First Advisor

Katrine Barber

Date of Publication

Fall 10-23-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Officers' spouses -- West (U.S.) – Biography, Kautz family, August V. Kautz (August Valentine) 1828-1895, West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century, West (U.S.) -- Colonization



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 133 pages)


This thesis is about the colonization of the West, with an emphasis on the Pacific Northwest from 1853 to 1895. It analyzes the historical processes occurring as America expanded westward through the lens of the Kautz family. August Kautz and his wives tell the story of colonization through unique and vastly different ways. This thesis argues that a microanalysis of the Kautz family history tells a greater story of colonization, one rife with complicated layers influenced by race, class, and societal expectations that shaped individual roles within colonization.

August Kautz was a lieutenant when he first arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 1853; there, he met and married his first wife, a Nisqually woman named Kitty, and together they had two sons. Kautz was an advocate for the release of Chief Leschi, a prominent Nisqually leader during the Puget Sound Indian Wars, connected to August through a familial relation to Kitty. August, as a member of the United States military, was an agent of colonization. Kitty responded and navigated through her changing world. August eventually left his first family in the Pacific Northwest to fight for the Union during the Civil War, and later married Fannie Markbreit, a white middle-class woman from Ohio, in 1872. His relationship with Fannie and their subsequent children was drastically different. Together with Fannie, they actively participated in the colonization of the West through military movements, and Fannie participated in theater groups as an officer's wife and assisted the spread of eastern cultural values while stationed at western posts.

This thesis chronologically follows the Kautz family. Chapter one focuses on August's relationship with Kitty and their two sons. The chapter also examines the greater events that occurred in the Pacific Northwest while he and Kitty created their family, and how his actions aided the colonization of the American West. Chapter two follows August after he leaves Kitty and their sons. The chapter centers on his wife Fannie, their children, and the larger historical events as they moved to various forts throughout the West with the United States military. Chapter three begins with August's death and follows the fate of both of his families dealing with the aftermath of the event.


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