Washington Counties and their Towns

In Clallam County were Noah bay, New Dungeness, and the remains of Port Angeles. Jefferson co., besides Port Townsend, had the ports of Ludlow, Discovery, and the new mining town of Irondale.

Island County had Coupeville, founded by Thomas Coupe, who settled on the south side of Penn Cove in 1853, and Coveland, on the west end of the Cove, both on Whidbey Island, and Utsalady, on the north end of Camafin Island.

Kitsap County had four milling towns, Port Madison, Port Blakeley, Port Gamble, and Seabeck. Mason, besides the county seat, had but Arcadia, Kamilcbie, Skokomish, and Union City, none of them of any commercial importance.

Thurston County had, besides Olympia and Tumwater, Tenino, Oakville, Beaver, and Tenalquot, all insignificant places.

Lewis County had not a single town of any consequence. After Chehalis, the county seat, which was laid off in 1873, on the donation claim of S. S. Saunders and wife, and called Sanndersville until recently, come Claquato, Skookum Chuck, Mossy Rock, Napavine, Newaukum, Silver Creek, Winlock, Glen Eden, Boisfort, Little Falls, and Cowlitz, all without interest in this history, except Claquato, which, being a prettily situated place, the earliest American town in the county, and for a long time the county seat, deserves more than a passing mention. It was the centre of an agricultural district, and before the completion of the Olympia and Tenino railroad was upon the mail route from the Columbia to Puget Sound, as well as at the head of navigation on the Chehalis, and had several roads radiating from it.

Julien Bernier, native of Quebec, died June 8, 1871, at Newaukum prairie, aged 87 years. He came to Astoria with the Astor Company in 1812, and remained in the service of Astor’s successors. He went to Red river, married, and resided there a few years, but returned to Washington to settle permanently. His son Marcellus became resident of Newaukum prairie. Olympia Transcript, June 17, 1871.

Lewis H. Davis, a native of Vermont, crossed the plains in 1851 from Indiana, and settled in Claquato. He died Nov. 18, 1864, aged 72 years. He had prospered greatly in his new home. Olympia Standard, Nov. 26, 1864.

Turner Richerson Roundtree was the oldest son of Dudley Roundtree of Green River, Kentucky, where he was born in 1795. He served under Harrison in the war of 1812, and took part in the battles of Thames, Malden, etc. He married Miss Ferguson, a Scotch woman, a cousin of Patrick Henry. In 1830 he removed to Illinois, serving as a Lieut in the Black Hawk War. He was frequently tendered nominations for office, but invariably declined. On coming to Washington in 1853 he settled on Boisfort prairie, where he amassed a comfortable fortune, besides expending his means freely upon public works, and in hospitalities. His family consisted of 7 children, 35 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. He died March 21, 1868, on board the steamer Carrie Davis, en route to his home from Claquato.

Other early settlers were H. Buchanan 1852, A. F. Tullis 1853, John Hague 1852, George Hague 1854, C. F. White 1852, Albert Purcell 1859. Morse’s Wash. Ter., MS., ii. 70-1.

Montesano became the principal town in Chehalis County.

At Gray Harbor resided Alexander C. Smith, who was a native of Jacksonville, Illinois, and came to Oregon in 1852. He finally settled in Pacific County, but was at one time associate justice of the sup. ct of Idaho. He died at Kalama, May 9, 1875. Walla Walla Union, May 22, 1875. Cosmopolis, Elma, Satsop, Sharon, Cedarville, and Hoquiam were the other settlements in this county.

Oysterville was made the county seat of Pacific County. The original owner was J. A. Clark, who located it in 1854. The other settlements were Willopab, Bruceport, Centreville, or Bay Centre, South Bend, Riverside, Woodard Landing, Ilwaco, Chinook, Knappton, Gray River, and Brookfield. Bruceport was the oldest settlement. I have given elsewhere some names of the first comers.

John Briscoe, from Newtown, settled on Shoalwater Bay in Sept. 1852.

B. Loomis, from New York, arrived in California in 1849, and came to Pacific County in 1850.

G. Y. Easterbrook, from Rhode Island, brought the ship Pacific to S. F. in 1849. In 1850 he came to Oregon, and settled in 1853 at West Beach, Shoalwater Bay, giving up the sea in 1859.

J. L. Stout, born in Ohio in 1822, came to California in 1850, and the same year to Oregon, but did not settle at Oysterville till 1859.

Other settlers were Benjamin Hutton, Osborne Goulter, Espy, and Albert Fisher. Morse’s Wash. Ter., MS., ii. 85-7. Mrs Gilbert Stevens was the first white woman who settled at Oysterville. She died March 1, 1877, aged 55 years. Olympia Transcript, March 7, 1877.

Kalama was made the county seat of Cowlitz County. It came into existence in Feb. 1870 as the initial point of the Northern Pacific railway on the north bank of the Columbia in western Washington, and after a brief period of prosperity fell into decay. The other towns of Cowlitz County were Martin’s Bluff, Carroll, Monticello, Freeport, Mount Coffin, Oak Point, Cowlitz, Pekin, Silver Lake, and Olequa.

Seth Catlin, a pioneer of Freeport, was a member of the first territorial legislature, and was elected to the Oregon legislature in 1852 to fill a vacancy in the council caused by the resignation of Lancaster. He was president of the council of Washington in 1855 and 1856. His son, Robert Catlin, was appointed to West Point by delegate Stevens, and graduated with honor, receiving his commission as Lieut of the 5th art. in 1863. In 1871 Seth Catlin, while en route to Texas, was drowned in the Arkansas River. Olympia Tribune, Aug. 26, 1871; Bancroft’s Handbook, 1864, 354; W. W. Statesman, Oct. 17, 1863.

Cathlamet, county seat of Wahkiakum County, built upon a bench of land on the north bank of the Columbia thirty, live miles from its mouth, had few inhabitants, and little business besides Warren’s fishery. James Birnie, one of the oldest H. B. Co.’s men, lived here many years. James Allen, also of the company, lived some time with the family of Birnie. Here died George B. Roberts, whose biography forms an interesting portion of the history of western Washington. Eagle Cliff was a fishing establishment and village, Skamokawa a farming settlement on a creek of that name, and Waterford, the most eastern river settlement of the county. Salmon-canning and butter- making were in 1885 leading industries in all these places. Hapgood and William Hume planted the pioneer salmon cannery at Eagle Cliff.

William Hume came to California in 1850 from Augusta, Maine, and engaged in salmon-fishing in the Sacramento River, and was joined in a year or two by his brothers, George W. and John. George W. returned to Maine, and meeting an old schoolmate, Andrew S. Hapgood, who was a tinner, and who had some knowledge of canning fish, they together formed a plan for fish canning on the Sacramento should it meet William Hume’s views, who found it satisfactory, and who sent for Hapgood and his brother, Robert D. Hume, in 1864. For various reasons, it was found unprofitable canning salmon at Sacramento. They then determined to try the fish and climate of the Columbia River, sending William Hume in 1866 to spy out the land. The only fisheries on the Washington side of the Columbia at this time were three, which put up fish in barrels: one owned by Reed & Hodgkins at Oak Point, one by Fitzpatrick at Tenas Hlihee, and another by Welsh. William was joined by George W. Hume, and an establishment was erected in 1866 at Eagle Cliff, which in the following year put up 4,000 cases of salmon, which found a ready sale. In 1867 George W. retired from the business at Eagle Cliff, and built a second factory one fourth of a mile below the first, William and Hapgood carrying on the business of Hapgood, Home, & Co., and Robert D. soon after withdrawing from the firm to join his brother George W. at the lower fishery. In 1870 Hapgood and Hume sold their establishment to Robert D. Hume, who subsequently also sold it, and built another at Bay View, and also one on Rogue River. The Humes, who were the pioneers in salmon canning, have made half a million dollars each in the business. From a dictation by Robert D. Hume, MS.

The principal town of eastern Washington in 1887 was Walla Walla. From its first settlement it was the business center for the region east of the Cascades, whence radiated routes to the mines, and later to all the other points in that division of the country. The place was laid out on the land claim of A. J. Cain, and first called Steptoe City, after Col Steptoe, in command of Fort Walla Walla, but was incorporated as Walla Walla City by an act of the legislature passed Jan. 11, 1802. Cain, who was born in Indiana, came to Washington as one of Stevens’ secretaries, and was afterward Indian Agent. He practised law at Walla Walla, and was prosecuting attorney for the district. He was connected with several newspapers, and started the Umatilla Press, the Walla Walla Real Estate Gazette, and Dayton News, the latter in 1874. He died, aged about 50 years, in July 1879. Walla Walla Union, July 12, 1879; Waitsburg Times, July 10, 1579; Columbia Chronicle, July 12, 1879. The officers appointed by the legislature to hold until the first election were B. P. Standerfer mayor, James Gailbreth recorder, H. C. Coulson, B. F. Whitman, D. S. Baker, and Schwabacker members of the council, George H. Porter marshal. Wash. Stat., 1861-2, 10-24. As Walla. Walla was a distributing point for the mines from 1860, its early history was marked by scenes of disorder. Walla Walla County had few towns. Wallula, founded on the site of the Fort Walla Walla of the H. B. Co., was laid off by J. M. Van Sykle, who kept a ferry at that place in mining times. It became the landing of the O. S. N. Co.’s boats. Whitman, or Frenchtown as it is sometimes called, was a settlement formed near the Waiilatpu mission by the catholic, French, and half caste population, between 1847 and 1835, situated on the Walla Walla and Wallula railroad a few miles west of Walla Walla City.

Van Sykle was a native of Ohio who came to California in early mining times, and was employed as express agent. From Stockton he went to Portland, and served in the same capacity there until he went to Wallula. He engaged in general business at that place, where he remained from 1859 to 1861, when he removed to Walla Walla. He represented his district in the legislature as councilman for one term, and was a writer of good abilities. He died March 4, 1875. Walla Walla Union, March 6, 1873; Walla Walla Spirit of the West, March 5, 1875.

Dayton, now the county seat of Columbia County, was founded by S. M. Wait, the former proprietor of Waitsburg, some time between 1870 and 1875, when the new county was set off. It had the only woolen factory in Washington. Beside Colfax, the county seat, there were in 1887 in Whitman County Grange City, Texas Landing, Panawawa, Almota on Snake River, Leitchville, Owensburg, Ewartsville, Union Flat, Palouse, Lincoln, Cedar Creek, Steptoe, Walton, and Rosalia.

Spokane Falls became the county seat of Spokane County by reason of its great waterpower and prospective importance. There were also in Spokane County Deep Creek Falls, Fair View, Larene, Marshall, Miles, Plaza, Rock Creek, Rockford, Sedalia, Spangle, Sprague, Crab Creek, Four Lakes, and Pine Grove.

Colville, not the H. B. Co.’s fort at Kettle Falls, nor the United States post at a few miles distance east of that spot, formerly called Pinkney City, but a little town near by the latter, all having the same appellation, was chosen the county seat of Stevens County. A settlement was formed at Walker’s prairie, the place of the former Presbyterian Mission.

Goldendale in Klikitat County was the seat of justice, besides which there were in this co. Klikitat City and Columbus.

Yakima City was made the county seat of Yakima County. The Kittitas and Ahtanam and upper Yakima valleys contained several settlements in 1887, among which were Pleasant Grove, Kittitas, Namun, and Ellenburg. Half a dozen small quartz-mills were in operation in the Fehastin district, seventeen miles from Ellenburg, in 1878.

Seven new counties were created by the Washington legislature of 1883:
Skagit, cut from Whatcom, with Mount Vernon as county seat;
Assotin, cut from Garfield, with Assotin City as county seat;
Lincoln, cut from Spokane, with Davenport as county seat;
Douglas, also cut from Spokane, with Okanagan as county sent;
Kittitas, cut from Yakima;
Franklin from Whitman,
Adams from Whitman
S. F. Chronicle, Dee. 3, 1883; S. E Bulletin, Dec. 3, 1883.

Spokane Falls was first settled by L. R. Scranton, J. J. Downing, and a Mr. Benjamin, in 1872, they erecting a sawmill in anticipation of the advent of the N. P. H. R. The failure of Jay Cooke & Co. blighted their expectations, along with the company’s, causing them to sell out their squatter rights and property in 1873 to James W. Glover of Salem, Oregon, for $4,000. Glover formed a partnership with J. N. Matheny of Salem, and Cyrus F. Yeaton of Portland, to carry on milling and merchandising. The population was scattered, the whole of Stevens County, which then embraced Spokane, Lincoln, and Douglas, containing no more than 350 inhabitants, aside from the garrison at Fort Colville; but the firm hoped on, and Yeaton was appointed postmaster, the Lewiston mail passing that way. In 1874 they were joined by H. T. Cowley and a Mr. Poole and their families. Cowley, who seems to have been a minister, started an Indian school and farm. A school district, embracing all that territory between Colville and Spangle, and between Idaho and the Columbia, was organized into a school district for the white settlers, and Swift, who lived near the Falls and was a lawyer by education, became clerk of the district, Yeaton, Poole, and M. M. Cowley, reader at Spokane Bridge, directors, while Mrs Swift was teacher. At the territorial election of 1874 the polls opened at Glover’s house, and R. H. Winepy was elected to represent Stevens County in the legislature. D. F. Percival of Four Lakes, and L. W. Myers, were chosen county commissioners, and Glover justice of the peace. In mid-December Cowley journeyed to Colville, the county seat, 85 miles, to carry the election returns, to secure a teacher’s certificate, and incidentally to perform the marriage service for Captain Evan Miles and Miss Stitzel. There was little improvement before 1876, when Frederick Post removed his mill from Trent to Spokane Falls, which had been laid out in a town plat by Matheny, Yeaton, and Glover, who gave him waterpower and 40 acres of land to locate in the place. Next came Downer, Evans, and Smith. Evans set up a cabinet shop. Downer opened a farm, and Smith returned to Spangle. Still the few settlers held on until June 1877, when the Nez Perce war caused them the most intense anxiety and alarm. Soon after the war ended there came Herbert and Myron Percival, L. W. Rims, Dr Masterton, and a few others; and in the spring of 1878, with the revived hope of the coming of the N. P. R. R., came also the merchant firm of Cannon, Warner, & Co., who purchased an interest in the town-site, and gave a fresh impetus to the place. Then came J. M. Nosler, W. C. Gray, Dr L. P. Waterhouse, A. E. Ellis, and Platt Corbaley. Gray built a hotel, in which an entertainment was held for the benefit of a public schoolhouse being erected in town. In 1879 there was a re-survey of the N. P. line, and the Spokane Times was established by Hon. Francis S. Cook, member of the territorial legislature from Pierce County, population began now to flow in, and the following persons began business in Spokane Falls: F. R. Moore & Co., J. F. Graham, Friedenrich & Berg, Arthur & Shaner, J. N. Sqnier, McCammon & Whitman, R. AV. Forrest, Louis Zeigler, Clark & Richard, Percival & Corbalay, Davis & Cornelius. A. M. Cannon established the first bank, Bank of Spokane Falls, churches were organized, the methodist by J. H. Leard and the Congregationalist by G. H. Atkinson. The legislature that winter authorized tho organization of Spokane County, and removed the county seat to Spokane Falls. In 1880 the town of Cheney was laid out, and through railroad influence took the county seat away from the Falls, and for two years the town languished, although in July 1881 the Spokane Chronicle was established by C. B. Carlisle, and the Methodist and Congregational Churches were erected, also the first brick building, and steps were taken to found protestant and catholic schools, the Spokane and Gonzaga Universities. The city was incorporated in 1881, R. W. Forrest being the first mayor, A. M. Cannon, L. H. Whitehouse, L. W. Rims, F. It. Moore, George A. Davis, and W. C. Gray, councilmen, and J. K. Stout, city attorney, the population being at this time about 1,000. To follow this history further would be to take up too much space. From 1882 to 1889 the growth of Spokane Falls was remarkable, helped on by the wonderful agricultural resources of the country, and mines of the Coeur d’Alene region, and in 1888 it was the third City in Washington. In June 1889 a great fire consumed 22 whole squares of buildings in the business portion of the city, at a loss of many millions of dollars, but it is rapidly rebuilding more solidly than before. The situation of Spokane Falls is not only beautiful as to location, but is in the midst of the great wheat-fields, rivaled in productiveness by few portions of the globe, and near the Coeur d’Alene mines.

Ellensburg is another thriving town, which suffered great losses by fire in July 1889, but which is being rebuilt. It has on one hand an agricultural country, and on the other gold and silver, coal and iron, superior grass lands and timbered mountain-sides.

Cle-Elum and Roslyn are two new towns in the mineral region of Klickitat County, situated among the higher foothills of the Cascades, on the line of the N. P. R. R. Extensive ironworks are located at Cle-Elum, and coalmines at Roslyn.

Mount Vernon, on the swift and beautiful Skagit River, was taken up as a land claim in 1871 by Jaspar Gates, the first house on the river having been erected. in 1861 by Owin Kincaid. There is a cranberry marsh here, owned by a California company. From 80 acres of vines, 5,000 bushels of cranberries were gathered in 1889. Port Townsend, Whatcom, and Sehome, long apparently lifeless, have blossomed out with elegant homes, stately hotels, and banking-houses. Fairhaven, also on Bellingham bay, has a charming situation, and is rapidly growing.

Centralia, Aberdeen, and all the towns in the fertile Chehalis valley are sharing the results of agricultural and milling enterprises. The following is the history of Aberdeen, by Benn, its founder, born in New York in 1832, coming to California in 185-6; worked in Tuolumne mines until 1859, when he came to Puget Sound, and purchasing a boat explored Black River, and took up a preemption claim. In 1868 he removed to Chehalis valley, where he purchased 592 acres of land, raising cattle and dairying until 1884, when he laid out the town of Aberdeen, devoting in all 240 acres to the town site, giving away 49 acres in mill sites to promote business, and also donated 50 acres to J. M. Weatherwax, in alternate blocks, for the same purpose. He is principal owner in the Washingtonian cannery; has been sheriff and county commissioner, and built the first boat to run on the Chehalis River. He married Martha A. Redmond in 1862, and has 5 daughters and 2 sons.

Gray’s Harbor is attracting much attention, but whether some settled or some newly selected site will be the port of the future is not yet apparent.

Kelso, in Cowlitz valley, 6 miles from the Columbia, has hopes of future greatness, calling itself the `gate of Cowlitz,’ and claims superior advantages and eminent intelligence, either of which are no mean recommendations.

The assessed value of taxable property in Wash. has increased from $18,922,922 in 1878, to $84,641,548 in 1888, according to the report of Secretary Owings, a gain of $65,718,626 in ten years. The richest county is King, the second Pierce, the third Spokane, the fourth Whitman, the fifth Walla Walla, then Lincoln, Clarke, Columbia, each valued at nearly 83,000,000, after which the other counties range from $2,000,000 down to $300,000. The area of the state is 69,994 sq. miles; area of tidewater inside, 1,258 sq. miles; of shoreline inside, 1,992 miles; area of Lake Washington, 41 sq. miles. Estimated population, by Owings, 432,600.



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. 26 December 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/washington/washington-counties-and-their-towns.htm - Last updated on Aug 16th, 2013


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