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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Mark Lafayette Fenton (1851-1943)

Mark Lafayette Fenton (1851-1943)

I happened upon a newspaper article Mr. Fenton in the Harbor History Museum Research Room and thought it might be of interest since he was on of the early settlers at the Burley Colony arriving before 1900.

But before we read the article let me tell you a little bit about Fenton’s history before he arrived in Burley.  He was born November 23, 1851 in New York to Lafayette Fenton and Jane F. Nutting.  He was the oldest of five children, having two brothers and two sisters.  By the time he was 23, he was living in Clinton County, Michigan where he married Ellen Louisa Tracy.  He and Ellen had two children, Bessie Fay (1879-1961) and Paul Tracey (1888-1941).  Mark moved west where he stayed with the Purdy family while his wife and children remained in Michigan.

So with that background information, let’s get to the newspaper article.  Unfortunately, the newspaper’s name and date is not included on the photocopy.

‘Looking Backward’ at Burley “Dream” Colony

Dad Fenton Tells of Troubles of Those Who Tried to Live Bellamy Concept

By Staff Correspondent

BURLEY, Aug. 3—Among the last of the old Burley colonists who settled in this section of Henderson bay almost a half century ago in M. L. Fenton.  “Dad” Fenton, to his friends, can tell many an interesting story in connection with his exodus and those of friends from the east and middle western states to what they believed was to be the Eden of their dreams.  Mr. Fenton, born in New York state in 1861 (sic), will celebrate his birthday, marking 89 years, on Nov. 23.  The years have taken light toll from this pioneer and he goes about the wok on his place with a spryness usually attached to a man many years younger.

Back before the times usually listed as the “delightful 90s”, Edward Bellamy, newspaper man and publisher, was writing such stories as “Looking Backward” and “Equality.“  The books  had a wonderful appeal for those who believed in a different deal than was being dealt to their fellow men.  The result was that colonies were being formed in different sections of the country with the thought in the mind of the founders that ideas set forth by Mr. Bellamy could be put into practical use.

Burley was one of these projects.  A large section of land was obtained here; newspaper, shingle mill and other industries were established in this then wild section.  The only road then to the head of the bay colony was a trail.  The colonists brought their supplies in from a very rough road across the country from Olalla.  The print shop was set up in a log house located between Olalla and Burley until a permanent home could be built at the colony site.  Fenton still has copies of some of the first publications of the organization.

Ran Colony Boat
As a youth Mr. Fenton sailed on Lake Ontario, in fact was almost born on the lake.  The knowledge gained there in seafaring came in handy here where for a time he had charge of the company boat Kingston, used in towing and delivering supplies from Tacoma to the colony.

In Chicago, where he was engaged in the hardware business the stories of the colonization scheme intrigued this old timer.  He quickly decided the Burley colony held his future and came west.  “The idea appealed to me” he said.  “I knew the program called for a general ownership of all property and a man could not even own a dog or  cat.  But that was all right as far as I was concerned.  The scheme meant the doing away poverty, less work in general and a happy community.  However, there were a few and very vital things we failed to take into consideration and the big one was human nature.  But at the time there wasn’t a flaw in the measure anywhere.

“People came from all stations in life.  Some had never touched the working end of a cross cut saw or knew the art of burning stumps and there were some who turned out to be elocutionists.  We found these gathered at the old hotel and willing to tell the other fellow how things ought to be done.  Naturally this started dissension.  Some of the colonists, not satisfied, went to the Home Colony on Joe’s bay where they figured there was more freedom.

Shingle Troubles
“Each colonist had 10 acres of land but all belonged to the community.  We had trouble with the shingle mill.  We burned thousands of shingles under the mill boiler.  They were not cut properly and we did not seem to be able to locate the trouble.  This mill was a Flynn outfit.  I believed the difficulty was with the saw.  I suggested getting some one to show us how to work it.  This was voted down because we were not allowed to hire any one outside the colony.

“Finally this ruined shingle trouble reached a stage where something had to be done.  I told our members that I would try and find a man who knew something about the shingle business and get him to make the repairs.  I would pay such a man myself.  I located an old fellow in Old Tacoma who said he had operated the Hall type of machine.  He came to Burley; filed our saw and started us on the right track towards making good shingles.  That was only one of our problems.

Four Cents an Hour
“There was a lot of hard work put in at Burley by a number of members of the colony and little pay.  There were times that all I made was 4 cents an hour.  The internal rifts grew with several of the strongest advocates of the scheme trying to get the organization on a mutual and satisfactory working basis.  It was found that people wanted to own their home and litigation followed with the enterprise being taken over by a receiver.  The property was finally sold to satisfy the different individuals.  I obtained a tract here and have made this my home.

“So a beautiful dream of brotherhood ended.  Theoretically, the idea appeared sound.  I know I was for it as it seemed to be the cure of our social problems.  But the plan would not work.”

Following the collapse of the colony, Mr. Fenton drove the mail stage for about 12 years.

Mr. Fenton died age 92 on October 5, 1943 and is buried in the Burley Cemetery.  His wife, Ellen Louisa died on September 12, 1935.  Their son Paul died January 8, 1941, and their daughter Bessie Fay Fenton Tilton on February 2, 1961.


Notes:
  • Ancestry.com
  • Harbor History Museum Research Room



© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry June 12, 1889

South breeze in morn & signs of change which however som falls away.

Made fast to tie scow and in2 hrs. & 37 min.landed her at the city -- there lie around working for no chance to do something -- scow all ready and engage in loaded.  Hades!

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry June 5, 1889

Weather same and labor and ???  iso's the same.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Emmett Hunt's Diary

Following his last entry for November 22, 1888 he writes the following note:

Leave for the East & Fun

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Clifford (Buddy) John Sanford Mowitch (1928-2003)

Clifford (Buddy) John Sanford Mowitch (1928-2003)

I don’t know why I have never run across this oral history before, but I hadn’t.  It is very interesting and explains a few things which I hadn’t know previously.  Like what in particular?  Well let’s let Buddy explain his family’s history.  The oral history jumps around a bit so I’ll try to put in more in chronological order but forgive me if I don’t.

Buddy was born on May 13, 1928 to Philip Henry Mowitch, a Yakama, and Maybelle Mabel Cultree, a Quinault, Mowitch on the Puyallup Indian Reservation.  His birth certificate recognized both parents’ tribes.  However, he also needed to be enrolled into one of the two tribes in order to have full benefits afforded to the individual tribal members.  His mother, Mabel chose to enroll Buddy into the Quinault Tribe.  The Articles of Incorporation or Tribal Ordinances in the Tribal Constitutions.  These spell out the requirements mostly based upon blood quantum, and/or lineage requirements.  Included might also be shared customs, traditions, language and tribal blood.  The requirements may vary from tribe to tribal.  

His parents had moved to the Puyallup Indian Reservation from Wollochet Bay while they did seasonal work on various hop farms in and around Puyallup and Fife.  Just like today’s migrant farm workers, Buddy’s immediate and extended family followed the crops whenever the fishing season slowed down and the fish were not active.  Hops In Washington was a very large crop similar to wheat in the state so after the harvest was finished in Fife and Puyallup, they would move on to Yakima and harvest the crops, hops, fruit, vegetables, etc. east of the mountains.  

Henry, Buddy’s father, would work wherever work was available be it the seasonal farm work or lumber mills or on the local Scandinavian farms in Little Norway.  “Swede farmers in that area where my dad … (Unfortunately the sentence ends abruptly but Buddy continues) “They intermingled real well with the Indian people, the Swede farmers, and different White people.  There was no discrimination; we mixed very well with them.”  There was a lumber mill and yard  by Uhlman’s store on Wollochet Bay.   Henry was also an excellent boat builder; his specialty was the 16-18 foot open skiffs.  We’ll revisit the fishing experiences a little later but first let’s touch on what Buddy described as his happiest childhood memories.   The memories also include some fishing stories.

The best, what I don’t know you call it but the happiest memories was being raised on Wollochet Bay.  We had a settlement there.  It’s across on a west end of the Narrows Bridge now, at that time the Indian Settlement was about west of the point where the bridge comes ashore there called the Wollochet Bay Indian Settlement.  It was Trust Land set aside for the Wollochet Bay Indians of the Puyallup Tribe.  There were several families lived there on that settlement.  We always lived in the outlying districts, and my family, we were gone quite a bit.  But we all gathered …”  (Note:  According to access genealogy.com Puyallup Indians.  The name for the Settlement or Village at the head of Woolochet Bay was Skwlo”tsid.)  When Buddy talks about his family, he identified the members as:  his mother, Mabel; his sister, Doris; his baby brother, Dawson James; Shirley (perhaps Shirley Maria Mowitch; and Bunny ?.  His maternal grandmother, Carolyn Cooper Bruce and her second husband, John Snelling Mowitch (Henry’s brother) lived in a big house up the hill with Buddy’s aunt Blanche, Mabel’s sister; and her daughter, Helene.

The family wasn’t confined to a single settlement because as mentioned above, they worked in several different places in the state.  I was surprised however to learn that the Wollochet Bay Indian Settlement wasn’t settled entirely by Puyallup Tribal members but included other tribes such as the Yakama and the Quinault. 

Quinault and Nisqually and Squaxin Island, Skokomish, and Wollochet Bay, they all intermingled.“  Buddy then goes on to speak about the families that lived in the Wollochet settlement and how they were instrumental in the Judge Boldt decision.  This will require an entirely different blog because it is so complicated on both sides, the Native American and the non-Native Americans who also depended on fishing for their livelihoods. The family lived wherever there was an empty house near the farms where they were working.  Buddy again mentions:  “the happiest part where I lived was right there on Point Fosdick.  We lived on the beach there, right on the beach.  My dad was a boat builder.  There was a boat house there where he could build boats.  We lived there quite a while and everything was right there in front of us.”  

There were open skiffs.  We had powerboats.  My grandmother and step-grandfather had a powerboat and we traveled back and forth quite a bit in the Squaxin Island/Olympia area to Wollochet Bay and that area.

“The fishermen at that time, they rowed in open skiffs and that’s the way I was raised, right on the water and my dad, when I was little, tiny guy, I would go with him.  I remember real well how we just fish all day handling and wherever we were when the day was over, we would set up and camp.  Whatever fish my dad caught to sell, there were fish buyers out in the scows in the straits out on the deep water.  The would go out there and buy fish for cash.  It’s like a …you follow the tides wherever you went, wherever the fish went; everybody knew where the fish were, certain areas where the fish were biting or hitting.  My dad, through word of mouth with the other fishermen, we’d go no matter how long it took, we’d go there.”

Buddy goes on to mention that although he himself did not fish on the larger boats or as far as Alaska, his father, Henry, had.  

However the Native Americans living in and around Wollochet Bay were eventually move out of the area, and he explains it as “Not so bad because when we moved outs…we really moved away from there at nearly ten years old and gradually made our way down here.  (Note:  I understand Buddy is referring to Taholah on the Quinault Indian Reservation.)  My mom’s a Quinault and my dad’s a Puyallup.  His family is Puyallup and my mom’s people are Quinault.  It’s how come we ended up here.  She owned property here.  She had fishing locations here.  So when it came time to, we got forced out of there by the game warden and the laws picking up fisherman out there, the Indian fishermen, after doing their livelihood, they were throwing them in jail.  My dad was in jail.”  According to the Bureau of Land Management records, Accession #1063461, Serial Patent, State of Washington, Issued 4/21/1933 Buddy (Clifford Sanford Mowitch) was granted 80 acres located Willamette Meridian, Township 022N, Range 013W, Aliquots E 1/2 NE 1/4, Section 13, Grays Harbor County.

The interviewer was quite curious about the fact that Buddy’s family and other people he speaks about all had Christian names rather than Native American names.  So Buddy explains that his extended family members had been attending Catholic Church schools since the mid-1`800s.  His mother and grandmother both went to St. George’s Indian School on land just outside the northern border of the Puyallup Reservation - just north of the Pierce County/King County boundary and due east of Highway 99 in Milton.  St. George’s Indian School was started by Father Peter Hylebos in 1888.  Although, as previously mention, there were other schools for the Native Americans in the area from approximately 1860.  Students at St. George’s came from Skokomish and Squaxin Island, Tulalip, virtual from all over the Puget Sound area.  So it was natural that they were given ‘white’ names, both first and surnames.  

Buddy himself attended the local Wollochet Bay school through the third grade.  Them starting in the fourth grade his mother put him in the boarding school at the Cushman Indian School.  He had been baptized into the Roman Catholic faith at age 5, and so receiving a Catholic education was normal.  His mother felt it was more convenient (and perhaps better) for him to board while attending school.  Less time away from school fishing or traveling with the family as they earned a living.

When it came time for high school Buddy attended Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon.  The school was run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and primarily served all of the tribes in the Pacific Northwest including Alaska, Montana and Idaho as well as Oregon and Washington.  

Buddy left school in his junior year when he turned 17 to enlist in the US Marine Corps to serve in WWII. although at the time Buddy says “…the tail end of WWII.”  He also said “In those days, if you didn’t go into the Service, you were nothing.”  Buddy was sent to the Pacific and tool part in the Occupation Forces of Japan and China and rebuilding government facilities.  He served 12 years, three different enlistments in the Marine Air Wing and Military Police.  He was awarded the Purple Heart.

Buddy mentioned wanting to go to college when he was in his 40s which would have been late 1960, early 1970.  But it doesn’t say if he followed up on that desire.

I have only hit upon a very few of the interesting parts of this oral history.  I definitely recommend you read it in its entirety-all 25 pages.  It is so very interesting, and reveals a lot about the Native Americans, their lives and their culture that we don’t think about.



Notes:


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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry November 21, 1888

Nice and warm with an inclination to fog.  Went to the city and walked around as long as I could stand it and accomplished little aside from lamming up my gouty foot.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry November 14, 1888

Strong cold North wind making it quite wintery.  Chaffed around till the freight came along then rode to town and sought the cozy couch.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.