Wednesday, 14 June 2017

WW: The Blockhouse Wars

(On this site stood one of the first homesteads in the neck of Thurston County, Washington, where I grew up. During the Blockhouse Wars of the 1850s – a string of skirmishes touched off by settler abuse of First Nations treaties – the Eaton place hosted one of the tiny wooden stockades for which the era is named. I'm told the ruins of "Fort Eaton" endured well into the 20th century.

The marker was placed, not by any government organism, but by the Freedom Community, a Christian commune established nearby later in the l9th century. It too succumbed to entropy, but persisted as an ordinary village for decades thereafter.

When I was a kid this monument was all but lost under Scotch broom, baldhip rose, and Garry oak, beside a county highway that began life as the main wagon road between Oregon and Puget Sound. While reading history at university I found the plaque by the ancient oak beside it, which I was told was the local hangin' tree. [Oaks are rare on the North Coast; their presence on the Salish Prairie in great number was and remains much remarked.]

In the decades since someone has cleared a respectable little rest stop around the marker, rendering it much easier to find.)
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