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.

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