. These Benstons were descended from Scotsmen from the Orkney Islands who, like William Northover, had served the Hudson’s Bay Company for some years; they were also the sons of a Native woman. We’ll come back to the Benstons, soon.
By 1880, the year of the auction of Richter’s possessions, John Northover assuredly had been on his own for some time. His purchases at the sale, $3.50 in all, suggested a lack of a significant amount of “the ready,” but also perhaps the lack of focus and domestic orientation characteristic of some young adult males: a silk handkerchief (38¢), a linen handkerchief (12½ ¢), a box or trunk, contents unknown ($2.12½), and a manure fork (88¢). You can always use a manure fork.
Eight years later, in September, John married nineteen year-old Elizabeth Ellen Corcoran. In doing so he allied himself to one of the oldest mixed families in the region, descended from one of the earliest Hudson’s Bay Company employees, Jean-Baptiste Chalifoux (alternate spellings in the literature include Chaulifoux, Chaullifoux, Chalifou, Chalifour, Sherlifou, Sherlafoo, and Jellifaux). A French Canadian, Chalifoux was born in Beauport, Quebec, October 16, 1801, into a family that traced its direct ancestry to some of the first colonists to New France in 1634.[iii] Jean-Baptiste appeared in the Pacific Northwest about 1840, working first at HBC sites at Fort Vancouver and on the Stikine River in Russian Alaska and then, from 1848-1858, as a carpenter and blacksmith for the Puget Sound Agricultural Company at Cowlitz Prairie and Nisqually. Soon after his arrival in the PNW, Chalifoux married Iuse Musch Skaowit, AKA Harriet, AKA Annie Whim, a very young daughter of Scanewa of the Cowlitz who, according to tribal history, was ruler over 17 sub-chiefs and their tribes.[iv] Purported to have seven wives among the tribes of western Washington, Scanewa spent a good deal of time with the HBC and its employees, and, according to Cowlitz genealogist Michael Hubbs, many current Cowlitz members can trace their lineage back to three of Scanewa’s daughters that married HBC men: Simon Plamondon, John McLeod (McCloud), and Jean Baptiste Chalifoux. The same can be said for the Puyallup and the Nisqually, at least in McLeod/McCloud’s case.
Iuse Musch Skaowit survived only another seven years before succumbing to smallpox or measles at Fort Nisqually, leaving Jean-Baptiste with two daughters, Josephine, born in March, 1842, and Elizabeth, born in January, 1844. According to family lore, Jean-Baptiste eventually married a woman named Sophie who apparently was cruel to her stepdaughters. As a result, Jane Work Tolmie, wife of Factor Dr. Tolmie at Nisqually, took the girls under her wing and had Jean Baptiste send them to Victoria to be educated. At sixteen, Josephine married Domonic Corcoran in the home of Mrs. Francis Gravell, a little south of Roy. (Jean-Baptiste died in 1867.)
Corcoran was an Irishman from Sligo County, Yeats’ home. At the time of his marriage to Josephine he was 34 years of age and, after working in Glasgow, Scotland, Montreal, and Wisconsin, was a veteran of the California gold fields, where he earned enough to be able to bring his family—his parents, three brothers, and a sister—over from Ireland. Domonic and Josephine had nine children, including Elizabeth, who would marry John Northover. So, we have the granddaughter (Elizabeth) of one HBC employee (Jean-Paul Baptiste) marrying the son (John Northover) of another (William Northover).
John and Elizabeth developed a “choice farm” on “160 acres of raw land,” southeast of the current location of Spanaway, according to family lore, and eventually had six children. John died in 1927 at age 67, Elizabeth in 1949 at age 80.
Like Edward Huggins, his fellow appraiser of Richter’s personal possessions, James E. Orr probably had a pretty good idea of what he wanted to get before the sale commenced. You’ll remember from the previous post of this blog that about this time James, his wife Nancy, and Nancy’s granddaughter, Olive, were living near the Huggins’ farm, east of the Nisqually River, and to judge from his purchases, he had, or was contemplating having, some land in need of attention. He bought the metal components of a plow (a clamp and coulter, or plow blade, and a plow wheel) and a hoe, all for $1.75. Having appraised the items for $2. 67½, he must have been pleased with the deal he got. (I would love to know how things got figured down to the half cent!)
At 53, Omar H. White was among the older attendees to the auction, and one who left very little in the way of a historical footprint. He was born in the East about 1827 to his father, David, who was rumored to be of “foreign birth,” or from New York, and mother Winifred “Winna” Garlick, whose family was present in the Virginia Colony as early as 1750. By 1850 Omar and a woman presumed by the census to be his wife, “Matissa,” age 20, were living with his parents and siblings in Rome on the edge of the Ohio River. By 1853 Omar and Matilda Ball White had emigrated to Washington Territory and Steilacoom, where they began having children—eventually three boys. A farmer, Omar and Matilda seem to have remained in the Steilacoom area for the rest of their lives, and both are buried in the Masonic Cemetery there. Omar died in 1899.
Omar was well enough known to deserve a photograph in Bonney’s History of Pierce County, but not his biography. His civic-mindedness did receive a mention in Town on the Sound: Stories of Steilacoom, however. In 1853, when the town’s founding fathers, led by Lafayette Balch, intercepted Reverend John DeVore on his way from the East to accept a position in Olympia and convinced him to stay in Steilacoom instead, Omar was among those who built the first Protestant (Methodist Episcopal) church north of the Columbia. Then, sometime after the first community library was established five years later by an act of the Territorial legislature, some men were seen trying to make off with its books. In response, “ A ‘committee’ composed of [E.R.] Rogers, W.R. Downey, Nathaniel Orr, and O.H. White, each toting a rifle, proceeded to the wharf where they rescued the books and took them to McCaw-Rogers store.”
At the auction, White spent $1.50 on Richter’s linen coat and hat (25¢), a hay fork (75¢), and a draw knife and hatchet (50¢).
Forty-nine year old William Young seemed to have been a practical man. He spent $1.25 at the auction, acquiring a coffee pot and four plates (25¢), a pick axe and a maul (50¢), and two towels (50¢). Young was a veteran of the Hudson’s Bay Company too, and one of those that had married a local woman, Ya So Leet Sa of the Snohomish, also known as Jane Snohomish and Jane Shelton.
Like the Benstons, who helped care for William Northover’s children after their father’s death, William Young, who was baptized William Young Gullion in February, 1830, was a Scotsman from the Orkneys, and he served at Fort Nisqually from 1850-1859. Ya So Leet Sa gave birth to a daughter, Janet, in March, 1856, during the Puget Sound Indian War, and then sometime later returned to her birth family, leaving Janet with William. The dynamics between the HBC men and their native wives and families were complex, reflecting the former’s desire to acculturate and assimilate the women, and their desire to seek acceptance by their husbands’ social milieu. So it is really no surprise that William, as historian Emma Milliken puts it, “was bringing [Janet] up as a true Scottish lass.”[i] In addition to the basics of cooking, washing the clothes and keeping their cabin clean, he taught her how to read and write, make patchwork quilts, dance the Highland Fling, can fruit, make jams and jellies, pickles, and pies, how to dye yarn (from berry juices), and knit and weave. Apparently also a good Christian, William taught Janet the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and his favorite Scripture passages.
It is tempting, before proceeding with the lives of William and Janet Young, to wander further afield into the lives of the Benstons and the Guillions. Both families emigrated from the island of Eday, one of the Orkneys in Scotland, and alliances between them seem to go way back. Understanding that relationship, though, is complicated by the fact that the Benstons favored use of the names Adam and William, and the Guillions Janet and Sarah. Three generations of Adam Benstons show up in Pierce County in the 1850s-80s, for instance. To further complicate matters the available genealogical data, based on cemetery headstones and census and death reports, are conflicting and confusing. For example, one headstone indicates that the Janet Guillion, who married the Adam Benston born in 1823, gave birth to sons William and Adam when 10 and 11, respectively, a fact that is contradicted, if only slightly, by reports of the ages of the children found elsewhere. However, all complications aside, the most important point to emerge from all this confusion is that representatives of both families, as HBC employees, married local, Native Americans early on and, through the generations, repeatedly.
By the time of the Richter estate sale, William Young had established himself as a successful farmer and his daughter, Janet, now age twenty-one, was already three years married to William Benston, whose brother, Adam, had been the one to become guardian of William Northover’s children years before. Confusingly, Adam married Janet Guillion, William Young’s sister, in 1877. That Janet had remained in Scotland until their parents died in 1875 (in the poor house, of all things), before joining William in Washington Territory. So, Janet Young was niece and sister-in-law of Janet Benston, Adam Benston was William Young’s brother-in-law, etc. etc. See what I mean?
Sometime after the death of her husband, William Benston, in 1899, Janet Young Benston filed an application for an allotment of land under the Dawes, or General Allotment Act. In her application, Janet states that William Benston was “a half-blood—also of Snohomish Indian blood.” According to the application, Janet Young Benston and her husband had five children between 1877-1896. William died in 1899, and Janet’s father, William Young, died three years later, at age 71. Adam Benston, Janet’s brother-in-law, was appointed administrator of Young’s estate, which consisted primarily of 150 acres of land (located near the Nisqually Reservation, and now about half a mile south of the Mounts Road interchange on I-5). At some point 40 year-old Joseph Young objected to Adam Benston’s appointment. Purporting to be William Young’s son by his second marriage, during which the land had been acquired he said, he, Joseph, was the rightful heir, and he wanted Tighe Mounts (Daniel and Catherine Mounts fifth child and third son) made administrator. While there is no record of any legal filing of his objection, there is one saying that the Court was happy to accept Joseph’s withdrawal of it. Among other things, Young had no second marriage. Incidentally, the land was appraised by J.H. Benston, Frank Mounts (Tighe’s older brother) and Frank Carlson (Janet Benston’s son-in-law). In 1902 it was still a very small world….
In 1909 Janet married again, to a John H. Miller of Illinois. She had already moved to Seattle, and in 1918 she moved to California with her husband before returning to Washington State in 1922. She died in 1936. Of her five children, two died young. The two oldest married white people.
The most unique, and to my mind the most valuable of Richter’s possessions, his Meerschaum pipe, went to D. Rhodes, for $1.13, the only thing he took away that day. About Mr. Rhodes, other than a likely penchant for tobacco, I have been able to discover nothing.
Which leaves us with the 25¢ spent by “Master Mounts.” Probably one of Daniel Mounts two oldest sons, John (born June 19, 1868, and so 12) or Frank (born March 6, 1870, and so 10), Master Mounts had an eye out for his future, and so purchased Richter’s straight razor.
The total raised for the sale was $130.87 (though I haven’t checked Daniel Mounts’ math). Next to come would be the sale of Richter’s real estate in the Nisqually Valley.
Coming next in The Germans are Coming, Part 8. Richter’s land holdings are sold off to one old player and one new, who turns out to be the last German to own the property before the Norwegians take over and the Braget story begins. Divorce, and a piano, figure in.
[i] Milliken, Emma. “Choosing between Corsets and Freedom: Native, Mixed-Blood, and White Wives of Laborers at Fort Nisqually, 1833-1860” in Pacific Northwest Quarterly, 2005, 96(2):95-101.
[i] See For the Good of the Order: The Braget Farm and Land Use in the Nisqually Valley, pp. 30 and 44 for more information on the coming of the railroad to the Nisqually Valley and Nisqually City.
[ii] See the newspaper articles of the day about the vigilantes assembled by Gary Reese at http://www.usgennet.org/usa/wa/state/claimjumpers.html (Accessed 11/10/2022)
[i] A Pierce County census for 1889 listed James as half Indian; a 1930 Puyallup census lists him as one quarter blood.
[ii] Additional sources of information about the McAllisters include William P. Bonney’s History of Pierce County, Vol. 3, which contains George’s biography, notes and documents assembled by Delbert McBride, and newspaper articles.
[iii] At the time, Chambers Prairie took up much of the area between Olympia, to the west, and Long and Pattison Lakes, to the east. Eventually a good part of it became urbanized, first as Woodland and then as the City of Lacey. Formerly a portion of the land controlled by the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, the area was settled by the family of Thomas Chambers, an Irishman who arrived in Steilacoom in 1847. Chambers filled a variety of political roles in the County, including that of Probate Judge. He died at the age of 101 in 1876.
[i] In the mid nineteenth Century, the major portion of immigrants to Kansas came from Germany, especially northern Germany. (https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/german-settlers-in-kansas/16710; accessed on 10/7/2022)