"George Gibbs' Pacific Northwest Letters"

David Robertson ddr11 at COLUMBIA.EDU
Fri Feb 25 17:46:31 UTC 2005

Edited by Vernon Carstensen.  Pub. Oregon Historical Society, 1954.
(Reprinted from Ore Hist Qtrly, Sept. 1953.)

His letter to his mother from Astoria, June 26, 1850, contains an anecdote
about an Indian in "the Spokane country...who found a bit of black sand,
took it to his priest, telling him that he had found the white man's
powder, the 'Boston skookum pollalle' [gold].  The priest examined it
carefully, & put it away, telling the chief that he would curse him if he
divulged the secret to any one, as if he did the Bostons would overrun the
country and exterminate the race.  The chief however...brought a powder
horn full of the sand down to Portland...[but] would not tell where he got
it although large bribes and 'lum' were offered him..." (pages 12-13).

Gibbs goes on to mention being left in charge of the customs house at
Astoria, "so that I am 'hyas tyee' here at present".

--Dave R.

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