Where the Mashel Meets the Nisqually: The Mashel Massacre of 1856 is on sale today!

On a quiet morning in the spring of 1856, Washington Territorial Soldiers hiked down to the Mashel River where it meets the Nisqually River outside of Eatonville, Washington and attacked a Nisqually Indian band trying to hide from the fighting during the territorial wars. Why did they do it, and what really happened?After months of research, read the first in-depth book about the Mashel Massacre.

What started out as a student project for the Honors class at Bethel Jr. High lead to follow up research and the writing this book by teacher Abbi Wonacott. "I grew up in Eatonville and always heard vague stories about the Mashel Massacre. I had a lot of questions and wanted to know the truth. Now, I have answers and an important part of Eatonville and Nisqually history I want to share," states Abbi Wonacott. "I could not have written this without my students, so all the proceeds go back to the Honors class."The book is a paperback about 40 pages long containing pictures and a cover from an original watercolor by local painter Dan Hoffman. It is being used as a fundraiser for the Honors Club.

Order your copy today. Purchase it at Kirk's Pharmacy in Eatonville for $10 or at Bethel Jr. High in Spanaway. $10 for self pick up or through district courier. $15 by mail which includes shipping and handling. Just mail in an order sheet. All proceeds go back to the Honors students.

Copy and Paste this order form:

Name: _____________________________


Phone: _______________________

# of copies: ______
Signed copies: Yes______ No_____

Total Amount Enclosed: _______

Go to or mail in an order sheet to:
Bethel Jr. High
Attn: Bobbi Wilson
22001 38th Ave. E.
Spanaway, WA 98387
(253) 683-7282
Checks payable to Bethel Jr. High


For more information, go to http://earlyeatonvillewa.blogspot.com/

Posted by Bethel Junior High Honors Class at 8:12 PM 0 comments

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mashel Book

Imagine a beautiful, serene place, where time seems to slow down, untouched by the busy modern world. A place where the sounds of rushing rivers, swaying trees, and fluttering birds are waiting to be heard. The grasses are lush and tall, and the sun playfully shines through the countless trees that line a clear river that bends around the corner. Now imagine many years ago, that this was the place that many considered home. A home whose peaceful residents were brutally massacred. A place that still sits quietly under a busy highway. Where the Mashel River meets the Nisqually River is that place and its grounds hold an untold story.

But there’s more to this story than just finding and putting all the pieces of it together. The Nisqually people respected and lived on the land they knew as home for many years before the white man came and took that land away. When walking the ground of this land, one can invision what happened on that early, March morning. Nisqually woman and children going calmly about their morning, then panic suddenly rushes over them as they hear the frightening sounds of gunfire and yelling of white men. They are surrounded. How scary this must have been. How could all these men carelessly massacre these peaceful people? These are the types of thoughts and questions that ran through our minds as we, the 9th grade Honors class of Bethel Junior High, walked the land and put all the pieces of the Mashel-Nisqually Massacre in place.

Beginning our third year of Honors, we did not know what to expect. Our teacher, Mrs. Wonacott, had told us early on about a “big” ninth grade project, our last project before moving on to high-school. As days went on, she told us of a story she had heard time and time again as a young girl riding home on the school bus in Eatonville. We began to research Indian Henry to see if he might have a connection. We weren’t quite sure how the project would unfold, but the story took hold of us and we found that we too couldn‘t let it go. The story of these people needs to be heard. Thus began a heartfelt journey that we would never forget.

As a team, we became consumed into hours of research and analyzing. We walked the Nisqually River and hiked the Mashel Prairie countless times. This had become much more than a school project to us. Mrs. Wonacott had instilled deep within us a real interest in history and uncovering the past. We felt some sort of connection to the land and I felt as if the story of these people had been buried and forgotten for all these years. Why hadn‘t we read about this massacre in our text books?

Now, through our book, Where the Mashel Meets the Nisqually: The Mashel Massacre of 1856, the story can be read and remembered.

Roxanne Medina, co-author

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Maxon's Letter

Capt. H.J.G. Maxon was the Washington Territorial soldier who lead the attack on the Skie-kie Nisqually band in 1856. Along with a former student and my children, I went down to the state archives in search of other letters he wrote. I held a letter he wrote the day of the massacre, but he must have written it in the morning before the attack for there is no mention of it. He reports about concerns of those arrested in Spanaway before leaving for the Mashel River. It was good, however, to make sure there was no existing letter from him about the massacre.