Biography of Alfred A. Plummer, Sr.

ALFRED A. PLUMMER, Sr. – This pioneer of the port of entry was born at Alfred, Maine, March 3, 1822. He was the son of John and Eliza Adams Plummer, of an old family of the Pine Tree state. In early life young Plummer removed to Boston and learned the saddlery and harness trade, thereby acquiring practical ideas, and the facile use of his hands, which fitted him for the varied work of the pioneer on our coat. In 1849 he left for the Pacific shores, coming with the argonauts who steered their way across the seas of grass, and the deserts of the West, – one of those hardy, keen characters that find a world of resources within their own hearts and minds sufficient for any demand to be made upon a human being; and he most fully justified this confidence in his after career. At San Francisco he engaged for a time in the hotel business, but, feeling the drift of destiny still farther up the coast, boarded in 1850 the brig Emory, Captain Balch, and arrived in the Strait April 24th. The present site of the Port was then wholly uninhabited; but, seeing its great natural advantages as the first really practicable landing at the entrance of the Sound waters, he laid there his Donation claim, and with Charles Batchelder became the first settler of the place. His little clearing and log cabin on the hill long remained to tell the tale of his early labors and solitary exertions.

In 1853 his home ties were strengthened by his marriage to Miss Anna Hill, a most amiable and intelligent lady, who bore to him a family of nine children; Laura A. (deceased), Alfred A., Enoch F., Mary E., Ida M., Alphonso (deceased), Frank, Annie Laura, and George; and they all are persons of marked and elevated character.

Mr. Plummer early engaged with Hastings & Pettygrove in merchandising, and during his long residence was one of the most upright and public-spirited citizens of the Port. During the Indian war of 1856 he was captain of the Port Townsend Guards, and never shirked a public duty. He was a member of the first Republican convention of Washington Territory.

He died May 19, 1883; and the following obituary notice shows the esteem in which he was held by the people of his community: “The people of this city were shocked and sorely grieved to learn of the sudden demise of its honored pioneer citizen. Mr. Plummer was the first white settler in Port Townsend, being followed soon after by Messrs. Pettygrove, Hastings, Clinger and others. His little clearing and log hut on the hill remained to tell a tale of pioneer labor, and a venture into a wild country inhabited by savages. here the best years of his life were spent; here his entire family of sons and daughters were born and reared; here the wife and daughters were born and reared; here the wife of his bosom labored at his side in an honored and useful career; here he saw the fruits of patient effort crowned by a gratifying result, – a prosperous town grown up from the small beginning started by his own efforts. Mr. Plummer was not an ostentatious man, but preferred to pursue that even tenor so often crowned with success. His friends and neighbors, who are legion, sincerely mourn his death and realize that the place has sustained a serious loss.”


History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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