James McAllister

Among the pioneers accompanying Michael T. Simmons to Tumwater in 1845 was James McAllister with his wife and children. He was born in Kentucky, but like the other settlers, had embarked on the Oregon Trail from Missouri. McAllister did not stay in Tumwater long. He moved to the Nisqually Valley, where he made his claim. McAllister Creek and McAllister Springs are named after him.

When the Indian War broke out in 1855, James McAllister volunteered to join the Puget Sound Rangers, commanded by Capt. Charles Eaton. On the 22nd of October, 1855 at the house of Nathan Eaton on the Yelm Highway, McAllister was elected lieutenant. Right after his election, the company of 19 men departed for the Puyallup River to find Chief Leschi. Not finding any Indians, the group continued on. Lt. McAllister requested permission to reconnoiter the military road leading towards the White River. He took with him a resident of the area, Mr. Connell, and 2 Indians. Eaton told him to return that evening. McAllister replied, "I will return if I am alive." He never returned. The sharp report of a rifle alerted his company to his fate. His body was found a few days later not far from the smoking ruins of Connell's house. It was taken to the fort on Chambers' prairie where his family had taken refuge.

The funeral took place November 11. "It rained incessantly all day yet the torrents which fell did not abate the desire to render every respect to his memory." He was survived by his wife, Charlotte. They had been married in 1834 and had had 10 children, the youngest of which was just 2 years old when her father was killed.

Charlotte McAllister remarried William Mengel. They lost an infant son in 1859. All 3 Mengels lie in this same site.

The McAllisters' oldest daughter, America, married Thomas Chambers of the large Chambers family who settled on Chambers Prairie. Daughter Mary Jane married David Hartman. The Hartmans were prominent residents of Nisqually. The youngest daughter, Elizabeth, married Isaac Hawk, whose name is also connected to Nisqually.

Son James McAllister, Jr. returned to Kentucky where he married a cousin, Belle McAllister. In 1882 he moved to Grays Harbor County, then to Yakima and ultimately to Orting where he died of a stroke. He lies here near his parents.

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