On May 2, 1931, at 2 p.m., members of the Marcus Whitman chapter of the D.A.R. (Daughters of the American Revolution) unveil a bronze and granite marker commemorating the 1855 signing of the Point Elliott Treaty. The marker is placed at 3rd Street and Lincoln Avenue, Mukilteo. Some 3,000 spectators attend the event. About 300 are Native people and descendants of the treaty signers. Dignitaries speaking at the ceremony include State Senator Wesley Jones, Congressman Lin Hadley, Kate Stevens Bates (daughter of Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens), Governor Roland H. Hartley (1864-1952), Professor Edmond S. Meany (1862-1935) and Tulalip Tribes representatives August Duclos and Chief William Shelton (1869-1938). Three tribal members in attendance had been present the day the treaty was signed.
Remembering a Great Event
The precise location of the 1855 Point Elliott Treaty signing is unknown. Over the years, drastic alterations have been made to the Mukilteo shoreline as well as to the town itself and speculation about the original location usually brings up more questions than answers. The earliest known attempt to mark and commemorate the event happened in 1919 when Clarence Bagley and Edmond Meany planned to erect a granite pylon in remembrance of the 1855 Point Elliott Treaty signing. The project was never completed and Bagley and Meany did not record the location in any published source. But commemorative markers need caretakers and parks and schools are often good guardians. Thus the Rosehill School lawn at 3rd Street and Lincoln Avenue in Mukilteo was chosen as an appropriate place by members of the Marcus Whitman chapter of the DAR. The marker was ceremoniously unveiled on May 2, 1931.
Tulalip tribal representatives captured the most attention on dedication day. Three tribal members were introduced who had been present at the signing of the treaty: John Davis, nearly 100 years old; Bill Kanim, nephew of Chief Patkanim (d. 1858), and Charley Jules (1846-1935). Jules was 9 years old in 1855 and understood little of what was being said that day, except as it was related to him through translators.
Chief William Shelton further elaborated on the communication difficulties that treaty day. The Indians, he suggested, had mostly hoped for continuing access to their hunting and fishing places and they also wanted medicine. August Duclos, superintendent on the Tulalip reservation, urged assimilation, asking that Native peoples be allowed to take their place in American life. Professor Edmond Meany brought a rare copy of the treaty to the ceremonies.
Robert Guss (1907-1985), great grandson of Chief Patkanim, unveiled the monument along with Lillian Sinclair, granddaughter of Mukilteo pioneer Jacob Fowler. Ardelle Gilman, D.A.R. chapter regent, presented the monument to Governor Roland Hartley and Hartley officially placed the monument in the care of the Mukilteo school district. The text of the marker reads:
At this place on January 22, 1855,
Governor Isaac I. Stevens
concluded the treaty by which the
Indians ceded the lands from point
Pully to the British boundary. Of the
one hundred signatures, eighty-two
were by Indian chiefs, headmen and
delegates of numerous tribes. The first
four recognized as leading chiefs of
their own and allied tribes were
Seattle, Patkanim, Goliah and Chow-
Its-Hoot. The United States Senate
ratified the treaty on March 8, 1859.
After years of debate regarding its fate, the 1928 Rosehill School building was demolished in December 2010. While the new Rosehill Community Center was under construction, the Point Elliott Treaty marker was taken down and stored.
On May 14, 2011, a sunny, breezy day, members of the Marcus Whitman Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held a ceremony to rededicate the Point Elliott Treaty marker. The marker was repositioned within 10 feet of its original site.
May 2011 also marked the chapter's 100th anniversary. D.A.R. regent Candy Thoreson led the introductory proceedings, with Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine giving greetings and a proclamation. Other speakers included Sally Buckingham, past state DAR treasurer and current Regent of the Whidbey Island Chapter; Shawn MacAvoy, representative of the Samish Tribe; and Snoqualmie Tribe member Shelley Burch. A small crowd attended.
In October of 2020 the Point Elliot Treaty marker was stolen, a thief leaving the words "Broken Treaties" spraypainted across its granite base. Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson reached out to local tribes, the Mukilteo Historical Society and the Marcus Whitman Chapter of the D.A.R, asking for input regarding the marker replacement.
Gregerson lost her position as mayor to Joe Marine in the 2021 election and Marine decided that the original marker should be replicated, unchanged, telling the media, "We can't rewrite history. We can make new history. We can right wrongs but it's not right to go back and change the history."