Joseph George, boatbuilder (1871-1945)Image pchs 1999.53.1 courtesy of the Pacific County Historical Society

Joseph “Josie” George was born at Wilsonville in 1871, and grew up in Bay Center, Washington. His parents were George and Margaret (George) Squamaup (also called Skamock). Margaret’s mother, Mary, was sister to Lah-wat-kin and was alive during the 1851 treaty signing.

Josie George became a well known boat builder, taught by his father, who carried on a family tradition of canoe making. When the expert designer and builder of Native watercraft, George Squamaup died in 1910, Josie George opened a shop and turned to gasoline engines and diesel craft. According to the 1969 McChesney Rolls, published by Ye Galleon Press, George became a well respected businessman in the community, known for his craftsmanship all along the Pacific Coast. “To own a Josie George boat was a mark of distinction anywhere on the bay” (McChesney Rolls, p. 47, Photograph Section). George’s boats continue to work in the twenty-first century and can be seen in harbors throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Bay Center.

Josie George was also part of a network of families who retained their Chinook heritage on the Washington Coast. Josie George married Belle Bob, the daughter of Bob Salikie. According to the McChesney Rolls, “Bob Silackie (spelled in various ways in historic document. The family spelling is Salikie) was born about 1858, the son of Queane’quash, a Clatsop Indian. His mother was the sister of Tostow, a Clatsop chief who signed the l85l treaty. He moved from the Shoalwater Reservation (Georgetown) to Bay Center and to the Long Beach Peninsula, according to the seasons.”

Salikie and his family are listed as living in Chinookville in the 1880 census. Their descendants include Bessie George Hawks Pickernell, who became known in the mid-to-late twentieth century for her skill as a basket maker and as a carrier of the community’s past. Her descendants include leaders of the contemporary Chinook Indian Nation such as grandson Phillip Antone Hawks, who was born in the Chinook community of Goose Point in 1936.