Map of the Railroads of Eastern Washington

Seattle, New Tacoma and Olympia, Washington

Seattle, the metropolis of Washington, in 1880 had 7,000 inhabitants, and property valued at something over four millions. Its manufactures comprised three ship-yards, three foundries, two breweries, one tannery, three boiler-shops, six sash and door factories, five machine-shops, six sawmills, three brick yards, three fish packing factories, one fish cannery, one barrel factory, one ice factory, one soda water factory, besides boot and shoe shops, tin shops, and other minor industries. The commerce of Seattle with the coastline of settlements was considerable; but the chief export is coal from the mines cast of Lake Washington. There were few public buildings except churches, of which there were ten, besides the hall and reading room of the Young Men’s Christian Association. The university, whose early history has been given, was in as flourishing a condition as an institution without a plentiful endowment could be. In connection with the university there was a society of naturalists numbering 23 young men, whose cabinet was valued at $3,000. The building occupied by their cabinet was furnished by A. A. Denny, to be enlarged as required. The officers were: W. Hall, president; E. S. Meany, vice-president; H. Jacobs, secretary; F. M. Hall, assistant secretary; C. L. Denny, librarian; A. M. White, treasurer; and J. D. Young, marshal. Seattle Evening Herald, Dec. 22, 1883. The lesser towns of King county are: Newcastle, Renton, Dwamish, Black River, Fall City, Slaughter, White River, Snoqualimich, Squak, Quilleyute, and Quillieene.

New Tacoma

The second town in size on Puget Sound in 1885 was New Tacoma, population 4,000. Old Tacoma, become a suburb of its younger rival, was a pretty village facing the bay around a point a little to the west of the new town. The first to project a town on Commencement Bay was Morton M. McCarver, who belonged to the Oregon immigration of 1843. In 1868 he visited Puget Sound in search of the probable terminus of the Northern Pacific railway, and fixed upon Commencement Bay. Together with L. M. Starr and James Steele he purchased the land of Job Carr and laid off the town of old Tacoma, built a house, and induced Ackerson and Hanson to erect a mill there. He gave 200 or 300 acres to the railroad company, and purchased several thousand more for them, the terminus being located, as it was believed, on this land July 14, 1873. He died April 17, 1875. Letter of Mrs Julia A. McCarver, in Historical Correspondence, MS. McCarver was born in Lexington, Kentucky, Jan. 14, 1807. He settled in Galena, Illinois, in 1830. He took part in the Black Hawk war, founded the town of Burlington, Iowa, had a stake in Chicago and Sacramento, but lost heavily by fire in Idaho, and suffered by the failure of Jay Cooke & Co. Pacific Tribune, April 23, 1875; Portland Welcome, March 28, 1875; Olympia Courier, April 24, 1875; Oregon City Enterprise, April 23, 1873; Gilbert’s Logging and B. R. Building. Tacoma was called by Ackerson after the Indian name of Mount Tokomah, meaning greatness. Wash. Scraps, 230. New Tacoma was laid out principally on the donation claim of Peter Judson of the immigration of 1853, while old Tacoma site was purchased from Joh Carr, a more recent settler. New Tacoma owes its first rapid growth to the promise of the manipulators of the Northern Pacific railroad to make it the terminus. It was laid out by Ex-surveyor general James Tilton and Theodore Hosmer on the heights overlooking the bay, about two miles southeast of the old town, and was divided into 500 blocks of six lots each, and planned by Olmstead, modeled after Melbourne. The site is fine, being high above the water, with the Puyallup Valley at its door and Mount Tacoma rearing its triple crest high above the Cascade Range directly to the east, and seeming not an hour’s journey away. The first municipal election of New Tacoma was held on Monday, June 8, 1874. Job Carr, A. C. Campbell, J. W. Chambers, A. Walters, and S. C. Howes were elected town trustees. It was chosen the seat of Pierce County in 1880. Tacoma Tribune, June 12, 1874.


Olympia in 1885 was next to New Tacoma in point of population, numbering 3,500. The first land claim taken on the site was located in 1846 by Levi L. Smith, and held in partnership with Edmund Sylvester. First customhouse established at Olympia Nov. 10, 1851. First weekly mail to the Columbia from this place in 1851; first mail from here down the Sound carried in 1854. First newspaper published here Sept. 11, 1852. First store or American trading house opened here by M. T. Simmons in 1850. There had been a trading house on the east side of Budd Inlet previously, at the Catholic Mission. The first child born in Olympia was a son to S. P. Moses, the first collector of customs. The first marriage of Americans in the territory was at Tumwater, a suburb of Olympia, in 1845, between Daniel D. Kinsey and Ruth Brock, M. T. Simmons officiating. First school in the territory taught in 1852, in a small building on the site of the present post office, by A. W. Moore. First term of court held on Puget Sound, except the extraordinary one of 1849, was held at Olympia Jan. 20, 1852. The first session of the legislature was held in the building now occupied by Breckenfield as a tobacco store. First town incorporated on Puget Sound was Olympia, in 1839. First trustees were George A. Barnes, Joseph Cushman, James Cushman, T. F. McElroy, and Elwood Evans. First marshal, W. H. Mitchell. Wash. Standard, Jan. 13, 1872. First hotel put up in 1851, the Columbian, was torn down in 1872. Olympia Transcript, March 9, 1872. Swanton, a suburb of Olympia, separated from it only by a creek, and a thriving village, was named after John M. Swan, its original proprietor, and a nurseryman. Sylvester’s Olympia, MS., 11; Morse’s Wash. Ter., MS., ii. 22; Olympia Club, MS., 1-20. The first brick building erected in Olympia was the banking house of George A. Barnes, one of its earliest settlers, the plan being furnished by R. A. Abbott, and the structure completed in 1870. Other brick buildings followed in the business portion of the town, but wood is still the material chiefly in use for architectural purposes, from which circumstance the place has been subjected to loss by several devastating fires.

Map of the Railroads of Eastern Washington
Map of the Railroads of Eastern Washington

Previous to the location of the railroad the people of Olympia had expected that their city would be the terminal point, founding their expectations upon the natural advantages of the place, the importance of Tumwater Falls to manufactures, and nearness to the Columbia and Portland, to which place the company’s charter compelled them to build their road. But as steam had rendered manufactures comparatively independent of waterpower, railroad companies preferred to select town sites for themselves, and there was the certainty that whenever a railroad should be constructed over the Cascade Mountains it would seek a terminus nearer the strait of Fuca. These and other considerations caused the company to fix upon Tacoma, whence at any time they could withdraw to a still more northern terminus.

The location of their line fifteen miles east of Olympia, and the depression in business to which this action led, left the town almost stationary for several years. Ellicott’s Puget Sound, MS., 7-8. In the mean time a grant was obtained from congress by the Olympia Branch Railroad to 1,300 or 1,400 acres of tide flats at the south end of Budd Inlet, and connection made with the Northern Pacific, in 1878.

Olympia Residents

Samuel Holmes, who came to Puget Sound in 1852, died at Swanton Nov. 5, 1873, aged 56 years.

F. K. Perkins, a settler of 1852, died at Susanville, in California, after 20 years’ residence in Olympia, July 22, 1872.

Levi Shelton, a native of North Carolina, immigrated to Puget Sound in 1852, residing at Olympia and taking part in public affairs. He died in August 1878, aged 62 years.

James Allen, who settled in Washington in 1852, died at Olympia in Nov. 1868, aged 74 years.

Dr Uzal G. Warbass, born in New Jersey April 4, 1822, came to Washington in 1834, settling in Olympia in 1858. He served as surgeon in the Indian war of 1855-6, was a representative in the legislature, and territorial treasurer, besides practicing medicine. He died in July 1863.

Dr G. K. Willard was born in New York, and came to the Pacific coast in 1852, settling in Olympia. He was surgeon-general under Stevens in 1856. His death occurred in Dec. 1866.

H. R. Woodward, born in New York, emigrated from Michigan in 1852, settling near Olympia. He was a scientific agriculturist. He died in Nov. 1872.

Joseph Shaw came to Puget Sound at the age of 21, and settled on the east side of Budd Inlet, about 4 miles below Olympia. He was accidentally killed in July 1869.

G. W. Dunlap, born in Maine, was educated at Bowdoin College, from which he graduated in 1845. He shipped before the mast on a whaler from New York in 1847, cruising in the Pacific two years, and residing for a period in Honolulu as bookkeeper to a mercantile firm. In 1834 he came to Puget Sound as agent for this house, but remained and went into business for himself at Olympia. For a few months he was clerk of the Indian department under Kendall. He died June 16, 1862, aged 36 years, and every business house in Olympia closed its doors on the day of his funeral.

Silas Galliher immigrated to Olympia from the western states in 1854 with his family. He built the Tacoma House and conducted it for 19 years. His death occurred in April 1873, at the age of 48. His wife and six children survived him.

J. H. Kellet, another pioneer of Olympia, died in April 1873. He was for many years sheriff of Thurston County, and a successful tradesman.

Gideon Thompson, been in Ohio in 1829, came to Washington in 1837, settling 3½ miles from Olympia; died in October 1861.

Isaac Wood, who settled in Olympia in 1857, died April 16, 1869.

Thomas James, born in England in 1838, emigrated thence to the U. S. in 1842, and to Washington in 1851, settling near Olympia with his parents after a temporary residence in Victoria. He died in Feb. 1872.

William F. O. Hoover, a settler of 1852, died suddenly of heart disease in Oct. 1875, aged 59 years.

Charles Graham, born in New York, came to the Pacific coast in 1850, and in 1852 to Puget Sound, residing in Thurston and Mason Counties down to the time of his demise in Feb. 1877, at the age of 78 years.

Jared S. Hurd, born in New York, came to Olympia in 1852 or 1853 from Cal. He was a civil engineer and surveyor. In the Indian war of 1855-6 he served as major of vol. He died in May 1873.

Edwin Marsh, a native of Connecticut, came to Olympia about 1851 and took a claim on the west side of the inlet, which was sometimes called Marshville. He was employed for a short time in 1862 on the Queniult Reservation, but with that exception resided constantly in Olympia. He was appointed register of the land office by President Lincoln, which office he held until 1868. He was afterward incumbent of several municipal offices, and was justice of the peace in 1879, when he mysteriously disappeared, and it was conjectured that he might have committed suicide in a despondent mood occasioned by ill health.

A pioneer of Thurston County was Steven Hodgdon, who was born in Portland, Maine, in 1807. He came to California in 1849, and in 1851 to Washington, where he was industriously employed as a carpenter, and took a donation claim of 640 acres at the present site of Tenino. He lived on his land most of the time until his death, Sept. 26, 1882. His only child was married to J. H. Long of Chehalis.

Asher Sarjent was an immigrant of 1850, accompanied by his sons E. N. and A. W. Sarjent. In 1852 he returned to the east and brought out his wife and remaining children, a son and two daughters, being captain of a company of 25 families in 1853. Nelson Sarjent met them on the new immigrant road through the Nachess Pass and piloted them through. Sarjent took up a claim on Mound prairie, where he resided during the remainder of his life, except a brief period when he was on the Queen Charlotte Island expedition and a prisoner among the northern Indians. He was born in Maryland, but when young removed to Indiana. Olympia Standard, Feb. 16, 1883.

Other immigrants settled on Mound prairie in 1854; namely, Van Warmer, Goodell, and Judson. Ebey’s Journal, MS., ii. 108. An examination of the map in the surgeon general’s office shows claims to have been taken under the donation law on Budd Inlet, or near it, by D. E. Bumtrager, E. L. Allen, John Butler, G. W. French, B. F. Brown, IA. Hurd, T. B. Dickerson, E. W. Austin, W. Dobbins, S. Percival, Waison, S. Hays, Nelson Barnes, R. M. Walker, E. H. Wilson, L. Offut, J. C. Head, G. Agnew, D. It. Bigelow, C. H. Hale, Pascal Ricard, Hugh P. O’Bryant, G. Whitworth, D. Hays, W. Billings, A. Moore, W. Lyle, and Dofflemeyer, in addition to the pioneers above named.


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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