Captain George Vancouver Julia Butler Hansen Carlos Bulosan Ernestine Anderson Kurt Cobain Bill Gates & Paul Allen Home
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week Book Store Donate Now
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6852 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search

Features

Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Theodore Winthrop finishes his tour of Washington Territory at Port Townsend on August 21, 1853.

HistoryLink.org Essay 10241 : Printer-Friendly Format

On August 21, 1853, Theodore Winthrop (1828-1861) finishes a tour of Washington Territory at Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. He has toured the territories of California, Oregon, and British Columbia. As he turns toward his New York home, he is in great haste to meet members of his traveling party at Fort Dalles, the U.S. Army outpost on the Columbia River. He hires members of the S'Klallam tribe and their canoe to take him down Puget Sound to Fort Nisqually. There he buys horses from Owhi, a Yakama Chief, and hires Owhi's son Lo-kout to guide him along the treacherous Naches Trail that crosses the Cascades. Winthrop and Lo-kout have a falling out, and Winthrop finishes the journey alone.

Theodore Winthrop, a descendent of John Winthrop (1588-1649), the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, graduated from Yale College in 1848. He toured the European continent, clerked in Panama, and spent five months in Washington Territory. There he contracted smallpox and had to languish in a cabin for several weeks of quarantine. He wore a full red beard and weighed 126 pounds. In 1890 the town of Winthrop would take his name, and so would the Mount Rainier glacier he described in his 1862 travel narrative The Canoe and the Saddle, a book that is the foremost source of information about his movements through the Territory.  

The Canoe 

By August 21, 1853, Winthrop was ready to depart from Washington Territory and head toward his New York home. In six days, with the help of Native American paddlers and guides, he needed to travel the length of Puget Sound and cross the Cascades in order to join a wagon train leaving from Fort Dalles. At Port Townsend he hired a 40-foot dugout canoe and paddlers. They agreed to carry him 85 miles down the Sound to Fort Nisqually near the present site of Tacoma. He wrote: 

"My vessel was a black dug-out with a red gunwale. Forty feet of pine-tree had been burnt and whittled into a sharp, buoyant canoe. Sundry cross-pieces strengthened it, and might be used as seats or backs. A row of small shells inserted in the red-smeared gunwale served as talismans against Bugaboo" (Winthrop, 20).  

The passage is characteristic of Winthrop's writing in The Canoe and the Saddle, where his anthropological observations often mingle with his ethnocentrism. 

The owner of the canoe and a member of Winthrop's retinue was Chetzemoka, a chief of the S'Klallam Indians. Settled in Chetzemoka's craft, urging his paddlers to pull hard to earn the blankets he would pay them, Winthrop noticed them drinking rum. He disapproved. And so in the interest of efficiency and speed, he risked a mutiny, confiscated the rum, and poured it overboard. The Indians rebelled. He brandished his Colt pistol and ordered his paddlers to turn back to their task.  

And the Saddle 

Arrived at Fort Nisqually, Winthrop purchased horses and retained an Indian guide to take him to Fort Dalles. The man who sold him the horses was Yakama chief Owhi (d. 1858). The guide was one of Owhi's sons, whom Winthrop knew as Loolowcan. Inasmuch as no other record of that name appears in regional histories, one may conclude with A. J. Splawn that Winthrop's guide was Lo-kout, a brother of Qualchan (d. 1858).  

The traverse across the Cascades on the Naches Trail was arduous and rushed. After a windy night spent on river rocks, Winthrop kicked Lo-kout to hurry him from bed. Later that day his guide abandoned him, and Winthrop finished the overland voyage on his own. Lo-kout, after seeing his brother Qualchan hanged by Colonel George Wright (1803-1865), and after taking Qualchan's widow, Whist-alks, as his wife, enrolled in the Spokane tribe as L'Quoit. He outlived Theodore Winthrop by five decades, for Winthrop joined the Union cause and died in an early battle in the Civil War. In New York, between 1853 and 1861, Winthrop wrote five books, published posthumously.

Sources:
HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, "Winthrop -- Thumbnail History" (by Laura Arksey) and "James G. Swan (1819-1900)" (by Kit Oldham), http://www.historylink.org/ (accessed October 27, 2012); T. G. Knudsen, Warrior of the Mist: A Biography of Qualchan, Chief Owhi's Son (Spokane: The Author, 1996); Paul Lindholdt, "Theodore Winthrop," Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Spring 2007), 5-11; The Canoe and the Saddle: A Critical Edition ed. by Paul J. Lindholdt (Lincoln: Bison Books and University of Nebraska Press, 2006); A. J. Splawn, Ka-Mi-Akin, Last Hero of the Yakimas (Portland: Binfords & Mort, for the Oregon Historical Society, [1917] 1944); Theodore Winthrop, The Canoe and the Saddle (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1862).


Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >



Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You




Theodore Winthrop (1828-1861), 1861
Courtesy Washington State Historical Society


 
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org