The Sequalitchew

October 05, 2008

Twelfth Edition

President: Roger Newman
Vice President: Judy Smith
Secretary/Treasurer: Roxanne Woodruff
Webmaster: Greg Hitchcock

Fall Meeting

Our meeting this fall is scheduled for Sunday October 5th, 2008 at the DuPont City Hall 303 Barksdale Ave. DuPont, WA 98327. The doors will be open to us around 11am, bring a sack lunch. Our speaker this fall will be Bruce Watson from Vancouver, BC. His talk will be on the strategic factors involved in the placement of fur trade posts in the Pacific Northwest.

At our Break time there will be snacks and a raffle for any donated items brought in. Bring your thoughts, ideas, and histories and join us for a wonderful afternoon.

We meet bi-annually (May and October generally) at the DuPont City Hall and on occasion at the DuPont History Museum 207 Barksdale Ave DuPont, WA 98327 Our $5.00 dues are collected each spring. If you know someone who might be interested in joining, please pick up an application.

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum Candlelight Tour

Eavesdrop on an October evening in 1855 at Fort Nisqually’s annual Candlelight Tours. Encounter the laborers, servants, gentlemen, and ladies of the venerable Hudson’s Bay Company with only the stars, campfires, and candles to light the evening!

This event takes place on October 3rd & 4th. Tickets have been on sale since September 1st ($8/adult; $5/children). For Ticket Information contact Fort Nisqually (253) 591-5339 or check their website


The Ninth Annual Cowlitz Powwow Honoring the Spirit of All Cowlitz People was held on Saturday September 20th, 2008 at:

St. Mary’s Center 107 Spencer Rd Toledo, WA 98591

Grand Entry: 1pm, 7pm Salmon Dinner: 5pm Dance Competition

MC: Gerry Chapman
Arena Director: Mike Brock
Host Drum: Cree Star
Honor Drum: One People One Voice
Drum Group
Head Woman Dancer: Celine Cloquet-Lombard, Cowlitz
Head Man Dancer: Derryl Gardner

Contact: Suzanne Donaldson-Stephens (360) 280-2321
Vendors, Curt Stephens (503) 504-0780
Volunteers: Linda Foley Email:

I must apologize that I was unable to complete the newsletter in time for this event.

Dupont Historical Society hosts: Annual 1843 Fort Nisqually Site Picnic, Dupont, WA Sunday, September 7th 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Though this event will be past by the time I have mailed the newsletter I feel it is a very important one and I did forward the article to our members in time that they might be able to attend it. The article as was written states:

“Bring a picnic lunch and join us at the 1843 Fort Nisqually Site (2nd Site) in Dupont, WA. Sunday, September 7th from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. The site is located off Exit 118 on Center Drive. Sponsored by the Dupont Historical Society, the event is free and open to the public.

Visitors will get a rare opportunity to view the historical site and take in a guided tour facilitated by historian Drew Crooks. Mr. Crooks will talk about the founding of the Fort by the Hudson’s Bay Company and why this area is known as the “Birthplace of a Great State.”

History will come alive when special guests Vivian and Phil Williams perform authentic music of the Hudson Bay era. Members of the Ezra Meeker Historical Society will bring their 1906 covered wagon and discuss life on the trail. Re-enactors from Ft. Nisqually (3rd Site) dressed in authentic clothing will depict familiar historical figures that once lived and worked at Ft. Nisqually. Other activities will include weaving and tool making demonstrations.

In addition to bringing a picnic lunch, the public is asked to bring lawn chairs or a blanket for seating. Beverages will be provided by the Dupont Historical Society. Parking on Powerline Road will be designated.”

The above information was passed on to me through Judy Bridges and Gillian Weatherford. I do hope if some of our members were able to attend this that they will let us know at our meeting how it all went. It sounds like fun and I do hope someday that the Original 1833 first site of Fort Nisqually will get true recognition.

I can again here thank Drew Crooks for his report at our last meeting for the Descendants of Fort Nisqually Employees Association. To meet descendants of the Employees of these fort sites, come and attend the Descendants of Ft. Nisqually Employees Association at our bi-annual meetings. I will see you there on October 5th, 2008.

William Fraser Tolmie 1812 – 1886

Surgeon, Hudson’s Bay Company Officer, politician, and Board of Education member.

William Fraser Tolmie was born on 3 February 1812 at Inverness, Scotland, oldest son of Alexander Tolmie and Marjory Fraser. He was educated at inexpensive private schools in Edinburgh, at Inverness Academy and at Perth Grammar School. He spent two years, 1829-1831, in medical school at the University of Glasgow. “Although almost invariably referred to as Dr. Tolmie, he was not an MD: during these two years he worked toward a diploma as licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeions of Glasgow, a body independent of the University.”

In September 1832, Tolmie signed a five-year contract with the Hudson’s Bay Company [HBC]. He was hired to serve in the dual capacity of clerk and surgeon for the Columbia District. On 15 September 1832, Tolmie set sail for North America in the HBC supply ship, Ganymede. Tolmie arrived at Ft. Vancouver in May 1833, where he was greeted by the Chief Factor of the Columbia District, Dr. John McLoughlin. (A few months later, on 2 September 1833, Tolmie was the first while man to reach the summit of Mount Rainer, a point now known as Tolmie Peak.) From 1833-1840, Tolmie spent time at Fort Nisqually, Fort McLoughlin, and Fort Vancouver. After a bried visit home in 1841-42, Tolmie returned to Fort Nisqually sometime shortly after May 1843. At Nisqually, Tolmie acted as medical officer and traer, and as manager of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, the HBC’s farming subsidiary. On 26 November 1855, Tolmie became chief Factor at Fort Nisqually.

Tolmie left Fort Nisqually for Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island in 1859. Afterwards, he “appears to have had little or no subsequent medical practice.” At Victoria, Tolmie was appointed manager of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, a position he held until his retirement in 1870. He was elected to the House of Assembly of Vancouver Island as member for Victoria in January 1860. He was re-elected in 1863, and remained a member until Vancouver Island was annexed by the mainland colony of British Columbia in 1866.

On 15 May 1865, the Vancouver Island Assembly passed the Common Schools Act, legislation that provided for free, non-sectarian public schools. Under the terms of the act, colonial schools were administered by a General Board of Education. Dr. Tolmie served as chairman of the board from 1865 to 1867. Under the Common Schools Act, government expenditure on education doubled, rising from about $5000 to $10,000, and the number of pupils attending subsidzed common schools increased from about 125 in 1865 to four hundred in 1867. However, in the economic depression that gripped the “united colony” of British Columbia, the schools were starved of funds. The liveral Common School Act was repealed and replaced by a more parsimonious Common School Ordinance of 1869.

Differences of opinion between the Board of Education and Governor Frederick Seymour, on the issues surrounding free schools, led to Dr. Tolmie’s resignation as board chairman in June 1867. He was succeeded by Dr. Israel Wood Powell. However, Dr. Tolmie remained an active member of the board. Minutes of the board’s meetings indicate that from the time he resigned as chairman, until the board was forced to disband on 9 March 1869, “he either moved or seconded most of the resolutions passed.”

Dr. Tollmie was afterwards a member of the provincial Board of Education, which operated from May 1872 until August 1878. He confirmed the appointment of John Jessop as the province’s first Superintendent of Education and he recruited Stephen Daniel Pope, Jessop’s successor.

Dr. Tolmie and Jane, the daughter of Chief Factor John Work, were married in February 1850. They had five daughters and seven sons, including Simon Fraser Tolmie who later became the premier of British Columbia. In 1859, Tolmie and his family moved to Cloverdale Farm, in Saanich, near Victoria. Their home was the first stone house ever built on Vancouver Island. Dr. Tolmie died at Cloverdale on 8 December 1886.

Tolmie was keenly interested in agriculture and in 1862 was elected the first president of the Victoria Agricultural Association. He was also interested in people and their languages. With Dr. George M. Dawson, he compiled and published The comparative Vocabularies of the Indian Tribes of British Columbia in 1884.

Simon Fraser Tolmie recalled that his father was a serious man, who ingrained his children with studious habits. “We arose at 5 in the morning and foregathered in his library about 5:20 am, and there we would go over my lessons for the day – Euclid, Algebra, Latin, French, and greek. He was an excellent scholar in all these subjects.” Dr. W. Kaye Lamb said that Tolmie was “puritanical, and extremely conservative in political and relitious opinions. He seems to have totally lacked a sense of humour.” But Lamb also noted that Tolmie was “a tireless worker” who played a significant part in British Columia’s history.

Dr. Tolmie is commemorated by several landmarks in Victoria, including Mt. Tolmie and Cloverdale Elementary School. Tolmie School, which now serves as the administrative centre for School District 63 (Greater Victoria), was also named after him.

The above was researched and written by Dixie Turner, History 355, University of Victoria, 1999.

Photo from the British Columbia Archives, PDP 00450 A list of sources can be found with the original article at the following web address: