San Juan Island History: The Forgotten Mrs. Pickett in a Podcast

There is simultaneously too little information and yet too much to write about a topic such as the erasure of indigenous women such as Mrs. “Morning Mist” Pickett. That was not her name – that was an Anglo-mythology that was made up to romanticize a woman the dominant white culture buried in history by not recognizing indigenous women who married white settlers with proper legal documentation, creation of laws and amendments and not allowing inheritance to mixed race children. But the 2nd Mrs. Pickett who reportedly came from Alaska and was a member of the Haida tribe, receives some recognition with the little information available.

Update 11/16/20: This is my theory and I will need to dig deeper but I discovered a Haida Chief was murdered on San Juan Island and his wife was left behind. George Pickett was involved in locating the murderer and conducting his own investigation. Now, it is not too much of a stretch of the imagination to consider this Haida woman was possibly the woman George Pickett later married. As many detectives on the ID Channel have stated, “There is no such thing as coincidence.” (Book source: San Juan Island National Historical Park: An Environmental History by Christy Avery.)

Listen to the podcast here.

Mrs. Pickett #1 Sally Harrison Stewart Minge married in 1851
Mrs. Pickett #3 La Salle Corbel married in 1863
Sons from the 3rd marriage George Edward and David
James Tilton Pickett son born in 2nd marriage 1857 but sent away soon after to live with family friends since his mother died in birth and General Pickett could not give him the proper care. James was described as “lonely and serious” growing up and an artist. He died alone at the age of 30 in a boarding house from tuberculosis.
There are no pictures available of Mrs. Pickett #2 but this is how I imagine her and I would name her Wiigit which means raven in Haida. While I am reimagining her existence, she would have lived in the Pickett House until her final days serving surprised white settlers with her china and advancing the legal rights of indigenous wives so the children were cared for and the women were recognized in the courts. But this is just wild imaginings.

Sources include:

Avery, Christy (2016). San Juan Island National Historical Park: An Environmental History. National Park Service.

Connelly, Dolly “Jimmie Pickett, the forgotten child,” TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE AND SUNDAY LEDGER December 4, 1977.

Roeder Roth, Lottie, “A sketch of Captain George E. Pickett,” History of Whatcom County. Chicago: Pioneer Historical Publishing Company, 1926. Volume One, pp. 70-74.

Vouri, M. (2013). The Pig War : standoff at Griffin Bay. Discover Your Northwest.

Wellman, C. (2017). Peace Weavers : Uniting the Salish Coast Through Cross-Cultural marriages. WSU Press, Washington State University Press.

Whitaker, Ernest J.  “George Edward Pickett; Defender of the San Juans,” in John Hemphill, West Pointers and Early Washington. Seattle: West Point Society of Puget Sound, 1992, p. 186.

Books recommended:

Pickett, G. E., & Inman, Arthur Crew. (1928). Soldier of the South; General Pickett’s war letters to his wife. Houghton Mifflin Co.

Vouri, M. (2013). The Pig War : standoff at Griffin Bay. Discover Your Northwest.

Wellman, C. (2017). Peace Weavers : Uniting the Salish Coast Through Cross-Cultural marriages. WSU Press, Washington State University Press.

Escucha Me: Podcasts as Historical Archives

Podcasts are the great equalizers since anyone can do one – hey, even Joe Rogan who was paid $3M. (He recently interviewed Kanye West.) While not every podcaster will receive a large sum check for their endeavors, they will have access to a platform to build an audience and keep their listeners engaged with weekly content. The variety available online offers selections that will appeal everyone as they go through the motions of their daily lives because multitasking is always better with storytelling. Plus bonus feature, the listener feels like they gain more knowledge about a topic they care about. Let’s not forget how a soothing voice can make you feel less alone during the time of COVID-19.

Joe Rogan Experience #1554 – Interview with Kanye West. Rogan is the highest paid podcaster of all time. While he is a bit “bro-tastic” for my taste, it’s impressive how he built an industry around his podcast.

Here are some facts about podcasts and its history according to the marketing site Brandtastic:

Podcasting began in the 1980s and it was called “audio blogging.”

In the early 2000s with the rise in popularity of portable audio devices such as the iPod, the concept of transferring these ‘audio blogs’ to an audio player as an MP3 file became mainstream.

By 2003 people were able to download audio blogs to their iPod and journalist Ben Hammersley coined the term ‘podcasting,’ hence the word ‘pod’ in podcasting.

In 2005 Apple officially added podcasting to its iTunes Music Library. In 2005 during an onstage interview at D3, Steve Jobs demonstrated how anybody could create a podcast using their Mac and share with the world.

Since 2005, more than 700,000 podcasts have been created, with over 30 million episodes of content, most of them for free.

Incredibly, about a third of those episodes have been created since June of 2018.

The most popular podcast publishers today are iHeartRadio and NPR, both with over 22 million monthly listeners. These networks offer some of the most popular podcasts, including Stuff You Should Know, Planet Money, and TED Radio Hour.

I do listen to podcasts because I enjoy the depth presented by the hosts and the amount of production time it takes for them behind the scenes. For three years, I volunteered at KYRS Thin Air Radio as a news reporter. Every week we selected our stories, wrote about them, recorded and edited them and then uploaded them on the share drive. It was a lot of work For example: my favorite but one that is rewarding when that 15 minutes of airtime is filled with the topics you are passionate about. For example: cryptozoology is an interest of mine because I love to hear people talk about their encounters with bigfoot. My uncle claimed he ran into sasquatch when he was trying to round cows back to the farm after they escaped near Brewster, WA. He claimed the smell overwhelmed him and he hid behind sagebrush shaking in fear. As a kid this left an indelible mark because no one believed him and they accused him of smoking too much reefer. This motivated me to interview a member of the Cascade Association of Sasquatch Trackers. (If I can find the file, I will post it.) But this volunteer experience introduced me to the detail and dedication required to maintain a podcast and I swore I was never going to do one – until now.

This week we were assigned the following three categories and these were the podcasts I selected:

Interview Podcasts. The History Extra Podcast (Links to an external site.)

Here is the story I listened to on Sexing History (Links to an external site.) 

Here is the story I listened to on The Pickup Artist. PRO: What I truly appreciated was the quality of editing with the archived music and ads. The detailed notes and bibliography offered an easy way to reference the historical elements sprinkled throughout the podcast. I will continue to listen. CON: Not enough hours in the day to listen to how dysfunctional humans are when it comes to making whoopie stuff.

Big Budget Podcasts: Bundyville (Links to an external site.) (actually listen to Season 1, Part 2: Nuclear Weapons, Waco And The Radicalization Of Cliven Bundy) PRO: Leah Sottile the former Inlander reporter made this happen and she chronicled this to perfection. CON: Will we ever hear the last of the Bundys?

As I mentioned before, this week I will add to the podcast category – San Juan Island history here.