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History of Klickitat, Yakima, and Kittitas Counties, Washington

published in 1904

Toby and Nancy

Kittitas county's two most noted characters are unquestionably Toby and Nancy, residents of Ellensburg. They are to be seen nearly every day -- a sad picture of a dying race. Bent and tottering, wrinkled with the furrows of care and age, and picturesquely dressed in a motley garb of Indian and white men's clothing, they wander about the streets, poor, old, blind Toby led by a short rope and cautiously feeling his way with a cane, Nancy packing a load of food supplies or wood upon her back. Everybody knows them; all have a kindly word for them. They need not stir from their tepee on the city's outskirts for the matter of food or wood or clothing, for charity has kept them many years now, but they realize that activity is life to them.

How old they are, no one, not even themselves, knows. They were old when the first white settlers came to the valley in the later sixties. In 1873, Charles Reed employed Toby to do some road work, and at that time named him Toby. Toby worked for various people as long as he was able and since then, has been supported by others. At the time of the Indian scare in 1878, he did some scout duty for the settlers. Nancy is the only wife Toby has ever had. At one time, they had several children, but these died years ago.

© by Cayuse Press

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