Early Settlers of Washington State

Haro Archipelago Map
Map of Haro Archipelago

Of the three judicial districts into which Washington is divided, the first comprises the counties of Walla Walla, Whitman, Stevens, Spokane, Columbia, Yakima, Lincoln, Garfield, Kittitas, and Klikitat; the second, Skamania, Clarke, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, Pacific, Thurston, Lewis, Chehalis, and Mason; the third, Pierce, King, Snohomish, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap.

Walla Walla County, in 1880 had an area of 1,600 square miles, a population of 6,212, and taxable property to the amount of $2,971,560. New Tacoma N. P. Coast, Feb. 1, 1880.

Whitman County was established by setting off the southern portion of Stevens, Nov. 21, 1871. It was named after Marcus Whitman, its first American settler. Recent settlement began in 1870. Its area was 4,300 square miles; population 7,014; taxable property $1,237,189.

The first county commissioners were
G. D. Wilbur,
William R. Rexford
Henry S. Burlingame;
Sheriff, Charles D. Porter
Treasurer, W. A. Belcher
Auditor, John Ewart
Probate Judge, John Denny
Supt. of Schools, C. E. White
Coroner, John Fincher
Commissioners to locate the county seat, William Lucas, Jesse Logsdon, and J. A. Perkins. The county seat is Colfax. Wash. Stat., 1871, 134-5.

Henry H. Spaulding, son of the missionary Spaulding, was born at Lapwai, in Idaho, Nov. 24, 1830. He settled at Almota in 1872, and opened the first road to Colfax. In 1875 he married Mary Warren, and has several children.

L. M. Ringer, born in Washington County, Indiana, in 1834, immigrated to Oregon in 1870, settling at Eugene. In 1872 he took a land claim 3 miles from the present town of Colfax. Five years later he removed to Almota and erected a flouring mill, half of which he sold to Adams Bros & Co., forming a partnership with them in merchandising, subsequently purchasing their interest. He married, in 1859, Sophie W. Owen, and had in 1875 six children.

Stevens County had a remaining area of 3 or 4 times that of Whitman, and in 1879 Spokane County was set off from it with a population of 4,262. Its valuation in 1885 was over a million and a half. County seat, Spokane Falls.

Daniel F. Percival, born in Bangor, Maine., in 1839, immigrated to Montana in 1866, whence he went to San Diego, California, and thence, after a residence of 2 years, to Oregon, where he spent 2 years. In 1872 he settled in Spokane County, at farming and stock raising. He was elected county commissioner in 1876, and was a member of the legislative assembly in 1877 and 1879. He married Lizzie Blythe in 1871. Residence at Cheney.

Elijah L. Smith, born in Jefferson, Iowa, in 1842, came overland to Oregon with his father, Elijah Smith, a resident of Salem, aged 80 years, having a numerous family. Of 11 children of the elder Smith 3 sons resided in Washington, and the remainder in the Willamette Valley. Elijah L. married Julia Tate in 1871. In 1862 he went to the Florence mines, and followed the Rocky Mountains from Kootenai to Arizona, working in every camp of importance. In 1873 be came to the Spokane Country to engage in stock raising, where he remained permanently, with the exception of 4 years spent in Oregon. In 1879 he took up a body of land surrounding Medical Lake.

William Bigham, born in Amsterdam, New York, in 1831, came by sea to California in 1852, where he mined for 6 months, going to Oregon in the autumn, and residing there until 1859, when he removed to the Walla Walla Valley, having married, 2 years previous, Jane Ann Kelly. In 1870 he removed to Butte Creek in Wasco County, where he remained until 1878, when he returned to Washington and settled at Cheney in Spokane County, where he engaged in the business of stock raising.

Vroman W. Van Wie, born in Cayuga County, New York, in 1833, came overland to California in 1852. Mined on the upper Sacramento until the following spring, and then drove a freight team to Shasta. He soon returned to San Francisco and supplied milk to customers for 5 years, after which he farmed in the vicinity of San Jos6 for some time. In 1861 he came to the Walla Walla Valley, going hence to the Florence mines, and to Montana, following the Rocky Mountains south to the Colorado River, then going to Pahranagat and White Pine, Nevada. He built the first house in Shermantown. Afterward he returned to Washington with the N. P. R. H. party which first broke sod at Kalama, and remained in the Puget Sound country 3 years. In 1872 he settled in Stevens County (later Spokane) and engaged in stock raising. In 1884 he went into merchandising at Medical Lake, the firm being Campbell & Van Wie. His farm was 31 miles from the lakes. He married, in 1871, Mrs M. L. Harris.

Columbia County, was set off from the eastern portion of Walla, Walla, Nov. 11, 1875. County seat, Dayton; pop. in 1880, 6,894; taxable property, $1,948,050; area, 2,000 square miles.

S. L. Gilbreth, born in Knox County, Tennessee, in 1825, immigrated to Oregon, and settled in Yamhill County, in 1852. In 1859, or as soon as the Walla Walla Valley was opened for settlement, he removed to his residence 4 miles from Dayton, and was the first sheriff of the county. He married in 1859, M. H. Fanning, and had in 1855, 3 sons and 6 daughters. His brother, Joseph Gilbreth, who came to Oregon with him, died in Yamhill County.

Yakima County, established in 1865, area 9,224 square miles; had a population in 1885 of about 2,000, and a valuation of about $1,000,000. County seat, Yakima City. Among the settlers of Yakima County was L. H. Adkins, who was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1838, and came to Honey Lake Valley, California, in 1860. Thence he went to Nevada, and in 1862 started to the Salmon River mines in Idaho, but stopped in the Powder River Valley, Oregon, being one of the first California Company, which came overland to these mines. Adkins went to driving a freight wagon between Canon City and The Dalles, or Boise City, and was so occupied 3 years. In 1865 he opened a photograph gallery in Umatilla, and subsequently a livery stable, but failed, and went next into the dairying business. In 1867 he was appointed postmaster at Umatilla, and had a contract to carry the mail to the Yakima country for 6 years. In 1872 he settled in Yakima City at hotel keeping, having married Flora Markham of the former place.

George S. Taylor, born in Fountain County, Ind., in 1832, at 20 years of age removed to Iowa, where he resided 12 years, immigrating to Umatilla, County, Oregon, in 1864, and removing to Yakima County, Washington, in 1866. He settled in the Selah Valley, 8 miles from Yakima City, on a stock farm, when there were but 2 families in the valley, those of Alfred Henson and William McAllister. Taylor was married in 1857 to Rebecca McLaughlin.

H. M. Benton was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1836. He came to California by sea in 1859, around the Horn in a sailing vessel. He sailed for 3 years between San Francisco and China and Japan, then came to the Columbia River and was employed by the O. S. N. Co. to run their steamers, until 1869, when he settled in the Ahtanam Valley, Yakima, County, which was then without towns except the small settlement of Moxie, the county seat, opposite the present Yakima City. He was elected auditor in 1872, to succeed C. P. Cook, the first auditor of the county, and served 5 years. He was first clerk of the district court, when 1 clerk was allowed for each court, and deputy clerk when only one was allowed in a district. There being no county buildings, he carried the county records about with him, until the district court was established. Judge J. R. Lewis organized the first court, and first Sunday school, in what was known as Schanno’s Hall, the only public room in the county. The first grand jury met in a small schoolroom outside the limits of the town. Previously justice had been loosely administered. James Cathrell was justice, in a ease of assault, and there not being a sufficient number of men for a jury, put the sheriff on the panel. The man was bound over to appear at the next term of court at Colville–Yakima being, it was believed, joined to Stevens County for judicial purposes, whereas it belonged to Walla Walla. Such was pioneer law. Benton married, in 1869, Mary A. Allen, a native of Oregon. They had 2 children, the eldest of whom was the first white native of Ahtanam Valley.

A. J. Splawn, born in Holt County, Missouri, in 1845, immigrated to Linn County, Oregon, with his mother and family in 1852. He settled in the Yakima Valley in 1861, when only 2 other men, Charles Splawn and M. Thorp, were in that part of the country, the former being the first sheriff of the county. Two other brothers settled in Yakima Valley. A. J. Splawn married Melissa Thorp in 1868; and again in 1873 married Mary A. Davison.

Garfield County, was established in 1881 out of the eastern portion of Columbia, co. County seat, Pomeroy.

George W. James, born in Muskingum County, Ohio, in 1836, immigrated to California overland, in company with 1 brother, Preston James, in 1856, remaining in Honey Lake Valley 3 years, when he went to Virginia City, Nevada, and from there to Sacramento Valley in 1862, taking a farm near Marysville, where he resided 7 years. In 1878 he left California for the Walla Walla Valley, settling in Columbia County (now Garfield), near Ilia. He married Rosanna Sharp in 1856, and had 4 sons and 3 daughters.

Moses Wright, born in Franklin County, Virginia, came to California overland with the Tornado Train in 1831. He went to Siskiyou County and engaged in packing, which he followed until 1837, when he removed to Benton County, Oregon, with his brother John, who resided near Corvallis. In 1864 he returned to California with horses and cattle, remaining there 3 years, settling in Walla Walla Valley in 1867, near Ilia, in what is now Garfield County. He married Louisa Spawr in 1863, by whom he has 3 sons. She died, and in 1884 he was married again to Mrs Huldah Lewis.

Ransom Long, born in Kanawha County, West Virginia. in 1812, immigrated overland in 1832 to the Willamette Valley, Oregon, with his brother Gabriel. In 1872 he removed to Walla Walla Valley, settling near the present town of Pomeroy, in Garfield County. He was married, in 1833, to Rosette Clark, and had 5 sons and 2 daughters.

William C. Carps, born in Niagara, province of Ontario, C. E., in 1835, came to California in 1858.1.iy sea. He resided in Cal. until 1865, when he went to Montana, remaining there until 1878. In that year he settled in Garfield co., 8 miles from Pomeroy.

N. C. Williams, born in Surrey co., N. C., in 1824, came overland by rail in 1873, settling near Pataha City. He married, in 1818, Catherine B. Martin, and had 5 sons and 6 daughters, all of whom, with one exception, settled about him.

George W. Burford, born in Lloyd County, Indiana, in 1832, immigrated overland, in Mason’s Train, to Yamhill County, Oregon, in 1852, with his father and family, consisting of 8 children. In 1854 he went to Yreka, California, to work in the mines, and in 1838 returned to Polk County, Oregon. In 1862 he married S. E. Cullough, by whom he has 3 daughters, and 3 years afterward went to reside at The Dalles, whence he came to Ilia in 1877.

Kittitas County, was organized out of Yakima County in 1884. County seat, Ellensburg. It is rapidly filling up with farmers and stock raisers. Some of the pioneers are the following:

Samuel C. Miller, born in Ashland County, Ohio, in 1823, came to California in 1852, overland, an settled in Nevada County, where he resided 9 years, less 1 spent east. In 1861 he removed to Umatilla, Oregon, engaging in the business of packing freight to the mines of John Day, taking two partners, so extending his lines in 1864 as to have trains running in all directions where packing was required. In 1872 the firm removed to the Wenatchee Valley, then in Yakima County, bringing a train load of goods, buying out another trading firm, Ingraham & McBride, and setting up as merchants, where there was but one other white man, John Goler. One of his partners, Frank Freer, died in 1878, leaving David Freer and Miller to continue the business. The Freers were also from Ohio, and came out in 1855 and 1857. There were in 1885 11 families in Wenatchee Valley and 44 voters, the first settlers being single men. This valley, says Miller, is 800 feet lower that the Kittitas Valley, after which the county is named, which recommends it to fruit growers and farmers.

Thomas Haley, born in Onondaga County, New York, in 1847, came to Washington in 1860, and settled in Kittitas Valley, engaged in farming and stock raising. Married, in 1878, Vancha, Hackett, a native of Oregon.

Charles B. Reed, born in Indiana town and county, Pennsylvania, in 1838, went to Pike’s Peak in search of gold in 1860, and thence to Montana in 1863. He discovered the Snow Shoe Gulch mines of Butte district, with Joseph Bowers and Jack Swartz, in the winter of 1864-5, and went from there to Deer Lodge, where he remained until 1869. Starting for Puget Sound, he was attracted by the advantages of Kittitas Valley for stock raising, and remained here, where in 1883 he was appointed postmaster. He married Mary Ebey, a native of Pennsylvania, at Deer Lodge, in 1865, and had 4 sons and 1 daughter. His second son was the first boy born in Kittitas Valley. Reed, with F. D. Sehnebly, Charles S. Sehnebly, Charles Kenneth, and John Catlin, constituted a party who went out to capture the Yakima murderers of the Perkins family in 1878. William Splawn headed another party which joined Reed’s, and they with the assistance of chief Moses effected the capture, and prevented a war.

David Murray, born in Maine in 1831, came to California in 1852 by sea, and went to the mines at Auburn, but returned to the ship which brought him out, Queen of the East, Capt. Bartlett, and helped to unload the dry dock, which she had in her hold, at Mare island. For 3 or 4 years he mined and worked at the navy yard alternately, and in 1859 purchased a farm near Mare Island, where he resided until 1862, when he went to the British Columbia mines, remaining in that country 10 years, when he returned to California and the east. In 1870 he settled in Yakima County, Washington, of which he was a commissioner, but in 1883 removed to Kittitas Valley, and resided at Ellensburg. His business was stock raising. He married Minnie May of Illinois in 1878, who died in 1885.

Charles P. Cooke, born in Erie County, Ohio, in 1824, was brought up in Sandusky City. He came to California overland in 1849, and after 1 year in the mines of the south fork of Feather River removed to Independence, Polk County, Oregon. On the establishment of a post-office at that place in 1851, and the appointment of Leonard Williams postmaster, Cooke was made his deputy, until 1853, when he was appointed postmaster, which office he held until 1867. He was also a justice of the peace from 1851 to 1867, when he removed to the Yakima Country, settling in Moxie Valley, across the river from the present Yakima City. On the 17th of March, a few days after his arrival, the county was organized, only 17 voters being present. In June 1868 he was elected auditor for 2 years, and was chosen county commissioner several times. In 1870 he removed to Kittitas Valley. In 1873 he was elected joint assemblyman for Yakima and Klikitat Counties; and in 1875 was again elected from Yakima County. The legislature of 1883 appointed him one of the commissioners of the new county of Kittitas, which he helped to organize the following year, when he was elected joint assemblyman for Yakima and Kittitas Counties. Cooke says that in 1870 there were only 6 other white settlers in what is now Kittitas County, viz., F. M. Thorp, Charles Splawn, Mathias Baker, S. R. Geddes, Tillman Houser, and P. Doveran, all with families. There were about as many single men. Cooke married Susan E. Brewster, born at Saratoga, New York, but brought up in Ohio, a descendant of the Vandercooks of the old Dutch colony of New York. They had 6 sons and 4 daughters. This is the same Cooke family which furnished Jay Cooke, Henry D. Cooke, and in Oregon. E. N. Cooke.

Thomas Johnson, born in Prescott, Canada West, in 1839, immigrated to Vancouver, V. I., in 1862, and settled in Klikitat co., on the north side of the Columbia, the following year, running a ferry between Rocklin and The Dalles for 3 years. In 1871 he surveyed the town of Goldendale, erected the first house and store, and opened trade, and also built the first flouring mill, destroyed by fire in 1875.

The first organization of Klikitat County in 1859 having been practically abandoned, but three families residing there, viz., Parrott, J. S. Bergen, and Doty, in 1867 the legislature again appointed county officers.

H. M. McNary and A. Schuster were chosen commissioners,
A. H. Simmons Sheriff
William Connell Treasurer
Johnson Auditor, which office he held for 3 years, after which he was elected probate judge, and again treasurer.

In 1882 he removed to Kittitas Valley, having a contract with the N. P. R. R. to furnish lumber. He erected a largo mill and opened a store, which property was destroyed by fire in 1883, entailing a loss of $26,000. Johnson married Ann Connell of Spruceville, C. W., in 1866.

John A. Shoudy, born in Rock Island co., Illinois, in 1840, served in the U. S. army during the civil war, and in 1864 immigrated to the Pacific coast via, Panama, spending 1 year in California. In 1865 he removed to Seattle, on Puget Sound, and in 1871 to the Kittitas Valley, where he purchased the small stock of merchandise of A. J. Splawn, and settled down to trade with the 12 or 14 other settlers, where in 1885 there were 4 general merchandise stores, carrying each a stock of from $25,000 to $40,000. Shoudy took a preemption claim, a soldier’s homestead claim, of 160 acres each, and having purchased another 160 acres, laid out the town of Ellensburg, naming it after his wife, Mary Ellen Stewart of Kentucky, whom he married in 1867. Shoudy was in 1882 elected to represent Yakima co. in the legislative assembly.

James H. Stevens, born in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, in 1842, immigrated via Seattle in 1873, and settled at once on a farm in the Kittitas Valley, where he raised wheat, which he used to fatten hogs, with a profit. He married Mary C. Rego of Indiana in 1870, and had 2 children.

John P. Sharpe, born in Harrison County, Ohio, in 1842, came to Oregon overland with his parents in 1852, and settled in Lane County. In 1862 he removed to the neighborhood of The Dalles, and in 1874 again removed to Kittitas Valley, for the purpose of raising stock. In 1865 he married Nancy J. Roland, a native of Oregon, and had 8 children.

John M. Shelton, born in Wythe County, Virginia, in 1841, went to Pike’s Peak for gold in 1860, revisiting his home and returning to Denver in 1865, where he remained until 1882, when he came to Kittitas Valley to reside. He married Carrie C. Jones of Missouri in 1866, and has 4 children.

Klikitat County, which was established Dec. 20, 1859, has an area of 2,088 square miles. The county seat was first temporarily located on the land claim of Alfred Allen. First co. com., Alfred Allen, Richard Tartar, and Jacob Halstead; probate judge, Willis Jenkins; sheriff, James Clarke; auditor, Nelson Whitney; assessor, Edwin Grant; treasurer, William Murphy; justice of the peace, John Nelson. Wash. Stat., 1859-60, 420-1. The boundary of this county was changed in Jan. 1861 by extending the west line north to the northeast corner of Skamania County, and thence east to a point due north of the mouth of Rock Creek, thence to the Columbia, and back through the middle of the river to the place of beginning. The county seat was then located `upon the land of G. W. Phillips,’ until fixed by a majority of the legal voters of said comity at a general election. Nelson was then appointed probate judge, Jenkins treasurer, Phillips auditor, W. T. Waters sheriff, James H. Hermains, A. Waters, and A. Davis co. com., C. J. McFarland, S. Peasly, and W. T. Murphy justices of the peace. In Jan. 1867 the county seat was located at Rockland by legislative enactment, but subject to be changed by a majority of votes at the next election. A new set of officers were appointed to hold until others should be elected. Rockland remained the county seat until it was removed to Goldendale. This county contains the Yakima Indian Reservation. It had a population in 1871 of 2,898, and taxable property to the amount of $732,737. New Tacoma N. P. Coast, Feb. 1, 1880.

Skamania County, which embraces the mountainous region of the Cascades, was established in 1854 by the first territorial legislature, can never be a populous county. Its area is 2,300 square miles, pop. 495, and taxable property $143,793. County seat Lower Cascades.

Clarke County, whose history has been often referred to, has an area of 725 square miles, pop. 4,204, taxable property $924,100. County seat Vancouver.

Cowlitz County, set off from Lewis in 1854, has an area of 1,100 square miles, a pop. of 1,810, and taxable property to the amount of $938,170. Co. seat Kalama.

Wahkiakum County, established in 1854, has an area of 360 square miles, population 504, taxable property $158,606. County seat at Cathlamet.

Pacific County, organized in 1851 by the Oregon legislature, has an area of 550 square miles, pop. 1,315, taxable property $379,258. County seat Oysterville.

Thurston County, established in 1852 by the Oregon legislature, has an area of 750 square miles, a pop. of 3,246, and taxable property amounting to $1,628,108. Co. seat Olympia.

Lewis County, established in 1845 by the Oregon legislature, has an area of 1,800 square miles, pop. 2,095, taxable property $743,571 County seat Chehalis. Id.

Chehalis County, established in 1854, has an area of 2,800 square miles, pop. 808, taxable property $304,801. County seat Montesano.

Mason County, organized as Sawamish in 1854, has a present area of 900 square miles, pop. 560, taxable property $570,331. County seat Oakland.

Pierce County, was organized by the Oregon legislature in 1852. It has an area of 1,500 square miles, a pop. of 2,051, and taxable property to the amount of $1,669,444. County seat Steilacoom, later changed to New Tacoma.

King County, established in 1852, has an area of 1,900 square miles, pop. 5,183, taxable property $1,997,679. Co. scat Seattle.

Snohomish County, was established in 1861. The first commissioner, E. C. Ferguson, Henry McClurg, and John Hervey; sheriff, Jacob Summers; auditor, J. D. Fowler; probate judge, Charles Short; treasurer, John Harvey. The County seat was located at Point Elliot, or Mukilteo, until it should be changed by election of the voters of the county. Its present county seat is Snohomish City; area of the county 1,000 square miles, pop. 1,080, taxable property $390,354.

Whatcom County, was first organized in March 1554 out of a portion of Island County. The next legislature located the county seat at the land claim of R. V. Peabody until the commission should select a site. Wash. Stat., 1854, 475. Area 3,840 square miles, pop. 2,331, taxable property $735,003. County seat Whatcom, on the Peabody claim.

The earliest settler in Whatcom County was William Jarman, an Englishman formerly in the service of the H. B. Co., who located himself on the Samish River in 1852. To Whatcom County belong certain islands of the Hare or Fuca archipelago, one of which is Lummi Island, 9 miles long by 1¾ miles wide, the south end being a bold eminence rising 1,560 feet, and the north end level forest land. There is also an island, or delta, formed by the two mouths of the Nootsack River, on which is the reservation of the Nootsack.

Christian Tutts was the first permanent settler on Lummi. Samish Island is 3½ miles long, lies east and west, and varies in width from 25 rods about the middle to 260 rods at the western, and a mile at its eastern end.

It was settled first in 1870, by Daniel Dingwall, followed by a number of farmers. Bellingham Bay Mail, April 6, 1875. Fidalgo Island contains about 25,000 acres, and combines a remarkable variety of scenery, soil, and climate. The eastern portion, fronting on Swinomish Slough, is connected with the main island only by a narrow peninsula, and is occupied as the reservation of the Swinomish Indians, containing about 7,000 acres. The first white settlement was made on Fidalgo Bay, probably, by William Monks. The island has a number of bays offering attractions for settlement, Simelk, Fidalgo, Padilla, and Squaw Bays. Mount Erie, 1,250 feet high, rises about 2 miles southwest of the head of Fidalgo Bay. Lake Erie, and several small lakes, add diversity to the landscape. Morse’s Wash. Ter., MS., xvi. 25-6. Guemes Island, first settled in 1862 by J. F. Mathews, contains about 7,000 acres, most of which is occupied. There is a post office and steamboat landing on Ship Harbor channel. There is a copper mine on this island, discovered by Hugh D. O. Bryant, born in Georgia, one of the Oregon pioneers of 1843. He removed to Puget Sound in 1853, residing first at Olympia, but settling on Guemes Island in 1866. The copper mine is on his farm, and was located and tested in 1875. It is in the hands of a stock company at present. Cypress Island was settled in 1869, by J. M. Griswold. It is about five miles long and three miles wide, has a mountain 1,525 feet high, with lakes and diversified scenery. Only a small portion of the land is tillable. Secret Harbor, Strawberry Bay, and Eagle Harbor are the settlements. Sheep raising and fishing are the industries of the island. Sinclair Island, sometimes called Cottonwood, lies between Cypress and Lummi Islands, containing an area of 1,050 acres, of which 1,000 are cultivable. It was settled by A. C. Kitties in 1868. Kitties went from California to the Fraser mines, thence to Orcas and Fidalgo Islands, and finally here. He keeps cattle and sheep. There were no white women on Sinclair or Cypress Islands in 1885. The first settlement on Skagit River was made in 1859 by William H. Sortwell, formerly of Snohomish. On the Nootsack the first resident was Patterson, who cut the first cattle trail from where Renton now stands. There are many Swedes and Norwegians on the Skagit and Swinomish, who make excellent farmers.

Island County, was established in Jan. 1853, just before the organization of the territory. Its first limits were very indefinite, and Whatcom County was taken off from it. Its present area is 250 square miles, embracing Camano and Whidbey Islands. The area of the latter is 115,000 acres, of the former 30,000. Pop. 633; taxable property $372,821. Co. seat Coupeville.

San Juan County was established October 1873, being constituted of the islands of the Hero archipelago, containing an area of 2S0 square miles, population of 83S, and taxable property to the amount of $182,147. County seat San Juan.

 

San Juan County, was in dispute between England and the U. S. when, during the Fraser River excitement, it received a first rapid accession of American population. Many of these settlers will hardly come under the Washington Pioneer Society’s rule for pioneers, yet to all intents and purposes belong to that class, and deserve mention. C. Rosier was a soldier in Co. D, 9th U. S. infantry, under Captain Pickett, from 1855 to 1860. After his discharge he settled on the island of San Juan.

Robert Frasier settled in November 1859. He came to the coast in 1856, and went to Fraser River in 1848.

D. W. Oaks, a native of Maine, went to the Fraser mines in 1858 from California, and returning settled on the island three weeks before Pickett landed with American troops, and helped to raise the first American flag.

McGarry was another settler of 1859, whose widow remained on the island. S. V. Boyce, a returned miner of 1859, erected the first building in the town of San Juan. Charles McKay and Henry Quinlan also selected homes on the island the same year.

Frederick Jones came to Puget Sound in 1854, left in 1856, returned in 1858, and settled on the east side of San Juan Island, south of Friday Harbor. He is a sheep farmer and fruit grower.

Rev. Thomas J. Weeks, the first protestant minister to settle on San Juan, acquired title after the abandonment of Camp Pickett to the quarters formerly occupied by the officer in command, and he and Robert Firth secured possession of this historic ground. Morse’s Wash. Ter., MS., xv. 36-42. Morse gives many other names from 1862 to 1870. The part of the settlement has been made since 1870.

Clallam County, was organized by the first territory legislature in April 1854. Its area is 2,050 square miles, population 469, taxable property $154,351, County seat New Dungeness. New Tacoma, N. P. Coast, Feb. 1, 1880.

Jefferson County, was established in 1852 by the Oregon legislature. Its area is 2,500 square miles, population 1,427, taxable property, $469,161, County seat Port Townsend. Kitsap co. was established in Jan. 1857, under the name of Slaughter, in memory of the gallant officer of that name who defended the firesides of the early settlers against the hostile chief whose name the commission finally adopted, and whose home was on the peninsula which constituted the county between Admiralty Inlet and Hood Canal. The first board of county commissioners were Daniel S. Howard, G. A. Meigs, and Cyrus Walker; sheriff, G. A. Page; auditor, Delos Waterman; assessor, S. B. lines; treasurer, S. B. Wilson; justices of the peace, William Hubner, William Renton, and M. S Drew. Wash. Stat., 1856-7, 52. A supplementary act provided that the legal voters of Slaughter co. should at the next annual election decide upon a name for the county, which they did. A third act appointed Henry C. Wilson probate judge for the county.

Kitsap County, the area of  is 540 square miles, pop. 1,799, taxable property $1,044,673, County seat Port Madison.

Quillehyute County, was created in Jan. 1868, out of that portion of the coast south of the Quillehyute River, north of Chehalis County, and west of the Olympic range; but there being not pop. enough to fill the co. offices, the act was repealed the following year. Wash. Stat.

Taking the population and wealth of the first district, which is purely an agricultural one, and comparing it with that of the other two, which are largely commercial, it appears, according to the statistics for 1879, furnished by the county officers, that eastern Washington had at that time a population in its six counties only five thousand less than western Washington with its eighteen counties, and had taxable property to the amount of $8,185,774, against $12,761,080 on the west side of the mountains. Four counties were organized since 1879 in the eastern division. The growth of the country on both sides of the Cascades has been rapid, almost doubling its population in five years, and adding 50 per cent to its capital, which in a new country is a large increase.




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. 23 April 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/washington/early-settlers-of-washington-state.htm - Last updated on Aug 16th, 2013


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

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