Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society
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Lone Graves, Curlew - Chief Tonasket
Chief Tonasket was born about 1819 somewhere along  the Okanogan River near where the present town of Tonasket is now located.  Chief Tonasket tried to be a peace keeper between the Indians and the miners in the area.  The first Colville Reservation was created in April of 1872 and it was planned to move the Indians of the area to the Reservation.  This project failed and was canceled by President Grant and the present Colville Reservation was created.  The home ranch and wintering place of Chief Tonasket was on the east side of the Okanogan River, across from where the town of Oroville is today.  Tonasket sold this land to Hiram F. Smith (Okanogan Smith) and moved with his people and stock to Curlew Creek, just south of Midway, B.C.  His home ranch was on the left bank of the Kettle River about a mile from the present town of Curlew. He had a small general store as well as a mile-long race track.   Chief Tonasket had suffered an eye infection and he went to Spokane for an operation which was not successful. On his trip home in the spring of 1891, he took the train as far as Marcus, where he died a couple days later. Chief Tonasket was about 71 years old.  His body was taken to his old home at  Curlew and laid to rest on a hill just above his home.  The inscription reads, "Chief Joseph Tonasket 1822-1891, He proved himself a strong and able leader, and although his was not an inherited Chieftain-Chief, he was officially recognized as Chief of the Okanogan Indians in about the year 1858.  His whole life was a series of accomplishments for his people."
Source: "From Indian Chief to Farmer: Chief Tonasket" by William Compton Brown www.ghosttownsusa.com