Building the New Territory, Washington

Discover your
family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

choose a state:
Start Now

In the previous chapter I have made the reader acquainted with the earliest American residents of the territory north of the Columbia, and the methods by which they secured themselves homes and laid the foundations of fortunes by courage, hardihood, foresight, by making shingles, bricks, and cradling-machines, by building mills, loading vessels with timber, laying out towns, establishing fisheries, exploring for coal, and mining for gold. But these were private enterprises concerning only individuals, or small groups of men at most, and I come now to consider them as a body politic, with relations to the government of Oregon and to the general government.

The first public meeting recorded concerned claim jumping, against which it was a protest, and was held in Lewis county, which then comprised all of the territory north of the Columbia and west of the Cascade Mountains not contained in Clarke county, and probably at the house of John R. Jackson, June 11, 1847.

The second was held at Tumwater November 5, 1848, and was called to express the sentiments of the American settlers concerning the threatened encroachments of the Puget Sound Agricultural Association. “This fall,” says an old settler, “the company conceived the design of making claim under the treaty for the immense tract called the Nisqually claim, lying south of the Nisqually River, and with that view drove a large herd of cattle across the river.” The American residents, in a convention called to order by M. T. Simmons and presided over by William Packwood, passed a series of resolutions, a copy of which was presented to W. F. Tolmie, the agent in charge of Fort Nisqually, by I. N. Ebey who had just arrived in the country, and Rabbeson, with the declaration that the Americans demanded the withdrawal of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s herds to the north side of the Nisqually within one week from the day the notice was received.

The preamble set forth that the herds of the company would soon consume all the vegetation of the country ranged by them, to the detriment of the settlers on the south or west side of the river; and that, as these cattle were wild, if suffered to mix with domesticated cattle they would greatly demoralize them. It was thereupon resolved that the Hudson’s Bay Company had placed obstacles in the way of the Americans who first designed settling on Puget Sound-referring to the Simmons colony using misrepresentation and fraud to prevent them, and even threatening force; that they held the conduct of Tolmie censurable in endeavoring to prevent settlement by Americans on certain lands which he pretended were reserved by the terms of the treaty of 1846, although he knew they were not; that this assumption of right was only equaled by the baseness of the subterfuge by which the company was attempting to hold other large tracts by an apparent compliance with the organic land law of the territory that is, by taking claims in the names of servants of the company who did not even know where to find the lands located in their names, but who were compelled to agree to convey these lands to the company when their title should have been completed.

They declared that they as American citizens had a regard for treaty stipulations and national honor, and were jealous of any infringement of the laws of the country by persons who had no interest in the glory or prosperity of the government, but were foreign born and owed allegiance alone to Great Britain. They warned the company that it had never been the policy of the United States to grant preeruption rights to other than American citizens, or those who had declared their intention to become such in a legal form, and that such would without doubt be the conditions of land grants in the expected donation law.

They declared they viewed the claims and improvements made subsequent to the treaty by the Puget Sound Agricultural Company as giving them no rights; and as to their previous rights, they were only possessory, and the United States had never parted with the actual title to the lands occupied, but that any American citizen might appropriate the land to himself, with the improvements, and that the claims held by the servants of the company would not be respected unless the nominal settlers became settlers in fact and American citizens.[1]

Within the week allowed the company to withdraw their cattle from the Nisqually plains they had withdrawn them, and there was no trouble from that source. The threat implied in the resolutions, to sustain any American citizen in appropriating the lands claimed by the company and not by individuals who had renounced allegiance to Great Britain, together with the improvements, was carried out to the letter during the following twelve years, their lands being covered with squatters, and the products of the Cowlitz farm taken away without leave or compensation,[2] not by the men who composed this meeting, but by others who adopted these views of the company’s rights.

The land laid claim to by the agricultural company, in their memorial to the joint commission provided for by the convention between the United States and Great Britain March 5, 1864, was “the tract of land at Nisqually, extending along the shores of Puget Sound from the Nisqually River on one side to the Puyallup River on the other, and back to the Cascade Range, containing not less than 261 square miles, or 167,040 acres,” with “the land and farm at the Cowlitz consisting of 3,572 acres, more or less,[3] which they proposed to sell back to the United States together with the Hudson’s Bay Company’s lands, and the improvements and livestock of both companies, for the sum of five million dollars. They received for such claims as were allowed $750,000. That the sum paid for the blunder of the government in agreeing to confirm to these companies their claims without any definite boundary was no greater, was owing to the persistent effort of the settlers of Washington to diminish their possessions.[4] Another specimen of the temper of the early settlers was shown when the president and senate of the United States sent them a federal judge in the person of William Strong. They refused, as jurors, to be bidden by him, “in the manner of slave-driving,” to repair to the house of John R. Jackson to hold court, when the county commissioners had fixed the county seat at Sidney S. Ford’s claim on the Chehalis, at which place they held an indignation meeting in October 1851, M. T. Simmons in the chair.[5]

When the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1845 made a compact with the provisional government of Oregon to give it their support on certain conditions, there existed no county organization north of the Columbia River, except as the counties or districts of Tualatin and Clackamas extended northward to the boundary of the Oregon territory, declared by the legislature of 1844 to be at the parallel of 54° 40′, when, as no American citizens resided north of the Columbia at that time, no administration of colonial law had over been necessary; but on the compact going into effect, and Americans settling in the region of Puget Sound, the district of Vancouver was created north of the Columbia, and officers appointed as follows: James Douglas, M. T. Simmons, and Charles Forrest district judges, and John R. Jackson sheriff.[6]

On the 19th of December 1845 the county of Lewis was created “out of all that territory lying north of the Columbia River and west of the Cowlitz, up to 54° and 40′ north latitude,” and was entitled to elect the same officers as other counties, except that the sheriff of Vancouver county was required to assess and collect the revenue for both districts for the year 1846. No county officers were appointed, but the choice of judges and a representative was left to the people at the annual election in 1846, when W. F. Tolmie was chosen to represent in the legislature Lewis County, and Henry N. Peers[7] Vancouver County, while the privilege[8] of electing judges was not regarded.

Dugald McTavish, Richard Covington, and Richard Lane, all Hudson’s Bay Company men, were appointed judges of Vancouver district to fill vacancies, but no appointments were made in Lewis County. At the session of 1846 a change was made, requiring the people to elect their county judges or justices of the peace for the term of two years, at the annual election. Under this law, in 1847 Vancouver County elected Richard Lane, R. R. Thompson, and John White, one man of the fur company and two Americans, justices of the peace, and Henry N. Peers representative; while Lewis county elected Jacob Wooley, S. B. Crockett and John R. Jackson justices,[9] and Simon Plomondon, Canadian, for representative. Vancouver County elected William Bryan sheriff and assessor, Adolphus Lee Lewis treasurer, and R. Covington county clerk; Lewis County elected M. Brock assessor, James Birnie treasurer, and Alonzo M. Poe sheriff.[10] The vote of Lewis County at this election gave Abernethy the majority for governor, which he did not have south of the Columbia.

In 1848 Lewis County was not represented, the member elect, Levi Lathrop Smith, whose biography I give elsewhere, having been drowned; Vancouver county was represented by A. Lee Lewis. Little legislation of any kind was effected, on account of the absence of so large a part of the population in California. For the same reason, the only general newspaper in the territory, the Oregon Spectator, was suspended during several months of 1849, covering the important period of the erection of a territorial government under the laws of the United States by Joseph Lane, appointed governor of Oregon by President Polk, and on its resuming publication it gave but briefly election and legislative news. From this meager statement, it appears, however, that the apportionment of representatives under the new order of things allowed one joint member for each branch of the legislature for Lewis, Vancouver, and Clatsop Counties, Samuel T. McKean of the latter in the council, and M. T. Simmons of Lewis in the lower house.[11] The territory having been laid off into three judicial districts, Lewis County being in he third, the first territorial legislature passed an act attaching it to the first district, in order that the judge of that district, Bryant, the other judges being absent, might repair to Steilacoom and try the Snoqualimich who had shot two Americans at Nisqually in the March previous, which was done, as I have fully related elsewhere;[12] this being the first court of which there is any record in Lewis County, and the first United States court north of the Columbia.

The member from the north side of the Columbia was absent from the long term held after the adjournment in July; and as McKean was more interested in Clatsop than Lewis or Vancouver, the settlers of the latter counties felt themselves but poorly represented, the most important act concerning their division of the territory being the change of name of Vancouver to Clarke County.[13] In the following year they were in no better ease, although they elected for the first time a full set of county officers. McKean was still their councilman, and another member from Clatsop their assemblyman, Truman P. Powers, a good and true man, but knowing nothing about the wants of any but his own immediate locality. However, by dint of lobbying, a new county was created at this session out of the strip of country bordering on Shoalwater Bay and the estuary of the Columbia; and in 1851 the three counties north of the river were able to elect a councilman, Columbia Lancaster, and a representative, D. F. Brownfield, in whom they put their trust as Americans. Alas, for human expectations! Both of these men, instead of attending to the needs of their constituents, entered into a squabble over the location of the seat of government, and with idiotic obstinacy remained staring at empty benches in Oregon City with three other dunces for two weeks, when they returned to their homes.

Now, the people south of the Columbia, whose representatives were ever on the alert to secure some benefits to their own districts, were not to be blamed for the state of affairs I have indicated in the remote region of Puget Sound, or for not embodying in their frequent memorials to congress the wants and wishes, never properly expressed in the legislative assembly. But with that ready jealousy the people ever feel of the strong, they held the territorial legislature guilty of asking everything for the Willamette Valley and nothing for Puget Sound. This feeling prepared their minds for the development of a scheme for a new territory, which was first voiced by J. B. Chapman, a lawyer, the founder of Chehalis City,[14] a trading politician and promoter of factions. He had lived in Oregon City or Portland, but conceived the idea of enlarging his field of operations, and in the winter of 1850-1 explored north of the Columbia for a proper field. On the 17th of February 1851, he wrote to A. A. Durham of Oswego, on the Willamette, that he found “the fairest and best portion of Oregon north of the Columbia,” and that no doubt it must and would be a separate territory and state from that of the south. “The north,” he said, “must be Columbia Territory and the south the State of Oregon. How poetical! from Maine to Columbia; and how meaning, of space!”[15] The letter was signed ‘Carman and Chapman,’ but no one ever heard of Carman, and Evans, who made special inquiry, thinks he was a myth.

Chehalis City being too remote, and wanting in population for the centre of Chapman’s designs, he removed soon after to the Sound, where he attempted to establish Steilacoom City, adjoining the Port Steilacoom, of Balch, but failed to secure his object of sup-planting the latter. In politics he was more successful, because he contrived to assume the distinction of originating the idea, which he had only borrowed from those who were nursing their wrath over wrongs, and of anticipating a contemplated movement by getting it into print over his signature.

The first real movement made in the direction of a new territory was on the 4th of July 1851, when the Americans about the head of the Sound met at Olympia to celebrate the nation’s birthday. Chapman, being, as he asserts, the only lawyer among them, was chosen orator of the occasion, and in his speech referred to “the future state of Columbia” with an enthusiasm, which delighted his hearers. After the ceremonies of the day were over, a meeting, was held for the purpose of organizing for the effort to procure a separate government for the country north of the Columbia, Clanrick Crosby, the purchaser of the Tumwater property of M. T. Simmons, being chairman of the meeting, and A. M. Poe secretary. The meeting was addressed by I. N. Ebey, J. B. Chapman, C. Crosby, and H. A. Goldsborough.[16] A committee on resolutions was appointed, consisting of Ebey, Goldsborough, Wilson, Chapman, Simmons, Chambers, and Crockett. The committee recommended a convention of representatives from all the election precincts north of the Columbia, to be held at Cowlitz landing on the 29th of August, the object of which was to “take into careful consideration the present peculiar position of the northern portion of the territory, its wants, the best method of supplying those wants, and the propriety of an early appeal to congress for a division of the territory.”

To this motion the settlers on the Cowlitz made a quick response, holding a meeting on the 7th of July at the house of John R. Jackson, who was chairman, and E. D. Warbass secretary. At this meeting Chapman was present, and with Warbass and S. S. Ford reported resolutions favoring the object of the proposed convention. The committee of arrangements consisted of George Drew, W. L. Frazer, and E. D. Warbass, and the corresponding committee of J. B. Chapman and George B. Roberts.

When the convention assembled on the day appointed there were present twenty-six delegates.[17] The business the convention accomplished was the memorializing of congress on the subject of division, the instruction of the Oregon delegate in conformity with this memorial, the petitioning of congress for a territorial road from some point on Puget Sound to Walla Walla, and a plank road from the Sound to the mouth of the Cowlitz, with suitable appropriations. It also asked that the benefits of the donation land law should be extended to the new territory in case their prayer for division should be granted. It defined the limits of twelve counties, substantially in the form in which they were established by the Oregon legislature; and having made so good a beginning, adjourned on the second day to the 3d of May following, to await the action of congress in the interim,[18] when, if their prayer should have been refused, they were to proceed to form a state constitution and ask admission into the union! Such was the expression of the representatives[19] of Lewis County for every precinct represented was in the county of Lewis, Pacific and Clarke Counties having sent no delegates. The grievances suffered were in fact chiefly felt in the region represented at the convention.

Soon after the Cowlitz meeting occurred the conflict of the jurymen of Lewis County, before referred to, with their first federal officer, Judge Strong. In accordance with an act of the legislature authorizing and requiring the county judges, any two of whom should constitute a board of county commissioners for the selection of a county seat, the place of holding court was fixed at S. S. Ford’s claim on the Chehalis. But Judge Strong preferred holding court at Jackson’s house, twenty miles nearer to the Cowlitz landing, sending a peremptory order to the jurymen to repair to Highlands, which they, resenting the imperiousness of the judge, refused to do, but held a public meeting and talked of impeachment. Chapman, for purposes of his own, glossed over the offence given by Strong, both he and Brownfield, as well as Lancaster, siding with the federal officers against the people on the meeting of the legislature in December; and the affairs of the whole trans Columbia region, not attended to by J. A. Anderson of Clatsop and Pacific Counties, were suffered to pass without notice.[20]

This, however, Anderson did for them: he presented a petition from J. B. Chapman and fifty-five others for the establishment of a new county, to be called Simmons, and the readjustment of the eastern boundary of Lewis County. The boundary of the new county was defined as described by the committee on counties of the August convention, but the council amended the house bill by substituting Thurston for Simmons; and the limits of Lewis on the east were removed fifteen miles east of the junction of the forks of the Cowlitz, running due north to the southern boundary of Thurston County.

In joint convention of both branches of the legislature, I. N. Ebey was elected prosecuting attorney for the third judicial district, receiving fourteen votes, and the ubiquitous Chapman two.[21] Ebey being popular, energetic, and devoted to the interests of his section, much comfort was derived from this legislative appointment. Meantime congress took no notice apparently of the memorial forwarded by the convention of August, nor did the citizens north of the Columbia assemble in May to frame a state constitution as they had threatened, yet as they could not seriously have contemplated. But as a means to a desired end, The Columbian, a weekly newspaper, was established at Olympia,[22] which issued its first number on the 11th of September, 1852; and was untiring in its advocacy of an independent organization. It was wisely suggested that, as many influential citizens would be assembled at the house of J. R. Jackson on the 25th of October to attend the sitting of the court, the opportunity should be seized to make arrangements for another convention, a hint which was adopted. On the 27th of September a meeting was held, and a general convention planned for the 25th of October, at Monticello. It was considered certain that all the inhabitants about Puget Sound would vote for a separate organization, but not quite so evident that those living upon the Columbia, and accustomed to act with the people south of it, would do so. By holding the convention at Monticello, it was hoped to influence the doubtful in the direction of their wishes.

At the time appointed, the delegates assembled and organized by electing G. N. McConaha president and R. J. White secretary. After an address by the president, a committee of thirteen[23] was selected to frame another memorial to congress, which contained the following arguments: It was desired to have organized a separate territory, bounded on the south and east by the Columbia; and for these reasons: the territory was too large ever to be embraced within the limits of one state, containing as it did 341,000 square miles, with 640 miles of sea-coast, while the proposed territory would embrace about 32,000 square miles, that being believed to be of fair and just extent. Those portions of the undivided territory lying north and south of the Columbia must, from their geographical positions, become rivals in commerce. The southern portion, having now the greatest number of voters, controls legislation, from which fact it was evident that northern Oregon received no benefit from congressional appropriations, which were subject to the disposition of the legislature. The seat of government was, by the nearest practicable route, 500 miles from a large portion of the citizens of the territory.

A majority of the legislation of the south was opposed to the interests of the north. Northern Oregon possessed great natural resources and an already large population, which would be greatly increased could they secure the fostering care of congress. Wherefore they humbly petitioned for the early organization of a territory, to be called the Territory of Columbia, north and west of the Columbia River, as described. Then followed forty-four names of the most influential citizens of Lewis and Thurston Counties.[24]

As before, the convention appointed a meeting for May, and adjourned; the memorial was forwarded to Lane, and the proceedings were made as public as the Oregon newspapers could make them.

But matters were already slowly mending north of the Columbia. There had been some valuable accessions to the population, as the reader of the previous chapter is aware; a good many vessels were coining to the, Sound for timber,[25] which gave employment to men without capital, and brought money into the country, and the influence of United States laws were beginning to be felt in the presence of a customs office as well as a district court. In May 1851 President Fillmore commissioned Simpson P. Moses of Ohio collector of customs, and W. W. Miller of Illinois surveyor of the port of Nisqually, on Puget Sound. These officials arrived in the months of October and November, Miller overland and Moses by the Nicaragua route, then newly opened.[26] With the latter came the family of the collector, two unmarried women named Relyea,[27] A. B. Moses, brother of the collector, and Deputy Collector Elwood Evans, who later became so well known in connection with the history of Washington and its preservation in a written form.[28] There came also, as passengers from San Francisco, Theodore Dubosq, J. M. Bachelder and family, and John Hamilton.[29]

I have already in a previous volume related with what ardor Collector Moses adopted the anti Hudson’s Bay Company tone of the early settlers, and how he brought the government into debt many thousand dollars by seizures of British vessels[30] after the removal of the port of entry to Olympia. The seizure of the Beaver and the Mary Dare[31] occurred about the last of November, and on the 20th of January a special term of court was held at Olympia to try these cases, this being the first term of the federal court in Thurston County, Judge Strong presiding, Simon B. Mayre of Portland being attorney for the Hudson’s Bay Company, and David Logan of the same place acting for the United States district attorney, Ebey, in these cases. Quincy A. Brooks acted as clerk of the court, and A. M. Poe as deputy marshal. At this term were admitted to practice Brooks, S. P. Moses, Ebey, and Evans.

Evans describes, in a journal kept by him at that time, and incorporated in his Historical Notes on Settlement, the appearance of Olympia in the winter of 1851-2. There were “about a dozen one-story frame cabins of primitive architecture, covered with split-cedar siding, well ventilated, but healthy. There were about twice that number of Indian huts a short distance from the custom-house, which was in the second story of Simmons’ building, before described, on the first floor of which was his store, with a small room partitioned off for a post-office.”

It was during the month of November that the Exact arrived at Olympia with the gold-seekers for Queen Charlotte Island, after leaving the Alki Point settlers. The Exact brought, as settlers to Olympia, Daniel B. Bigelow, a lawyer and a Massachusetts man who crossed the continent that summer. His first case was a suit between Crosby and M. T. Simmons, growing out of a question of title to the Turn water claim, Bigelow representing Simmons and J. B. Chapman being Crosby’s attorney. James Hughes and family also arrived by the Exact.

The rumor which led the Portland company to charter this vessel to take them to Queen Charlotte Island was first brought to Puget Sound by one McEwen, mate of the sloop Georgiana from Australia. McEwen exhibited gold in chunks which had been chiselled out of quartz-veins in rock on the island, and created thereby such an excitement that a company was immediately raised to visit the new gold region, Goldsborough at the head. On the 3d of November the adventurers sailed from Olympia in the Georgiana, with tools and provisions, and arrived on the 18th in the harbor on the east side of the island, called Kornshewah by the natives, though their true destination was Gold Harbor on the west side. On the following day the sloop was blown ashore and wrecked, when the Haidahs, a numerous and cruel tribe, plundered the vessel, took the company prisoners, and reduced them to slavery. Their final fate would probably have been death by starvation and ill treatment, but for a fortunate incident of their voyage.

On coming opposite Cape Flattery, the sloop was boarded by Captain Balch of the Demaris Cove, who on learning her destination promised to follow as soon as he should have met the George Emory, then due, with the collector of Puget Sound on board. In pursuance of this engagement, the Demaris Cove ran up to the island in December, where she learned from the Indians of the wreck of the Georgians, and being in danger from the natives, Balch at once returned to the Sound to procure arms and goods for the ransom of the prisoners.

On hearing what had happened, Collector Moses, after conferring with the army officers at Fort Steilacoom, chartered the Demaris Cove and dispatched her December 19th for Queen Charlotte Island, Lieutenant John Dement of the 1st artillery, with a few soldiers, A. B. Moses, Dubosq, Poe, Sylvester, and other volunteers, accompanying Captain Balch. On the 31st the schooner returned with the ransomed captives, to the great joy of their friends, who held a public meeting to express their satisfaction, giving unstinted praise to the collector for his prompt action in the matter.[32]

But if the persons concerned approved of the action of the collector, the government did not, and refused to, pay the expenses of the rescue, which Moses in a letter to Secretary Corwin of the treasury assumed that it would do; and the collector of Puget Sound was reminded somewhat sharply that it was not his business to fit out military expeditions at the expense of the United States, the first cost of which in this case was seven or eight thousand dollars.[33] But congress, when memorialized by the legislature of Washington at its first session, did appropriate fifteen thousand dollars, out of which to pay the claims of Captain Balch and others, as in justice it was bound to do. Had the collector waited for the governor to act, another month would necessarily have been consumed, during which the captives might have perished.

On the meeting of the Oregon legislature, ten days after the Cowlitz convention, Lancaster, the councilman whose term held over, did not appear to take his seat, but resigned his office at so late a moment, that although an election was held, Seth Catlin being chosen against A. A. Denny, it was too late to be of use to the region he represented; but F. A. Chenoweth and I. Ebey being members of the lower house in addition to Anderson of Clatsop and Pacific, there was a perceptible change from the neglect of former legislatures, and it is probable, if no action had been taken looking to a separate territory, that the Puget Sound country would have obtained recognition in the future. But the Oregon legislators were not averse to the division, the counties south of the Columbia having, as the northern counties alleged, diverse commercial interests, and being at too great a distance from each other to be much in sympathy. But the legislature adopted without demur a resolution of Ebey’s that congress should appropriate thirty thousand dollars to construct a military road from Steilacoom to Walla Walla. Four new counties were established, Jefferson, King. Pierce, and Island. Two joint representatives were allowed, one for Island and Jefferson, and one for King and Pierce. Pacific County was also separated from Clatsop for judicial purposes, and the judge of the 3d district required to hold two terms of court annually in the former.[34]

On the 10th of January Chenoweth introduced a resolution in the house in regard to organizing a territory north of the Columbia. On the 14th Ebey reported a memorial to congress as a substitute for the resolution, which he asked the assembly to adopt, and which passed without opposition or amendment, the only question raised in connection with the subject being the division by an east and west line, some members contending that Oregon should include Puget Sound and all the country west of the Cascade Mountains, while the country east of that range should form a new territory-an opinion long held by a minority in view of the admission of Washington as a state. Such a division at that time would have made Portland the capita1.[35]

But Lane had not waited to hear from the Oregon legislative assembly concerning the division of the territory. Immediately on receiving the memorial of the Monticello convention, which Was about the beginning of the second session of the thirty-second congress, he presented it in the house by a resolution requesting the committee on territories to inquire into the expediency of dividing Oregon, and framing a new territory north of the Columbia, by the name of Columbia Territory, which resolution was adopted. On the 8th of February 1853, the house proceeded to the consideration of the bill prepared by the committee. The bill did not confine the new territory to the limits described in the memorial, but continued the line of partition from a point near Fort Walla Walla, along the 46th parallel, to the Rocky Mountains, making a nearly equal division of the whole of Oregon. The arguments used by Lane in favor of the bill were the same as those given in the memorial, with the addition of some explanations and statements more effective than veracious, but which may have been necessary to success; as, for instance, the statement that the population of the proposed territory was as great as that of the whole of Oregon at the time of its organization into a territory,[36] whereas it was about one third.

Stanton of Kentucky moved to substitute the name of Washington for that of Columbia, to which Lane agreed, notwithstanding it was an ill advised change. The vote of the house was taken on the 10th, the bill passing by a majority of 128 to 29. The senate passed it on the 2d of March without amendment, the president signing it the same day.[37] Thus painlessly was severed from the real Oregon that northern portion over which statesmen and pioneers had at one time so hotly contended with Great Britain.

Information of this act did not reach those interested until near the last of April. About the middle of May it became known that I. I. Stevens of Andover, Massachusetts, had been appointed governor, Edward Lander of Indiana chief justice, John B. Miller of Ohio and Victor Monroe of Kentucky associate justices, and J. S. Clendenin, of Louisiana United States district attorney. Miller falling ill, Moses Hoagland of Millersburg, Ohio, was appointed in his place, but did not accept, O. B. McFadden of Oregon being subsequently appointed to his district. J. Patten Anderson of Mississippi was appointed United States marshal, and directed to take the census.[38] I. N. Ebey was appointed collector of Puget Sound, in place of S. P. Moses, removed;[39] and not long afterward A. B. Moses was appointed surveyor of the port of Nisqually, in place of Miller, removed.

The marshal was the first of the federal officers to arrive, reaching Puget Sound early in July, accompanied by his family. He was soon followed by Judge Monroe, and in September by Judge Lander, C. H. Mason, secretary of the territory, and District Attorney Clendenin and family. Governor Stevens did not reach Olympia until about the last of November, his proclamation organizing the government being made on the 28th of that month. Before proceeding to discuss his administration, the rapid changes taking place in the territory compel a brief review of its progress in a material point of view.

The most important thing to be done for a new country is the laying-out and improvement of roads. No country ever suffered more from the absence of good roads than Oregon, and the pioneers of the Puget Sound region realized fully the drawback they had to contend against to induce immigrants from the border states to come to the shores of their new Mediterranean after having reached the settled Valley Willamette. The only way in which they could hope to secure large families of agricultural people and numerous herds of cattle, with work-oxen and horses, was to have a road over the Cascade Mountains on the north side of the Columbia as good as the one around the base of Mount Hood on the south side. As early as 1850 it was determined at a public meeting to make the effort to open a road over the mountains and down the Yakima River to Fort Walla Walla, to intersect the immigrant road from Grand Rond. A sum of money was raised among the few settlers, and a company of young men, headed by M. T. Simmons, was organized to hew out a highway for the passage of wagons to the Sound.[40] Another incentive to this labor was the alleged discovery of gold on the Yakima and Spokane Rivers by J. L. Parrish and W. H. Gray, while making a tour through the eastern division of Oregon. The undertaking of opening a road through the dense, forests and up and down the fearfully steep ridges proved too great for the means and strength of Simmons’ company, and only served to fix the resolve to complete the work at some future time.

There was, previous to 1852, no road between Olympia and Tumwater, or between Tumwater and Cowlitz landing. The first mail contract over this route was let July 11, 1851, and the mail carried on horseback, in the pockets of A. B. Rabbeson,[41] Simmons being postmaster at Olympia, and Warbass at the Cowlitz, or Warbassport. The road was so much improved in 1852 that a mail-wagon was driven over it that year.[42] yet with great difficulty being avoided as much as possible by passengers.[43] In 1853 an express line was established over the route by John G. Parker and Henry D. Colter carrying mail and light packages on horseback,[44] nor was there much improvement in this route for another two or three years.

In 1853 it was again resolved to open the road for the immigration to come into the new territory over the Cascade Mountains. A general meeting of citizens was held at Olympia May 14th to discuss the subject in all its bearings, when G. N. McConaha, Whitfield Kirtley, Charles Eaton, John Edgar, and E. J. Allen were chosen road-viewers to report upon the practicability of the undertaking.[45] At the end of three weeks a report was made of the route from Olympia to the summit of the Cascade Range, and by the middle of July volunteers were at work upon the survey, who so far succeeded in their design as to cut a way by which thirty-five wagons reached the shores of the Sound that autumn,[46] bringing between one and two hundred men, women, and children, to populate the rich valleys of White and Puyallup rivers.[47]

John Thomas and John Nelson[48] founded the White River settlement. Owing to the peculiar system of drainage of these rivers, to which I have referred, by which the same stream has several names, it is necessary to remark in this place that White River settlement means that portion of the common valley between the Dwamish and Black sections. Above the junction of Black and White Rivers is what is known as the Slaughter settlement, which was founded by C. E. King, W. H. Brannan, Joseph Brannan, Joseph Lake, Donald Lake, H. Meter, E. Cooper, W. A. Cox, D. A. Neely, M. Kirkland, and S. W. Russell.

The Black River Valley was settled in 1854 by O. M. Eaton, H. H. Tobin, and Mr Fanjoy, who built a sawmill at the entrance of Cedar River,[49] which was burned by Indians the following year. William N. Kincaid[50] settled in the Puyallup[51] Valley, together with Isaac Woolery, A. H. Woolery, W. Boatman, J. H. Bell, T. R. Wright, I. H. Wright, G. Hayward, A. Benson, I. McCarty, I. Lemmon, Thomas Owen, Daniel Lane, Thomas Hadley, H. Whitesell, R. More, R. Nix, A. S. Persham, and D. Warner. A settlement had been commenced at the mouth of the Puyallup River in the spring of 1852, when Nicholas Delin took a claim at the head of Commencement Bay, just east of the present town site of New Tacoma.[52] In October Peter Judson of the immigration settled on the town site, which had been previously taken and abandoned by Jacob Barnhart.

James Biles settled at Tumwater. Tyrus Himes[53] took a claim six miles east of Olympia. James Allen settled in Thurston county.[54] John L. Clarke and J. H. Cleale[55] took up their residence in Olympia. Most of the immigration chose claims in the fall of 1853. Those who followed the next year also immediately selected land, these two immigrations being the last that were permitted to take donation claims. The Indian war of 1855-6, and the insecurity of life in isolated settlements for a number of years, caused the abandonment of the greater part of the farms just opened, and it was not until 1859 that settlement was reestablished in the valleys where the first direct overland immigration made their choice.[56]

Owing to the many hindrances to growth which the territory encountered, and which I shall attempt to set forth in this volume, the Pioneer Association of Washington[57] set its limit of pioneer settlement at 1860, at about which time these difficulties began finally to disappear. It will be observed that there were no large annual accessions to this territory as there had been south of the Columbia, and that although it commenced its existence after the other had conquered many obstacles, and with seemingly superior advantages, its situation proved unfavorable to rapid development.

In November 1853 a steam-packet, the Fairy, was placed upon the Sound by her owner and master, D. J. Gove, to ply between the settlements;[58] and the first of a line of clipper-built lumbermen, the Live Yankee, for the trade between the Sound and San Francisco, was being constructed at Bath, Maine, during the summer, while a constantly increasing fleet of American vessels visited these waters. Schools had been opened in several neighborhoods, but for obvious reasons there was no system of education established. Of ministers there were enough, but not much church going, and as yet no churches nor sectarian institutions of any kind except the Catholic Indian Mission near Olympia. But with a population of less than 4,000, not quite 1,700 of whom were voters, the ambitious young commonwealth was already talking of a railroad from the Skookum Chuck coalfields, discovered in 1850, to Olympia, and J. W. Trutch was engaged in surveying a route[59] in the autumn of 1853. In this chaotic but hopeful condition was the new territory of Washington, when on the 26th of November 1853; Governor I. I. Stevens arrived at Olympia to set in motion the wheels of government.

Footnotes

   (↵ returns to text)

  1. Oregon Spectator, Jan. 11, 1849. I. N. Ebey is said by Rabbeson to have draughted the resolutions, though Rabbeson was chairman of the committee, and S. B. Crockett the third member. He knew of the long feud between certain of his countrymen and the Hudson’s Bay Company, and without knowing the merits of the case on either side, was prepared in any event to be strongly American.
  2. George B. Roberts, in his Recollections, MS., 89, 91, 94, speaks very feelingly of what he was compelled to suffer from 1846 to 1871, by reason of his membership and agency of the company at the Cowlitz farm. ‘The fortunes of the company were upon the fast ebb,’ he says, ‘and rather than go north, or elsewhere, I thought I had better settle as a farmer on the Newaukum. I made out very poorly as a settler, and when Stevens’ war broke out, I left my family and went for a short time as mail-guard, but was soon employed as a clerk to Gen. Miller, quartermaster-general of volunteers In the Fraser River excitement of 1858, I went to Victoria and arranged with Tohnie, then agent of the P. S. A. A., to carry on the Cowlitz farm on a small scale for my own benefit; but I was to keep the buildings in repair and the farm at its then size until some action was had with the government. I took possession unopposed, and all went well until my hay was put up in cocks, when here came a lot of fellows, armed with rifles, and carried it all off. One of these squatters was the justice; so my lawyer, Elwood Evans, recommended changing the venue. The jury decided that they knew nothing of treaties, and of course I had all the expense to bear. The company said the crops were mine, and they would have nothing to do with it. Then followed the burning of a large barn, etc., poor Kendall’s letter and murder, then injunction and dissolution, the loss of papers by the judge when the time of trial came, so as not to pronounce, and so this matter went from 1859 to 1871…The judge was a federal appointee, and in theory independent, but liable to be unseated at any time and returned to the people whom he had offended…I could not with any grace relinquish the property entrusted to my care, to say nothing of the squatters rendering me too poor to leave. Whether the company from any sinister motives helped these troubles I know not. I leave to your imagination the state I was kept in, and my family; sometimes my windows at night were riddled with shot, my fences set open, and in dry weather set on fire. It was an immense effort to unseat me, and cheat the government of these lands, and all the clamor against the P. S. A. A. was for nothing else … The P. S. A. A. one year paid Pierce county $7,000 in taxes, but it is likely the company was astute enough to do so with the view of the record showing the value of their property at that time. In 1870 or 1871 Salucius Garfielde succeeded in getting donation claims for the “hardy pioneers.” Well, I always thought a pioneer was a person who hewed out a farm, not one who violently took possession of a beautiful property that had been carefully, not to say scientifically, farmed for over thirty years.’ This shows to what acts the sentiment adopted by the early settlers toward the Puget Sound Company influenced rude and unscrupulous or ignorant and prejudiced men; and also the injustice inflicted upon individuals by the carrying-out of their views. For the previous biography of G. B. Roberts, see Hist. Oregon, i. 38-9, this series. He finally settled at Cathlamet, where he kept a store, and held the offices of probate judge, treasurer, and deputy auditor of Wahkiakum County. He died in the spring of 1883, and his wife, Rose Birnie, a year or two earlier. See note on p. 111 of vol ii., Hist. Oregon.
  3. New Tacoma North Pacific Coast, June 15, 1880, 180.
  4. At a meeting held at Steilacoom in May 1851, it is stated that Tolmie as the company’s agent had diminished their claim to 144 square miles, after the passage of the land law, but that he was using every means to drive settlers off that tract, with what success I need not say. Oregon Spectator, June 5, 1851.
  5. See Hist. Oregon, ii. 162, this series.
  6. The legislature of August 1845 established a bench of county judges to hold office one, two, and three years, and the same body in the following December made the three years’ judge president of the district court of his district. Or. Laws, 1843-9, 32-3. Douglas was president of the district court of Vancouver; Simmons held office two years and Forrest one year.
  7. Peers was a talented young man of the H. B. Co., a good versifier, and fair legislator.
  8. This was simply a privilege granted by resolution of the legislature of 1845, these officers being appointed by that body, and vacancies filled by tho governor until December 1846, when an act was passed providing for tho election of judges and other county officers. Oregon Spectator, Jan. 21, 1847.
  9. Simmons must have acted as judge of Lewis County previous to this, though appointed for Vancouver, for the marriage of Daniel D. Kinsey and Ruth Brock was solemnized in July 1547 by ‘Judge’ Simmons. Evans’ Hist. Notes, 9.
  10. Oregon Spectator, July 22, 1847.
  11. Id., Oct. 18, 1849.
  12. Hist. Oregon, ii. 79-80, this series.
  13. Or. Jour. Council, 1849, 69.
  14. J. B. Chapman also located a paper town on the upper Chehalis, which he called Charleston, but which never had a real existence. Evans’ Division of the Territory, i., being a collection of printed matter on the subject, with notes by Elwood Evans.
  15. Oregon Spectator, April 10, 1851; Olympia Standard, April 18, 1767; Evans’ Division of Territory.
  16. H. A. Goldsborongh was a brother of Louis M. Goldsborongh, commander of the Massachusetts, which was in the Sound in the spring of 1850, making an examination of the shores with reference to military and naval reservations, and the security of commerce. H. A. Goldsborongh remained at Olympia when the Massachusetts left in July, and became a resident of the territory. He devoted much time to exploring for minerals, and discovered coal on the Stilaguamish River as early as the autumn of 1850. Oregon Spectator, Nov. 14, 1850. He was the first collector of internal revenue in Wash.
  17. From Monticello, near the mouth of the Cowlitz, Seth Catlin, Jonathan Burbee, Robert Huntress; from Cowlitz landing, E. D. Warbass, John R. Jackson, W. L. Frazer, Simon Plomondon; from Newaukum, S. S. Saunders, A. B. Dillenbangh, Marcel Birnie, Sidney S. Ford, James Cochran, Joseph Borst; from Tumwater, M. T. Simmons, Clanrick Crosby, Joseph Broshears, A. J. Simmons; from Olympia, A. M. Poe, D. S. Maynard, D. F. Brownfield; from Steilacoom, T. M. Chambers, John Bradley, J. B. Chapman, H. C. Wilson, John Edgar, and F. S. Balch. Or. Statesman, Sept. 23, 1831.
  18. The memorial was prepared by Chapman, Balch, and M. T. Simmons. The other committees were as follows: Territorial Government, Chapman, Jackson, Simmons, Huntress, and Chambers; Districts and Counties, Brownfield, Wilson, Crosby, Jackson, Burbee, Plomondon, Edgar, and Warbass; Rights and Privileges of Citizens, Huntress, Maynard, and Chapman; Internal Improvements, M. T. Simmons, Burbee, and Borst; Ways and Means, Frazer, A. J. Simmons, and Bradley.
  19. Chapman, in his autobiography in Livingston’s Eminent Americans, iv. 436, says that, after much exertion, ‘he obtained a convention of 15 members, but not one parliamentary gentleman among them, hence the whole business devolved upon him;’ that he ‘drew up all the resolutions’ and the memorial, though other members offered them in their own names, and so contrived that every name should appear in the proceedings, to give the appearance of a large convention; and that neither of the men on the committee with him could write his name. Autobiographies should be confirmed by two credible witnesses. In this instance Chapman has made use of the circumstance of Simmons’ want of education to grossly misrepresent the intelligence of the community of which such men as Ebey, whose private correspondence in my possession shows him to be a man of refined feelings, Goldsborough, Catlin, Warbass, Balch, Crosby, Wilson, and others were members. As to Simmons, although his want of scholarship was an impediment and a mortification, he possessed the real qualities of a leader, which Chapman lacked; for the latter was never able to achieve either popularity or position, though he strove hard for both. The census of 1850 for Lewis County gives the total white population at 457, only six of whom, over twenty years of age, were not able to write. It is probable that not more than one out of the six was sent to the convention, and he was appointed on account of his brainpower and consequent influence.
  20. Evans says, in his Division of the Territory, 5, that when he came to Puget Sound J. B. Chapman was extremely unpopular, and he doubts if, anxious as the people were for an organization north of the Columbia, they would have accepted it with Chapman as an appointee, which he was aiming at. He did not get an appointment, as he confesses in his Autobiography.
  21. The first judges of Thurston County were A. A. Denny, S. S. Ford, and David Shelton. Olympia Columbian, Nov. 6, 1851. See also Oregon Jour. Council, 1851-2, 68.
  22. The Columbian was published by J. W. Wiley and T. F. McElroy, the latter having been connected, with the Spectator. McElroy retired in September 1853, and M. K. Smith became publisher.
  23. Petitioners of Territory of Columbia
  24. Petitioners of Territory of Columbia
  25. No list of vessels was kept previous to the arrival of a collector in Nov. 1851; but between the 13th of that month and the last of June following there were 38 arrivals and departures from Olympia, as follows: Brigs, George Emory, Orbit, G. IV. Kendall, John Davis, Franklin Adams, Daniel, Leonesa, Jane, Eagle; brigantine, Mary Dare; schooners, Exact, Demaris Cove, Susan Sturges, Alice, Franklin, Mary Taylor, Cynosure, Honolulu Packet, Mexican, Cecil; bark, Brontes; steamer, Beaver. The memoranda made by the collector was as follows: Brigantine Mary Dare and steamer Bearer seized for infractions of the U. S. revenue laws. U. S. sloop of war Vincennes. W. L. Hudson commander, visited the Sound, obtained supplies and exercised her batteries. Sloop Georgiana wrecked on Queen Charlotte Island, her passengers and crew taken prisoners by the Indians. Schooner Demaris Core promptly sent to their relief by the collector. Schooner Harriet, from the Columbia, bound to S. F. with passengers and freight, blown to about lat. 55°, lost sails, etc.; came into port in distress. Brig Una totally wrecked at Cape Flattery. Olympia Columbian, Sept. 11, 1852.
  26. Evans says the collector sailed from New York August 14th in the steamship Prometheus, which connected with the Independence at San Juan del Sur, arriving at S. F. Sept. 17th. The remainder of the voyage to Puget Sound was performed in the brig George Emory, owned by Lafayette Balch of Port Steilacoom, which left Oct. 24th, and arrived off Port Townsend Nov. 10th, where the collector and his deputy were sworn in by Henry C. Wilson, justice of the peace of Lewis County. Notes on Settlement, 15; N. W. Coast, MS., 1.
  27. Louisa Relyea married Frederick Myers, and her sister John Bradley. Evans’ Notes on Settlement, 16.
  28. Evans was born in Philadelphia, Dec. 29, 1828. Wishing to come to the Pacific coast, he was tendered the appointment of deputy clerk to the collector of Puget Sound, and accepted. He returned to Philadelphia in 1832, and came out again in 1853 as private secretary to Gov. Stevens. From that time he carefully observed and noted the progress of events, in which he took no insignificant personal interest. By profession a lawyer, he resided at Olympia from 1851 to 1879, when lie removed to New Tacoma. He married Elzira Z. Crowe of Olympia, formerly of Bath, Maine, on the 1st of January 1856.
  29. Hamilton was a brother-in-law of Bachelder. He was drowned March 27, 1854, on the ill-fated expedition of Major Earned, U. S. A. Evans’ Notes on Settlement, 16.
  30. Hist. Oregon, ii. 105-8, this series.
  31. Moses appointed I. N. Ebey and A. J. Simmons temporary inspectors, and on the 1st of December directed Ebey to make a strict examination, which resulted in finding $500 worth of Indian goods on board the Beaver, and on the Mary Dare a contraband package of refined sugar weighing 230 pounds. By the 103d section of the act of March 2, 1799, refined sugar could not be imported in packages of less than 600 pounds, under penalty of forfeiture of the sugar and the vessel in which it was imported. It was also shown that the Beaver had anchored at Nisqually and sent boats ashore. These were the infractions of the revenue law on which the seizures were made.
  32. The details of the Georgiana affair are interesting and dramatic. The Indians took possession of every article that could be saved from the vessel, which they then burned for the iron. They swooped down upon the shivering and half drowned white men as fast as they came ashore through the surf some able to help themselves, and others unconscious, but all finally surviving to strip them of their only possessions., their scanty clothing. This last injury, however, was averted on making the chief understand that he should be paid a ransom if their safety and comfort were secured until such time as rescue came. They escaped the worst slavery by affecting to be chiefs and ignorant of labor. Their sufferings from cold and the want of bedding, etc., were extreme, and their captivity lasted 54 days. The pay demanded for each person was 5 four-point blankets, 1 shirt, 1 bolt of muslin, and 2 pounds of tobacco, besides all the plunder of the vessel. S. D. Howe and three others were permitted by the savages take a canoe and go to Fort Simpson for relief, but their efforts were a partial failure.

    While the Olympia gold-seekers were experiencing so great ill fortune, the Exact’s company, which left the Sound somewhat later, succeeded in landing, and spent the winter exploring the island, which they found to be a rocky formation, not susceptible in the higher parts of being cultivated, though the natives at Gold Harbor raised excellent potatoes and turnips. The climate was severe, and no gold was found except in quartz veins, which required blasting. The Indians had some lumps of pure gold and fine specimens of quartz stolen from a blast made by the crew of the H. B. Co.’s brigantine Una a short time previous. This vessel was stranded on Cape Flattery, Dec. 26th, the passengers getting ashore with their baggage, when they were attacked by the Indians, who would have killed them to get possession of their goods had they not fled, leaving everything in the hands of the savages, who burned the vessel. The crew and passengers, among whom were three women, were so fortunate as to signal the Demons Gore on her way to rescue the Olympia company, which took them on board and carried them to Fort Victoria. The Indians of Gold Harbor, though they did not prevent the Exact’s company from prospecting, represented that they had sold the island to the H. B. Co., and were to defend it from occupation by Americans. The prospectors remained until March, when they returned to Puget Sound, bringing a few specimens obtained from the natives. The Exact refitted and returned in March. Three other vessels, the Tepic, Glencoe, and Vancouver, advertised to take passengers to the island, but nothing like success followed the expeditions. According to the S. F. Alta of April 1, 1859, a nugget weighing $250 was obtained from the natives by the captain of the H. B. Co.’s str Labouchere. The Indians refused to reveal the location of the gold mine, but offered to procure more of it for sale; and it is certain that the company did buy a large amount of gold from them about this time. A third vessel, the brig Eagle, was fitted out at Portland for prosecuting gold discovery on the north coast, and for trading with the Indians. On the 9th of August, while attempting to enter a harbor on V. I., the brig was wrecked, the crew and passengers reaching the shore with only a few articles of food and clothing. No sooner had they landed than they were stripped and their lives threatened. On the 11th the party contrived to escape in a whale boat, coasting along the island for five days, subsisting on shellfish, being treated barbarously by the natives, who attacked them in Nootka Sound, taking two of them prisoners. The remainder of the company escaped to sea and were picked up by a trading vessel soon after. On board the rescuing vessel were some friendly Indians, who volunteered to undertake the ransom of the captives, which they succeeded in doing, and all arrived safely in Puget Sound in Sept. Olympia Columbian, Sept. 11, 1852. Report of Ind. Agent Starling, in U. S. Sen. Ex. Doc., 1, v. i. pt i. 464, 32d cong. 2d sess. Some of the gold-seekers being left on Queen Charlotte Island, wishing to return home, and not having a vessel to bring them, four men set out in an open boat, 14 feet long by 41 wide, carrying one small sail, and neither chart nor compass. After many dangers from the sea and savages, they reached Whidbey Island in an exhausted condition, after being 15 days at sea. Their names were Ellis Barnes, James C. Hedges, Clement W. Sumner, and Thomas Tobias. The Indians of the northwest coast were at this time, and for a number of years later, troublesome to the daring pioneers of the northern coast. During the summer of 1852 the northern Indians committed depredations on the schr Franklin, Captain Pinkham, and at different times many murders on Puget Sound. Olympia Columbian, Sept. 18, 1852.

  33. For the papers in the case, see House Ex. Doc., 130. 32d cong. 1st sess.
  34. Jefferson County, County Seat Port Townsend
    Commissioners: L. B. Hastings, D. F. Brownfield, and Albert Briggs
    H. C. Wilson sheriff
    A. A. Plummer probate clerk

    King County, County Seat Seattle
    Commissioners: A. A. Denny, John N. Lowe, and Luther N. Collins;
    David C. Boren sheriff
    H. D. Yesler probate clerk

    Thurston County, County Seat Thurston

    For Island County,
    Commissioners: Samuel B. Howe, John Alexander, and John Crockett;
    George W. L. Allen sheriff
    R. H. Lansdale probate clerk

    Pierce County,
    Commissioners: Thos M. Chambers, William Dougherty, Alexander Smith
    John Bradley sheriff
    John M. Chapman probate clerk.

    Oregon Statesman, Jan. 22, 1853; Columbian, Jan. 29 and Feb. 19, 1853; North Pacific Coast, vol. i., no. 1, p. 16.

  35. Olympia Columbian, May 9, 1S6S. The memorial was as follows: ‘Your memorialists, the legislative assembly of Oregon, legally assembled upon the first Monday in December, A. D. 1832, would respectfully represent unto your honorable body that a period of four years and six months has elapsed since the establishment of the present territorial government over the territory of Oregon; and that in the mean time the population of the said territory has s2read from the banks of the Columbia River north along Puget Sound, Admiralty Inlet, and Possession Sound, and the surrounding country to the Canal de Haro; and that the people of that territory labor under great inconvenience and hardship by reason of the great distance to which they are removed from the centre of the present territorial organization. Those portions of Oregon territory lying north and south of the Columbia River must, from their geographical position, difference in climate, and internal resources, remain in a great degree distinct communities, with different interests and policies in all that appertains to their domestic legislation, and the various interests that are to be regulated, nourished, and cherished by it. The communication between these two portions of the territory is difficult, casual, and uncertain. Although time and improvement would in some measure remove this obstacle, yet it would for a long period in the future form a serious barrier to the prosperity and well being of each, so long as they remain under one government. The territory north of the Columbia, and west of the great northern branch of that stream, contains a sufficient number of square miles to form a state, which in point of resources and capacity to maintain a population will compare favorably with most of the states of the union. Experience has proven that when marked geographical boundaries which have been traced by the hand of nature have been disregarded in the formation of local governments, that sectional jealousies and local strifes have seriously embarrassed their prosperity and characterized their domestic legislation. Your memorialists, for these reasons, and for the benefit of Oregon both north and south of the Columbia River, and believing from the reservation of power in the first section of the organic act that congress then anticipated that at some future time it would he necessary to establish other territorial organizations west of the Rocky Mountains, and believing that that time has come, would respectfully pray your honorable body to establish a separate territorial government for all that portion of Oregon territory lying north of the Columbia River and west of the great northern branch of the same, to be known as the Territory of Columbia.’ Oregon Statesman, Jan. 29, 1853; Columbian, Feb. 12, 1853.
  36. The census of Washington, taken in 1853, and finished in Nov., fixed the white population at 3,965. Swan’s N. W. Coast, 431.
  37. House Jour., 8, 210, 32d cong. 2d sess.; Cong. Globe, vol. 26, 555, 1020, 32d cong. 2d sess.; Olympia Columbian, April 23, 1853.
  38. According to the census completed in the autumn of 1853 by the marshal, the several counties were populated as follows:

    Name. Population. Voters.
    Island    195 80
    Jefferson 189 68
    King 170 111
    Pierce 513 270
    Thurston 996 381
    Pacific    152 61
    Lewis     616 239
    Clarke      1,134 460
    Total 3,965 1,682

    W. T. house Jour., 1851-5, 185; Olympia Columbian, Nov. 26, 1853.

  39. Moses was accused of retaining a lady’s private wardrobe, of shielding a mutinous crew, and conniving at smuggling by the H. B. Co.’s servants. Oregon Statesman, Dec. 4, 1852. None of the charges I think could be sustained; but the secretary of the treasury instituted a suit against him for $7,608.70, balance due the United States, and caused his indictment as a defaulter. Id., Jan. 17, 1860.
  40. According to Gray, Pierre C. Pambrun of Fort Walla Walla, and Cornelius Rogers, first explored the Nachess pass at the head of the Yakima. Or. Spectator, May 12, 1849.
  41. Rabbeson’s Growth of Towns, MS., 15.
  42. Id,; Puget Sound Dir., 1872.
  43. The mail carrier in 1853 was James H. Yantis, son of B. F. Yantis of Mound Prairie, who died August 7th of that year. Olympia Columbian, August 13, 1853. B. F. Yantis was a Kentuckian, born March 19, 1807. He removed to Missouri in 1835, and to the Pacific coast in 1852. He occupied many positions of trust in Wash., and served as justice of the peace and legislator. After the creation of Idaho territory lie resided there for some time and served in the legislature, but finally returned to Puget Sound, where he died in 1879. Olympia Standard, Feb. 15, 1879.
  44. John G. Parker, long a resident of Olympia, and later captain of the steamboat Messenger, came to S. F. in 1851 as messenger for Gregory & Co., and to Puget Sound in 1853 as an agent to close the affairs of a trading-house kept by Wright & Colter at Olympia. Finding that there was no way of carrying money between Puget Sound and S. F. except by lumber vessels, which were irregular and often went to the S. I., he decided to remain in Wash. in view of which he bought out the interest of his employers, and established Parker & Colter’s express, carrying the mail through to the Cowlitz in a single day by relays of horses, a distance of 70 miles, to connect with Adams’ express at Portland. At the end of 18 months Colter absconded with several thousand dollars belonging to the firm, which put an end to the first express company. The second express enterprise was by A. B. Stuart, who began business in 1854, followed by Wells, Fargo & Co. in Feb. 1856, and by Charles K Williams of Olympia in April 1858, who continued in the business for 10 years, during which mail facilities were greatly increased throughout the territory. The first passenger line to the Cowlitz, to connect with boats to Portland, was started in Dec. 1854, by W. B. Goodell, who furnished passage by stage or riding horses for $10 from Olympia to Warbassport. The contract for carrying the mail was not then let to in express company. Ward & Robinson of Olympia had the contract from 1854 to 1858, when Henry Winsor took it. He carried passengers to and from Olympia to Rainier on the Columbia for $15; by wagon to Cowlitz landing, and from there to Monticello either by canoe or horses as preferred. The canoe was used a good deal until about 1868. The wagon-road was not then, nor many years later, a good one, but in summer it compensated for the discomforts of the ride by giving the traveler a view of the most magnificent fir forest in the world, the boles of the trees towering 100 or 150 feet without a limb; while 100 feet above, their tapering tops seem to pierce the sky.
  45. At this meeting was read a statement furnished by Blanchet, Catholic Bishop of Walla Walla in 1847, who had knowledge, gained from the Indians, of the passes of the mountains. The priests were in the habit of visiting the Sound with the Indians for guides.
  46. Road Builders and Settlers Olympia to the Sound, 1853

    This enterprise will receive further mention hereafter. The men who labored for it were, besides those before mentioned, George Shazer, B. F. Yantis, William Packwood, B. F. Shaw, John Alexander, B. Close, A. W. Moore, E. Sylvester, James Hurd, and W. W. Plumb. The men who worked upon the eastern end of the road were Whitfield Kirtley, Edwin Marsh, Nelson Sargent, Paul Ruddell, Edward Miller, J. W. Fouts, John L. Perkins, Isaac N. Brown, James Alverson, Nathaniel G. Stewart, William Carpenter, E. L. Allen, A. C. Burge, Thomas Dixon, Ephraim Allyn, James H., George Githers, John Walker, John H. Mills, R. S. More, R. Forman, Ed. Crofts, James Boise, Robert Patterson, Edward Miller, Edward Wallace, Lewis Wallace, James R. Smith, John Barrow, and James Meek.

  47. Among them were John W. Lane and wife, Samuel Ray, William Ray, Henry Mitchell, H. Rockenfield, James Barr, J. A. Sperry, William Evan Watts, J. J. Ragan, William McCreary, G. Miller, John Nelson, J. Langinyre, wife and 5 children, E. A. Light, wife and child, William M. Kincaid, wife and G children, Isaac Woolery, wife and 4 children, Abram H. Woolery, wife and 3 children, and Peter Judson, wife and 2 children, composing the first train of 47 persons. This train had 62 work-oxen, 20 cows, and 7 mares. There were, besides, J. W. Woodward, John B. Moyer, Z. Gotzan, Aaron Rockenfield, Norman Kilborn, Isaac Lemmon, R. A. Finnell, William R. Downey, wife and children, John James Downey and daughter, Abiel Morrison, Charlotte his wife, and family, George Haywood, James Bell, John Bell, W. H. Brannon and family, John Carson and wife, Israel Wright, Byrd Wright, Frank Wright, Van Ogle, and Addison S. Persham, most of whom crossed by the Nachess pass. Many of them had families and friends who are not named here. Other immigrants of this year were William H. Wallace, Elijah E. Baker, David C. Forbes, J. H. Cleale, John L. Clarke, Mason Guess (married Miss Downey), William H. Williams, G. F. Whitworth and family, Mrs Sarah Thompson, J. Stillman, Peter Stiles (died in 1877, aged 91 years, W. B. Sinclair (married a daughter of J. N. Low), J. R. Roundtree, James H. Roundtree, William Ryan, A. II. Robie, E. G. Price, W. H. Pearson, William Newton, Mrs Rebecca Maddox and children (Joseph, Michael, Stephen, and 2 others), J. Mowerman, wife and children, H. Meter, Christopher Kennedy, Franklin Kennedy, W. Krice, B. F. Kendall, James Kymes, Joel Knight, Michael Luark and family, Joseph Lake, Donald Lake, Lenark, J. B. Ladee, Lambert, William Lane and family, Henry Ivens, Tyrus Himes, James Biles, Martin V. Harper, Baily Gatzert, Alonzo B. Dillenbaugh, J. C. Davis, Perry Dunfield, Simeon Cooper, B. Cooper, John Dickenson, W. C. Briggs, Joseph N. Baker, John E. Burns, Rev. C. Biles and family, P. Ahern, H. Patterson, M. Kirkland, and W. A. Cox.
  48. Nelson was a native of Norway. The Seattle Intelligencer, in Olympia Transcript of Feb. 1, 1873, states that Nelson settled first on White River in 1852. If so, he did not come with the immigration named above, though he is set down as one of them in the Olympia Columbian, Oct. 15, 1853, a good authority.
  49. None of these men were living in 1857. Tobin died and his widow married E. M. Smithers, who had settled between Smith’s Cove and Salmon Bay, but who went to reside on the Tobin place after his marriage with Mrs Tobin. Eaton and Fanjoy were murdered by the Indians while en route to the Colville mines in 1855. Morse’s Wash. Ter., ii., MS. 8-10.
  50. Kincaid died in Feb. 1870, at his home in the Puyallup Valley, aged 75 years. Seattle Intelligencer, Feb. 2, 1870.
  51. Puyallup signifies, in the Indian tongue, shadow, from the dense shade of its forest. Evans’ Puyallup Address, in New Tacoma Ledger, July 9, 1880.
  52. It was taken for a mill site, and in 1853 M. T. Simmons and Smith Hays went in partnership with Delin to put up two sawmills, one on his claim and One on Skookum Bay. One mill was completed that spring, and two cargoes of lumber shipped on the George Emory, Captain Alden V. Trask, but that was all. The site was unfavorable, the lumber having to be rafted a mile to the vessel.
  53. These two worthy pioneers were united by more than the usual bonds of fellowship in trials, Himes having been rescued from short rations for himself and family of wife and four children, at the Rocky Mountains, and brought through to Puget Sound by the warm hearted Kentuckian who led the first train through the Nachess pass. Himes was born in Troy, Pennsylvania, April 14, 1818. He married, in May 1843, Emmeline Holcomb of Le Roy, Pennsylvania. After making several removes, he settled in Lafayette, Illinois, where he was in comfortable circumstances, when he was seized with the Oregon fever, and started for Polk County; but having miscalculated the requirements of the journey, and being thrown upon the hospitality of Mr. Biles, he was led to Washington. He died in April 1879, at his home in Thurston County. George H. Himes, job printer of Portland, Oregon, is the eldest son of Tyrus Himes. Evans, in Trans. Oregon Pioneer Assoc., 1879, 49-53.
  54. Allen was born in Pennsylvania, Nov. 3, 1798, and removed while young to Ohio. He married in 1815, and lost his wife in 1836, after which he remained unmarried, accompanying his children to Puget Sound in 1853, and residing there until his death in 1868. Olympia Transcript, Nov. 2, 1868.
  55. Clarke and Cleale both died in 1873. Olympia Courier, Oct. 4, 1873; Olympia Transcript, May 17, 1873.
  56. Evans says that Arthur Miller returned to the Puyallup in 1859, followed in 1860 by J. V. Meeker, and in 1861 by a sufficient number of families to justify the establishment of a post-office, of which J. P. Stewart was post- master for 12 years. New Tacoma Ledger, July 9, 18S0.
  57. Jan. 1871 a meeting was called at Columbia Hall, in Olympia, for the purpose of perfecting the organization of a pioneer association, the call being signed by 67 names of residents from a period antedating 1860. The committee on constitution and bylaws, consisting of Joseph Cushman, Elwood Evans, E. T. Gunn, Benjamin Harned, Levi Shelton, S. Coulter, W. W. Miller, and O. B. McFadden, reported Feb. 15th. The requisition for membership was a residence in the territory previous to Jan. 1, 1860, or on the Pacific coast prior to Jan. 1, 1855. Olympia Transcript, Feb. 18, 1871. David Phillips, first president of the society, died in March 1872. Seattle Intelligencer, March 11, 1872. A call similar to the first was made at Vancouver in October 1874, signed by Joseph retrain, M. R. Hathaway, A. M. Andrew, John Proebstel, R. D. Fales, David Wall, William H. Traut, B. F. Preston, Guy Hayden, S. P. McDonald, H. L. Caples, John F. Smith, G. H. Steward, and S. B. Curtis. F. W. Bier, S. P. McDonald, and G. T. McConnell were appointed a committee on constitution and bylaws. This society sought to limit the pioneer period to Jan. 1, 1856, the Columbia River section of the territory being a much older settlement than Puget Sound. By the same rule, the pioneers of eastern Washington should be allowed until 1865 or 1868. Vancouver Register, Aug. 7, 1874, Oct. 9, 1874.
  58. Olympia Columbian, Nov. 4, 1853. Rabbeson afterward owned the Fairy. She was blown up in Oct. 1857, at Olympia.
  59. Olympia Columbian, Oct. 2 and 16, 1853.


MLA Source Citation:

Bancroft, Hubert H. Bancroft Works, Volume 31, History Of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, 1845-1889. San Francisco: The History Company. 1890. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 28 July 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/washington/building-the-new-territory-washington.htm - Last updated on Aug 16th, 2013


Categories:
Topics:

Contribute to the Conversation!

Our "rules" are simple. Keep the conversation on subject and mind your manners! If this is your first time posting, we do moderate comments before we let them appear... so give us a while to get to them. Once we get to know you here, we'll remove that requirement.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Newsletter Signup

We currently provide two newsletters. Why not take both for a run?

Genealogy Update: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new, or significantly updated, collection or database on our website.

Circle of Nations: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new (or significantly updated) Native American collection or database on our website.

Once you've clicked on the Subscribe button above you'll receive an email from us requesting confirmation. You must confirm the email before you will be able to receive any newsletter.