Open main menu

Oregon Historical Quarterly/Volume 1/Reminiscences of Louis Labonte

< Oregon Historical Quarterly‎ | Volume 1


By H. S. Lyman.

Louis Labonte (or Le Bonte), son of Louis Labonte of the Astor expedition, who accompanied Hunt across the continent in 1811–12, is still living at Saint Paul, Marion County, Oregon. He is now eighty-two years old, and is in good health. His remembrance of earlier experiences and life is still fresh and his mind seems very vigorous for one of his age. He says, however, that his recollection of the Indian languages that he once knew has now largely slipped away. These were the Clatsop or Chinook, the Tillamook, Tualatin and Calapooya, of which he says he knew a few words, and the Spokane which he understood almost perfectly. Besides these, he talked fluently in the Indian jargon and in French and English.

He was born at Astoria in 1818, his mother being a daughter of Chief Kobayway, and an older sister of Celiast, or Mrs. Helen Smith. Three years of his early life, about 1824 to 1827, were spent at Spokane Falls, and the three years succeeding at Fort Colville. Then two years, probably 1830 to 1833, were spent on French Prairie. His father had removed to that place and was engaged in raising wheat on a piece of land owned by Joseph Gervais, whose wife was a sister of his mother. From this place he accompanied the family to the farm of Thomas McKay on Scappoose Creek near Sauvie's Island, where he spent three years. In 1836 he removed with the family to a location on the Yamhill River near Dayton. In 1849, being then a well matured man, he accompanied a party headed by William McKay to the gold mines of California, returning the same year. During the Indian war of 1855–56 he was a member of the Oregon Volunteers in the company of Robert Newell, which was stationed at Fort Vancouver to hold in check the Cascade Indians and the Klickitats to the north.

His reminiscences are important on the following: First, as to his father, Louis Labonte; second, earliest French Prairie; third, experiences at Scappoose; fourth, Spokane Indians and Indian myths; fifth, the names of Indian places and persons; sixth, the primitive Indian articles of food; seventh, on some of the Indian tribes and customs and traditions; and eighth, of the original white men.


Concerning his father, he says that this member of the Astor expedition was born in Montreal, and was about eighteen years old when he came out to Saint Louis, and was there engaged as an employee of the American Fur Company for four years; at the age of twenty-two he was engaged by Wilson P. Hunt of the Pacific Fur Company to come to Oregon, and arrived in the following winter. Upon the disruption of that company in 1814, Labonte took service with the Northwestern Fur Company, which was in 1818 absorbed into the Hudson's Bay Company. He had in the meantime become acquainted with and married at Astoria the daughter of Chief Kobayway of the Clatsop Indians, and it was in the year 1818 that the son was born. Labonte Sr. took six years for the Hudson's Bay Company, and spent three years at Spokane and three at Colville. He then returned to Fort Vancouver and his service terminated some time near 1828, when he asked to be dismissed and allowed to remain in Oregon. This was directly against the policy of the Hudson's Bay Company, who wished none of their trappers to become settlers or free laborers in their territory, and it was the rule that all of their servants must be dismissed at the place where they were enlisted. But Labonte was an astute Frenchman and contended that as he had enlisted in Oregon and was not brought here by the Hudson's Bay Company, it was no infraction of this rule, but rather in compliance with it that he should be dismissed here. Notwithstanding, his request was refused and no dismission was allowed unless he returned to Montreal. Accordingly, he made the trip to Canada, starting in March, and receiving his regular papers certifying to the ending of his term of service. But he immediately began the journey back and arrived here again in November of the same year—which may have been 1830. This shows him to have been an independent and determined man, and a good husband and father. It may also have had much more bearing than has yet been credited as to the settlement of Oregon.


After having terminated his service with the Hudson's Bay Company, Labonte evidently made up his mind to become a settler in Oregon, the country of his wife, and with which he was undoubtedly well pleased as a home. Several of his comrades who belonged to the old Hunt party were already contemplating this step, and some had actually begun settlement. Etienne Lucier had first taken a place at the site of East Portland, but, as Labonte remembers, having been informed by McLoughlin that he himself wished to occupy this location, was now removing to French Prairie. Joseph Gervais, however, was already at French Prairie, having laid a claim at Chemaway, a point on the bank of the Willamette River about two and a half miles south from Fairfield at present. Labonte Sr. moved to the place of Gervais and engaged with him in raising wheat, and, among other improvements, built a barn; but did not complete a location of his own.

Louis, the son, remembers more particularly the boyish occupations of the region, of which hunting was the most important. He describes a method of hunting the deer (jargon, Mowich; Calapooya, Ahawa-ia) which, perhaps, has never been placed in print. The deer were very abundant in primitive times, and during the breeding season the bucks were pugnacious. In order to come near to them the Indians would take the head of a deer, including also the hide of the neck, properly prepared, which was placed over the head of the hunter; and he then, stooping over so as to keep the mouth of the deer head off the ground, as if grazing, would creep up on the lee side of the herd. He would also, so as to more closely imitate the action of a deer, occasionally jerk the head from side to side, as if nabbing flies.

Presently a buck from the herd, observing the suspicious stranger, would begin to stamp and snuff, and bridle with anger; or, possibly, shaking with excitement, would edge nearer, challenging the supposed intruder for a fight, browsing and approaching, or maneuvering for a position. The hunter, in the meantime, would keep up his own maneuvers until the victim was near, and then let fly the fatal arrow; though Labonte says that before the use of guns, the Indian himself, if he chanced to miss his mark, was sometimes so viciously attacked by the deer as to be badly gored or trampled, or possibly killed. Young Labonte always used a gun at this sport.

He recalls also seeing two grizzly bears on French Prairie, one of which was in connection with a hunting party one foggy morning. Grizzlies were not unknown in the Willamette Valley, though they were not abundant. The Chinook jargon name for the grizzly was eshayum, quite distinct from the name of the common black bear, itch-hoot. Both these words are evidently primitive Indian terms (S. B. Smith) and thus show that the grizzlies were a well recognized species in the Willamette Valley during the period of Indian occupation.

Labonte Jr. has recollections of earliest French Prairie which are very valuable, and give a new, or at least a clearer understanding of settlement here, than ever seems to have been published, and shows Chemaway on the Willamette River about twelve miles above Champoeg to have been the first nucleus of settlement. According to these recollections, which should of course be subjected to close examination before being used as the basis of a final conclusion, it was Joseph Gervais and the remnants of the Astor company, or Hunt's part of it, who were the original pioneers of French Prairie, and thus of Oregon. These were Joseph Gervais, Etienne Lucier, Louis Labonte, Wm. Cannon, Alexander Carson, (Alex. Essen) and Dubruy. Whether the fact that they had been with an American company made them any more independent and more disposed to settle for themselves, may be questioned; but at any rate, they formed a little company of comrades and became the first group of independent Oregon people.

Joseph Gervais was the first, and when the Labontes arrived in about 1831, he had been upon his place at Chemaway at least three years, and had made considerable improvements. Chemaway is situated on the bank of the Willamette River at a somewhat abrupt point over the water and became afterwards the location of Jason Lee, and the Methodist Mission. It is not to be confounded with Chemawa, the location of the United States Indian Training School on the line of the Southern Pacific Railroad,—though this is a mispronunciation of the old name, in which both a's are long, with a strong tendency toward long e, making the name Chemaewae.

Gervais had substantial buildings, and Labonte's description of his house and barn is very interesting. The house was about 18×24, on the ground, and was constructed of square hewed logs, of rather large size. There were two floors, one below and one above, both of which were laid with long planks or puncheons of white fir, and probably adzed off to a proper level. The roof was made of poles as rafters, and the shingling was of carefully laid strips or sheets of ash bark, imbricated. Upon these were cross planks to hold them in place. There were three windows on the lower floor of about 30×36 inches in dimensions, and for lights were covered with fine thinly dressed deer skins. There was also a large fireplace, built of sticks tied together with buckskin thongs, and covered with a stiff plaster made of clay and grass. The barn was of good size, being about 40×50 feet on the ground, and was of the peculiar construction of a number of buildings on early French Prairie. There were posts set up at the corners and at the requisite intervals between, in which tenon grooves had been run by use of an auger and chisel, and into these were let white fir split planks about three inches thick to compose the walls. The roof was shingled in the same manner as the house, with pieces of ash bark. There was a young orchard upon the place of small apple trees obtained from Fort Vancouver.

At the time that the Labontes came to Chemaway, Etienne Lucier had not yet taken his own place, about three miles above Champoeg, at Chewewa, but was living, or camping, upon the place of Gervais, probably looking around the country and making arrangements for a permanent home. Lucier, therefore, was not the first settler upon French Prairie, but this honor belongs to Joseph Gervais, who must have gone there, according to Labonte's recollections, about 1828.

William Cannon was a millwright, being an American by birth, from Pennsylvania, and at the time the Labontes came to French Prairie, was at Vancouver, building the gristmill. He afterwards built the Champoeg gristmill, as stated by Willard H. Rees.

Dubruy settled subsequently about two and one-half miles south of Champoeg.

Alexander Carson (Alex Essen, as pronounced by Labonte), was a trapper, and spent much of his time in the Yamhill country. He seems to have been a very independent man, but finally lost his life at a certain butte on the North Yamhill River (still called Alec's Butte) by the Twhatie (Tualatin) Indians, probably with the simple object of possessing themselves of his rifle and trappings.

As to Champoeg, the historic point in Oregon history, this was originally a camping and council ground of the Indians. It was near the north boundary of the Calapooyas, and here various tribes came to trade, to play games of chance and skill, and not infrequently to intermarry.

One great sport was diving. The water of the Willamette River off the bluff was very deep, and it became a great contest for the young men to see who could dive deepest and remain under water longest. Some of the bolder ones even not rising until the blood began to burst from their noses or mouths.

Labonte recalls with great vividness the wedding ceremonies which he often witnessed, and that were frequently celebrated here between contracting parties of the different tribes. It was quite an intricate ceremony. The tribe of the groom would assemble on one side and that of the bride on the other. The groom, placed in the forefront of his people, was dressed in his best, and seated upon the ground. He was then approached by members of his own tribe, who began removing his outer garments, article by article. After this was done, members of the bride's tribe came and reclothed him with different garments and placed him in readiness to receive his wife. The bride, in the meantime, was placed in the forefront of her people, but was covered entirely, face and all, with a blanket. When ready to be presented, she was carried by women of her tribe, and brought within a short distance of the groom, but here her bearers halted to rest. Then, probably indicating the desire of both peoples that the ceremony should proceed, and that all were friendly, a shout or hallo was raised by all parties, which is given as follows: "Awatch-a-he-lay-ee. Awatch-a-he-lay-ee." After which she was taken the rest of the way and presented, while the same cry of applause and approbation was again raised.

A bride was purchased, and the presents were numerous and valuable. In case that the groom and bride were descendants of chiefs, presents were made between the whole tribes. These presents were of all sorts, and consisted of horses (cuiton), blankets (passissie), guns (mosket), slaves (eliatie), haiqua shells, or, as the small haiqua shells were called, cope-cope, which is a kind of turritella, kettles (moos-moos), tobacco (ekainoos), powder (poolallie), bullets (kah-lai-ton), knives (eop-taths), or other articles.

The name Champoeg, says Labonte, is not derived from Le Campment Sable, the French name, but is purely Indian. "Cham," the hard ch, not sh, is of the same character as the universal Che prefix of the Calapooyas; as Chehalem, Chewewa, Chemaway, Chamhokuc, or Chemeketa; and the latter part, "poeg," or poek, was for a certain plant or root found there by the Indians, and called po-wet-sie. That this is the true derivation, and it is not from the French term, meaning the sandy camp, is evidenced by its similarity to the other Indian names just given above.


When young Labonte was about sixteen, and after spending about two years at Chemaway, the family was employed by Thomas McKay to take charge of his farm on Scappoose Plains, across the Willamette Slough, or Multnomah, from Sauvie's Island—McKay being one of the most energetic and intrepid captains of the Hudson's Bay Company, and being at that time detailed for special service in the Snake River country, where competition with American companies was setting in with much vigor. On this farm the Labontes raised wheat, oats, peas, potatoes, and various garden products, and had cattle and hogs, but no sheep. On the farm with the Labontes there was a Frenchman named Antoine Plasier.

It was during this period that Wyeth—whom Labonte recalls as White, from a mixture of the English aspirate and the French non-aspiration of th—made his second visit to the Columbia. It was, however, more with the trim brig May Dacre that the lad had to do. He remembers that he was at that time just as tall as a musket, which he indicates would reach about to his chin as a man. On this craft, which lay anchored in the stream not far from the farm, he was often invited to go visiting, particularly Sundays, and was well treated by the sailors and Captain Lambert. He remembers once being asked by the captain whether he could climb a mast, and he immediately proceeded to show that he could, and ascended to the topmast on the bare pole, climbing hand over hand. It happened to be a windy day, and the brig was rolling somewhat in the swell, and when the boy looked down from his lofty elevation, he was made almost dizzy by observing how small the vessel below him looked in the wide stream. But upon reaching deck again, he was complimented by both sailors and captain as being made of stuff fit for a sailor.

Indeed, Lambert seems to have been very well pleased with him, and offered him a passage on his ship to Boston, and a return, either by land or sea, and to this his parents were almost persuaded to give their consent, but at the last moment could not quite bring themselves to do this. Sometimes he was invited by the captain to take dinner, and amused the officers by his sturdy refusal to take anything to drink—perhaps as much from suspicion as from set conviction—though the better class of men on the Columbia at that time greatly deprecated the use of intoxicants and were largely temperate, and the boy very likely had imbibed these ideas.

He remembers Lambert as large and powerful, and full bodied; of dark hair and complexion, and "a good man." Nathaniel Wyeth, whom he also saw, was florid, light-haired and blue-eyed, but also large, and perhaps even finer looking than Lambert.

Game at Scappoose and on the ponds of Sauvie's Island was very abundant, consisting of deer, elk and bear, and panthers and wildcats; and beaver were still plentiful; but the waterfowl of the most magnificent kind, at their season of passage, and, indeed, during much of the year, almost forbade the hunter to sleep. Labonte remembers one winter season in particular when there was a snowfall of about sixteen inches, and in the early morning he went forth to hunt swan. These splendid birds of the white species, like the innumerable ducks and geese, assembled at the island ponds to feast upon the abundant wapatoes. On this particular morning the youth soon discovered his flock of swans upon the surface of a shallow lake, eating the roots, and being such an immense flock that they were not to be disturbed even by the immediate presence of the hunter. Then, disrobing to his shoulders,—for the water was too deep to reach the flock otherwise,—he simply waded in, bringing down two or three birds to a shot, until he soon had as many as he could carry. Indeed, the lake was so covered by the flock as almost to conceal the water. However, upon reaching home he was rather chided for his performance by his father, who told him that by such cold bathing he would be likely to get the "rheumatism," which was his first acquaintance with that term.


When taken to Spokane Falls, Labonte was a small boy of about six years. His parents made their residence there from about 1824 to 1827.

He was much with the Indians, and learned their language like a native, and was often present at their religious services, and heard them tell their myths. One of their meetings he describes as follows: At the lodge of the greatest chief there was a picture, from whom obtained he does not know, but in all probability from some member of the Hudson's Bay Company. When worship was held, this picture was spread out on the floor, and, kneeling before it, the chief began a prayer to the Great Spirit, or the Hyas Ilmihum, who was addressed also by the name of Creator; the expression "Quilen-tsatmen," meaning Creator, or, more exactly, "He made us." The prayer was a petition to be made pleasing to God, to be kept under His care, to be taken to Him at last, and to be kept from the "Black fellow." After the chief had finished, others also followed, kneeling down and uttering a shorter petition until all at last took their place and followed along in an orderly manner. Those who had any offerings left them before the picture. Then they began a hymn or chant, and after that was finished, all joined in a dance.

Labonte recollects the names of some the Spokane chiefs: Ilmicum Spokanee, or the chief of the moon; Ilmicum Takullhalth, the chief of the day; and Kahwakim, a broken shoulder. He also recollects a Colville chief, whose name was Snohomich, a white-headed old man.

The Spokane Indians had the legends of the coyote, or Tallapus, but his name was Sincheleep. In his breast he carried certain knowing creatures, which were his spirits, or wits, and when he wished to take council with himself, he would call them forth. They gave him the answers he needed, and then went back into his breast. Sincheleep, the coyote, was quite different from the fox, Whawhaoolee, though the fox was also a knowing beast. The big gray wolf was Cheaitsin; the grizzly bear, Tsimhiatsin, and the black bear, N'salmbe.

A story of Tallapus, or Sincheleep, that Labonte remembers was the same in substance as that of Tallapus and the cedar tree; although Spokane is almost a thousand miles from the region of the story of Tallapus. This illustrates to what a wide extent the folklore of the primitive Indians extended. Sincheleep was once traveling and was not entirely certain how he should obtain his meals upon the way. However, in order to look as well as possible he decided to dress up nicely; to comb his hair, and paint his face becomingly. In the course of time he was met by two women who carried baskets in which they had some camas bread and other Indian dainties. He came forward and addressed them and said very pleasantly, "Sit down, sisters; sit down. I will sing to you and tell you stories." So they sat down while he sang and told them stories, and they enjoyed his society so much that when at length he remarked casually, "What have you in your baskets, sisters?" they very kindly opened their stores and treated him; which, of course, he enjoyed, and began at once to contrive for another treat. He bade them good-bye and went on, but when out of sight took a circle about and coming to a stream washed himself and painted another way, and also combed his hair differently, and met the two women again. He addressed them as before, saying, "Sit down, sisters; sit down, and I will sing and tell you stories." This they did, and were again so charmed that they opened their baskets and treated him as before. He then went on, but circled about again so as to meet them once more, being now combed and painted still differently. He sang and told stories and was again treated. But about the fifth or sixth time that this happened, the women began to suspect that the cunning creature was no other than Tallapus, and when he saw that he was discovered, he bade them a final good-bye, and went off to the wooded hills. Then began the story of the tree, which as told by Labonte, runs as follows: "He saw a tree with a crotched root, leading to a hollow within, and thinking this a fine resting place, went inside. He then asked the tree to close, and it did so obediently. This was some time along in the fall. After it was closed, he asked it to open, and it did this also. Then he asked it to close and it was closed. It opened or shut whenever he asked it to, but by and by when he asked it to open, it would not. Then he was very sorry and sat down inside the tree and cried. But he was compelled to remain there all winter."

Some time along in the early spring the birds came at his request to peck him out; but the first, the second, and many others that tried only broke their bills and were unable to make even a small hole, until this was done by a woodpecker; and through the opening Tallapus was able to gaze abroad and see the blooming flowers and the green grass.

But still he could not go through the opening, and finally concluded that the only way was to take himself to pieces and put himself out, piece by piece. His eyes were the first parts that he thus placed on the outside, but they were seized upon by a raven who carried them away. Finally the various sections of his body were all out and collected and put together properly, except that his eyes were gone and he was blind. But he smelled the scent of flowers and felt around until he found some of the flowers, which he placed in each eye. Then, feeling his way along laboriously, and staring about as if seeing everything, was at length directed by smelling smoke. Following this odor, he was led to a lodge where there were some women. By these his misfortune was ridiculed, and they engaged in laughter as he felt for the door; but he answered, "I am only measuring your house." He was moving around in the meantime and trying to find a place to sit down, which only increased their merriment; but he answered, "I see; I see; but I am only measuring the ground."

Then one of the women said, "Can you indeed see?"

Then he, staring off, replied, "Do you see that fire?"

"Where?" they asked.

"Far off," he answered, and described the distance as far away, beyond the limit of their vision.

"No," they confessed, "that is too far for us."

Then he answered, "I can see what you do not." By which one of the women was so impressed with the strength of his sight that she immediately wished to swap eyes, and he promptly accepted the proposition; as a result of which he could see even better than before, while she became blind. He then transformed her, for her folly, into a snail, which even to this day feels its way along the ground.

The following are some of the Tallapus stories, which Labonte remembers, found in the Willamette Valley:

According to the Calapooyas, who occupied this valley from near the Pudding River southward, Tallapus came originally from the Rocky Mountain country and went down the Columbia River, and thence southward along the coast and finally over the coast mountains into the Willamette Valley; though his exact birthplace or origin is still a matter of doubt.

Arriving by the Willamette River, he found the tribes of that region in very unhappy circumstances; chiefly from the absence of any good place for catching fish, and also, owing to the depredations of certain gigantic skookums. In order to remedy the first evil, he determined to make a fall in the Willamette River where the salmon would collect and be easily captured. He found a place at the mouth of Pudding River, the Indian name of which is Hanteuc, and here he began erecting the barrier, but finding it not suitable, went further down, leaving only a small riffle. At Rock Island, he began in earnest, but upon further investigation found this also unsuitable, and leaving here a strong rapid, went down to the present site of the Willamette Falls, where he completed his task and made the magnificent cataract which is not only a scene of beauty, but a model fishing place.

After having provided the fishery, he decided to invent a remarkable trap which would obviate the labor of fishing. He succeeded and produced a marvelous machine which not only caught the fish, but also had the power to talk, and would cry out, "Noseepsk, noseepsk," when it was full.

Determining to try his invention for himself, Tallapus set the trap and went immediately to his camping place to build a fire in order to cook the fish. But scarcely had he begun when the trap cried out, "Noseepsk! Noseepsk!" and going down he found it full of fish sure enough. Then, returning, he began once more to prepare his fire; but the trap called out again, "Noseepsk! Noseepsk!" He obeyed its summons and found it full, and went back once more to start his fire; but the trap called for him again, and now, out of patience with its promptness, he said to it crossly, "Wait until I build a fire, and do not keep calling for me forever." But by this sternness the trap was so much offended that it instantly ceased to work, and the wonderful invention was never used by men, who were obliged as before to catch the salmon with spears or nets.


However, in the course of time the Indians became very prosperous, and a large village was built on the west side of the river. But while they were thus prospering, a gigantic skookum that lived upon the Tualatin River began to commit fearful depredations. His abode was on a little flat about two miles from the Indian village, but so long was his tongue that he was in the habit of reaching it forth and catching the people as he chose. By this, of course, the village was almost depopulated, and when, after a time, Tallapus returned, he was very angry to see that the benefits of his fishery had gone, not to the people, but to the wicked skookum. He therefore went forth to the monster and cried out to it, "O, wicked skookum; long enough have you been eating these people." And with one blow of his tomahawk cut off the offending tongue, and buried it under the rocks upon the west side of the falls; after which the people flourished. But so persistent is Indian superstition that even yet some of the old Indians say that when the canal was cut around the falls, that this was nothing more than laying bare the channel made for the tongue of the skookum.


On the east side of the falls at about the site of Oregon City the Indians also made a large village, being nourished by the fishery, and had among them a great chief. But from the mountains on the east there came a frightful skookum, who destroyed the entire village and even the old chieftain and all the people, except the chief's wife and her unborn son.

The woman desiring that her son should be great and strong, took him after his birth to the various streams or lakes that were haunted by Tomaniwus spirits, and bathed him in the waters. From these he absorbed the strength of the water and of the spirits, and in consequence, grew prodigiously. In the course of time, he returned to the old village where he found his mother, and looking about the lodge, he began to ask her what were the various articles that he saw. She replied: "This is the spear with which your father used to catch the salmon; and this is the tomahawk with which he used to kill his enemies or to cleave wood; and this is the bow with which he used to shoot arrows." Taking the tomahawk in his hand, the boy went out to look abroad but was almost immediately met by the skookum returning. Thereupon driving his tomahawk into a gnarly log of wood so as to make a crack, he cried out to the giant, "If you are so strong, hold this crack open while I take another stroke;" and into the opening the witless skookum placed his fingers, but the tomahawk being instantly withdrawn and the crack closing, was held fast, after which he was easily killed by the boy. Then taking his father's bow, the youngster went forth and shot an arrow into the sky, calling out at the same time, "As the arrow falls let those who died come to life;" and this also was done. Scarcely had the arrow fallen before the old chief and all his people were seen coming up the river in their canoes; and landing at the rocks, they began fishing as if nothing had happened. The wonderful boy being rejoiced to see his father, whom he had never looked upon before, went down among the fishermen; but when he was seen by the old chief, was accosted rudely with the question "Who are you? I am chief here." And the old chief not knowing his son, accompanied his rough language with an even rougher blow.

By this the wonderful boy was greatly affected, and thinking that he could benefit his tribe no more, retired to the rocks above the falls, and began weeping; and, indeed, wept so copiously that his tears falling on each side of the falls wore two great holes in the solid rock, which may be seen there to this day. Finally deciding that he would no longer live as a man, the boy changed himself into a fish in order that he might rest in the quiet waters. But he was disturbed by the roaring of the river to such an extent that he swam upward as far as the Tualatin. But neither here could he rest on account of the roaring of the water. He proceeded thence to the mouth of the Molalla, and of the Pudding River, and of the Yamhill, successively, but had no resting place, until finally he reached the clear Santiam. Here he found what he desired, and went to sleep in a still pool; but being discovered by Tallapus, was changed into a rock, having the form of a salmon. And this accounts, say the Indians, for the fact that no salmon that ascend the falls at Oregon City ever turn aside into any of the streams until they reach the Santiam; but there seeing the rock, they take a circle and swim near, and then saluting it with a flip of their tail proceed up the crystal clear river until they reach the pebbly bars suitable for their spawning grounds.


In addition to the above, Labonte tells an Indian story of a haunted lake in the hills to the northward of Newburg. The waters of this lake are exceedingly deep and still, and it has the name of the skookum water.

Long ago, said the Indians, there was one man who, although he knew that this was a tomaniwus water, determined recklessly to reach it in his canoe, and disturb its placid surface with the strokes of his paddle. Making his way thither, in his little craft in which he also had his dog as his sole companion, he at length came to the shadowy lake. He directed his strokes toward the center, which he had scarcely reached before the water grew darker and became greatly disturbed. Finally, it began revolving round and round, and the man with his canoe and dog were whirled along in the stream until a vortex was developed and opened, into which all sank. Then the lake was pacified, and again became serene. But even at the present time, upon a foggy morning, if one gazes over the rocks upon Skookum Lake, he will see a white object whirling round and round on the surface of the water, and may, perhaps, hear whines and cries; this is the spirit of the dog, which thus returns.