Hudson’s Bay Company Forts in Washington

In Stevens’ report is found a list of all the forts of the H. B. Co., with their rank and value, and the amount of cultivated laud, making the whole foot up no more than $300,000, whereas they received twenty years later more than double that amount. The other information contained in the report relates to the segregation of the land claimed by the companies into donation lots, with the names of the squatters, and is of interest in the history of the early settlement of the country.

The following are the names of the so-called trespassers:

At Fort Vancouver, Bishop Blanchet, for a mission claim, the same 640 acres being claimed by James Graham of the H. B. Co.

The county of Clarke also claimed 160 acres of the same land as a county seat, which was allowed, as I have mentioned elsewhere. Over all these claims the United States military reserve extended.

Immediately east of Vancouver 640 acres were claimed by Forbes Barclay (British), and the same tract by an American, Ryan, who resided on it and cultivated it, while Barclay lived at Oregon City.

Adjoining was a claim of 640 acres, which, after passing through several hands a servant of the company, Chief Factor Ogden, and Switzler was finally sold to Nye, an American.

A tract 4 miles square above these claims, and embracing the company’s mills, was claimed by Daniel Harvey (British); but 640 acres, including the gristmill, were claimed by a naturalized citizen, William F. Crate; and 640, including the sawmill, by Gabriel Barktroth, also a naturalized citizen. A portion of this section, with the mill, was claimed by Maxon, an American.

On the Camas prairie, or Mill Plain, back of this, were settled Samuel Valentine, Jacob Predstel, and Daniel Ollis, Americans.

On the river above Nye were Peter Dunnington and John Stringer.

Mrs Esther Short, widow of Daniel V. Short, claimed 640 acres adjoining the military reservation.

The other claimants on the lands near Vancouver were George Maleck, American, and Charles Prew, naturalized, who claimed the same section, Maleck residing on it.

Francis Laframboise, Abraham Robie, St Andrew, and James Petram held each 640 acres as lessees of the H. B. Co.

Seepleawa, Isaac E. Bell, John C. Allman, T. P. Dean, Malky, William H. Dillon, David Stnrgess also claimed by Geo. Harvey, British subject George Batty, James Bowers, Linsey, John Dillon, Ira Patterson, Samuel Matthews, Clark Short, Michael Trobb. John B. Lee, George Morrow, J. L. Myers, George Weber, Benjamin Olney, Job Fisher, William M. Simmons, Alexander Davis, Americans, each claiming from 320 to 640 acres, were residing and making improvements on land claimed by the H. B. Co. on the Columbia, and in several instances by individuals under the treaty, but only when not resided upon by these claimants.

This list was made by I. N. Ebey for Governor Stevens. U. S. Sen. Ex. Doc., 37, 33d cons. 2d sess.

W. H. Dillon resided at Dillon’s Ferry, near Vancouver. His daughter Olive married Matthias Spurgeon, who was born in Muscatine, Iowa, and migrated to Oregon in 1852, residing for 7 years in Dillon’s family. He went to Idaho during early mining times in that territory, but returned and engaged in farming near Vancouver.

Bancroft, Hubert H. Bancroft Works, Volume 31, History Of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, 1845-1889. San Francisco: The History Company. 1890.

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