The Salmon Wars
Fish canning on the Columbia River was coming on strong, precipitating a massive rush and heightened competition to harvest Coho and King Salmon. Indeed, the salmon rush was a veritable gold rush for fish flesh resulting in mounds of dollars that increasingly and largely were due to the practice of canning. Now the tasty red flesh could be shipped farther distances with a long shelf life, increasing demand from distant places - purchases from across the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and the Orient.
The salmon gold rush towns were Astoria, Oregon, and across the river, Chinook and Ilwaco, Washington. Ilwaco was positioned at the heart of what folks were calling Salmon Wars. It was here that States of Oregon and Washington were tussling over the legal ownership of Sand Island as the federal government demanded authority over it as well. Sand Island, a meager four miles long in the shape of an “I”, and at the most a quarter-mile wide, was covered with drift logs and other debris.
Here, too, Federal Troops and Washington State Militia came face to face. Washington State politicians wanted to insure fish traps and trap fishermen, who had been repeatedly attacked by Oregon gillnet fishermen, were protected. The federal government was intent on establishing its authority as the island was part of a military reservation that included Fort Canby.
While nothing more than a glorified sand spit, Sand Island represented money, big money. Here the salmon gold rush, mostly fish traps and seiners, was its richest. And that meant power, politics, and law enforcement were all in full play due to the civil unrest and outlaw violence.
Fish traps populated the sand bars of the lower river in what appeared to be a hap hazard sort of way. However, they were situated for tactical advantage to net large quantities of salmon as the “finners” worked their way via the channels through which flowed strong currents, especially at the time of peak flood and ebb tides.
Scores of small and large cannery operations were scattered across the massive river’s shores, some fifty in total, canning 20-30 million cans of the rich meat per year.
Tenders and fishing vessels, oar and sail powered, interrupted by sea going barks, schooners, steamships, and smaller local coastal steamers, salt and peppered the waters with a scurry of activity. At one count there were some 2,000 fishing boats on the lower river.
Most of the harvesting took place between May and September, when bars, brothels, and general stores along with fishermen supply houses bustled with activity.
Upon our arrival, the Lower Columbia River was thrust into the midst of a massive gillnet fishermen’s strike that pitted cannery operators against gillnet fishermen, and gillnet fishermen against trap fisherman. Fights on and off the water broke out everywhere.
It was indeed a milieu of competing fishing rights, including racial and legal tensions and conflicts. To which was added fishermen union strikes versus fishing industry goons, rampant, often violent crime, financial booms and busts at the national level and local level as fishing seasons sea sawed in the amount of salmon available to all who battled for the reward of the catch.
And the battlers kept coming - in waves. more to come
excerpts from Revenge and Redemption: The Chisolm and Santa Re Trails, by Dan'l C. Markham
I am a man on the move with a mission. Up the trail will be a serious shoot out. I intend to be on the killing end of the shoot ‘n. It matters not whether I live or die; just that I get done what must be done. My mission is revenge. My cause is righteous. My means is lethal. Since the War I made it my business to be the fastest draw that could be found, and the best shot t’boot, whether with pistol or rifle. Darn good with my long knife; better than most. Have to be ready at the drop of the hat to take care of my business – the death of five no count former Blue Bellies. I’ll get ‘em. They’ll all die at my hands. It’s my destiny and theirs.
Two days previous it had been hotter than spit on a fired up skillet. But it’s spring time in Texas when weather can be a might temperamental, sea-sawing from one extreme to the other. Today the wind is plenty strong with a cold bite to it, whipping out of the Dakotas through the Kansas and Indian Territory prairies into the pastures of central Texas.
Have ‘n put my mount up at the livery stable I push against the northerly bone chilling wind, walking at a steady pace up Main Street of Waco. Holding my Stetson to my head with my left hand, pulling my rawhide woolen jacket’s collar with my other hand up against my chin, I am headed to one of the town’s favorite haunts – the Coleman Saloon. I will be drink ‘n whiskey with Lew, as Lew Coleman had become the only person I could come close to calling a friend, although I don’t call him such. Still he is the only man in Waco that regularly partook of whiskey with me. A whiskey or two would warm up my innards just fine....More to come.
- I'll miss you if you don't. It's the one time believers across the world and America are together.
Several years ago Dr. Gilbert Stafford described Communion in a unique way. “At the holy meal,” he said, “we are called to both the center of our faith, Jesus Christ, and the circle of our faith, fellow believers regardless of their church tradition, personal preferences, manners of worship, age, class, and racial distinctions. The Lord’s Supper is the center time and circle time. It is Christ’s time and church time.”
One of the great losses of church by zoom or video, especially for Christians who no longer worship with a body of believers, is in-person communion, partaking of the Lord's Supper.
If you go to church for no other reason, please do so to partake of communion. At least do so occassionally for that specific reason. Communion is at the center of our faith, because Christ is the center. It is thee primary sacrament instituted by Christ in addition to Baptism.
One, but not all of the reasons I've migrated to the Anglican Church of North Americ(ACNA) in my latter years (BTW the ANCA is imperfect just like your church.) is that the ANCA is part of the ancient and modern church that focuses on Communion, the centrality of Christ, during the worship service. The ancient liturgy works to prepare my heart to receive Christ in Communion and to do so with millions of others to whom I am accountable to love which includes repentance and reconciliation.
Everytime I partake I think of the fact I am actually doing so with believers since Christ and the Apostles at the Last Supper to the communion of saints across the world and in every time zone, to those who will come after I pass to the next shore.
With them I prepare my heart to celebrate and partake of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I love this time with Him and you every Sunday and when I can on Wednesdays at my humble little Trinity Anglican Church in Mount Vernon, WA.