Kate’s baskets

So yesterday’s pretty basket turned out to be made by Sarah Walker not Kate.  But these baskets both Annie Peterson and collector Agnes Sengstacken’s notes agree these ones were by Kate, who Annie said was a Lower Umpqua or Siuslaw woman married to “Fat Tenmile Tom”.


The Sengstacken notes say this one was made around 1894.

She made this basket around 1889:


Kate, aka xwálxwal (eyes), was clearly a skilled weaver.  I wish I could find more information about her, but this is almost all the information I’ve been able to find out about her (along with Annie’s comment that she went blind in later years).  In Corporal Bensell’s list of Indians around Coos Bay captured and taken to Yachats in 1864, he does list a “Fat Tom and Mrs. Fat Tom” as well as a child of this couple.  Could his “Fat Tom” be the same one that Annie called “Fat Tenmile Tom”?  No way to be sure (there were a lot of Indian men nicknamed ‘Tom’, but how many on top of that also had the appellation ‘Fat’?) but it does make one wonder.

The Sengstacken notes also say basket 2-13223 is also one of Kate’s:



About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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4 Responses to Kate’s baskets

  1. Are you referring to someone in the Tom family of Siletz/Grand Ronde?

    • shichils says:

      I don’t think so, but I know so little about him I couldn’t say he wasn’t related to them in some way. It is a mystery! In Sengstacken’s notes he is referred to as “Ticky Tom”, Annie Peterson referred to him as “Fat Tenmile Tom”. There are 2 places on our corner of hte coast that are Tenmile:Skeich (Lakeside)-the old boundary between Hanis and Lower Umpqua. THe lakes were wapato gathering areas and the creek had fish camps on it. The other Tenmile was known in Siuslaw as Tsi’imahl, was the boundary between them and the Alsea. I am guessing this Tom picked up the name Tenmile cuz he was associated with the one nearer Coos Bay (since they were apparently living in the Coos Bay region in the 1880 and 1890s). But I haven’t been able to find out anything more about “Ticky Tom” aka “Fat Tenmile Tom” so far. Gets confusing cuz there were a fair number of men nicknamd ‘Tom’.

  2. Thanks so much for acknowledging one of the original Coast weavers ❤ ! I would have loved to sit with Kate or help her gather Cedar Roots. Nan

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