On a beautiful October morning in 2009, among trees of bright yellow leaves, the Sutterlict family song filled the Mashel Prairie sky once again. Descendants of Indian Henry (Soo-Too-Lick) had come to connect the broken line of their family. Below a bright, blue sky, the Sutterlict family left gifts and continued to sing as they blessed Indian Henry’s grave. Finally, they left restored to their past. In one day, the Sutterlict family gave closure to Eatonville’s history as well.
As it has been written before, any history of Eatonville would not be complete without Indian Henry. The only writings about Indian Henry stated that his family had all died and so ended his line. However, recent examination of early census and death records revealed a path to his descendants. Nevertheless, fate through a chance meeting would bridge the gap to his great-great-great grandchildren.
Early accounts vary. Some say he was here as early as 1857 but did not make himself known because of the Indian Wars and fear of being taken to the internment camp on Fox Island. There used to be a question if Indian Henry was Klickitat, Nisqually, or Cowlitz Indian. However, an affidavit by his son James Henry Saterlick (Sutterlict) states that Indian Henry was part Yakama and part Cowlitz.
A possible reason for the confusion in his heritage stems from a governmental decision made after the Washington Territorial Wars. When the war ended in 1856, the US Government grouped one part of the Cowlitz (now known as Upper Cowlitz) with the Yakima Indian Nation. So, for a time the Upper Cowlitz Indians were considered Yakima Indians, although now they are autonomous.
It is said Soo-Too-Lick came to Western Washington from Yakima. He was banished from the village of Simco after killing a medicine man in retaliation for not healing his father. After leaving the Yakima area, he lived among other Indians who had formed Squaitz Village up near Mt. Rainier away from Tacoma and large groups of white settlers. He may have even taken his wives from among that band. He took his “Boston” name from someone else passing through.
Sometime in the mid 1850’s Henry Winsor was on route carrying mail between Cowlitz Landing and Steilacoom when he came across Indian Henry. The story goes that Winsor asked him what his name was. He answered Soo-Too-Lick. Winsor asked him what his “Boston” name, complaining that his native name was too difficult to pronounce. When Soo-Too-Lick stated that he had no other name, Winsor said that he could use his. It stuck and Soo-too-lick is still known as Indian Henry.
|Indian Henry's Hunting Ground (courtesy of Jeff Morrison)|
Perhaps it was these positive experiences that led Indian Henry to settle closer to the whites on the Mashel Prairie around 1864. Many called it the reservation because many other Indian people were attracted to live there rather than on the federal lands. Not many were in this area at the time, so he would have no problem gaining the land from just inhabiting it. To be sure and secure the land, T. C. Van Eaton helped Indian Henry, with sons Thomas and Wickersham, file homestead claims to the settlement just before Indian Henry’s death in 1895.
Indian Henry may have chosen the Mashel Prairie because it had been an earlier village site of the
Nisqually Indians call Me-Shal. Some accounts say he came in 1864 while others speculate as late as
1875. It existed along an established Indian path to Mt. Tacoma, later called Mt. Rainier. It turned out to be a prosperous site since many seeking to go to the mountain often stayed at his home, bought supplies, and needed a guide.
Though Indian Henry guided many in and around Mt. Rainier, he is sometimes mistakenly given credit for guiding Hazard Stevens. In 1857, it was not Indian Henry but was in fact a Nisqually Indian named Wah-pow-e-ty. That party was unsuccessful and did not reach the summit. Thirteen years later, Stevens made it to the summit with the help of a Yakima man named Sluiskin.
In 1883, Indian Henry guided James Longmire, George Bayley, Philemon Beecher Van Trump, and A.C. Ewing to Mt. Rainier. He charged $2 a day for his services. George Bayley wrote this account:
"…terminating abruptly at Mishawl (Mashel) Prairie, where we passed the night, the welcome guests of Henry, Klickitat [Yakima] Indian who had renounced his allegiance to his tribe, adopted the dress and manners of living of the whites, married three buxom squaws, and settled down as a prosperous farmer. He had preempted a quarter section of land, fenced it, erected several good log buildings, and planted his land to wheat and vegetables, which appeared as thrifty and prosperous as any of the farms of the white settlers we had seen. Henry was skilled in woodcraft and we needed his services to guide us to the mountain. For the moderate consideration of two dollars a day, he agreed to take us by the most direct route to the highest point that could be reached by horses, there to remain in charge of the animals while we went forward on foot."
Indian Henry did ride his horse to the point where the group had to dismount, but he refused to go any closer. Some thought he was afraid of the spirit of the mountain, which could be very true. Those who knew him thought the 58 year old just was not interested and did not see the point of huffing and puffing just to get to the top where there were no berries or game.
It was on this hike, while fetching wandering horses, James Longmire found a beautiful meadow containing hot springs. He went back up, built cabins, and Longmire Springs was born.
Indian Henry (far left at the edge), Muir, Loomis, Van Trump, Ingraham, Keith, and Booth at Camp in the Clouds, Mt. Rainier. 1888 [MSS301.1.3.3.5.1.tif] Brubeck Collection, Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library. Copyright Dave Brubeck
In October of 1888, Henry guided Ohop Valley pioneer Torger Peterson up to Mt. Rainier. Peterson described it in detail:
I went in the company of Indian Henry and some other Indians up to Mount Tacoma. We went on horseback through brush and lower logs and finally landed in what is now known as Indian Henry’s Hunting Grounds. It was a clear day and the sun was just setting when we reached the mountains and I will never as long as I live forget that sight; such a park surrounded with flowers of all colors and descriptions, and right then I made up my mind to do all in my power to get a road to that Mountain so that the people could see that wonderland and inhale that invigorating Mountain air.
This area is now enveloped within Mt. Rainier National Park. The place still bears the name Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground. Indian Henry is also honored with Satulick (Soo-Too-Lick) Mountain named after him.
On August 4, 1890 Fay Fuller, first woman to climb to the summit of Mt. Rainier, stayed the night bedded in fresh hay in Indian Henry’s barn along with the Van Trumps and their daughter. Several additional groups were staying as well. Among them was Mrs. Maud Shaffer, a granddaughter of James Longmire, who reported this encounter with the family:
On the way up to the springs, the family would stop and stay at Indian Henry’s place on the Mashel Prairie. She remembered that Indian Henry was small and had not a beard. The house was large and well kept. She enjoyed playing with the children. Both wives were pleasant but she liked Anna the best. After a long day of play, there were bonfires and fun nights sleeping on the hay in his barn. Her father Elcaine Longmire traded furs and barter over fresh fish using “Indian-Chinook” prices. Maud recalls hearing the haggling: “Yet dollar, $1.00; mo dollar, $2.00; klone dollar, $3.00; sitsum dollar, $4.00.” There was a mutual fondness and trust between the two men.
When Indian Henry needed to pay for his supplies at the Van Eaton Mercantile, he would do so in gold nuggets. His gold mine is still a mystery. Some looked for it around his hunting grounds. Others tried to follow Indian Henry as he journeyed to the lake head of the Ohop but he always eluded them. He had one of his wives serve as lookout while he panned some placer gold (gold found in sand or gravel in rivers or streams) then returned with the nuggets.
T.C. Van Eaton was the only person Indian Henry offered to show where the gold was. He declined and believed Indian Henry would give him gold if he needed help. Van Eaton’s descendants believe that T.C. did not want to see a gold rush in Eatonville.
According to John Van Eaton, T.C. Van Eaton’s son, the Sigmund family ran a chicken farm in the little valley past Clay City. They supplied chickens for Ohop Bob Restaurant which was located on the Mountain Highway and overlooked the valley below. They noticed something shiny in the claws of the chickens and were startled to discover that it was gold. At one point they gathered enough to fill two gallons of placer pebbles. Washington State Gold Mines published in 1984, states there is a probability of gold in the Mashel River and near Clay City.
“The Mashel River has produced some placer gold near its mouth. Gold ore was produced from lodes three miles upstream. A wide vein of free milling quartz produced some low grade gold ore near Clay City.”
When not using gold, Indian Henry found a gold mine in tourism. He was a shrewd businessman. He is said to have brought travelers to his farm for supplies and lodging by changing the signs directing tourists to Mt. Rainier.
Indian Henry’s farm was extremely self sufficient and raised enough to take to the market. The homestead was teeming with horses, ponies, pigs, and hunting dogs. In addition, there were dogs that were bred for their long coats and sheered the same as wool. Three fields yielded crops including wheat and oats. His wives were skilled at keeping vegetable gardens. He even had a fanning mill and was so productive he sold seed to the settlers in the Ohop Valley.
The abundant wildlife fed the families as well. The Mashel Prairie area was rich in wild vegetables and several types of berries like black, salmon, raspberries and huckleberries. In the spring and fall, the salmon filled the Ohop Creek and Mashel River. Many years later, Mashel-Nisqually and Ohop Creek-Nisqually confluences made for favorite fishing stations and sites of many salmon bakes.
Indian Henry was said to have three wives. In 1888, John Muir on his way to Mt. Rainier commented that Indian Henry had three wives. However, in 1890, Mrs. Maud Shaffer only encountered two wives; “Anna” was her favorite.
Some have written the incident of losing his two other wives as a comical story, but it was not. Indian Henry was told it was against the law to have three wives. When he came before Judge James Wickersham in Tacoma, it was quite a serious matter of being forced to change his way of living. It meant ripping apart his family. It is unclear how many children were from the other wives. Separation would mean they would be taken from their mothers to stay with their father or go with their mothers and be reduced to fending for themselves. One account states that Indian Henry was locked up in jail until he agreed to comply with the judge’s order. After pleading had failed, Indian Henry gave in and chose his oldest wife. He implored the other two to stay for wages. Indian Henry offered them 10 cents a day to clean, pick berries, cure meat, and help with the crops.
Indian Henry’s first wife is still a mystery. There must have been this first wife of three wives as Indian Henry's sons Thomas and Wickersham are older than the other two well known wives. According an 1889 census, there is a Cowlitz Indian woman listed as “Sallie.” Born in 1839, she and Indian Henry had five children: Wickersham (named after Judge James Wickersham), Joe, Mary, Robert, William. This is the only time some of these other children's names are mention, and only a few can be verified as living on the Mashel Prairie. It is unclear when "Sallie" died. Part of the confusion lies with Indian Henry’s second wife.
The second wife of Indian Henry was also called “Sally”or "Sallie" even though her Indian name was possibly Patoomlat. She was 16 years younger than the first "Sallie." Her brother was William Penoyer/Ponia, and he lived on the priarie as well. After Indian Henry’s death, Patoomlat/Sally later married a Puyallup Indian named Thomas Howard. Skilled in many crafts, she made beautiful cedar baskets. These baskets are still with us today in a private family collection. In 1903, as the widow if Indian Henry, Sally secured a public domain land claim to the land they had been living on. Eatonville death records state that her son John died at age 24 in 1913. She fulfilled her last request to have a “white” wedding to husband Thomas. Her death was suspected by the coroner to be from tuberculosis; the same cause of death as her son four years earlier.
The February 9, 1917 issue of the Eatonville Dispatch posted this obituary:
The funeral of Sallie Howard was held in Eatonville last week. George Barr officiated at the ceremonies. Mrs. Howard was married the week previous to Thos. Howard by Rev. Wood of Eatonville. She was in a critical condition at the time of her marriage. Deceased has been married to Mr. Howard for a number of years but desired to have the ceremony performed according to the white laws. She was a member of the Cowlitz tribe of Indians.
|Sally's baskets, doll, and Indian Henry's fishing spear|
|Anna (Indian Henry's 3rd Wife)|
Anna’s son “Jimmie” or James H. Suterlick moved to Nesika within Lewis County, Washington. According to the 1910 census of Lewis Co. Sulphur Creek, James H. Suterlick is married to Mary whose parents are listed as James and Anna Yoke. Sadly, in 1913, James signed as a witness on the death record of his half-brother John Suterlick. James and Mary had a child named Joseph Lawrence Suterlick born in Eatonville. James died at age 42 in 1922. 1928 Yakama Indian rolls show Joseph married to Lucille Hoptowit. It not clear what happened to Lucille as Joseph died in 1942 leaving a wife named Alice S. Suterlick. His son Benedict Joseph Sutterlict was born in Yakama in 1927 and died there in 2007. There are several images of Suterlicks in the White Country Museum in Packwood. Their descendants are many and still live within Washington State.
The rest of the settlement included other children of Indian Henry and his extended family. Many were related by blood and marriage. From census records and affidavits and in addition to John (the youngest) and James (the second oldest), other children included Thomas Henry Sutulic, Wickersham Henry Sutulic, and a daughter Mary (also called Maud).
Local residents also remember Thomas Howard, Robert Smith, James Pennoyer (Ponia), William Panier (Ponia), and Bill Pattawa (Padawa or Padua or Peterwow). Bill Pattawa had two daughters Anna and Christine George from his wife Lucy's previous marriage. Christine later married an Indian man named Louie Jack.
In addition, the 1910 Census for the Silver Lake Indian Precinct, verifies some of those residing on the Mashel Prairie. In one household was Thomas Henry (Indian Henry's son), his wife Mary, daughters Lena and Ida, and son Louie. Also in the same household were son-in-law George Tumwatter, his wife Alice (daughter of Thomas Henry Sutulic), and their children Lily, Nora, and Adam. Alice attended a nearby school and taught many how to weave baskets from bark. In the next home over, there lived Sally Saterlick and her 21 year old son John. Besides discovering the cause of John Sutterlick’s death, Thomas Henry Sutulic did not die of natural causes but drowned in the Puyallup River. Also, in the same census is Louie Jack, his wife Christina, and mother-in-law "Lucy Paduwa."
So in all, these individuals can be verified prior to 1926:
James Pennoyer (Ponia)
William Penoyer (Ponia) his wife Mary, sister Margaret, and mother Jenni. (half Brother to Sally and whole brother to Anna). A 1930 Census finds William married to "Nellie" with daughter Kate "Smyne" and three grandchildren north of White Swan/Yakama.
Thomas "Santiago" Howard (married Sally and Anna Sutterlick) In Elbe by 1920 and died in 1944.
Thomas "Santiago" Howard (married Sally and Anna Sutterlick) In Elbe by 1920 and died in 1944.
Indian Henry (Soo-Too-Lick: see above)
Sally Sutterlick (Indian Henry’s wife died in 1917 of tuberculosis) and daughter Mary (Maud)
John Henry Suterlick (Sally's son who died in 1913 of tuberculosis)
Annie Suterlick (Indian Henry’s wife: see above)
James Henry Suterlick (Indian Henry and Ann's son was in Nesika in 1913 and died in 1942)
Willie Sam (Anna's second husband died in 1909) and son William W. Sam (Jr.)
Thomas Sutterlick (Indian Henry’s son drown in the Puyallup River), wife Molly Anne (or Mary Ann) and children: Alice (Allace), Albert, Lena (Lenia), Roggers, and Louie
George Tumwatter (Santanas), wife Alice (Thomas Sutterlick’s daughter), and Lily, Nora, and “Adam”
Wickersham Sutterlick (Indian Henry’s son) and wife: Eliza (Emma)
Bill Pattawa (Paduwa or Peterwow), wife Lucy Petewaw/Peterwow (Ellen Barr's sister)
Louie Jack ("Lucy Paduwa" listed as mother in law) and wife: Christina (George)
Robert Smith (Eliza/Emma Sutterlick’s first husband) Smith was killed in a "runaway" horse buggy accident in 1919. His mother was Ellen Smith later married to James Barr (next chapter). Robert and Emma had two daughters: Belle and Elsie
Living the Mashel Prairie could be harsh yet bountiful. The shallow soil with lots of rocks was not good ground for farming. So, there was not a lot of income in that. Mostly the crops they could raise were used to feed their livestock. As Indian People, they knew the resources better than most. It is said that there was still camas growing on the prairie. The camas bulb was harvested, roasted for days, and used as a carbohydrate like potatoes. Other plants wild and grown completed their diet and medicines. However, the wildlife was still plentiful, so hunting and fishing made for most of their protein. For more income, many of the Indians would go and gather hops in Orting. Other raw materials allowed Louie Jack and some of the other men to also made some profit off of mink and beaver furs and cut cedar that they would float down the Nisqually River to the trading post in Yelm. Of course, salmon was plentiful.
Until the early 1920’s, many of the Indian people of the Mashel Prairie were involved with the surrounding settlers. Salmon was abundant on the Mashel River. Settlers and Indian people harvested salmon with “gaff hooks.” At times, whole wagons were filled with the great fish. The Indians would feed some to their dogs. All that salmon prompted many salmon bakes, usually operated by Bill Pattawa. The Mashel Indians supplied all the fish. They placed the fresh fish on t-poles over hot coals of alder. Many have written that these were goodwill gatherings, but according to Ohop Valley resident Matt Kjelstad, they were actually fundraisers for the Mashel Baseball Team. The fish, ice cream, confection, and other dishes all came with a price. It was the Barr Indian family, who lived in Ohop Valley, who hosted the community or potluck-style bakes.
The men and boys formed baseball teams for Ohop and Silver Lake and wanted others to play with. They encouraged the Indians from the Mashel Prairie to form their own team. The Mashel team was very good. They were fast runners and hardy players. Sunday was game day. One Sunday, the game was on the Mashel Prairie then on the alternate Sunday, they were at Silver Lake on an open pasture at Henley’s place.
On one Sunday, the Silver Lake team had already arrived. They saw the Mashel team riding up on horse and wagon. Stopping before reaching the field, the Mashel team came “a howlin’ and a yelling.” The wagon full of Indian men and women came “rattling down.” It was great fun putting on a show and scaring them.
Sometime in the 1920’s, some Yakima preachers came to the Indian Shaker Church there on the prairie. They felt that baseball was ungodly and convinced many others as well. Bill Smith was the holdout as he felt there was nothing wrong with baseball. He was outvoted and so ended the baseball team.
The Shaker church continued much as it had since 1913. The ringing of hand bells marked the start of service. The faithful would form two squares of about 16 folks each. Then, one member at a time took their turns reciting in Chinook. After shaking everyone hands, the hand bells were rung again signaling the end to the service.
By the 1930’s, there is no record or oral tradition of the settlement Indian Henry’s once was. There are a few records. One of which states that Thomas and Sallie Howard sold the Suterlick property in 1921, and Bill Pattawa sells his place in 1926. Others seemed to have done the same and left for for Puyallup, Auburn, and Yakama. An article in the Tacoma Sunday Ledger printed in 1930 details the left over buildings and burial plots:
Remnants of Indian Henry’s Settlement
Bill Pattawa’s Root Cellar
Many believe Indian Henry is buried within the Shaker Church graveyard on the Mashel Prairie. The date on his grave marker states 1895 although his son James claims it was 1897 when his father died. Thirteen to twenty additional Indians are estimated to be buried there. The site was in a state of disrepair in the 1930’s until the WPA cut down bush and trees and erected a wire fence with a “suitable” marker.
|Evelyn Guske and 4H Club 1974|
In 2005, two local Eagle Scout candidates and other volunteers including members of the Puyallup Indian Tribe, cleaned out and renovated Indian Henry’s grave on the Mashel Prairie.
Indian Henry saw beyond these curious encounters with whites and realized they could mutually benefit from one another. Many in the area counted Indian Henry among friends. He was a close friend to T.C. Van Eaton and often dined at his home. He knew and was friendly with Robert Fiander. So much so that when T. C. Van Eaton shared his plans to build to the town, Fiander knew who to introduce him to: Indian Henry.