On a beautiful October morning in 2009, among trees of bright yellow leaves, the Sutterlict family voices filled the Mashel Prairie sky with song once again. Descendants of Indian Henry (Soo-Too-Lick) had come to connect the broken line of their family. These Sutterlict descendants 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 Soo Too Lick called Indian Henry. The only local 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. Discovery of these records and fate through a chance meeting would bridge the gap to his great-great-great grandchildren.
Early accounts vary. Indian Henry was believed to have been born around 1820. Some say he was on the Mashel Prairie as early as 1857 or as late as 1864. There used to be a question if Indian Henry was Klickitat, Nisqually, or Upper Cowlitz Indian. Though his wives can be traced to be of Upper Cowlitz decent and many of Indian Henry’s descendants went back to the Randle area after his death, family records and his own decedents verify that Indian Henry was born in Yakama to parents of Yakama and Upper Cowlitz decent. Part of the confusion is that when the treaties were written, those from Randle and Packwood were actually Taytnapam Indians. Since there was no listing for Taytnapam people, they were categorized with the Cowlitz. Again, because of treaty language, the designation is still used today to ensure keeping all their treaty rights.
One origin story of why Indian Henry left Yakama was that he was banished from his village (possibly Mulmul) after killing a medicine man in retaliation for not healing his father. His descendants verify this and have a family tradition of that account. After leaving the Yakima area, there are a few locations that Indian Henry can be connected to. He may have lived among Taytnapam Indians who were at Squaitz Village.
|Map created by J. Cutler for the Nisqually Indian Tribe based on the work of Cecelia Carpenter|
Another recorded encounter of Indian Henry came 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 was, 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.
Winsor met up with Indian Henry again in 1862 while he, James Packwood, and James Longmire were in search of a better route to bring cattle. They met Indian Henry near Skate Creek. He was there with a group of other Indians picking berries and catching fish. Later in the day, the two men stayed and enjoyed a fish fry with the group.
One of the most compelling accounts comes from Willie Frank, Sr. He was a Nisqually man who lived from 1879 to 1983 and died at age 104. Frank, Sr. recalled this information in a book by Allan Smith (2006):
"A village named Bisal was located at the junction of the Mashel and Nisqually rivers several miles
southwest of Eatonville on top of a hill (not down in the gulch). A very large spring here emerges
from the side hill. Moreover, in May, many black-mouth fish were caught with gill nets close by the
village. Indian Henry, a Nisqually whose Indian name was Sutelik, lived in this village and he was
the chief of the band that had its headquarters here. The village population was part of the Nisqually
tribe, but they also spoke the Yakama language. The residents actually were more Yakama than
Nisqually. Nevertheless, they were considered to be part of the Nisqually tribe. The mixture was
probably attributable to the Nisqually practice of securing Yakama wives." Willie Frank, Sr. also added that he had met Indian Henry and that he was “a fine hunter and wealthy man.”
Though Frank, Sr. mentions Indian Henry as Nisqually (and it is known that he was not), some of those living on the prairie may have been Nisqually or had close ties to them. The point is that Frank, Sr. considered Indian Henry and other Indian People to “be part of the Nisqually tribe” as they occupied the old village site. Smith went on to write that Nisqually men had brought Taytnapam women with them to the same village cementing the idea that Nisqually, Yakama, and Taytnapam Indian People lived on the prairie and were connected to the Nisqually. Another tie to the Nisqually is that Henry Martin was a frequent visitor and was related by marriage to Indian Henry's wives. Martin was married to Lucy Ponia who was another daughter of a Cowlitz head man and sister to Sally, Anna, and William Penoyer (Ponia). Though Lucy is not mentioned, it is highly probable that she was with her husband to visit her siblings as well. Henry Martin was a very well-known Nisqually leader and interpreter up until his death in 1917. He spoke and represented the tribe at the reburial of Leschi in 1895.
Perhaps old ties brought Indian Henry and others back to the ancient Me-shal Nisqually Village site to settle on the Mashel Prairie. Many who came back had direct ties to warriors of the 1st Treaty War of 1855-56 that was a fight to not be removed from their home lands and possibly connections to the original village itself. It was not like those who came to the prairie were unfamiliar with the area. Indian People knew it well. Again, it was the place of the Me-shal Village and the area of the Mashel Massacre. Maybe, they just wanted to come home.
The Mashel Prairie was nicknamed the “reservation” because many other Indian people were attracted to live there. However, new research has shown that the “other Indians” were actually Indian Henry’s extended family. Some of the reasons they may have come include being pushed off their homelands from the treaties, the Territorial War, or settlers claiming lands from Olympia to Auburn to Yakama. No settlers were in this area at the time, so the families would have no problem gaining the land from just inhabiting it. Years later, 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 or 97. Later, additional land by other family members was secured mostly from 1895 through 1907 through the Homestead Act of 1862.
The Mashel area was also connected to many established Indian paths around and 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 (considered a Meshal-Nisqually) named Wah-pow-e-ty (or Wapowety). 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 (more accurately a Taytnapam) 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, …Indian who had renounced his allegiance to his tribe, adopted the dress and manners of living of the whites, married three buxom [women], 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. 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 [Soo-Too-Lick], John Muir, H. Loomis, P. B. Van Trump, E. S. Ingraham, William Keith, N. O. Booth at Camp of the Clouds, Mount Rainier, Washington” James Eastman Shone collection of Muir. MSS 301. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library.
Indian Henry even guided famed naturalist John Muir accompanied by H. Loomis, P.B. Van Trump, R.S. Ingraham, William Keith, N.O. Booth and photographer A.C. Warner to Mt. Rainier in 1888. After staying the night on the Mashel Prairie on August 9th, John Muir described Indian Henry as a “mild-looking, smallish man with three wives, three fields, and horses, oats, wheat, and vegetables. Len Longmire, grandson of James, described Indian Henry as a “slim little fellow but was straight as a young fir.”
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 Mountain named after him.
|Indian Henry's Hunting Ground picture by Jeff Morrison|
On August 4, 1890 Fay Fuller, the 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.
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.”
Indian Henry’s farm was extremely self-sufficient and even raised enough stock and produce to trade or sell. The homestead was teeming with horses, ponies, pigs, and hunting dogs. In addition, there were dogs that were bred for their long coats and sheared the same as wool. Three fields yielded crops including wheat and oats. His wives were skilled at keeping vegetable gardens. They grew produce such as potatoes, onions, carrots, turnips, and cabbage to complete their diet. Indian Henry 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. There were deer, elk, bear, rabbit, and other wild game. The Mashel Prairie area was rich in wild vegetables. 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. Perhaps as they did in earlier days.
Life on the Mashel Prairie could be frustrating as well. While early reports inform that Indian Henry’s farm was prosperous, later on there seemed to be problems with raising crops or perhaps different homesteads did not have the best soil. The shallow soil containing lots of rocks was not good ground for widespread farming. So, there was not a lot of income from selling grains. Mostly the crops they could raise were used to feed their livestock. For more income, Louie Jack and some of the other men also made a living off furs and cut cedar that they would float down the Nisqually River to the trading post in Yelm.
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. According to Del McBride who was John McLeod’s great-great-grandson, Indian Henry was arrested by Pierce County deputies in 1888. McBride wrote that he agreed to surrender peacefully if he was allowed to speak with his friend McLeod to gain advice. McLeod “assured him that he would be alright…” 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. 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 stated 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 legally chose his oldest wife. But who was the oldest at that time.
Though still discovering more about Indian Henry’s wives, there is some information that has risen. Again, he had to have had three wives as his eldest son Thomas Henry Sutulic (who later used the last name Henry) was one to two years older than the second wife. According to the 1889 census, his first wife had the name Sallie and was born around 1839. It is unclear when this Sallie died. Part of the confusion lies with Indian Henry’s second wife’s name. She was also called “Sally,” even though her Indian name may have been Patoomlat. She was born at Squaitz Village and was the daughter of a Taidnapam (Cowlitz) Headman from the Packwood area. After
Indian Henry’s death, Sally 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. Tragically, her son John died at age 24 in 1913. Sally 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 John four years earlier.
|Sally's Baskets and Indian Henry's spear|
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.
Indian Henry’s third wife was named Anna (or “Annie) and was the half-sister of the second wife Sally. Anna was said to have been deaf and could not speak. According to her son James, Anna and Indian Henry were forced to divorce “because he had three wives” and that she married Willie Sam in 1890 (1892 on marriage license). They had a son Willie Sam, Jr. The 1900 Census lists her as “mother” living with Wickersham Henry (another son of Indian Henry). Willie Sam died in 1909. A 1910 Lewis Country Census shows Annie Suterlick, age 60, in the Randle Indian Precinct. She may have left the prairie for a little while because she is back on the prairie after she married Thomas Howard in 1918 after her sister Sally died. Anna also made beautiful baskets and sold berries and salmon to make extra income. In 1921, she and husband Thomas Howard sold their land on the Mashel Prairie. The last record of Anna is when she walked on at age 91 in 1947 having passed in Randle with her father’s name listed as “Ponor” and her husband as “Tom Howard.”
Anna’s son “Jimmie” or James Henry Suterlick moved to Nesika (near Randle) within Lewis County, Washington. In 1913, James signed as a witness on the death record of his half-brother John Suterlick. James wed Mary Yoke and had a child named Joseph around 1910. Intermittently, there is Lucy Stamp recorded as James’s wife in several documents. James died in 1922. His son Joseph Lawrence Suterlick married Lucille Hoptowit and had a daughter and son. This son would have thirteen children. Descendants share that Joseph left Lucille, relocated to Oregon, and married Alice Switzler (of Warm Springs). They had two children but used the spelling Sutterlee. Joseph died at age 32 in 1942. His 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 marriage. From census records, affidavits, and other documents and in addition to Thomas (oldest), John (youngest) and James (second oldest), other children included Wickersham Henry Sutulic and a daughter Mary (also called Maud). Then, there were the other relatives. William Penoyer (Ponia) was the brother of Annie and ½ brother to Sally. Both sisters were married to Indian Henry (Soo Too Lick). Indian Henry’s brother George Hanwashia (or Tanewashea) could not be verified as having lived on the prairie) was married to Lucy (Swey-way) who later married William “Bill” Pattawa (Peterwow, Padawa or Padua). George and Lucy’s daughter Christina (Indian Henry’s niece) married Louie Jack. Lucy’s sister Ellen had been married to James Smith. After Smith's death, Ellen married James Barr. Ellen and James Smith’s son Robert married Emma Keickno Tappanitit who later married Wickersham Henry Sutulic. Also, Thomas Henry’s daughter Alice married George Tumwatter (or Santanas).
In 1907, there were close to 1200 cases of smallpox in Washington State. Many cases were not reported as they only caused mild illness. However, those living in the Ohop Valley and on the Mashel Prairie were greatly affected. Dr. Martiny quarantined many families to stop the spread of the disease. Many survived in the surrounding area, but tragically smallpox took the lives of several children of the Mashel Prairie. It is said that those children make up several of the graves in the Shaker Church Cemetery. It was also said that some of those were Thomas Sutulic’s children. The tragedy was compounded when Thomas drowned in the Puyallup River near the Tacoma Wharf in either 1911 or 1912 and was buried in Tacoma.
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, sweets, 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.
Another big community activity was baseball. The settler men and boys formed baseball teams for Ohop and Silver Lake and wanted others to gain other teams to play. 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 “howling and a yelling.” The wagon full of Indian men and women came “rattling down.” It was great fun using this tactic to intimidate them. The baseball games were very popular. One fellow, who came to the area to work on the Mountain Highway, was a “cracker jack” pitcher. He chewed slippery elm and covered the baseball with it to make it stiff and harder to hit far. Louie Jack of the Mashel team was a
real and out as catcher. He was said to have it all: he was able to hit and run extremely well. John Henry Sutulic (Indian Henry’s son) threw a mean pitch. Perhaps it was games on Sunday that led to the end of baseball on the prairie.
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. Robert 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 sixteen folks each. Then, one member at a time took their turns reciting in Chinook. After shaking everyone's hands, the hand bells were rung again signaling the end to the service.
|Shaker Church 1913|
By the mid-1920’s, many of the Indian People started leaving and selling their land on the Mashel Prairie. Land records list land sold to whites from the area. Census records document many moving to Nisqually, Puyallup, Muckleshoot, or Yakama country where most gained land allotments. One wonders how much richer Eatonville culture could have been if they had stayed.
With all the families gone, the Mashel Prairie settlement fell into disrepair as explained in this article in the Tacoma Sunday Ledger printed in 1930: Remnants of Indian Henry’s Settlement
For some little distance, the road leads through forest, then through an open area and again into the woods bordering on the edge of the cleared farms of the valley. Just past the barn of Fred Johnson is the gate that bars the trespassing of livestock, but the swinging open of the gate allows the road to be traversed until one reaches the ruins of the old Pad-e-wa place (Pattawa) high up on the banks of the Nisqually river [The Pad-e-wa place is probably where Putawawa Bill had lived in about 1915]. This barn of Johnson’s used to be the old Indian church, but Mr. Johnson has built an addition to either end of the same and made it into a barn, but the old belfry still marks the front of the original
building. After entering the gate, a few hundred feet bring the old Indian graveyard to view on the right. Here are a number of burial plots enclosed with fences, some of them containing rude crosses, some still cruder markers. To the extreme right as you approach this God’s half acre, is the lot in which Indian Henry and four others of the tribe are buried. There is no marker of the exact spot of the grave of the man who has his own hunting grounds on the slope of Mount Tacoma. Across the road is the site of his old home. The old building is no longer in existence, and a new farm cottage has taken its place. But near the highway, the old home of his son, Wickersham Suvik [So-To-Lick], is
|Bill Pattawa's Cellar by the Spring|
still standing, and nearer yet is the home of Indian Tommy [Thomas So-To-Lick], another son. But continuing the trip in, the trail ends at the Pad-e-wa (Pattawa) buildings. Here is of much interest, the old house, the barn, the building that was used to dry fish, the dugout cellar, and the old spring with its ceaseless flow of water [Medicine Springs]. The lumber of which these buildings are constructed is for the most part very crude; some of it being cut by a sawmill operated by water power at Eatonville and hauled in, the remainder being of shakes which evidently were cut and shaped on the “horse” which stands now back of the barn. The river cannot be seen from the bank on account of the heavy growth of timber, but a winding trail takes one to the water’s edge, and here is an open space with a small lean to where, in the old days, the Indians tethered their horses, and prepared their meals while netting fish in the waters of the Nisqually.
Many believe Indian Henry is buried within the Shaker Church graveyard on the Mashel Prairie. Thirteen to twenty additional Indians are estimated to be buried there. Some of those buried there could be Thomas Henry Sutulic’s children (1907), Willie Barr (1911), John Sutulic (1913), Sally Sutulic Howard (1917), Robert Smith (1919), and James Barr (1920). As to the rest of the Soo Too Lick’s children, James swears in an enrollment document in 1917 that he only has a living uncle William Ponia, a half-brother Willie Sam, Jr., and his mother Anna. He stated that all his other brothers (Thomas as half-brother) and sisters (more than Maud or sisters-in-laws) were all deceased in the same enrollment statement. What happened to Wickersham and Maud remains unclear. However, from Soo Too Lick’s grandchildren and their children and on and on, his family lives on and did not completely parish as was once written.
The graveyard 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. Several sources believe that the actual grave yard extends farther than the fence lines. The “suitable” marker was fading when the Silver Lake 4H
club worked on it in 1966 under the direction of Jack Guske. Then, in 1974, the same Silver Lake 4H club led by Tom Guske erected a stone monument to which a rock from the Pyramid of the Moon brought up from Mexico City was embedded.
|Evelyn Guske and the 4H Club|
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 Heny saw beyond these curious encounters with whites and realized they could mutually benefit from one another. Many in the area counted Indian Henry among their friends. He was a close friend to T.C. Van Eaton and 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.
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