Copyright 2000 - 2003 - Janine M. Bork
This page is part of the Union County, OR AGHP
(1850 - 1853.)
Exclusive Reference to Historic Acts North of the Columbia River Explained - Legislative Representation - United States Census, 1850 - Status of Settlement North of the Columbia at That Date - Historic View of Progress of Settlements Upon the Banks of the Columbia - Incubus to Settlement of Vancouver - Conflicting Claims to Site - Settlements North of River, and North of Olympia - Edmund A. Starling, Indian Agent, Puget Sound District - The Collection District of Puget Sound Established - Arrival of Revenue Officers - Disastrous Expedition of Gold Hunters to Queen Charlotte's Island in Sloop Georgianna - Wreck of Sloop - Passengers Taken Captive by Hydah Indians - Ransom of Captives - Seizure of Steamer Beaver and Brig Mary Dare at Olympia - First Term of District Court at Olympia - First Commemoration of Independence Day at Olympia - Division of Territory - Monticello Convention - Congress Establishes the Territory of Washington.
THE Columbia river, so eminently adapted for a natural boundary between separate commonwealths, had so cut off from the Willamette valley the territory and communities lying north, that the early necessary division of Oregon Territory by that river was a spontaneous opinion which gathered strength with the growth of both sections. Through all the early history of Oregon, the denizens of the Willamette valley had looked upon the territory north of the Columbia river as a distinct section, and had learned to regard that river as the ultimate boundary of the future State of Oregon. There was but little of interest in common between the two sections. The routes of travel between them retarded close intercommunication; nor could the political needs and purpose of those dwelling upon Puget Sound, or even upon the line of travel pursued between the Columbia river and the Sound, be subserved by connection with the centers of population or business in the Willamette valley. Naturally and necessarily, those inhabiting the Sound basin must depend mainly upon San Francisco (then the distributing point on the Pacific coast) for their supplies; and as Northern Oregon exportations, consisting of lumber, piles and timber, went to that port by way of the Sound, and Strait of Juan de Fuca, upon it they must depend for supplies instead of upon an inland emporium on the Columbia river. Hence Northern Oregon communities were not only practically isolated by position, but also by the channels of transportation and the diversity of commercial interests. Until the closing days of Governor Gaines' administration, that northern territory was generally spoken of as Northern Oregon or the "Sound Country." Although, upon the north bank of the Columbia, settlers had located and settlements been formed, yet, in the main, communities were established near or upon Puget Sound (1), or were within an area
(1) Puget sound has the same meaning here as in the Act of Congress approved February 14, 1851, establishing the Collection District of Puget Sound, that is to say, that great inland sea, not inaptly called the Mediterranean of Northwest America, embracing Puget Sound properly so-called, Admiralty Inlet, Hood's Canal, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Gulf of Georgia, and the numerous tributary bays and inlets.
adjacent to the trail or road from the Columbia river, via Cowlitz river and Cowlitz Landing, thence across the portage to the head of the Sound, already known as Olympia.
Those little nuclei of future Northern Oregon communities, mere embryo towns rejoicing at that period only in names, were completely independent of and isolated from the Willamette valley. In fact, Northern Oregon progress or colonization has its own peculiar history, requiring separate narration. It would have ben quite impossible to have presented, succinctly and intelligently, the annals of Puget Sound settlement blended with the current history of older communities south of the Columbia, which exclusively affected the residents of the Willamette valley. It would have proved a profitless task to have attempted tracing together event happening, 'tis true, contemporaneously, yet entirely dissimilar in character, and solely pertained to the inhabitants of the one region: one class being those which purely pertained to the primitive location of sites for future communities, - acts predicating future provincial life; the other, the proceedings of already established communities executing governmental or political functions. Such an attempt would have dissipated the consistency of narration, and marred the symmetry of the annals of each; and the accuracy of statement would have been defeated. Hence the necessity now to recur to events north of the Columbia which had happened during the Gaines administration. Thus will be chronicled, since 1850, the progress or advent of population to northern Oregon, till such growth had demonstrated that the time had arrived for the division of Oregon Territory, - an advent, as already claimed, foreshadowed by the topography of the region, and inevitable from the very nature of things. In that labor, it will be quite impracticable, within the limits of this work, to detain the annals of each locality (1). Nor can the narration be strictly chronological. A historic view of the centers of population of Northern Oregon, and their development at the period of territorial division, must suffice; for such is the real aim of this chapter. To that end, those localities which have attained to such importance as to have secured prominence, or to have conferred identity, will be briefly adverted to, and their progress detailed. Frequently it will have been necessary to carry these local annals beyond the time when territorial division had been consummated, when the particular settlement had ceased to be within the territory then named Oregon.
Shortly after Governor Lane's assumption of executive duties, it will be remembered that he issued a proclamation districting Oregon Territory for the election of members of the first territorial Legislative Assembly. By that proclamation, all of Oregon Territory which subsequently became Washington, that is to say, all of Oregon north of the Columbia river, together with Clatsop county, formed one Council district. Lewis county, then the northern part of the territory lying west and north of the Cowlitz river, constituted a Representative District. It may be remarked that Samuel T. McKean, of Clatsop, at the election of June, 1849, was elected councilman. Michael T. Simmons was the first representative of Lewis county.
By the United States census of 1850, the total number of white inhabitants north of the Columbia river was 1,049. In Lewis county had been erected 146 dwelling-houses, occupied by that number of families. Thirteen pupils attended school; but, as shown by the official record, twenty-three pupils at some time within the year preceding had attended school. The total sum, including taxes collected, expended in education, amounted to
letters and historic statements have been received as to neighborhoods,
pedigrees of pioneer settlers, etc., "claiming that they deserve a place
in the history;" and so they do. An appendix to contain them all would
be larger than the limits allowed for this work. Perhaps those statements,
autobiographical and otherwise, would be as entertaining to the general
reader as the text; but, as the author dare not substitute them, he will
not mar them by attempted condensation.
five hundred dollars. In Clark county the families numbered ninety-five, with a school attendance of eleven. That census also demonstrated that, at that date, the British or Hudson's -Bay-Company element of population greatly preponderated in Northern Oregon.
The incidents of the pioneer settlements at the head of Puget Sound have been narrated in preceding pages. In the winter of 1849-50, Messrs. Isaac N. Ebey, B.F. Shaw, Edmond Sylvester, George Moore and Jackson purchased the brig Orbit. She arrived at Olympia January 1, 1850, when Colonel M.T. Simmons purchased the interest of Jackson. She loaded with a cargo of piles for San Francisco. The Orbit was the first American vessel hailing from and owned at Puget Sound.
A retrospective glance at Northern Oregon settlements at that period (1850-3) is full of interest. Vancouver (then Fort Vancouver) was the most historic of all Oregon towns north of the Columbia river. Since 1824 it had been the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company, west of the Rocky Mountains. That company still continued in possession under the treaty of June 15, 1846, by which they had been guaranteed their possessory rights. It was claimed that since 1838 it had been a missionary station of the Roman Catholic Church, nominated the St. James Mission. Here had been erected a church of that name; and here the priests of that faith had ministered to the native population and to the employés of the company (1). Here also an United States military post had been established, and a military reserve declared by order of the War Department (2). A section of the land was also claimed under the Land Law of the Oregon Provisional government by Amos M. Short, an immigrant of 1845, whose family had resided upon the land since December of that year. In May, 1847, he had built a house upon the tract and cultivated a number of acres. In the latter part of that year, servants of the Hudson's Bay Company had ejected him (3). In 1848, Peter W. Crawford had surveyed the same tract for Henry Williamson, who had also claimed the land under the Oregon Land Law. After having filed the requisite notice, he went to Indiana for his family. On his return, finding Short in possession, he abandoned the controversy and went to California. Under the act of May 23, 1844, the county court of Clark county, July 3, 1850 (4), made the following location of a quarter section: "Commencing at a balm of Gilead tree on the north bank of the Columbia river marked "A.M.S.', thence along the east line of Amos M. Short's claim, one hundred and sixty rods, thence due south to the Columbia river, thence along the bank of said river to the place of beginning, excepting thereout the inclosures of the Hudson's Bay Company." Such townsite was platted; and a number of blocks and lots were sold, and improved by the purchasers.
(1) The Roman Catholic Mission of St. James (the name of the little church then at Fort Vancouver) subsequently claimed six hundred and forty acres under the second proviso of the first section of the Organic Act of Oregon, approved August 14, 1848: "That the title to the land, not exceeding six hundred and forty acres, now occupied as missionary stations among the Indian tribes in said territory, together with the improvements therein, be confirmed and established in the several religious societies to which said missionary stations respectively belong."
This proviso in the same language was incorporated in the Washington Organic Act, approved March 2, 1853, with the additional phrase "or that may have been so occupied as missionary stations prior to the passage of the act establishing the territorial government of Oregon," which phrase is inserted after "territory" and before "together."
(2) The claim by the United States for a military reservation rests upon the following facts:
In May, 1849, Major Hathaway, U.S. Army, leased of the Hudson's Bay Company sufficient buildings for garrison purposes, officers' quarters, barracks, etc., with free privilege of adjacent lands unoccupied by the company. In May, 1850, by order of General Persifer F. Smith, commanding the Pacific Division, under directions of the War department, Colonel W.W. Loring, U.S. Army, declared a reserve of four miles square. This large reserve was subsequently reduced. An Act of Congress, approved February 14, 1853, had limited military reserves to six hundred and forty acres. On the 29th of October, 1853, the War Department ordered that the Vancouver reserve should conform to the requirement of that act; and Colonel Bonneville, U.S. Army, then in command (December 8, 1853), reduced the reserve to the legal quantity.
(3) The equities of the heirs-at-laws of Amos M. Short are briefly set forth in the "Decision of the Surveyor-General of Washington Territory (Dr. Anson G. Henry), 1862," page 14. It shows a persistent effort to hold the claim from the time of filing in 1846 till his death, January 19, 1853. He was twice forcibly ejected by the Hudson's Bay Company, and once by a judgment of court. In his absence, his family were placed in a boat and sent adrift down the Columbia. Again, in defending his place, Dr. G. Gardiner and a Kanaka servant, who were attempting to eject him, were slain (April 5, 1850). Technically, under the Donation Law he had forfeited his right, because he had failed, before his death (January 19, 1853), to notify the Surveyor-General, as required by the Donation Law.
(4) The county records show that,
instead of locating under the first section of the act of May 23, 1844,
for relief of the citizens of towns, the county authorities of Clark county
located really, under the act of March 26, 1824, a quarter section of land
for the county seat of Clark County.
A more complicated conflict of claims calculated to cloud title could scarcely be imagined; Possessory rights of a foreign corporation present under a mere license of trade, which expired by its own limitation within a decade; claims of a religious denomination for a missionary station, where missionary services had been performed before the sovereignty of the soil had been determined; the government asserting its right of reservation for military purposes; private claims; the county or municipal authorities seeking relief for citizens, or seeking to secure necessary ground for municipal purposes (1). Yet, with this hydra-headed incubus driving away investment, Vancouver, possessing from its location many natural advantages, also perhaps the most beautiful and attractive townsite, had secured considerable population. Naturally, it had become the adopted residence of many retired employés of the Hudson's Bay Company, and discharged United States troops whose terms of enlistment had expired. Other immigrants had settled there; and it had already become the center of a farming settlement.
East of Fort Vancouver, several employés of the Hudson's Bay Company, as individuals, had taken claims under the Oregon Land Law. A trading-post had been established at the Cascades. On Baker's Bay, Shoalwater Bay, Gray's Harbor and at Cowlitz Landing, embryo towns had been commenced, some only in name, but all confidently predicting early future development. Hon. Columbia Lancaster, of the immigration of 1847, an early Supreme Judge under the Provisional government, later Washington's first delegate, had with his family removed from Willamette to the Lewis river. William Dillon, in 1849, had established a ferry on the north side of the Columbia, to the opposite shore near the mouth of the Willamette river.
Jonathan Burpee had first located on the Kalama river, but had removed to the Cowlitz. These were all the white families at that date (1850) who had settled between Fort Vancouver and the mouth of the Cowlitz. Upon both sides of the latter-named river were a number of family homes made by Seth Catlin, Peter W. Crawford, Mr. West, Henry D. Huntington, Nathaniel and David Stone and Royal C. Smith.
Oak Point (proper) was located upon the south side of the Columbia below the mouth of the Cowlitz river, from the circumstance of an oak-tree grove near the bank. Immediately opposite, on the north bank of the Columbia, there entered a little stream, to which had been given the name of Oak Point river. Upon its bank, a saw-mill was in course of erection in 1848 for the firm of Abernethy & Clarke. Late in 1848, that mill commenced running. Alexander D. Abernethy (a man so justly endeared to every old settler of Oregon and Washington, long one of the most prominent and respected citizens) was the resident partner. It long continued to ship cargoes of lumber to San Francisco by a line of vessels making regular voyages between the Columbia river and San Francisco. At Cathlamet, a short distance below, was the residence of James Birnie, retired from the Hudson's Bay Company's service, who had settled there prior to the treaty of 1846. Pacific City had been laid out by Dr. Elijah White on the claim of James D. Holman; and there was also an active settlement at Chinook, on the lower Columbia. Those promising places, with the presence of other settlers near the mouth of the Columbia river, caused the Oregon legislature, on the 4th of February, 1851, to pass the act
cloud upon the title of lot-holders continued for years. The contest between
the several claimants was waged in courts, in the several land-offices,
in the Department of the Interior, and in Congress. A partial settlement
of the matter relieved lot-owners and purchasers by the issuance of a patent
November 3, 1874, under the law for relief of the inhabitants of cities
and towns upon the public lands, approved March 2, 1867, to the mayor of
the city of Vancouver, in trust for the several use and benefit of the
inhabitants of said city. The Washington territorial legislature passed
an act to prescribe regulations for the disposal of lots in the city of
Vancouver, and the proceeds for sale thereof, approved November 11, 1875,
which act authorized conveyances to be made, and legalized the title to
the grantees. The contest between the mission and the United States, as
to their military reserve, and as to the extent of the mission grant, decided
by the Supreme Court of the territory adversely to the mission, has been
appealed to the Supreme court of the United States, where it is now pending.
establishing Pacific county by setting off from Lewis county, "the territory commencing at Cape Disappointment, following the Pacific coast twenty-five miles, thence due east thirty miles, thence south to the Columbia river, and down its channel to the place of beginning." The apportionment law gave Clark and Lewis a joint member. Clatsop and Pacific were constituted a representative district. The council district was not changed. It was in 1851, before settlers had made their appearance on Shoalwater Bay. In 1850, Charles J.W. Russell, who had been engaged in trade at Pacific City, carried from Astoria, Oregon, by steamer to San Francisco, a lot of oysters. During that year, Captain Feldstead had also made an unsuccessful venture to ship a cargo of oysters to San Francisco. The next year (1851), the oyster trade attracted a number. There were also parties engaged in cutting piles and timber on the banks of those small rivers, which empty into the northeast portion of the bay. Reference has already been made to the Bruce Company, who operated at Shoalwater Bay in 1850, and in subsequent years.
On January 10, 1851, Captain Lafayette Balch, in the brig George Emery, about inaugurating a regular trade between San Francisco and Puget sound, took the claim at Lower Steilacoom, dedicating it as a townsite, conferring upon it the name of Port Steilacoom, after the name of the creek immediately northward of the tract (the creek upon which shortly afterwards was erected the mill of Thomas M. Chambers). The frames for his warehouse, store and residence were on his vessel; and the erection of those buildings was immediately commenced. John B. Chapman, an old attorney-at-law from Indiana, together with his son John M., settled, October 31, 1851, upon Steilacoom Point, adjoining the Balch site. A half section was located in the name of the son, was platted as a town, and nominated Steilacoom City. A few years later, the Balch and Chapman towns had become sufficiently consolidated to be spoken of under the general name of Steilacoom.
On February 10, 1851, Dr. Richard
H. Lansdale went in a canoe from Olympia to Oak Harbor, on the east side
of Whidby Island, and there made his first location. In the following summer,
a number of horses, the property of William Wallace, were landed at Oak
harbor by Asher Sargent, then of Olympia; and Wallace and his family took
a Donation claim at Crescent harbor, which name had been conferred by Dr.
Lansdale within the year. Dr. Lansdale was joined at Oak Harbor by Martin
Taftson, Clement W. Sumner and Urlic Friend. The Doctor returned to OLympia
to winter, where he resumed his duties as justice of the peace for Lewis
county (which included Whidby Island until the session of 1851-52 of the
Oregon legislature, when Thurston county was set off, the latter embracing
the island). A scow having been built for the purpose, in March, 1852,
Dr. Lansdale assisted in the transportation to the island of the families
of Walter Crockett and Colonel Isaac N. Ebey, who arrived at Olympia in
the early winter of 1851. Colonel Walter Crockett was a native of Virginia,
of which state, in his early manhood, he had been a prominent citizen.
With a large family of children and grandchildren, which constituted a
little colony in itself, he, together with them, made a permanent settlement
on the island. Isaac N. Ebey, a lawyer by profession, had for several years
been a leading citizen of the Sound country. He was a member of the Oregon
legislature at the last session before the division of the territory. He
it was who drafted and secured the passage of the memorial of that body
praying for the establishment of the territorial government of Columbia.
When Washington became a separate territory, he became still more prominent
for his active zeal and energy. Many offices of honor and trust were filled
by him, among which was that of collector of customs of the
district of Puget Sound. He was perfidiously and cruelly murdered on August 12, 1851, by a band of Russian Indians called kakes or Kikans, who inhabit the northwestern side of Kufrinoff Island, near the head of Prince Frederick's Sound. They severed his head from his body, and carried it to their northern home as a trophy of their murderous malice. His head was subsequently recovered through the intervention of the British authorities. The band who committed this nefarious deed was led by the brother of an Indian who had lost his life in the spring of that year at Port Gamble, when the U.S. steamer Massachusetts had dislodged the hostile northern Indians then camped at that point, and compelled them to leave the Sound.
Dr. Lansdale did not return to his Oak Harbor home, but changed his residence to Penn's Cove. Colonel Ebey took the tract opposite the bar of Port Townsend, since and still known as Ebey's Landing. In the spring of 1853, the brig Cabot, Captain Dryden, direct from Portland to Penn's Cove, brought a number of families, among whom were those of James Buzby, Dr. J.C. Kellogg and the late Reuben L. Doyle. This settlement was one of the most prosperous on the Sound.
About the middle of September, 1851, Henry Van Assalt, Jacob Maple, Samuel Maple and Luther M. Collins selected claims on the Duwamish river a few miles from the site of the city of Seattle, and commenced their residences there on the 26th of that month. About the latter date, John N. Low, Lee Terry, David T. Denny and Captain Robert C. Fay arrived at Alki Point. Low and Terry located claims at the point. On the 28th, Denny and Terry laid the foundation for a house. Low returned to the Willamette for his family. On the 5th of November, the schooner Exact, Captain Folger, sailed from Portland for Puget Sound, and for the newly discovered gold mines on Queen Charlotte's Island. A number of settlers came as passengers. On the 13th of November, she landed Arthur A. Denny, William N. Bell and Carson D. Boren, and their families, twenty-five, twelve of whom were adults. Among the passengers by the Exact were James H. Hughes, who settled in Steilacoom, Daniel R. Bigelow, who located at Olympia, H.H. Pinto and family, who settled at Cowlitz, John Alexander and family, and Alfred Miller, who took claims on Whidby Island. The Alki Point colonists soon finished the house of which the foundation had been laid; and other houses were built for the families of Messrs. Bell and Boren. The brig Leoncsa, Captain D.J. Howard, soon after arrived. Desiring to purchase a cargo of piles for San Francisco, as the Alki settlement had no team, Lee Terry went to Puyallup, purchased cattle and drove them along the beach to Alki Point. On the 18th of February, Messrs. Arthur A. Denny, Bell and Boren crossed over Elliott's bay, and, at the site of the present city of Seattle, located their three claims in one body, the southern boundary being fixed at what is now the head of Commercial street in that city. The claims extended north to where the claim of D.T. Denny afterwards joined. Dr. David S. Maynard arrived on March 31st at Alki Point. It had been his design to establish a fishery to pack salmon. On April 3, 1852, he moved over to Seattle and was persuaded to remain.
In October, Henry L. Yesler arrived,
seeing a site for a steam saw-mill. To induce him to remain, the first
settlers so changed the lines of their respective claims as to enable him
to secure an eligible location with a proper share of water front. On the
25th of may, 1853, the two plats of the town of Seattle were filed in the
auditor's office of King county, the first by Messrs. Denny and Boren and
the second by Dr. David S. Maynard. In 1853, John N. Low sold his claim
at Alki Point to Charles C. Terry. Lee Terry returned to
New York. On the 18th of April, 1855, Edward lander, the first Chief Justice of Washington Territory, and Charles C. Terry, purchased the front half of the Carson D. Boren Donation claim.
On December 5, 1850, the brig George Emery, Captain Lafayette Balch, arrived at Neah Bay from San Francisco. Among the passengers were Alfred A. Plummer, Charles Bachelor, William Wilson, George O. Wilson and Gilbert Wilson. Captain Enoch S Fowler was mate. She sailed to Olympia to procure a cargo of piles on Budd's Inlet. Plummer, Bachelor and Wilton stopped at Steilacoom creek, where the brig was loading. Upon Balch's return, he made his location at Port Steilacoom (January 10, 1851). Plummer and Bachelor remained at Port Steilacoom until April. At that time, and upon the suggestion of Captain Balch, Messrs. Plummer and Bachelor went to Port Townsend; and, upon April 24, 1851, Mr. Plummer commenced the settlement of Port Townsend. His claim fronted upon the beach around to Point Wilson, and then inland sufficient to embrace a section of land. Bachelor's claim adjoined. In the fall, Port Townsend was visited by Francis W. Pettygrove and Loren B. Hastings from Portland via Olympia. Each located a claim, the two adjoining those of Messrs. Plummer and Bachelor, and then returned to Portland. On January 16, 1852, Hastings purchased the pilot-boat Mary Taylor, sixty tons burthen, and advertised for passengers to Puget Sound. She sailed hither February 3d, bringing Hastings and family, Pettygrove and family, Benjamin Ross and family, David Shelton and family, Thomas Tallentire and family and Smith Hays. The Mary Taylor arrived at Port Townsend the 21st of February. On the beach at that date were Alonzo M. Poe, Henry C. Wilson, A.B. Moses, B.J. Madison and William Wilton. The families of Messrs. Hastings and Pettygrove landed the next day. The remainder of the passengers proceeded to Olympia. Of those present at Port Townsend beach at that time was Henry C. Wilson, who had selected his claim on the bay, and notified upon it in August, 1850; but he had continued clerking for Captain Balch, and did not make actual residence until after Mr. Plummer had commenced to reside on the place taken by him. Bachelor and the others named did not settle at Port Townsend. Mesrs. Plummer, Pettygrove and Hastings each contributed, and together laid out the city of Port Townsend in June, 1852. Henry C. Wilson, appointed U.S. inspector of customs, made his official headquarters at Port Townsend. The U.S. surveying steamer Active visited Port Townsend in July. Her presence contributed much to quiet the natives, who had grown quite insolent, and but shortly before had forbidden the cultivation of the soil by the settlers. On the 29th of September, the brig James Marshall brought a load of cattle from Olympia, and sailed November 5th, taking from Port Townsend the first cargo of piles and lumber. She was followed during the winter by the brig Wellingsley, Captain John Gibbs, and the bark Amelia, Captain Caines. Among the accessions to the population during 1852 were Judge Albert Briggs and family, who took a claim upon the bay.
In the fall of 1852, Captain
William Pattle, under a contract with the Hudson's Bay Company to furnish
timber at Fort Victoria, Vancouver Island, from Lopez Island had crossed
over to Bellingham Bay in search of suitable trees. As he and his companions,
Messrs. Morrison and Thomas, walked along the beach, they observed seams
of coal. At once they located adjoining Donation claims of one hundred
and sixty acres each, fronting upon the bay. Pattle took the northernmost
claim, next south of the present town of Sehome. Morrison and Thomas
located south of him in the order named. These claims were shortly afterwards
leased to a San Francisco company, wo dispatched to the bay
their superintendent, Captain William A. Howard. On the Morrison claim, a vein named "mamoosie" was opened; one hundred and fifty tons were taken out, when the enterprise was abandoned. A vein on the Pattle claim was also opened, but no further attempt was made to develop it. Bellingham Bay coal, however, acquired its reputation from the mines between what shortly afterwards became the sites of the towns of Sehome and Whatcom, the discovery of which in the fall of 1853 was made by Messrs. Brown and Hewitt. A large fir tree having blown down had laid bare the vein. Those mines, upon claims taken by their discoverers shortly subsequent, were purchased by the Bellingham Bay Coal Company, of San Francisco, for whom Colonel Edmond C. Fitzhugh (afterwards Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Washington Territory) was resident manager and superintendent for several years. In December, 1852, Captain Henry Roeder and his partner, Russel V. Peabody, at Port Townsend met Captain William Pattle, the first discoverer of coal at Bellingham Bay. He informed them of the coal discovery, the exhaustless timber and valuable water-power on the bay. Roeder and Peabody immediately went there and located claims on Whatcom creek, erected a saw-mill and built a schooner. On the claim of Roeder, a vein of coal was discovered from which, in July, 1854, sixty-five tons were mined and shipped to San Francisco. Bellingham Bay settlements were immediately increased by the taking of claims by Alonzo M. Poe, Edward Eldredge, William Utter, John Bennett, David Harris, Ellis Barnes and others.
Soon after the minority legislature had closed its brief session at Oregon City (1851-2), General Daniel F. Brownfield, the representative from lewis county in that small body, became the first white settler at New Dungeness. He was followed within the year by B.J. Madison, Charles M. Bradshaw, J.C. Brown, John Thornton, Elliot Cline, S.S. Ervin, Captain E.H. McAlmond, Daniel Smalley, G.H. Gerrish, Thomas Abernethy and others.
Prior to 1852, most of those
settlers who had found their way to Puyallup valley, and to the plains
back of Steilacoom, were either retired servants of the Hudson's Bay Company
who had been in the service of that company at Fort Nisqually, or employed
in herding by the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, or discharged United
States soldiers who had completed their terms of enlistment. In the spring
of 1852, Nicholas Delin located his Donation claim at the extreme head
of Commencement Bay, within what are now the corporation limits of the
city of Tacoma. Early in the spring of 1853, a partnership was formed by
Delin, Colonel M.T. Simmons and Smith Hays to build a saw-mill on Delin's
claim and one upon Skookum Bay. The builders were Stephen Hodgdon, Cortland
Ethridge and James Taylor. That party arrived at the millsite April 1,
1853. They cut the frame timbers about where the present Jefferson street
intersects Pacific avenue. At that point was located an old Indian medicine-house,
forty by sixty feet, in which the camped. One of their workmen (Jake Barnhart)
took the claim, which was subsequently (1853) taken by Peter Judson. In
the spring of 1853, the brig George Emery, Captain Alden Y. Trask,
took the only two cargoes of lumber shipped from the Delin mill to San
Francisco. At that date, he found anchorage in five fathoms of water, where
now the tide land is scarcely bare at high water. The settlement of the
upper Puyallup valley began with the arrival of the immigration of 1853,
which crossed the Cascade Mountains by the Nahchess Pass. Then came to
Downeys, the Kincaids, the Judsons, the Woolerys, the Lanes, Van Ogle,
the Wrights, the Morrisons, the Carsons and James Bell. Others also came,
some of whom settled in Thurston county; and some went over to the Willamette
valley. The division of Oregon early in the spring, by the establishment
of Washington Territory, had been hailed by the people of the Sound as
the harbinger of an early brilliant
future. Efforts were at once inaugurated to divert the overland immigration of that year to the Puget Sound basin.
In the summer of 1853, in anticipation of the overland immigration of that year, and with the desire to induce such immigrants to come direct to Puget Sound, the citizens of Olympia and Steilacoom, and in the vicinity of those towns, conceived the project of building a ferry at or near Old Fort Walla Walla (Wallula), to cross immigrants over the Columbia, and thence a road via the Nahchess Pass of the Cascade Mountains to Puget Sound. John Edgar, an old Hudson's Bay company employé, who was married to a Klikitat woman, was familiar with the trails used by that tribe in crossing the mountains, for a wagon road. The citizens employed Edward Jay Allen, George Shazar and John Edgar, to ascertain the practicability of the route to Fort Walla Walla, by way of that pass. Mr. Allen reported the route practicable for wagons. The citizens and neighboring farmers having subscribed over six thousand dollars in money, supplies and road labor, employed Mr. Allen to build that season what was called the "Citizens' road," to go over it, and to return with such immigrants as would come to Puget Sound.
Allen was engineer, contractor, and the soul of the enterprise. With forty men, he started from the outside settlements, expending most of the labor before reaching the summit, and built a passable mountain road through the Nahchess Pass. The eastern slope of the mountains, and thence to the Columbia, was without material difficulty. At old Fort Walla Walla they established a ferry across the Columbia river, and placed it in charge of Shirley Ensign, an old soldier of the Cayuse war, who was familiar with the region. On the approach of the "immigrant train," handbills were distributed, advertising the completion of a road direct to Puget Sound. Personal efforts were made to divert them thither. Until they had reached the summit from the eastern side, the immigrants met with no obstacle to easy travel. Through the mountains, a trail had been blazed, - nothing more. Over the huge logs, bridges of small poles had been constructed, passable for horses, but obstructions really to the passage of wagons. Fallen trees, the growth of centuries, laid across the path. Abrupt, dangerous and steep river crossings, just as nature had made them after her floods, had washed away the banks. To call it a road was an abuse of language; but over it and by it did those immigrants of 1853 travel in their journey to Puget Sound. With axe in hand after that wearisome journey over the plains to Fort Walla Walla, the men of that immigrant train of 1853, and the road-building party led by Allen, hewed their way through a mountain gorge of the Cascade Range. From the last crossing of Nahchess river to the last crossing of the Green river, it was work. Some days they accomplished three miles; but they came through with their wagons, over a road built as they marched.
The citizens had expended about
$6,600 in constructing that road. The labor by them bestowed had been utilized
by the United States in building a military road, pursuant to an Act of
Congress. Two sessions of the Washington Legislative Assembly had urgently
memorialized Congress to reimburse the citizen road-builders. At one session
of Congress, an appropriation bill for that purpose passed the House of
Representatives, but failed in the Senate. As stated elsewhere, Delegate
Lane had secured an appropriation of $20,000 to build a military road from
fort Steilacoom, on Puget Sound, to Fort Walla Walla, on the Columbia river,
the Cascade Mountains. In those days, the Democratic party were in the
majority in Congress. Strict construction of the Federal Constitution was
a favorite theory; and the appropriations for internal improvements
were among those things inhibited. While emigrant roads or wagon roads per se could not be constructed by direct aid from the general government, it was eminently proper that roads should be supplied to transport troops and munitions of war. Therefore a road between two forts was called a military road, and became a proper subject for government aid. And thus it wa that a road between the old Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Walla Walla and the barracks leased from the same company, called Fort Steilacoom, secured congressional assistance.
On May 26, 1854, the Secretary of War selected Lieutenant Richard Arnold, U.S. Army, to expend the appropriation, directing him "to adopt the Nahchess Pass and the emigrant road wherever the latter would admit." Under instructions of Governor Isaac I. Stevens, that officer had, early in May, made an examination of Nahchess Pas, and traveled over the emigrant road to Fort Walla Walla. lieutenant arnold employed Edward Jay Allen, who had built the citizens' road, as contractor. he, wit thirty men, expended almost the entire appropriation in improving the citizens' road, as contractor. He, with thirty men, expended almost the entire appropriation in improving the citizens' road, where it was most needed. Lieutenant Arnold closed his report to the Secretary of War with a request for an additional appropriation of $10,000, and an urgent recommendation "that the amount expended by the citizens of the territory in 1853 be refunded. The greater part of the road cut by them from Steilacoom to the mountains had been adopted; but for this, I do not believe the work could have been as satisfactorily carried forward" (1).
It has certainly become apparent that, although occasionally a straggling solitary settler may have located his home in previous years at some isolated or remote point north of the Columbia, yet were those residences few and far between, prior to 1851. It must also be conceded that active and actual permanent colonization on Puget Sound, north of Olympia, was not inaugurated until 1851. Previous to that date, except Bolton's shipyard, north of Steilacoom, on the bay, the saw-mill of Thomas M. Chambers on Steilacoom creek, and occasional settlements on Steilacoom plains, there were no White settlements north of Fort Nisqually. During 1851, settlements extended to and included the Steilacooms, the claims located on the prairies within the confines of the present county of Pierce, Alki Point, and upon the Duwamish river in the present King county, Port Townsend, Ebey's Landing, Oak Harbor and Crescent Harbor. It must be also apparent that, in 1852, the Sound country had commenced to attract immigration, to excite attention; that its resources and capabilities to support population were becoming known. Early in the year, as already stated, Seattle was first occupied as the home of American families. During the first year of its existence, it was visited by several vessels. Between it and San Francisco, regular voyages were being made by the brigs Franklin Adams, Captain Felker, and the JohnDavis, of which Captain Plummer and A.W. Pray alternated as masters. Those vessels brought merchandise and supplies, took away cargoes of piles and hewn timber, and, late in the year, timber from the steam saw-mill of H.L. Yesler, the first steam mill upon Puget Sound. In 1853, steam saw-mills were erected at Alki Point, Apple-tree Cove, Port Gamble, Port Ludlow and Utsalady (2).
In aggregating data chronicling the advent of population to Northern Oregon, exhibiting the development and growing importance of the region, the narrative has necessarily proceeded beyond the date and chronological order of statement of important events, recurrence to which must now be made.
(1) Executive Documents, first session, Thirty-fourth Congress, Vol. I, part 2, 1855-6. Report of Secretary of War, Appendix O, page 532 et seq.
(2) In February, 1853, J.J. Felt
built his mill at Apple-tree Cove, which was moved to Port Madison in the
spring of 1854, and subsequently purchased by George A. Meigs, and enlarged.
Captain William Renton built a saw-mill at Alki Point in the spring of
1853, but about a year afterwards changed his location to Port Orchard,
and subsequently to the present location at Port Blakely. In July, 1853,
Captain W.C. Talbot came to the Sound to build a saw-mill for the firm
of W.C. Talbot & Co., composed of himself, A.J. Pope, Charles Foster
and Josiah P. Keller. The latter, commanding the schooner L.P. Foster,
arrived at Port Gamble direct from Boston in 154 days, with his family,
September 5, 1853, bringing also necessary mill machinery. Port Ludlow
had been taken as a site by Captains J.K. Thorndike and William T. Sayward.
In the latter part of October, 1851, Edmund A. Starling, who had been appointed Indian agent for Oregon Territory by President Fillmore, was assigned by Superintendent Anson Dart to the territory north of the Columbia called the district of Puget Sound, with headquarters at Fort Steilacoom. He made a very interesting report, embodying an approximate census of the Indian tribes within his district (1), and based upon reports made to him by the chiefs and head-men of tribes and bands. The returns of the tribes upon Puget Sound exhibited a total of 5,795; remaining bands west of the Cascade Mountains, 925. He ascribed the generic name of Klikitat nation to the Indians dwelling east of the Cascades, and west of the Columbia river, estimating their number at three thousand, and divided them into five great tribes or bands.
An Act of Congress, approved February 14, 1851, created the collection district of Puget Sound and established Olympia as the port of entry. In May, Simpson P. Moses, of Ohio, had been commissioned, by President Fillmore, collector, and General William W. Miller, of Illinois, surveyor of the port of Nisqually. General Miller crossed the plains and reached the district before the collector. On the 10th of November, Collector Moses had arrived within the district, and took the oath of office before Henry C. Wilson, Esq., a justice of the peace of Lewis county, and arrived, November 15th, at the port of entry.
As the brig George Emery, on which Collector Moses and his family were passengers, entered the Strait of Fuca, November 9th, the sloop Georgianna, Captain William Rowland, passed her outward bound for Gold Harbor, on the west side of Queen Charlotte's Island. During the fall, considerable excitement had been created upon the Sound by reported rich discoveries of gold on that island. Captain Rowland, who had recently arrived at Fort Victoria, Vancouver Island, from Australia, with his sloop Georgianna, forty-five tons burthen, obtained some fine specimens of gold-bearing quartz from Queen Charlotte's Island, which he brought to Olympia, and advertised for passengers to that new El Dorado. She sailed from Olympia on the 3d of November, with twenty-two passengers and a crew of five (2). After passing the brig GeorgeEmery, the sloop continued her voyage northward, and was driven by adverse winds eastward of the island. Though her destination was Gold Harbor on the west side, Captain Rowland kept on his course, ending to work through Skidegate Channel, which divides the island. On the afternoon of the 18th of November, the sloop anchored on the east side of the island in a little harbor, called by the natives Kom-she-wah. In the evening, two Hydah Indians, who called themselves John and Charley, came aboard; their camp was across the bay, four miles distant. They refused to leave because of the wind, which was blowing fresh. At midnight, it blew heavily from the southeast; and, before daylight of the 19th, it had blown the sloop ashore, abreast of a camp of Hydah Indians. Soon a large number from that camp and the camp of John and Charley had collected on the beach. At noon, the crew and passengers of the sloop had all landed from the wreck. The Indians at once commenced to plunder from the persons of the unfortunate party. They took the caps, weapons and such clothes as they could strip off of the sufferers. The two parties of Indians numbered about one hundred and fifty; and a quarrel arose between them as to the distribution of the plunder.
(1) Report dated September 1, 1852. House Documents, Vol. I, No. 71, page 460. Thirty-second Congress, second session.
(2) The following is a list of
the crew and passengers of the sloop Georgianna on her last voyage:
Crew: Wm. Rowland, captain,; Duncan McEwen, mate; Benjamin Gibbs, Richard Gibbs, and a Kanaka cook named Tamaree.
Passengers: Asher Sargent, E. Nelson Sargent, Samuel D. Howe, Ambrose Jewel, Charles E. Weed, Daniel Show, Samuel H. Williams,
James McAllister, John Thornton, Charles Hendricks, George A Palege, John Remly, Jesse Ferguson, Ignatices Colvin, James K. Hurd, William Mahard, Solomon S. Gideon, George Moore, B.F. McDonald, - Seidner, Sidney S. Ford, Jr., and Isaac M. Browne.
Indian John had offered to shelter the party at his house, if they would abandon the wreck. Finally a compromise was effected, the Georgianna party offering, if John and Charley would deliver them at Fort Simpson as soon as the weather justified, to pay a large ransom. The beach party then received the sloop as their booty. She was completely stripped. The sacks of flour were brought out and cut, the flour being emptied out for the sake of the sacks. The passengers were deprived of their blankets and clothing; but, beyond plunder, the Hydahs seemed to have no hostile intentions. It was manifest that gain was their real motive. They were already acting upon the belief that a large ransom would be paid for the surrender of the captives at Fort Simpson.
The Georgianna party crossed over to the camp of John and Charley, where they were all assigned to a house seventy by forty feet, about twelve feet high, occupied by ten families, each averaging from five to eight members. Their blankets had all been stolen; but, after much persuasion, one blanket was returned for the joint use of Captain Rowland and Asher Sargent, both of whom were old men, and were represented by their fellow-captives as "tyees," or chiefs at their home. The only labor imposed was supplying the house with fuel and water. A meager supply of Indian food was allowed. Occasionally, in their hearing, the savages discussed the proposition of distributing the party as slaves. Scant of clothing and at all times subject to have stolen the little which remained, their captivity among the Hydah Indians was hard to bear and humiliating in the highest degree.
From the first, the Indians had promised that, as soon as the weather would permit their crossing over to the Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Simpson, the captives should be taken to that post (1). On the 6th of December, Samuel D. Howe having been selected by his fellow captives to make the voyage to Fort Simpson, the Indians furnished a large canoe with a crew of seven Hydahs, who, with three of the crew of the wrecked sloop, started on that perilous winter voyage to Fort Simpson, in quest of relief. Mr. Howe having referred to the wreck and their previous captivity, thus graphically described that venturesome mission:
"After the lapse of eighteen days, and after much evasion, the Indians consented to send a canoe with one of our number and three of the crew to Fort Simpson to negotiate for our release. I was selected for the mission, and authorized to make all necessary terms and conditions with Captain McNeil, then in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's post (Fort Simpson). Accompanied by Captain McEwen, late first mate of the sloop, Ben Gibbs, a sailor, Tamaree, the Kanaka cook, and a crew of seven Hydah Indians, we set out for that post, and safely reached it after a voyage of five days, in the dead of winter and without blankets. The arrival of such a party, at such a time, in such a condition, created quite an excitement among both Whites and natives.
"We were at once furnished something to eat and a change of clothing, and felt that our suffering companions were soon to be relieved; but in this we were sadly disappointed. We remained at Fort Simpson about four weeks. We importuned Captain McNeil at all fitting opportunities to send assistance to our unfortunate comrades, who invariably promised to send canoes for them, but never made the slightest attempt at keeping his word.
"He even required us, while waiting for him to dispatch relief to the captives, to stand guard at night as a return for the blankets and subsistence we received at the fort. When that kind gentleman (John Work, Jr.), whom we shall always remember with
of Charles E. Weed, Samuel D. Howe, diary of Captain George Moore, and
letter of Captain William Rowland.
gratitude, communicated to us this order of McNeil, that we must earn these blankets by standing guard, we told him we did not object to making ourselves useful in any manner while there, but we did not like the compulsion of exacting service as a compensation for the necessities to preserve us from the winter's cold and starvation. With the exception of Captain McNeil, all the servants and employés of the company treated us with great kindness and attention."
Captain Lafayette Balch, with his schooner Damaris Cove, was at Neah Bay on the 9th of November, and had there boarded the sloop Georgianna as she passed out seaward. He also visited Collector Moses on the brig George Emery, of which vessel he was owner. Shortly afterwards he sailed northward for Gold Harbor, expecting to meet there the sloop Georgianna. He was advised of the wreck and the captivity of the passengers, but was unable to get to them or to relieve them, and was actually compelled to leave the island December 1st, in consequence of hostile acts by the natives. He arrived, December 11th, at Port Steilacoom, and addressed a communication to Collector Moses, inclosing a letter of Captain Rowland, dated November 5, 1851, in which occurred this language:
I was cast away in latitude fifty-two degrees, fifty-two minutes, on the east side of this island (Queen Charlotte's) on the 19th of this month, in a heavy gale of wind from the southeast, with twenty-two passengers and five of crew from Olympia, November the 3d, and have succeeded in getting on shore. The Indians have robbed us of every necessary and some of the clothing of our bodies; and we are left without one blanket or shirt to shift. Consequently, we are in a most wretched and deplorable condition; therefore we, all of us, do earnestly pray you, if there is any possible means to render us any assistance, to send it as quickly as possible."
Captain Balch wrote to the collector. "I am in hopes that you will take some immediate steps for their relief. They will undoubtedly remain on the island until they are ransomed or taken by force; but I do not think that the Indians will attempt their lives, their object being plunder."
Appeal was made to Captain Bennett H. Hill, First Artillery, U.S. Army, commanding at Fort Steilacoom. To old Governor John Work, a chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, then on a visit to Fort Nisqually, Captain Hill applied for information as tot he probability of relief coming from Fort Simpson to our captive fellow citizens. Governor Work replied December 12th:
"Should the unfortunate passengers
and crew be able to reach Fort Simpson, I have no doubt that Dr. Kennedy
(the gentleman in charge) will render them every assistance in his power;
but the difficulty will be for them to get there. The shortest traverse
from Queen Charlotte's Island, east side, near its north end, to the islands
bordering on the main land, is about thirty miles, and dangerous except
in fine weather. Besides, along the east shore of the island, from where
I judge the unfortunate people are, to where the traverse is taken, is
a considerable distance; and from the want of shelter and the heavy surf
generally breaking on the shore, especially towards the north, the navigation
is also dangerous even for the skillful Indians with their canoes. Besides
the danger of the navigation, the Indians of Queen Charlotte's Island are
at war with the Chimsyans, who reside about Fort Simpson, and I fear will
not be easily induced to go there, especially at this season; and probably
no intelligence will reach Fort Simpson of the unfortunate occurrence;
and even should it be heard, I doubt whether the Chimsyans would be induced
to venture among their enemies. Fort Simpson, where I left, was short-handed,
and I doubt whether the safety of the Fort would admit of Dr. Kennedy being
able to send any adequate assistance of white men.
"The Hydahs (Queen Charlotte's Island Indians) are reckoned the worst natives on the coast, and have less intercourse with Whites than the others. They may probably have distributed the unfortunate people among them, so that when assistance comes it may require some time to collect them; and most likely high prices will be demanded before they will be given up. I don't think they will harm them except they will be induced to do so to obtain their property. They can't withstand any inducement to plunder, even among themselves, whenever an opportunity offers.
"Allow me to suggest that the only plan I see of furnishing immediate relief tot he sufferers would be to send some of the vessels now in the Sound, well manned and armed, and if such a person could be got, some person on board acquainted with the coast."
There were no United States government vessel nearer than San Francisco. No revenue cutter was stationed in these northern seas, - nothing here to redeem the unfortunates from that horrible captivity. The collector at once resolved upon his course. That night, December 12th, he hastened to Steilacoom, to consult Captain Hill and Captain Balch. After some correspondence with Captain Hill in regard to ammunition and a detail of United States troops, Collector Moses chartered the schooner Damaris Cove, Captain Lafayette Balch, "mounted with four pieces of cannon, provisioned for twenty men from the port of Olympia, and fifty men returning to sail immediately for the east side of Queen Charlotte's Island." Captain Hill subsequently detailed a corporal and five men, under command of Lieutenant John Dement, First Artillery, U.S. Army. To Lieutenant Dement was given a letter of credit to enable the purchase of blankets, etc., at Fort Victoria or Fort Simpson, sufficient to ransom the captives (1). On the 9th of December, the Damaris Cove sailed, effected the release of the captives, who all safely returned and arrived at Port Steilacoom January 31, 1852. On the 20th of March, 1852, Thomas Corwin, Secretary of the Treasury, thus wrote to the collector of customs:
"I acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 22d of December last, with its accompanying documents, relative to the expense of fitting out, on your own authority, a military expedition for the rescue of the captain, crew and passengers of the sloop Georgianna, held prisoners by the Indians of Queen Charlotte's Island in the British territory, where the said vessel had been wrecked; but the Department does not, nor has it the power to, recognize an act by which you constituted yourself the representative of the government of the United States in such an emergency; and whatever may have been the motives which prompted the formation of such an unauthorized military expedition, it cannot be sanctioned by the payment of the expense referred to in your letter."
In this painfully humiliating record, how strikingly was exhibited the neglect of this region at that period by the general government, and the readiness at the Federal capital to rebuke the taking of responsibility by a public officer, who to his infinite credit assumed the duty of obeying the instincts of humanity, though it did conflict with the routine of official duty, and might subject him to removal from office. At the first session of the Legislative Assembly of the territory of Washington (March 21, 1854), an earnest memorial went forward to the Congress of the United States, praying that the expenses incurred in that expedition, to restore from Indian captivity our fellow citizens, might be paid by the United States. The gallant Lafayette Balch was a member of that first territorial Council. Samuel D. Howe, one of those captives, and who had made that canoe voyage of one hundred and sixty miles in that wintry sea without blanket or food to beg relief for his captive brethren, was a member of that first House of Representatives.
ransom paid for each captive was five blankets, two shirts, one bold of
muslin and two pounds of tobacco.
Though justice had been delayed, though relief had long been denied, yet Congress granted the prayer of the people of Washington made through their representatives. On the 4th of August, 1854, the sum of $15,000 was appropriated, or so much thereof as might be necessary to enable the State Department to reimburse those who had fitted out that expedition of mercy to relieve citizens of the United States from captivity among British Indians, an expedition commanded alike by patriotism and humanity.
Other interesting incidents happened contemporaneously with the disastrous enterprise of the gold miners who sailed in the sloop Georgianna. On the 28th of November, the Hudson's Bay Company's steamer Beaver, Captain Charles E. Stuart, towed that company's brigantine Mary Dare, Captain William A. Mouat, to Budd's Inlet, on which the Olympia custom-house was situated. Both vessels anchored about two miles north of the town and were immediately boarded by the deputy collector (Elwood Evans), who was accompanied by two temporary inspectors (Colonel Isaac N. Ebey and Andrew J. Simmons), who were respectively assigned to duty on the two vessels. the Beaver, employed as a towboat, reported in ballast. The Mary Dare, from Fort Victoria, had for her cargo the usual annual supply of company goods and merchandise for the post, Fort Nisqually.
Colonel Ebey, inspector on the Beaver, reported, December 1st: "The Beaver has no ballast except coals. I found, however, a quantity of Indian trading goods no upon the manifest, to the value of $500; also that both vessels, before reaching the port of entry, had anchored at Fort Nisqually for fifteen hours; that six passengers and their baggage had been landed without permit, and that boats during all that time were passing between the shore and both vessels." As to the Mary Dare, Inspector Simmons reported the presence of a package of refined sugar weighing 230 pounds, in violation of section 103 of the Act of Congress approved March 3, 1799, which provides: "Refined sugar cannot be imported in packages of less than six hundred pounds weight, under penalty of forfeiture of the sugar and the vessel in which it is imported."
Technically, to say the very least, both vessels had utterly disregarded the plain requirements of the United States revenue laws. In both instances, there was apparent a manifest violation of the letter of that law, the execution of which, according to its letter, was the bounden duty of the collector. This time he insisted upon an observance of the law. He literally obeyed the published instructions of the Treasury Department. On December 1st, he ordered the seizure of both vessels. Those seizures necessitated a special term of the court of the third judicial district of Oregon Territory (1), which was the first term of a district court held at Olympia. That court was held January 20, 1852, by Hon. William Strong, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Oregon Territory, and Judge of the third judicial district, which included Lewis county. David Logan and Simon B Marye, of the Portland bar, accompanied the Judge. The former acted as United States Attorney. The latter appeared as counsel for the Hudson's Bay Company, the owner of the seized vessels. Quincy A. Brooks was appointed acting clerk. Alonzo M. Poe was appointed Deputy United States Marshal; and he accepted a bond of #13,000 for the Mary Dare and the sugar. Messrs. Daniel R. Bigelow, Isaac N. Ebey, Quincy A. Brooks, Simpson P. Moses and Elwood Evans, were admitted to practice as attorneys of the courts of Oregon.
courts at that time, and for years thereafter, rejoiced in the high-sounding
title, "United States District Court of Oregon," and were so regarded by
bench, bar and people. Later they were held to be mere territorial courts,
clothed with Federal jurisdiction when it became necessary to invoke it
in the trial of Federal or admiralty causes. They then assumed the name
"District Court of the ___ Judicial District, Territory of ___ for ___
County, etc." The Judge, when necessary, exercised United States Circuit
or District Court jurisdiction, as the nature of the case required.
On the 21st of January, libels were filed against the steamer Beaver, Captain Charles E. Stuart, master, and against certain articles of cargo, praying for the usual process. The court allowed a warrant for the arrest of Captain Stuart, but denied the arrest of the vessel, holding that, for violations of revenue law by the master of a vessel, he was punishable by fine and imprisonment, but that the vessel could not be held liable for his criminal acts. The captain of the Beaver at once disappeared. That night in a large canoe he left Fort Nisqually for Fort Victoria. Then, as now, Victoria proved a sanctuary for violators of the law in the United States territory. A libel was also filed against the brigantine Mary Dare, and the package of sugar. Upon the next day, on motion of the respondent's attorney, the collector was directed by the court to proceed. No answer nor defense was attempted to be made to the allegations of the libel against the Mary Dare and the package of sugar, except that Mr. Tolmie, chief trader in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's business at Fort Nisqually, gave notice in open court of his having made petition to the Secretary of the Treasury for a remission of the forfeiture. Judge Strong proceeded to take the proofs, which he certified to the Treasury Department, accompanying the petition. Those seizures resulted thus: "Trading goods not upon any manifest, in the value of $500, were brought into the district from a foreign port, were seized upon the vessel thus importing them The court holding that the vessel was not liable for such acts of the master, discharged her; and the master fled the jurisdiction of the court. The sugar-supplied Mary Dare is bonded for $13,000, to await the action of the Secretary of the Treasury;" and so, upon the 24th, the court adjourned sine die. That day Doctor Tolmie paid the duties upon the cargo of the Mary Dare; and she was towed out of Olympia harbor by the steamer Beaver. At the April term, 1853, in the same court, the case of the United States vs. Charles E. Stuart was, on the motion of the district attorney, stricken from the docket. In the Mary Dare proceedings, entry was made: "In this cause, the forfeiture having been remitted by the Secretary of the Treasury, the costs are taxed, etc., etc."
The first Fourth of July celebration at Olympia took place this year (1852). Daniel R. Bigelow was the orator. Simpson P. Moses read the Declaration. Frank Shaw acted as marshal. The commemoration attracted settlers from all parts of Northern Oregon, many of the Sound settlements being largely represented. After the ceremonies of the day had been concluded, an enthusiastic meeting was improvised, and the division of the territory discussed. It resulted in an arrangement for a convention to be held during the fall to promote that object. In September, the first number of the Columbian was issued at Olympia by James W. Wiley and Thornton F. McElroy, the former named being the editor. The journal was devoted generally to the advocacy of the interests of Northern Oregon and Puget Sound. It especially championed the division of Oregon, and the formation of a separate territory north of the Columbia river, to be nominated "Columbia." The division question had long been agitated. As early as 1851, several county meetings had been held; but in the fall of 1852 it became the all-absorbing subject with the people. Conventions were held and delegates elected by all the counties and communities north of the Columbia, and west of the Cascade Mountains, to attend a convention at Monticello, Cowlitz river, on the 25th of November, 1852. At that convention, George N. McConaha, of Seattle, presided. R.J. White was secretary (1). A manly, temperate, straightforward
(1) The following is a list of
the delegates to the Monticello convention: George N. McConaha, R.J. White,
Quincy A. Brooks, L.L. Davis, Arthur A. Denny, E.H. Winslow, Davis S. Maynard,
A.B. Dillenbaugh, Stephen D. Ruddell, Charles C. Terry, Seth Catlin, William
Plumb, Hugh Allen Goldsborough, George Drew, Simon Plemandon, Charles S.
Hathaway, William N. Bell, A. Cook, A.F. Scott, Luther M. Collins, Nathan
Stone, Calvin H. Hale, Edward J. Allen, John R. Jackson, Frederick A. Clarke,
Adam Wylie, John N. Low, Andrew J. Simmons, Michael T. Simmons, Loren B.
Hastings, Benjamin C. Armstrong, Sidney S. Ford, Sr., Wm. A.L. McKorkle,
Nathaniel Ostrander, Eugene L. Finch, Henry Miles, Simpson P. Moses, Peter
W. Crawford, C.F. Pater, A. Crawford, Henry D. Huntington, J. Fowler.
memorial was unanimously adopted, praying for the establishment of a territorial government in "that portion of Oregon Territory lying north of the Columbia river and west of the great northern branch thereof," to be called the "Territory of Columbia."
That memorial was sent to General Joseph Lane, Delegate to Congress, signed by the members of the convention. Early in the session (1852-3), the memorial, on motion of Mr. Lane, was referred to the Committee on Territories, with instructions to report by bill. In the meantime, the Oregon legislature (1852-3), of which Colonel Isaac N. Ebey was the member from Lewis county, had passed a legislative memorial, with almost entire unanimity, urging the division of Oregon and the formation of a territory to be named "Columbia" on the north side of the Columbia river. On the 8th of February, 1853, the United States House of Representatives took up the bill "to organize the Territory of Columbia."
The bill was earnestly supported by Delegate Lane, who, in advocating its passage in a speech in the House, said: "Aside from the seeming reflection upon the legislative department of the government of Oregon, and waiving the consideration of what is therein represented as sectional strife between the people north and those south of the Columbia, I can scarcely hope to add to the causes set forth in this memorial, and to what I have already remarked, in the expectation of influencing this House in favor of the passage of this bill."
On motion of Robert H. Stanton, of Kentucky, the bill was amended by striking out the word "Columbia" and inserting "Washington" in lieu thereof. On February 10, 1853, the bill thus amended passed the House by a vote of one hundred and twenty-eight yeas to twenty-nine nays, the nays by states being: Ohio, two; Indiana, one; Alabama, five; North Carolina, four; South Carolina, three; Georgia, four; Tennessee, four; New York, two; Virginia, one. On March 2d, the bill passed the Senate without opposition. On the same day, it received the signature of Millard Fillmore, President of the United States. The territory of Washington had been established. By its Organic Act, the boundaries were defined as follows: "That from and after the passage of this act, al that portion of Oregon Territory lying and being south of the forty-ninth degree of north latitude, and north of the middle of the main channel of the Columbia river, from its mouth to where the forty-sixth degree of latitude crosses said river, near Fort Walla Walla, thence with said forty-sixth degree of latitude to the summit of the Rocky Mountains, be organized into and constitute a temporary government, by the name of the Territory of Washington."