The Native Americans

Evergreen Equipment Calendar (ca. 1972)

Ohop Valley ca. 1940
Ohop Valley ca. 1940

I thought maybe the date on this calendar was 1940 — since the phone number was MArket 7-6808. (In 1940 Glen Miller recorded  Glenn Miller “PEnnsylvania 6-5000″, which was the telephone number for the Hotel Pennsylvania.)

However, Don from Evergreen Equipment tells me it was around 1972.

“Evergreen Equipment was started in 1956 by Harold Flowers and Jim Moergeli. My dad, Don Hendershot, moved his family up here from California in 1962 to go to work for them. When Harold and Jim wanted to retire, my dad bought the business in 1978 and moved it to it’s present location, 221 Puyallup Ave. And we still have the original phone number, 627-6808 —  used to be MA-7.
I remember seeing those calendars as a kid. This picture is at least from 1972 or newer, because they didn’t start selling Stihl products until then.
Image courtesy of Linda Lewis and Evergreen Equipment.

Click on image to enlarge.

Salmon Bakes at Indian Henry’s Village

Salmon Bake at the Barr's near Kjelstad farm  (Left to Right) Mrs. George Barr, Sr., Mrs. George Barr Jr. and Mrs. Silas Barr Sr.
Salmon Bake at the Barr's near Kjelstad farm (Left to Right) Mrs. George Barr, Sr., Mrs. George Barr Jr. and Mrs. Silas Barr Sr.

This picture and article appeared in the 50th Anniversary Edition of The Eatonville Dispatch, July 23, 1959.

“A poignant memory of persons who lived in the Eatonville area early in the century, and ofttimes talked about now, are the salmon bakes at Indian Henry‘s village near the Nisqually west of town.

A keen friendship existed between the villagers and their new white neighbors and invitations were often extended to them to attend the bakes. They would come bearing potluck food to contribute to the meal. Pictured here tending the salmon placed on T sticks around the aromatic embers of burning maple are (left to right): Mrs. George Barr, Sr., Mrs. George Barr, Jr., and Mrs. Silas Barr. Sr.”

The second photo is one of the first settler Olava Kjelstad with one of the Barr wives. If anyone knows which one, please let me know.

Olava Kjelstad with Mrs. Barr
Olava Kjelstad with Mrs. Barr

Photos courtesy of Pat VanEaton and Steve Burwash.

Click on image to enlarge.

Where the name Ohop came from

September sunrise in Ohop Valley
September sunrise in Ohop Valley

I was just down in the valley checking on cows and shot a couple pictures. Thought this might be a great time to provide an exerpt from Lawrence “Andy” Anderson’s book, In the Shadow of the Mountain, with the origins of the valley’s name.

Two Possible Meanings
“In 1987, a surveyor of the Surveyor General’s Office of Washignton Territory mapped the stream and lake in the valley calling them “Ow-hap River” and “Ow-hap Lake”. The meaning of Owhap is uncertain.

Henry Sicade, early Puyallup tribal leader, wrote that the name means “water suddenly breaking away.” Another source attributes the name Owhap to a native word meaning “pleasant”. Certainly the later is an apt description for this beautiful valley.

Ancient Channel
Ohop Valley is an ancient drainage channel formed by the run-off from the enormous lake in the Puyallup Valley filled with ice-age melt water. Geologists refer to this lake as Lake Puyallup. The lake drained southerly, carrying enormous quantities of water and sediment along the Ohop Valley floor.

Cows and calves grazing in Ohop Valley
Cows and calves grazing in Ohop Valley

Henry Sicade’s explanation of “water suddenly breaking away” seems quite plausible. As the glaciers receded northward, run-off drained through channels at successively lower elevations causing the flow of water through the valley to subside. This event occurred at the end of the last ice age, several thousand years ago. It is possible that early natives observed the sudden cessation of the water through the valley and the story was passed down through the generations.

Throughout the subsequent milleniia deposts of organic sediments created rich soil that would one day be farmed.”

The Me-Schal or Upper Mountain Nisqually of Eatonville

Guest Blog by Abbi Wonacott,
Educator, Researcher, and Author of “Where the Mashel Meets the Nisqually” and “Firm Foundation: The Formation of Eatonville, Wa.”

shovelnose canoe
shovelnose canoe

The original natives of the Eatonville area were the Me-Schal or Upper Mountain Nisqually.  While the villages closer to the Puget Sound had a greater population, the Me-Schal and other Nisqually villages closer to mountain had fewer members. According to Nisqually historian Cecilia Carpenter, these villages were among the earliest as the majority of people made their way across the Natchez Pass to the other side of Mt. Rainier and on down to the Puget Sound.

Daily Life
Often, the Me-Schal would visit other villages. The Nisqually traveled mostly by horse or on foot. When they used canoes, they were not large, sea faring ones rather small shovelnose canoes using long poles not oars.  These vessels were flatter and lighter to handle the shallower waters for travel through the Ohop, Mashel, and Nisqually rivers.

Back at home, the Me-Schal village consisted of a few, smaller, cedar longhouses, which held more than one family.  With the warmer weather came time for gathering, so they wove cattails and created mat shelters that allowed for greater mobility.  If the harvesting was a short stay, they formed a covering with fir boughs.

When the camas was in bloom, the Me-Schal traveled down to the meadows and encamped along side other Nisqually to dig up the bulbs.  They had to wait for the camas to bloom to tell them which bulbs were safe and which were toxic.  If the bloom was white, it meant the camas was poison.  A lavender bloom signaled a safe bulb to pound down and process to eat or store back home for later use.

Village Locations

A Possible Village Site
A Possible Village Site



Many have speculated where the permanent village was located.  This is not easy to solve, as there are no remains.  Some believe it was up from the Mashel/Nisqually confluence where the Mashel takes a turn.  Others believe it was on the Mashel Prairie were there still is a fresh spring conveniently supplying good water.  It was a ideal place to graze the horses and near the Mashel, Nisqually Rivers, and Medicine Springs.  Another spot could be where the Little Mashel runs into the Mashel River.  Artifacts have surfaced from many locations.

Near the Little Mashel, Jackie Parnell told of finding a human skull when she was very young.  She also found pegs and holders for grease “candles” on the high hill above Eatonville where her home was.  Perhaps, it was a look out as Me-Schal villagers were on constant watch for larger tribes coming up to capture their members as slaves.

Wherever it was, the village was close the mountain the Me-Schal loved and called Ta-co-bud.  The word carries the idea of life giving waters.  They never felt the need to climb Mt. Rainier but respected it as the place where a great spirit dwelled.  It waters supplied the abundant salmon the people thrived on.

Chief Leschi & Territorial Wars

Chief Leschi
Chief Leschi



One reason the Me-Schal village is significant and why the Eatonville area is scared to the Nisqually was that it was the birthplace of Chief Leschi.  The village was still in existence up to the Territorial Wars of 1855-56.  B.F. Shaw and Governor Stevens wanted the Nisqually to sign a treaty to surrender and leave their land, which included the Eatonville area.  Leschi refused to sign and lead many who also would not leave.  Tensions escalated and blood was shed among both settlers and native people.

Though Leschi spoke against fighting or attacking non-combatants such as farmers, women, and children, other natives went on rampages against innocent settlers.  Leschi tried to create talks with Stevens but had to go on the run as soldiers were sent to capture him.  In the panic and rising fear, Leschi was accused of starting attacks and killing a man named Abram Benton Moses.  After his capture and two trials, Leschi was put to death by hanging on February 19, 1858.  Because of the questionable second trial, Leschi was acquitted by a historical court in 2004.

For those of us that have wandered, fished, picked berries, and played in the waters of the Mashel, it is easy to image how life was good for the Me-Schal Nisqually. With plenty of game, salmon, large cedars, cattails, bear grass, and other native people within walking distance to visit, life was abundant.

Copyright Creative Commons License

Photos of shovelnose canoe and Leschi courtesy of Cecilia Carpenter

Click to enlarge photo.


Indian Henry (So-To-Lick)

Indiana Henry Gravestone, photo by Stephen B. Emerson
Indian Henry Gravestone, photo by Stephen B. Emerson

Indian Henry (So-To-Lick, 1820-95) was a complex man, able to live in two worlds. While he was dedicated to indian customs he was also comfortable with the white man.

Some believe he was a Klickitat or Yakama from the village at Simco and that he arrived on the Mashell Prairie around 1864.

“Indian Henry’s village (the second one on the Mashell Prairie) was about five miles west of Eatonville, reached by the first road that turns left below the Triangle, of the Mountain Highway. The Indians owned about 600 acres of land, commonly referred to by people her as “the reservation” although it was not a reservation, but a land grant made to Henry by the government.”

“Henry was an intelligent man and made many friends among the white people, including the Ohop Valley pioneers, T.C. Van Eaton . . . and many others. ” History of Tacoma Eastern Area

Local legend has it that he showed T.C. Van Eaton the spot where Eatonville stands today.  Whether he did or not, he did have a lot of interaction with the Eatonville community.

The newspaper Independent published in Vancouver noted on January 3, 1884 that “Indian Henry raises a large quantity of produce which he brings out to market on the backs of his ponies. He raises wheat and oats and all kinds of vegetable; besides, he has a large band of horses and a large number of hogs.”

For more information on Indian Henry, clink on any of the following:
• October 2t, 2007 News Tribune Article by Rob Carson
Washington State history link on Indian Henry
• The book Firm Foundation, formation of Eatonville, WA