margaret lorton payne

Margaret Payne as a child, with her grandmother Catherine Hawks Lorton, circa 1941, in front of Joe Waine’s house. Photo courtesy of Margaret Payne.

Margaret Payne Interview

Margaret Lois Lorton Rhoades Payne was born on July 12, 1938, in Walla, Walla, Washington inside a tent located in a bean field. Her parents, Catherine Jane Hawks Pickernell Lorton and Hesse Lloyd “Buck” Lorton, of Bay Center, Washington, participated in migratory labor, picking beans in Walla Walla at the time of Margaret’s birth, since the oyster industry was not thriving in Bay Center as it is today. Although Catherine felt ill the morning of the baby’s arrival, her husband, who had come out West during the Great Depression, encouraged her to work. Catherine and Buck had two more daughters, Sarah Haataia and Dorothy Hill, and eight sons, Lester, John, Ray, Carl, Hess, Phillip, Vernon, Ralph, and LeRoy “Butch.”Buck was lost at sea in the 1977 at the age of 59. Catherine, who was born in1916, died in 2000.

Margaret’s birth certificate lists her mother as Indian and her father as white, probably of German ancestry. Margaret, like her mother, was registered as Quinault, but also enrolled in the Chinook Tribe. Her family has a long legacy in the Bay Center and Shoalwater areas. Her maternal grandparents were Lewis Hawks and Bessie George Hawks Pickernell, an artist of museum-quality baskets. Margaret learned basket-making from watching her grandmother.Lewis Hawks’ father was John Hawks and his mother was Victoria Annie Hawks, John Hawk’s second wife. John Hawks was the son of Tom Huckswelt (Hawks), a Lower Chinook Indian chief and signer of the unratified 1851 treaty negotiated with Anson Dart. John Hawks’ mother was Catherine George, known as Cha’ist or Tleko, also present at the treaty proceedings.

Margaret’s grandmother Bessie Pickernell was born March27, 1900, in Bay Center. Her father was Joseph George, born in 1871, and nicknamed“Josie George.”He was renowned as a famous boat maker, like his father George Squamaup or Skamock. Bessie’s mother, Belle Bobb was the daughter of Bob Silackie, born around 1858. His father was Que-ane-quash, a Clatsop Indian and his mother was a sister of Tostow, a Clatsop chief who signed the 1851 treaty.Pickernell married nineteen-year-old Lewis Hawks when she was fifteen, but they divorced around 1918 or 1919. They had three children, a daughter, Catherine,born June 11,1916, and two sons, Harold, born 1918, and Leonard, born in 1920. Pickernell was also married to John Richard Pickernell, a descendant of John Edmunds Pickernell and Emmaline Redhead, an orphan named by John McLoughlin for her flaming hair, whose father was a Russian trader and mother was a daughter of Concomly’s family. Bessie Pickernell died of cancer in 1967.

Margaret married Keith Rhoades in 1956 in Bay Center and they had three children, Brenda Jane, born in 1957, Robin Christian, born in 1958, and Rex Allen, born in 1960. After her divorce, she married Mike Payne. She worked as a teacher’s aide in the Indian Education program at Bay Center and South Bend for twenty-six years, and subsequently in the Special Education program. She currently volunteers for Hospice.