Peter Stanup

Peter Stanup

Pierce County, Washington, USA
Death 15 May 1893
Pierce County, Washington, USA
Burial Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, USA
Memorial ID 106461262 · View Source
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Peter C. Stanup was born about 1857 and was a member of the Puyallup tribe. His earliest education was obtained with school there, and when a young man he began setting type in the office of the Tacoma Herald.

When the Indian Industrial School was established at Forest Grove in Oregon about 1878, he was among the first attendants. After his return home, he became interpreter, especially for the Presbyterian clergyman, Rev M. G. Mann; and after studying, he was licensed to preach by the Presbytery. This continued for several years, though after a time he left the work.

He went to Washington, D.C., to assist his Agent, Hon. E. Eells, in defending himself against some charges which had been brought against him. In 1893, he again went to Washington to secure some legislation he wished in regard to the Puyallup reservation. But intemperance proved to be too great an enemy for him.

He became an acknowledged leader in his tribe in their relations with the whites and government. He became quite rich also, and was wined and dined until this enemy overcame him. In May 1893, while intoxicated, he was drowned in the Puyallup river. He had read law, and had he lived, would probably have been soon admitted to the bar.

The following is from the Tacoma Ledger of May 23, 1893, just after his death:

Although not a chief nor of a chieftains ancestry, Peter Stanup was a natural leader among the Puyallups, as his father had been before him. He was born in either 1857 or 1858, and up to 1875 lived on the reservation among his people.

He was naturally bright and of a self-reliant nature. His parents were Roman Catholics, but he adopted the Presbyterian faith.

While yet a lad he exhibited a desire to acquire an education, and from missionaries learned to read, write and cipher. In 1875 he went to Olympia, intending to learn the printing trade. He secured a position as devil on the Olympia Daily Echo, and quickly picked up the business. At the time he was a devout member of the Presbyterian church, and was the butt of many practical jokes, which he, with native cleverness, always managed to turn upon the jokers.

He remained there about four months, receiving small wages. When the paper was removed to this city and started as the Herald, Peter came along, and was employed as a printer.

He then conceived the idea of securing a better education, and went to the Indian School at Forest Grove, Or. Upon completing the course he studied for the Presbyterian ministry, and was ordained. He returned to the Puyallup reservation, and for several years preached to his people, doing a great deal of good. His example and the prominence which he had obtained served as a spur to many of the younger generation, and the general enlightenment that at present exists among the Puyallups is largely traceable to his influence.

During the past ten or twelve years Peter had become engaged in many land speculating enterprises. He was possessed of great business ability, and in negotiating land deals between Indians and whites, and by good investments he had amassed a fortune valued at $50,000, most of which is invested in lands.

About ten years ago he married Annie Kahim, a pretty and attractive Indian woman, who had received an excellent common school education, and who, like Peter, was considered remarkably bright. Their married life has been marred by the death of four of their children. Except for these griefs they have been a very happy couple.

The two children now living are both girls. One is 2 years old and is very ill. The other is about 8 months old. The Stanup residence is a neat frame structure on the banks of the Puyallup, and is on a well cultivated and valuable farm.

In 1888 Peter began writing an Indian romance but abandoned it. He wrote a number of excellent articles at various times on subjects pertaining to the customs and habits of Puget Sound Indians. He was an excellent talker and speaker, and took a great interest in political affairs. He was a member of the last two Republican conventions.

Myron Eells, "Peter C. Stanup," Indians of Puget Sound. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1988, 359-60.

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  • Created by: Tenalquot
  • Added: 10 Mar 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 106461262
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Peter Stanup (unknown–15 May 1893), Find A Grave Memorial no. 106461262, citing Old Puyallup Indian Cemetery, Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Tenalquot (contributor 46506981) .