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Peter Klicketal

Also Known As:"Peter Klickitat"

Birthdate:circa 1842 (79)

Birthplace:Oregon Country, United States 

Death:December 27, 1921 (75-83) 
White Swan, Klickitat County, Washington, United States

Place of Burial:White Swan, Klickitat County, Washington, United States

Immediate Family:

Husband of Kesam-Ehi Klicketal and Cumsappum Klicketal 

Occupation:Tribal Chief of the Klickitat (1856-1922)

Managed by:Private User

Last Updated:February 4, 2015

About Peter Klicketal

Ben M. Angel notes:

Peter Klicketal I found in the 1910 census, and is apparently Chief Peter Klickitat. Explanation: first, Klickital is an early name of the word Klickitat (in Chinook, the word means "beyond" - apparently in reference to the Cascade Mountains), which is of course the tribe in which the Washington State county is named after. Apparently their chief following the Treaty of 1856, Peter Klickitat, took his name from the White Man's name for the tribe (the tribe's name for themselves is "Qwû'lh-hwai-pûm" or People of the Prairie). And Mi Abuelita had said that her third and last husband was the "son" of one of the three main tribal chiefs on the Yakima reservation (well, the Yakima tribe is what I remember her saying). 

So, I'm guessing that this was the "father" that Thomas Alexander had referred to when describing himself. This is of course not his father James Alexander, but his step-grandfather. Initially, I'm describing this as a widowed re-marriage of Kesam-Ehi to Peter Klickitat because the 1910 census describes James and Phelix as step-sons of Peter. However, according to census, the ages at which Kesam-Ehi would have mothered these two, well, she would have been quite old. I think there was also a family story that both James' parents died at a young age, so the two Alexander boys are quite likely to have been adopted instead.

Also, the family was located at Fort Simcoe in 1910. Fort Simcoe was effectively the tribal seat of government. Peter Klickitat would have carried out tribal administration from that location.

Family described Peter as being 103 at the time of his death in 1922. This would have meant a birth date of 1818 (his obituary reads 1821). Again, the 1910 census registers Peter "Klicketal" as being born in 1842. If the 1910 census data is correct, Peter would have been 82 at time of death.

(Another point of reference is of course the 1855 Rogue River War, during which he was a US Army scout - if the 1910 census was correct, he would have been 13, while if the obituary is correct, he would have been 34-37. His role as a freighter during the Klickitat/Yakima War followed the year after.)

Other than the 1910 census, I haven't found Kesam-Ehi in records.

Posted at Ancestry:

KLICKITAT, Peter, obituary Jeffrey_Elmer (View posts) Posted: 6 Jan 2003 5:45AM GMT Classification: Obituary Surnames: KLICKITAT The Enterprise, White Salmon, WA., (Monday) January 2, 1922, page 2


Peter Klickitat, who claimed to be 103 years old and those withered appearance bore out his contention that he was born in the "aucutta" days of 1821, died at his home last Tuesday. 

Klickitat county was named after the tribe of Indians led by Peter's father in the days when white man first came into this section. During the weeks that Klickitat had been seeking to avoid the final imperial summons of the Great Spirit, Indian tribesmen from all over the Yakima and Klickitat valleys have called to make their last peace with the dying leader. 

Peter was an adherent of the Methodist faith and funeral services for him were held at White Swan, yet he appealed to the tribal medicine man for relief during his illness. 

The rythmic roll of the medicine man's tom tom, played in response to gifts of blankets and money, was supposed to drive off the evil spirits that were causing Peter's body to yield to time. But the medicine man failed and today Peter's sons, all quite aged man, are mourning the passing of their father. 

"And do you get the blankets and money back, now that Peter died?" One of them was asked. 

"No, medicine man keep," was the reply. "All same -- white medicine man or red. Keep money if man die, or if man get well."

Klickitat is said to have been a government scout in the California Indian troubles and to have been in the Rogue River War. During the time of the Indian wars, 1855-1856, Klickitat served as freighter. 

Klickitat was well known in this county, and at one time, in early days, had quite an acquaintance in Klickitat, and was general favorite with the whites. - From Goldendale Agriculturist. 

This was posted for reference only. I am not related to, nor am I researching this family. Additional information might be found at:

Re: KLICKITAT, Peter, obituary mikeyakama (View posts) Posted: 3 Apr 2010 9:51PM GMT Classification: Query

On my family tree it has Peter Klickitat on it and i think he is buried in White SWAN WA. It says Peter Klickitat Cemetery just a small one on Fort Road Ext.

From "Indian Police From All U. S. Agencies 1898"

Yakima, Washington

Peter Klickitat, Captain

Wm. Nehemiah, Private

Yaw Yowan, Private

George Olney, Private

Wallace Arquett, Private

Peter Sharornute, Private

Billie Coo se i, Private

Frank See lat see, Private


From the United States Census, 1910 for Peter Klicketal:

Name Peter Klicketal Birthplace Washington Relationship to Head of Household Self Residence Simcoe, Yakima, Washington Marital Status Married Race Indian Gender Male Father's Birthplace Washington Mother's Birthplace Washington Family Number 155 Page Number 17

Household Gender Age Peter Klicketal M 68y Spouse Kesam-Ehi Klicketal F 65y

Child Phelix Alexander M 21y Child James Alexander M 19y


From the English Wikipedia page on the Klickitat:

The Klickitat (also spelled Klikitat) are a Native American tribe of the Pacific Northwest. A Shahaptian tribe, their eastern neighbors were the Yakama, who speak a closely related language. Their western neighbors were various Salishan and Chinookan tribes. Their name has been perpetuated in Klickitat County, Washington, Klickitat, Washington, Klickitat Street in Portland, Oregon, and the Klickitat River, a tributary of the Columbia River.

The Klickitat were noted for being active and enterprising traders, and served as intermediaries between the coastal tribes and those living east of the Cascade Mountains.


The ethnonym "Klikitat" is said to derive from a Chinookan word meaning "beyond," in reference to the Rocky Mountains. The Klickitat, however, call themselves Qwû'lh-hwai-pûm, meaning "prairie people." Other names for them include:

Awi-adshi, Molala name.

Lûk'-a-tatt, Puyallup name.

Máhane, Umpqua name.

Mǐ-Çlauq'-tcu-wûn'-ti, Alsea name, meaning "scalpers."

Mûn-an'-né-qu' tûnnĕ, Naltunnetunne name, meaning "inland people."

Tlakäï'tat, Okanagon name.

Tsĕ la'kayāt amím, Kalapuya name.

T!uwānxa-ikc, Clatsop name.

Wahnookt, Cowlitz name.


The ancestral lands of the Klickitat were situated north of the Columbia River, at the headwaters of the Cowlitz, Lewis, White Salmon, and Klickitat rivers, in present-day Klickitat and Skamania Counties. They occupied their later base after the Yakama crossed this river. In 1805, the Klickitat were encountered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Lewis and Clark found them wintering on the Yakima and Klickitat Rivers and estimated their number at about 700. In the early 1850s, the Klickitat Tribe raided present-day Jackson County, Oregon from the north and settled the area. Modoc, Shasta, Takelma, Latgawas, and Umpqua Indian tribes had already lived within the present boundaries of that county.

Between 1820 and 1830, an epidemic of fever struck the tribes of the Willamette Valley. The Klickitat took advantage of the drop in population in this region and crossed the Columbia River and occupied territory occupied by the Umpqua. This was not permanent, however, as they were pushed back to their original homeland.

The Klickitat War erupted in 1855. The Klickitat capitulated and joined in the Yakima treaty at Camp Stevens on June 9, 1855. They ceded their lands to the United States. Most of them settled upon the Yakima Reservation.

Klickitat Villages Mentioned in Historical Sources

Itkilak (Ithlkilak): at White Salmon Landing, occupied jointly with the Chilluckquittequaw Tribe.

Nanshuit: occupied jointly with the Chilluckquittequaw Tribe, at Underwood.

Shgwaliksh: not far below Memaloose Island.

Tgasgutcu: occupied jointly with the Chilluckquittequaw Tribe, said to be about 34 miles west of long high mountain opposite Mosier, Oregon, and about 1 mile above White Salmon Landing but the exact location seems to be in doubt.

Wiltkun: exact location unknown.


Klikitat Indian History

Washington Indian Tribes

Further reading

Judson, Katharine Berry (1912) (DJVU). Myths and legends of the Pacific Northwest, especially of Washington and Oregon. Washington State Library's Classics in Washington History collection (2nd ed.). McClurg. OCLC 10363767. Oral traditions from the Chinook, Nez Perce, Klickitat and other tribes of the Pacific Northwest.

From Washington Indian Tribes on Access Genealogy:

History. The original home of the Klickitat was somewhere south of the Columbia, and they invaded their later territory after the Yakima crossed the river. In 1805 Lewis and Clark found them wintering on Yakima and Klickitat Rivers. Taking advantage of the weakness of the Willamette tribes following upon an epidemic of fever between 1820 and 1830, the Klickitat crossed the Columbia and forced their way as far south as the valley of the Umpqua but were soon compelled to retire to their old seats. They were active and enterprising traders, profiting by their favorable location to become middlemen between the coast tribes and those living east of the Cascades. They joined in the Yakima treaty at Camp Stevens, June 9, 1855, by which they ceded their lands to the United States, and most of them settled upon the Yakima Reservation.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimated that the Klickitat, including the Taitinapam, numbered 600 in 1780. In 1805 Lewis and Clark placed their total population at about 700. The census of 1910 returned 405

Connections in which they have become noted. The Klickitat were early distinguished from other tribes of central Washington owing to their propensity for trading. The name is perpetuated in that of a small affluent of the Columbia and in the name of the county, and a post village in the county.

From the English Wikipedia article on the Rogue River War:

The Rogue River Wars was an armed conflict between the US Army, local militias and volunteers, and the Native American tribes commonly grouped under the designation of Rogue River Indians, in the Rogue River Valley area of what today is southern Oregon in 1855–56. While the conflict designation usually includes only the hostilities that took place during the mentioned period of time, numerous skirmishes escalated in the area since 1850, eventually breaking into open warfare.


The interaction between the Rogue River Indians and the first settlers who established homesteads in the area was relatively peaceful. However, the situation changed drastically with the opening of the Oregon Trail and the gold rushes in northern California and later in eastern Oregon. Flocks of white settlers and miners soon flooded the area, consuming without restrictions the natural resources upon which the Indians relied on for living, like hunting, fishing and chopping down entire forests of oak trees.

Along these lines hostilities can be traced to American Ewing Young’s travel to Oregon in 1834 when his party murdered several natives and buried their bodies on the island where the party was camped.[1] These bodies were later discovered by the local tribe and led to a retaliation the next year when an American fur trapping party passed through and was attacked by the natives.[1] Four of the eight European-Americans were killed with William J. Bailey and George Gay as two of the survivors.[1] Then in 1837 as part of the Willamette Cattle Company Young, Bailey, and Gay were herding cattle north to the Willamette Valley when Gay shot and killed a native boy for no other reason than the previous attacks years earlier.[1] The locals were unsuccessful in retaliations during the remainder of the cattle drive as only a few animals were lost to attacks.[1]


1. ^"Ewing Young Route". Oregon's Historic Trails. End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. (Link out of date)

External links

The Fort Lane Archaeology Project -- Fort Lane was an important base for the US Army during this conflict (Link out of date)

Guide to the Rogue River Wars (ca. 1855-1857) at the University of Oregon.

In case this goes out of date (this appears a far better resource for the Rogue River War):

Title: Cayuse, Yakima, and Rogue River Wars papers Dates: 1847-1858 ( inclusive ) Quantity: .5 linear feet (1 container) Collection Number: Bx 047

Summary: The Cayuse War (1847-1855), the Rogue River War (ca. 1855-1857) and the Yakima War (1856-1858) all resulted in losses for the Oregon and Washington Indians. Many tribal members succumbed to either military attack or disease, and most of the remaining population were sent to live on reservations. Additionally, a great deal of tribal land was taken by the U.S. government in the aftermath of these wars. The Cayuse, Yakima and Rogue River Wars Papers include letters, official reports, general orders, petitions, and miscellaneous papers relating to Indian wars in Oregon and Washington. Among the correspondents are: George Abernethy, Jesse Applegate, William Craig, Alanson Hinman, Berryman Jennings, H. J. G. Maxon, Robert Newell, Joel Palmer, John Mix Stanley, Elkanah Walker, and Ralph Wilcox.

Repository: University of Oregon Libraries Special Collections & University Archives 1299 University of Oregon Eugene, OR 97403-1299


Languages: Collection materials written in English. 

Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

The Cayuse War:

After years of simmering tensions between white settlers and Indians, a small band of Cayuse warriors killed 14 whites and held 53 others captive in the Whitman Massacre of November 29, 1847 (so called because the targets were the Whitmans, a missionary couple living among the Cayuse). A large band of self-organized white settlers marched through Cayuse territory and demanded the surrender of the warriors responsible for the massacre. 

Some Cayuse continued to raid settlements, and US troops and militiamen from the Oregon territory were called in to suppress them. Skirmishes continued through 1855, when the Cayuse were defeated. They had lost much of their population to both the war and to diseases brought by the white settlers. Most of their tribal lands were taken, and the surviving Cayuse were sent to live on the Umatilla reservation.

The Rogue River War:

Throughout the 1850s Governor Stevens of the Washington Territory clashed with the US Army over Indian policy: Stevens wanted to displace Indians and take their land, but the army opposed land grabs. 

White settlers in the Rogue River area began to attack Indian villages, and Captain Smith, commandant of Fort Lane, often interposed his men between the Indians and the settlers. In October 1855, he took Indian women and children into the fort for their own safety; but a mob of settlers raided their village, killing 27 Indians. The Indians killed 27 settlers expecting to settle the score, but the settlers continued to attack Indian camps through the winter. 

On May 27, 1856 Captain Smith arranged the surrender of the Indians to the US Army, but the Indians attacked the soldiers instead. The commander fought the Indians until reinforcements arrived the next day; the Indians retreated. A month later they surrendered and were sent to reservations.

The Yakima War:

Although the Yakima had signed a treaty with the United States ceding their lands and agreeing to be placed on a single, large reservation, some tribes people joined forces under Yakima chief Kamaikan and fought with U.S. troops with some success from 1856 through 1858. Skirmishes continued until the Battle of Four Lakes (near Spokane, Washington) in September 1858, at which the Indians were defeated. Kamaiakan fled to Canada, but 24 other chiefs were captured and executed. Remaining Yakima tribe members were placed on a reservation.

Mention was made of him in a letter between Lucullus Virgil McWhorter ("He-mene Ka-wan" or "Old Wolf") and Louis Charles Mann (Head of the Ahtanum Clan of the Yakimas) on 22 July 1920, excerpt from "The Discards":

... I wish you would make a trip with me there and see that GUY HOWARDS crops, and have it taken a picture, what a damn nice piced of work the Reclamation Service done with this Injun. Starve the man's crops because no money in advance, while the Reclamation Service committed a crime enter their water into our ditch without our consent. Piute Ditch was built with Indian money for the Piute Indians who were brought here from Mahleur, Oregon, by the Agent JAMES H. WILBUR, and with the help by some of our Yakima Indians with teams and wagons. I have forgotten now, maybe old man Peter Klickitat was in that trip. Well brother, may be to damn white rulers in this Reclamation Service, and to dirty-heart tricks with this Service, this government is polished with black when such water lords are in this service. Now brother if you had time to go with me over this coming Sunday, you would come to my place in the first car that comes out in the morning, and we would start out from my place with a hack drive over there and back in the evening.

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