Jules, Charles (Schay nam'kin) (1846-1935)

  • By Margaret Riddle
  • Posted 9/18/2009
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 9161

Chief Charles Jules (Schay nam'kin) was held in high regard by members of the Snohomish and related bands that would eventually become the Tulalip Tribes, as well as by his white contemporaries. Jules's position as chief was both hereditary and appointive. His grandfather, Sehi ham kin, had been chief at Hibulb (or Hebolb), the Snohomish first-class village on the northwestern tip of present-day Everett, and an uncle, Ns'ski-oos, or Jackson, was sub-chief of Snohomish and signed the Point Elliott Treaty in 1855. Jules served as judge of the Tulalip court for seven years and as sub-chief. The U.S. government appointed him chief of the Snohomish in 1905. Jules and Ns'ski-oos met Father Eugene Casimir Chirouse (1821-1892) upon his arrival at the Tulalip Reservation in 1857 and helped Chirouse select a location for his first mission, school, and residence. Charles Jules became a student at the mission boarding school and he and Chirouse became friends. When Chirouse moved the Mission of St. Anne from Priest Point to Tulalip Bay in 1863, he aided Jules financially and give him land at the Priest Point site. Jules excelled at business -- he operated a general store and engaged in logging -- and at age 32 he was able to live on the reservation in semi-retirement. He owned 160 acres of reservation land and leased some of it out for income. Twice married, Charles Jules fathered 15 children. Jules died on the Tulalip reservation on September 2, 1935.

Lives in Transition

Schay nam’kin (Charles Jules) was born in 1846 on what became the Tulalip reservation. His father's name is given in a 1926 biography of Jules as Sehi-ham-kin, born at Skykomish and his mother born at Snohomish.  (There are many recorded spellings of Jules’s Indian, and possibly it was a family name.  The one chosen here for Jules is from the 1902 Tulalip Register of Indian Families).  Both parents died when Charles was a boy.

Schay nam’kin was a grandson of Chief Sehi ham kin, a chief at Hibulb (Hebolb), the Snohomish first-class village located at the northwestern tip of what is now Everett. Ns’ski-oos, an uncle, was a signatory to the Point Elliott Treaty, signed at Mukilteo in 1855. Following the treaty signing, Jules’s family lived along Quil Ceda Creek near the mouth of Ebey Slough. There were many family members, and they lived in various Puget Sound locations. Some of Sehi ham kin’s daughters married early white settlers.

In 1935 Sister Mary Louise (Nellie Sullivan) interviewed Charles Jules for a master’s thesis she was writing about Father Eugene Casimir Chirouse. According to Jules, the priest arrived on the reservation in 1857 and, through an interpreter, asked permission of Snohomish chief Ns’ski-oos to live among them. A council met, the priest was welcomed, and they helped choose a spot on Ebey Slough to build a house. A year later the school and mission moved to near what today is known as Priest Point. Chirouse eventually located the Mission of St. Anne at Tulalip Bay.    

Chirouse and Jules

Schay nam'kin (Charles Jules) was one of Chirouse’s first students at St. Anne’s boarding school and, since he was an orphan, he lived with Father Chirouse for several years. He was baptized into the Catholic faith by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Olympia, and at this time was give the name of Charles Jules (after a French saint). By this time Jules was a young man, able to go out on his own, and Chirouse gave him some assistance, including a gift of an orchard that had been planted and cultivated at the Priest Point location. Jules lived at this location and cared for the property for about four years. He then began operating a general store and logging with oxen, and he started to acquire land, at least partially through his marriages. His business ventures were so successful that he soon paid off indebtedness he had incurred. He continued to work for 12 more years. 

When Oblate superiors transferred Father Chirouse to a new assignment in British Columbia in 1878, many at Tulalip considered petitioning the Pope to cancel the move. But Father Chirouse yielded to the wishes of the Oblates and left for his new position. He lived another 14 years, until 1892, and he returned to visit the Tulalip reservation several times before his death. Former students, including Charles Jules, also visited Chirouse at his post in British Columbia. In the interview with Sister Mary Louise, Jules told of his delight at having Chirouse, nearing the end of his life, accept an invitation to spend a night at his home. Suspecting this might be their last meeting, Jules took Chirouse to Marysville to have a portrait taken. For years the portrait hung in the Jules’s house. His daughter Agnes James was living there when the house and all of its contents were destroyed by fire on August 26, 1957.

The Family Jules

Charles Jules was Tulalip’s earliest entrepreneur, yet his experiences in the early days reflected the hard times of reservation life. He married twice, the first time to Philomena, in 1866, and the couple had 13 children. Jules worked on a farm, growing fruit and other crops. Philomena died in 1896 and is buried at Priest Point Cemetery at Tulalip. Two years later, Jules returned to the Tulalip reservation and married Margaret (Johnson) Teuse on August 29, 1900, and the couple had two children. Margaret had suffered tragedy of her own. She was the widow of David Teuse, the police chief at Tulalip and a distant relative of Jules. Teuse was killed by a shotgun blast earlier in 1900, and his death was considered a homicide. A grand jury questioned several prominent Tulalip residents, but returned no indictment.

The 1920 federal census lists Charles Jules's profession as farmer, but by this time he was also a property owner with 160 acres of reservation land, part of which had been cleared and cultivated, with the remaining portion in woods and pasture.  Part of the Jules's income came from leasing some of this land.  It is sad to note that of Jules's 15 children, only a daughter, Agnes Jules James, survived him. Many of the deaths of his other children were attributed to tuberculosis. 

High Status

In 1905 the U.S. government appointed Jules chief of the Snohomish on the Tulalip reservation, and he also served as Indian court judge at Tulalip during the time that Charles M. Buchanan (1868-1920) was the Indian agent.    

The conscription of Indians brought great controversy to tribes during World War I. Leaders of the Lummi, Swinomish, and Port Madison Reservations -- believing this was one more step in making Indians subservient to the U. S. government -- fought against it. Through Buchanan’s writings, we learn that Charles Jules supported Indian conscription into the war. Citing events from the past when Indians were called upon to protect their wives and children from raiding bands, Jules believed that the German threat to the nation was equivalent and called for Indian support for the war effort. Twelve thousand Indians served during World War I and nine were from Tulalip, including two, Elson James and Alphonse Bob, who gave their lives.

Remembering Jules 

Charles Jules died of tuberculosis on the Tulalip reservation on September 2, 1935. Anji Crowley, an artist residing in Tulalip, painted his portrait. She remembered meeting him when she was a child and painted the portrait from photographs and her own memory.

Crowley later purchased the property where Father Chirouse had his first home at the mouth to Ebey Slough, and she is said to have built her house over the old Chirouse homesite. Her painting of Charles Jules now hangs in the Tulalip Tribal Center on Totem Beach Road.


Sources: “Chief Charlie Jules Dies On Reservation After Short Illness,” The Marysville Globe, September, 1935, p. 1; “Former Chief of Indians Dies at Home Monday,” Everett Daily Herald, September 3, 1935, p. 1; Sister Mary Louise, O. P. (Nellie Sullivan), “Eugene Casimir Chirouse, O. M. I. and the Indians of Washington” (master’s thesis, University of Washington, 1932); David A. Cameron, Charles F. LeWarne,  M. Allan May, Jack C. O’Donnell and Lawrence E. O’Donnell, Snohomish County: An Illustrated History (Index: Kelcema Books, 2005), 39-40; Colin E. Tweddell, “A Historical and Ethnological Study of the Snohomish Indian People: A Report Specifically Covering Their Aboriginal and Continued Existence, and Their Effective Occupation of a Definable Territory," Coast Salish and Western Washington Indians, reprinted in American Indian Ethnohistory: Indians of the Northwest Vol. 2, ed. by D. A. Horr (New York: Garland Publishing, 1974); History of Snohomish County, Washington, Vol. 2, ed. by William Whitfield (Chicago and Seattle: Pioneer Publishing Company, 1926); Lita Koko Sheldon, The Mary Koch Collection of Information on Tulalip (Tulalip: Tulalip Tribes, 1989); Alexandra Harmon, Indians in the Making: Ethnic Relations and Indian Identities Around Puget Sound (Berkeley: University of California, 1999), 173; Krista Kapralos, “Warriors & Patriots: Many American Indians Served Before Getting Full Citizenship Rights,” July 3, 2009, The Daily Herald, Local p. 1; “300 Indians Attend Parley,” Spokesman-Review, June 2, 1929, Washington State University Libraries online collections accessed September 11, 2009 (http://kaga.wsulibs.wsu.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/clipping&CISOPTR=10976&CISOBOX=1&REC=7 ); Margaret Riddle conversation with Betty Gaeng, September 15, 2009, Lynnwood, Washington; "Register of Indian Families, Tulalip Agency -- Tulalip Indian Reservation -- March 31, 1902, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

Related Topics:   Biographies | Northwest Indians

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