Coast and Interior Salish families arranged cross-cultural marriages throughout the mid-1800s. These strategic alliances played a crucial role in regional settlement and spared Puget Sound’s upper corner from tragic conflicts. Although accounts of the men exist in a variety of records, the contributions of their native wives remain unacknowledged. The four women profiled—Caroline Davis Kavanaugh, Mary Fitzhugh Lear Phillips, Clara Tennant Selhameten, and Nellie Carr Lane—exhibited exceptional endurance, strength, and adaptability. Each wife’s story is unique, but together they and other intermarried women helped found Puget Sound communities and left lasting legacies. They were peace weavers.
Candace Wellman holds a B.A. in Sociology from Washington State University and a B.Ed. in History/Secondary Education from Western Washington University, and has pursued graduate work in sociology. Born and raised in Washington, the Bellingham resident is a local history consultant and speaks regularly about women’s history and regional settlement.