John Seattle was believed to have been born in the mid-1800s on the White River west of Kent, also the birthplace of Chief Seattle. Both were members of the Duwamish tribe. In the late 1800s, John met and married his wife Mary, who was part Soos Creek, part Snoqualmie, and part Klickitat. Mary owned valuable tracts of land near Puyallup and Yakima.
For years, the Seattles lived at the foot of Yesler in a small community known as Dzilzalahlitch. In 1903, John and Mary moved to Auburn, buying a cabin on the Green River, described by the Auburn Globe as being near “the Alex Porter place.” They named the cabin Tatalka, which means “quiet place in the river.”
In 1908, a large Indian gathering was held at Tatalka, and prominent leaders from almost all the Northwest tribes attended for speech-making and dancing. John Seattle was recognized as a leader and a man of great importance.
Mary passed away in 1922, causing John’s health to steadily fail. Two months before his death, John Seattle went to the Tulalip reservation near Marysville, and was tended to there.
At the time of his death, the valuation of John’s property, which he acquired from his wife, totaled $50,000. He also possessed $10,000 in cash, making him one of the wealthiest Indians in this part of the country.