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In this gallery, you may view several of the sketches and artworks produced by Gustav Sohon while traveling on the 1855 Treaty Trail. Sohon, an army private, witnessed and contributed to some of the most important events in the history of the Northwest.

Because of Sohon’s artistic talent, Governor Isaac Stevens asked him to document events of the journey and treaty council with Native American tribes. Sohon learned the languages of the native peoples and many allowed him to draw pictures of them. In many cases, these are the only remaining visual records of these individuals.

Additional objects, images, and ephemera pertaining to this subject can be found (and searched for) in the various collections presented on our Online Collections page.

Council in Bitterroot Valley July 1855

Council in Bitterroot Valley July 1855

A scene at a treaty council between Isaac Stevens and the Flathead Indians. This Council convened with 1200 Indians present on July 9.
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Arrival of the Nez Perce at Walla Walla Treaty May the 24 1855

Arrival of the Nez Perce at Walla Walla Treaty May the 24 1855

This painting, “Arrival of the Nez Perce at Walla Walla Treaty”, was created by Gustav Sohon on May 24, 1855. Isaac Stevens stands with a group of other Euro-Americans at the center of the scene. To the left of them, a group of Indians stands next to their horses. The Nez Perce are riding in a long curving line around the central group. Washington State Historical Society, 1918.114.9.36.
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Lawyer Hal-hal-tlostsot Head Chief of the Nez Perce Tribe

Lawyer Hal-hal-tlostsot Head Chief of the Nez Perce Tribe

Hallalhotsoot, or “Chief Lawyer”, was portrayed as the Nez Perce leader at the Walla Walla Council by artist Gustav Sohon. Lawyer is pictured here wearing a silk top hat, decorated with ostrich plumes held in place by colored bands.
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Joseph Too-we-tak-hes Chief of the Nez Perce Indians

Joseph Too-we-tak-hes Chief of the Nez Perce Indians

This image of Toowe-tak-hes (also known as Chief Joseph) was created by Gustav Sohon on May 29, 1855. Detail of portrait. Washington State Historical Society, 1918.114.9.58
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Kamayakhen head Chief of the Yakimas

Kamayakhen head Chief of the Yakimas

This portrait by Gustav Sohon shows Kamiakin, Head Chief of the Yakamas. He was six feet or greater in height and athletically built. Many perceived Kamiakin, accurately or not, as the most powerful leader of the Yakama. Detail of portrait. Washington State Historical Society, 1918.114.9.65.
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Mr. W. Craig

Mr. W. Craig

Gustav Sohon created this portrait of William “Bill” Craig on June 4, 1855. Craig served as interpreter for the Nez Perce people at the Walla Walla and Blackfoot Councils. Detail of portrait. Washington State Historical Society, 1918.114.9.4.
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Pew-pew max-max, Head Chief of the Walla Walla Indians, [Portrait of Peo Peo Mox Mox, Head Chief of the Walla Walla tribe]

Pew-pew max-max, Head Chief of the Walla Walla Indians, [Portrait of Peo Peo Mox Mox, Head Chief of the Walla Walla tribe]

This portrait of Peo Peo Mox Mox was created on June 7, 1855 by Gustav Sohon. The clothing, as depicted by the artist, shows adaptation to EuroAmerican fashions. Around his neck, he wears a tomahawk pipe. Detail of portrait. Washington State Historical Society, 1918.114.9.64
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Spokan Garry Head Chief of the Spokan Tribe

Spokan Garry Head Chief of the Spokan Tribe

Spokan Garry was sketched on May 27, 1855 by Gustav Sohon. Detail of portrait. Washington State Historical Society, 1918.114.9.61.
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We-ah-te-na-tee-ma-ny  The Young Chief  Head Chief of the Cayuses

We-ah-te-na-tee-ma-ny The Young Chief Head Chief of the Cayuses

This portrait of Weahtenatemany (also known as “Young Chief”) depicts one of the head chiefs of the Cayuse. This title was inherited from his uncle, the former headman. Gustav Sohon created this illustration on June 8, 1855.
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