More than one local scout troop has made a pilgrimage to Angeline Seattle’s grave in the Auburn Pioneer Cemetery. Her Victorian-styled tombstone seems like an ideal backdrop for a discussion of the importance of Seattle’s namesake, Chief Seattle, and his daughter, popularly known as “Princess Angeline.” The only problem? Princess Angeline, daughter of the famous chief, is actually buried in Seattle’s Lakeview Cemetery. Who, then, is the Angeline Seattle buried here in Auburn?
We don’t know our Angeline’s maiden name, but we do know that she spent the majority of her life as Angeline Tumas. She and her husband Charlie Tumas were members of the local Muckleshoot Tribe. They can be found in Washington’s territorial census reports of the late 1800’s living on the reservation, on a farm they shared with their daughter Mary.
Except for these few details, we know very little about Angeline’s life. The 1900 Federal Census tells us only that Charlie had died by that time, leaving Angeline a widow. Her daughter Mary was no longer a part of her household; she had probably married and moved on to a home of her own. Angeline would have been 68 years old at the time of the census-taker’s visit.
Auburn’s Angeline faced old age in a new century without the company of her husband or her daughter. Was she lonely? Perhaps, but she did have some company. There was one other member of her household in that 1900 census report: a hired man named John Seattle (some sources report that John was a cousin of the famous chief). Sometime before her 1907 death, Angeline and John married. It’s because of this late second marriage that Angeline Seattle is buried under that name in the Auburn cemetery. Angeline’s tombstone, although it occasionally causes a bit of confusion to scout leaders and other amateur historians, is one of the most ornate markers in the cemetery—it’s certainly suitable for any “princess.”
Kristy Lommen is an English and History teacher and a volunteer at the White River Valley Museum. She has lived in Auburn for 12 years. You can find more stories from Auburn’s history at her website for the Auburn Pioneer Cemetery: www.auburnpioneercemetery.net.
The Auburn Pioneer Cemetery is located at the corner of 8th NE and Auburn Way North, across from Fred Meyer. It contains monuments for many Japanese American families that lived in the Auburn area. Stop by to pay your respects to some of our earliest settlers.