Edward Huggins, "Cush," Portland Oregonian. September 9, 1900.

"Nauti-tze, naut-tze! Siam! (Look, look, master or chief), is what I heard on the morning of September 5, 1850 in the trade shop at Fort Nisqually, about six miles south of Steilacoom, at the time the only trading post or place upon Puget Sound except a very small store at Olympia, a town of only six or eight houses. I looked up from the trade blotter over the heads of a crowd of half naked Indians, and espied fat faced, good natured Cush, a Snohomish Indian who was our chef.

Cush, thoroughly understood the art of very plain cooking. His great forte was frying beef steak in solid mutton or beef tallow and serving it up cooked a dark brown color and swimming in thick gravy, which soon hardened to a consistency of pure, red pine chewing gum. Poor Cush, he was shot to death in 1858 in the fort yard by a small band of Snoqualmie Indians, in revenge for some fancied tamanowous doings of the Snohomish.

Cush told me that the tenass doctain wanted to see me. Dr. William F. Tolmie was then in charge of Fort Nisqually and I was his clerk...At the time Cush called me I was trading furs, fish, flesh and fowl, besides mats, baskets, and a few gold dollars with a band of about fifty Snoqualmie Indians, headed by the notorious chief Patkynum, who arrived at our landing the evening before, very much to the terror and consternation of the numerous Nisquallies encamped along the beach near the mouth of Sequalitchew Creek.


The cook at Fort Nisqually, or one of the cooks, for there was generally more than one, was a Snohomish Indian named Cush. He was a jolly, good natured Indian, full of fun, when not full of whiskey, and was liked by every one, whites and Indians.

On the day after a fight between another Indian, Gohome, and some visiting tribal members and after a hot time in the kitchen, Cush, feeling tired went to the corner house of a row standing upon the north side of the fort and in which some working men lived, and threw himself upon a bed, with the intention of sleeping.

There was no one else in the house which was about twenty-five or thirty feet from the veranda of the newly erected principal house (the Tyee house). Mrs. Tolmie, wife of Dr. Tolmie, the gentleman in charge of the establishment at that time was standing on the veranda and saw Cush enter.

The place was exceedingly quiet, as almost all of its inhabitants were lying down, taking it easy. It was the custom of the place to rest for two or three hours in the middle of the day during the heated term, and make up for it by working as soon as daylight appeared in the morning.

Mrs. Tolmie noticed an Indian, a stranger to her, sneak through the small open postern gate, on the north side of the fort and gun in hand quietly creep along the side of the house in which Cush was lying. Not for a moment thinking of the purpose of the Indian she remained quiet until she saw him peer into the window, raise his gun, already cocked, and point at something in the room.

She then, fearing the intruder meant no good, screamed out just as the gun was discharged. Poor Cush was shot fatally and died a day or two later.

The murderer immediately ran out of the fort and after him a young half breed Iroquois, named Ignance, with a gun. He fired and it is supposed hit the escaping Indian, but the latter didn't fall and with his three or four companions who were awaiting him at the beach with a canoe he succeeded in getting safely away.

They gained their own country down the Sound where our up Sound Indians dare not follow them.

Cush was regretted by all with whom he was acquainted, for he was really a remarkable Indian, possessing a fund of humor, and powers of mimicry, seldom seen among Indians. He had a way of speaking broken English, which was irresistibly funny, and the poor fellow's tragic death was a loss hard indeed to replace, and some of us had serious thoughts of perpetuating his memory by the erection of a little monument or headstone; but like the generality of such good intentions, it was never done.

It was afterward learned that the killing of Cush was a mistake. The Indian took him for Gohome, and I never learned how the feud ended. Gohome, strange to stay, was not killed but died a natural death, accelerated, no doubt, by the many wounds he had receiving during his lifetime.

Edward Huggins, "The Killing of Cush," Portland Oregonian. August 19,1900.

Edward Huggins, Journal of Occurrences at Muck Station. Puget's Sound Agricultural Company. May 30, 1858.

May 30, 1858. Sunday. Fine. Received a communication from Dr. Tolmie. He tells me a drunken row took place there this morning at the Fort. Gohome killed a Snoqualmie and he was severely stabbed. Cush, the cook, was also shot in the breast by the Snoqualmies. An Indian woman was also severely stabbed. I am to go to the Fort tomorrow.

Edward Huggins, Journal of Occurrences at Muck Station. Puget's Sound Agricultural Company. May 30, 1858.


In 1856 there were quite a number of Indians employed about the fort, and one in particular, a Nisqually named Gohome, was a handy man at any kind of work. He was a very ugly man, had a large hideous mouth, savage looking features and long coarse black hair. He was strongly built, although not a large man, but quiet in his demeanor, when sober, but when under the influence of liquor of which he was inordinately fond, was a perfect fiend, in looks and actions.

One day in the early 1850s he got into a quarrel with some Indians from down the Sound, who had come to the fort for the purpose of settling a grievance of long standing between Gohome's people and themselves. Gohome, when they arrived was employed in the company's old slaughter house and a messenger from his lodge informed him of the arrival of his enemies.

He immediately threw down his tools and started for the encampment, but had proceeded but a few steps when he met the party coming to interview him. There were five or six of them, and four or five of Gohome's people.

A conversation ensued which soon became fierce and bitter. Hard words were used, and Gohome, feeling himself attack almost in his own house, aimed a blow at the leader of the Snoqualmies, I think they were of that tribe, and almost immediately both sides were mixed up in a fearful bloody fight.

Each man was armed with the Indian's favorite weapon, a knife or dagger, made from a twelve or fourteen inch mill saw file, ground down sharp on two edges, and to a fine dagger like point. A knife of this kind was a fearful weapon, and being rather heavy, when wielded by a strong man does fearful and bloody execution.

The participants in the fight were soon covered with blood, and it wasn't long before two or tree of them fell from the effects of their wounds. The ground upon which they were struggling was covered with blood, and after a while the bystanders were enabled to seize the combatants, and disarm them. Strange to say Gohome, although the most forward in the fight and wounded in many places did not die, but after suffering a great deal apparently fully recovered. Two or three others though succumbed from the effects of the fearful wounds they received.

No more was heard from the attacking party until the Summer of 1858 at which time I was living at the Muck House, having gone out to take charge of the company's business during the Indian War and the occurrence I am about to relate was told me by an eyewitness, a day or two after it happened.

On the night of Sunday, May 30, 1858, the Indians living outside of the fort were greatly exercised over the report that a small party of Snoqualmies had arrived at the beach and it appears that during the evening four or five of them came up to the fort encampment and were recognized as being the same party or at least some of them with whom Gohome had the awful trouble.

It would seem that they pretended to have come on a friendly visit and from what followed it is supposed that they brought liquor with them, for about the middle of the night, the people were alarmed by the report of firearms in the camp and the usual noises attending a drunken orgie in the aboriginal encampment.

The usual result followed, and a terrible fight ensued. Gohome shot one of the Snoqualmies dead, and he himself recieved two fearful stabs from a knife but was not killed. An Indian woman was also badly cut with a knife. She was a relation of Gohome's and received the stabs while endeavoring to protect him.

Some of the other Indians were severely wounded, but the Snoqualmie was the only person killed during the fight. How many died of wounds received I cannot say, having forgotten the details of the affair....

The surviving Snoqualmies made their escape in the timber and it was supposed gained their canoe, and soon placed some distance between themselves and the Sequalitchew.

(Edward Huggins, "The killing of Cush," Portland Oregonian. August 19, 1900.).

Mr. Huggins later noted that the cook at the fort, Cush, was killed by Indians. He wrote: " was afterward learned that the killing of Cush was a mistake. The Indian took him for Gohome, and I never learned how the feud ended. Gohome, strange to say, was not killed but died a natural death, accelerated, no doubt, by the many wounds he had received during his lifetime."

(Edward Huggins, "The Killing of Cush," Portland Oregonian. August 19, 1900.).

An account of the whole affair was recorded in the Journal of Fort Nisqually, kept by Walter Ross, clerk, and is as follows:

"About noon a large party of Snoqualmies and Skewahamish arrived and took up their position before the water gate where they had an affray with our people, in which an American, (Leander) Wallace, was killed and Lewis was slightly wounded. One of the enemy was killed and another wounded.

"The cause and commencement of the difficulty are as follows: As the horn blew for dinner, a large party of Skewhamish and Snoqualmies were reported to have arrived. Our working and other Indians immediately commenced running into the fort and bringing with them their movables.

"When dinner was over, a large party of Snoqualmies, to the number of about one hundred were observed advancing across the plains on the northwest side of the fort; part went to Lahalet's (the Squally chief's) lodge and the others gathered around the water-gate, where they were soon after rejoined by others.

"On being asked the reason for making such a warlike demonstration, they replied that young Lahalet, married to a daughter of one of their petty chiefs, was treating his wife brutally, and they had come to see about it, and did not come with the intention of harming the whites.

"The Chief, Patkanim, was then invited into the fort; to the others was given tobacco to smoke the pipe of peace, for which they retired to one of the deserted lodges. We took the precaution of placing two armed men (Thibeault and Gohome) at the gate, with orders to let none of them in. I also took my gun and went about among our Indians, who were sweeping the fort.

"I had just taken a turn around them when I heard a shot. I repaired to the gate, four or five of the worst Snoqualmies came rushing to the gate. One of their number, Cussass, rudely pushed Gohome into the fort. I demanded why he did that, and told him to keep quiet. He answered only with insolence.

"I then put him out, upon which he cock his gun, and drew his dagger, making two or three thrusts at me. Wren, standing a piece off, was called in. I then directed that the gate be closed; but, finding Wren shut out, it was again opened.

"Wren, upon entering, seized one of their guns, whereupon a scuffle ensued, and the gun falling between the door and post, prevented closing it. I observed Cussass pointing his gun at me. I presented mine and as I thought, fired first; but it is maintained by friendly Indians outside that one of the Snoqualmies (Quallawowt), provoked by a blow given by Wren with the butt end, to one of their chiefs fired at him (Wren), but missing him, my shot followed.

"A good many shots followed and the gate closed. We then took to the bastions; but our people taking time to get armed, by the time they were at their stations the enemy were out of host, running across the plains to their canoes. Patkanim who was in the fort at the commencement of the row, escaped after the closing of the gate, unperceived by our people, young Lahalet (Wyamoch) showing him the way.

"Wallace and Lewis were outside when the affray commenced, and did not respond to the call of "...all hands come in and shut the gate." They perhaps thought themselves secure from harm, as they were Americans, and did not belong to the fort. Cussass is said to have shot poor Wallace. Lewis had a wonderfully narrow escape; one ball went through his vest and trousers, and another grazed his left arm.

"S'Geass, an Indian, was wounded in the neck, and a medicine man (A Skewhamish) was killed; also a Snoqualmie was wounded in the shoulder. We do not suppose that the war party came here with the intent of attacking us, but think they had some other object in view besides the affair with Lahalet.

"One circumstance proves that they thought lightly of quarreling with the whites. When tobacco was handed to them, Quallawowt asked it if was not poisoned; and none of the Indians would touch it until someone had previously smoked and chewed it. The Snoqualmies and Skewhamish are the terror of all tribes south of the Soquamish."

"Many believed that it was the intention of the Snoqualmies to capture Fort Nisqually; and if the plan had succeeded to massacre the whites upon the Sound. It was thought that Chief Patkanim believed that such a victory would have united all the southern tribes in a movement to exterminate the settlers. 

"Although the attack was not successful, the Indians evidently believed that their acts had aroused the enmity of the whites, and that they were, therefore, committed to war. Thereupon they notified the American settlers to abandon the country leaving word that they would be permitted to do so peacefully if they would leave their property behind.

"The settlers prepared a defense, building blockhouses at Tumwater and Cowlitz, into which settlers brought their families, and notified Governor Lane of the situation. The governor at once started for Tumwater, bringing a supply of arms and ammunition, and escorted by Lieutenant Hawkins of the Mounted Rifle Regiment, and five soldiers.

"Major Hathaway, of the United States Army, offered to move one of his two companies of artillery to the Sound and the Governor returned to the Columbia. He sent a letter to Doctor Tolmie at Fort Nisqually asked for his cooperation and requesting the Hudson's Bay Company not to sell arms or ammunition to the Indians. By July, Company M of the First Artillery Regiment, United States Army, with Captain Bennett H. Hill, was garrisoned at Fort Steilacoom."

Edward Huggins, "Gohome at the Gate," from "Indian Attack on Fort Nisqually," Portland Oregonian. September 30, 1900.

The following is copied from the fort journal, to which I have access. It was kept by a young man who was Dr. Tolmie's chief Clerk:

I also took my gun and went about among the Indians, the Nisquallies, who, in fear of the enemy, were inside the stockade in great numbers, and to keep them employed I set them to sweeping the fort yard or square. After I had made a circuit of the fort I heard a shot and learned that it had been fired by Gohome in jest. I reprimanded him for his foolishness.

Soon after I arrived at the gate, four or five of the worst Snoqualmies came rushing up, provoked no doubt by the shot foolishly fired by Gohome. One of their number Cassass, more forward than the rest, rudely pushed Gohome, who was standing in the gateway, into the fort, and took his place. I went to him and demanded why he did that, and warned him to keep quiet. He answered with only insult. I then put him upon which he cocked his gun and drew his dagger and made two or three thrusts at me with it.

Wren, one of our men, who was standing a little way from the gate at the time, was called in and I gave orders to close the gate, which was done, but, finding that Wren was still without, the gate was again opened. Wren, upon entering seized an Indian's gun, whereupon a scuffle ensued and the gun, falling between the door and the post, prevented us from closing it.

Edward Huggins, "Gohome at the Gate," from "Indian Attack on Fort Nisqually, " Portland Oregonian. September 30, 1900.