The Sequalitchew

May 2003

First Edition

This is it folks!

Something we have all been waiting for! Our First edition of The Sequalitchew!

Unfortunately, my computer has a limited space and collection of clip art, so things will be rough going at first. I hope to help this problem with other pictures either from my collection or possibly some of you could find me some disks with related photos and clip art that will match our future stories.

The Sequalitchew

“The Sequalitchew” was selected by many of the first members of our group The Descendants of Ft. Nisqually Employees Association (DFNEA) to be the title of our Newsletter, which has changed many hands before the first edition could get off the ground.

It’s purpose will be to share the histories of our ancestors and to spread the news of our association to other descendants wishing to join us. I would like to invite anyone wishing to become a member of our group to contact our current President, Roger Newman at You may view our web pages at for dates, times and activities of our meetings, or you can reach me, Roxanne Woodruff at and see my web pages If your ancestor is not on my list and you have information I will gladly start adding a new page!


It is that dreaded time again when we need to vote for new officers. I have not been given the information to know who all to contact within our group. Judy had agreed to be a part of our team at the last meeting, which will be very helpful. I do not want to see our group dissolve due to our different reasons for not being able to be leaders in this group. There is a lot of work that can be done even by those who do not have or use computers. It might be helpful for those who would like to do some of the positions, but lack the skills or equipment, to work in partnership with those who do. I might be able to do more myself, but not living close to the site and the action up at DuPont, I would need someone up there to help me keep on top of things. If those members who live close to DuPont could keep the rest of us informed, now via The Sequalitchew, I believe we will do better. I think we are shortchanging ourselves if we give up too soon. I realize those of you who live closer, and have been our voices, have done the hard work on the battle of protecting our site. Thanks, most especially, to Lorraine Overmeyer at the DuPont Museum, for supporting our group throughout this ordeal and helping us to get started as a group. She has been a great help for all of us. I will be willing to do my share in helping us to stay together and I do hope there are more of us who will be able to help in some small way. The drive up there is getting a little harder, but I do believe we will be up there this spring. We’ve gotten to enjoy renting a new car each spring and fall for the trip. After using our old ones this is a real treat, though costly. I do hope that all of you will be able to come to the meeting as well as it is very important at this time to carry on with our work. Personally I would like to thank all of you who have been our leaders for so long in spite of all the personal hardships it has cost you. Like our forefathers you have paved the way. You have built it and they will come.

Lt. William Kittson
Photo: Peter Kittson, son of William Kittson & Marie Walla Walla.

Lt. Kittson of the Voltigeurs

Commandant of Ft. Nisqually, 1834 – 1840/41

William Kittson was probably born near Montreal, Quebec, on October 26, 1794, to George Kittson, a merchant of Sorel, Quebec and a woman unknown. Later, George’s wife, Anne Tucker Kittson, apparently adopted him. At the age of 17, he joined the Canadian “Voltigeurs,” who defended the city of Montreal in the War of 1812. William’s paternal grandmother, Julia Calcutt Kittson, had married the Canadian explorer, Alexander Henry, “the Elder,” who was associated with the North West Company, a Montreal-based fur-trade concern. William joined this company about 1817 and arrived in the Pacific Northwest the following year. He originally worked as a clerk under Donald McKenzie out of Ft. Walla Walla (Ft. Nez Perces).

After the merger of the North West Company with the Hudson’s Bay Company, in 1821, William Kittson is known to have worked as Second-in-Command to Peter Skene Ogden on the H.B.C.’s 1824/25 “Snake Country Expedition,” from Montana, through Idaho, into northern Utah. Following that, he spent several years at various Bay Company forts above Ft. Colvile, in British Columbia, Idaho, and Montana. In 1834, he was placed in charge of Ft. Nisqually, a post he held until the summer of 1840 when, due to ill health, he went down to Ft. Vancouver, where he died on Dec. 25, 1841.

While at Ft. Nisqually, Kittson was in charge of all fur-trading activities there for the Hudson’s Bay Company. He was also charged with overseeing all farming activities at the fort under the auspices of the H.B.C. subsidiary, the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, for about a year before Dr. Tolmie took over. Lt. Wilkes of the Wilkes Expedition of 1841 originally named Ketron Island in Puget Sound, after him. The name of the island apparently evolved from Kittson, to Ketson, to Ketron on the maps. Although he did not live long enough to attain the title of “Chief Trader,” the work he did at Fort Nisqually surely qualified him for this honor.

William Kittson was married, à la facon du pays, to Marie Walla Walla and, perhaps, to one other native woman. In 1839, Fr. Demers blessed William’s marriage to Hélène McDonald. William Kittson leaves several hundred descendants by his children of these relations. The known children of William Kittson were Jules & Peter Kittson, sons of Marie Walla Walla, and Jesse, Caroline, (buried at the Old Fort Nisqually Cemetery), Jemima Kittson Sinclair (wife of William Sinclair III), and Edwin Kittson (born 2 years before William’s death). These last four were children by William’s second wife, Helene McDonald Kittson. There are a couple other possible children as well. Hélène’s father, by the way was the famed Finan McDonald of Spokane House.

A metal plaque honoring William Kittson of Ft. Nisqually, Pierre Pambrun of Ft. Walla Walla, and John McLaughlin of Fort Stikine, B.C. was erected by the Oregon Society of the Daughters of 1812 at Ft. Vancouver in 1938.

This article is written in much appreciation and special thanks to Cecelia Svinth Carpenter at and Michel Robert descendant of Alexander & Sophie Desautels Kittson.

Sandra K. Woodruff,
Great-great-granddaughter of William Kittson and Marie Walla Walla


One day in early November of 2002, I was doing my routine surfing of eBay for old books on Pacific Northwest history. I came across a set of 1887 Chamber’s Encyclopedias that had been owned and signed by Edward Huggins. The starting bid was $50.00. I thought this was a great find, and decided to go ahead and bid a proxy bid of $75.00. (My Dad, John Millner, said he would chip in) I thought we would never get them. So many times my Dad and I have found such wonderful rare books, and the bidding goes through the roof, and we never win the bidding. Well, this must have been a sleeper. We won them. No one else bid on them. The seller lived in Auburn, so my Dad and I went out to pick them up. Can you imagine what the shipping would have been otherwise? Eight big volumes! We asked the seller, Owen Wollum, how he came to own them and he told us he bought them at a sale that the Tacoma Museum was having years ago. There was a paper from the Washington State Historical Society with them, stating that the books indeed had belonged to Edward Huggins. Edward Huggins signed each volume at least once and some twice. I talked with my Dad and a few DFNEA members and decided the best people to decide what was to become of these books was John Davison (Huggins descendant) and Joe Huntsman (for all his efforts in compiling the Huggins Papers). John, Joe, and I divided the cost of the books and it was decided by all of us that Joe would take them and donate them to the Fort Nisqually Museum. And that’s where they are now.


The Descendants of Fort Nisqually Employees Association are a diverse group of people who gather together in the Spring and Fall to meet and share genealogy, history (both written and oral), and to preserve the knowledge of past cultures and interactions. We are made up of largely native and mixed blood descent, some of British, French, Scottish, Irish, Hawaiians and so many more. Our forefathers fur traders, explorers, farmers, hunters, gatherers, and fishermen. Our history binds us and relates us to each other as a true family. Your first meeting here causes the same reaction and wonder. “Does their ancestor look like them?” “How am I related to that person next to me?” “What knowledge does this group have of my ancestor or what can I tell them about my great-great grandparents that is not in the history books?”

The follow up to all of this is where do they meet and where can I leave my history? We meet biannually at the DuPont City Hall and on occasion at the DuPont History Museum located at 207 Barksdale Ave DuPont, WA 98327

The Museum is the repository for all our families’ histories. Some you may need to ask for; others will be displayed. All are welcome to submit their stories and artifacts. When writing your stories, keep in mind that there are three distinct sites of Fort Nisqually and note how your ancestor is associated.

1833 First Site: Built near the present day City of DuPont, WA and Weyerhaeuser’s “Northwest Landing” by the Hudson Bay Co. as a fur trading/agricultural post. In 1838, the Puget Sound Agricultural Company was formed. The PSAC was a subsidiary of the HBC and headquarters were located at Ft. Nisqually with the Cowlitz Farm further south under it’s control.

1843 Second site: Built within a mile of the first site specifically to be nearer to available drinking water.

1933 Third site: Commemorative replica built during the American Depression and located at Point Defiance Park in the City of Tacoma, WA (17 miles North of the second site).

Let the history grow. Join us May 18, 2003 at our next meeting and see who we are and share your histories of this great Northwest.