Tumwater, Vancouver, Port Townsend, Washington

Tumwater, the initial point in the ‘history of the settlement of Puget Sound, was incorporated in Nov. 1869. In time it numbered more manufactories than any other town on the Sound.

Vancouver and Early Settlers

Vancouver was the fourth town in size in western Washington, having in 1880 about 3,000 inhabitants. It was made the county seat of Clarke County by the first legislative assembly of Washington, in March 1854, its pioneers, both English and American, long retaining their residences.

Among the early settlers were James Turnbull, born in England, came to Washington in 1852, and with him William Turnbull, his nephew, long known in connection with steam boating on the Columbia. Both died in 1874.

P. Ahern, born in Ireland, came to Vancouver with troops in 1832. Was elected county auditor in 1855, and representative in 1857.

Stephen P. McDonald, born in Illinois, came with the immigration of 1852 to Washington. Engaged in printing, and was publisher of the Vancouver Register for a time. He represented Clarke County in the legislature in 1869, after which he was city recorder and clerk of the city council. He died Oct. 24, 1876.

J. S. Hathaway, a native of New York, removed to Michigan when young, married in that state in 1847 and came to Clarke County in 1852. He was active in the volunteer service during the Indian war, and was afterward county judge. He died Jan. 12, 1876, at the age of 52 years.

Levi Douthitt, born in North Carolina, immigrated in 1852, settling near Vancouver, where he resided until 1870, when he removed to Marion County, Oregon, where he died in Dec. 1872, aged 61 years.

A. G. Tripp, a native of Rhode Island, immigrated to the Pacific coast in 1849. He was employed in government service at Benicia, California, The Dalles, Oregon, Sitka, Alaska, and Vancouver. He settled at the latter place in 1857. He was chosen to represent Clarke County in the legislature, but did not serve owing to absence in service of the government. He was mayor of Vancouver for several years. His death occurred Sept 17, 1875, at the age of 64 years.

William Kelly came to the Pacific coast as sergeant in Co. G, 4th U. S. inf., and was transferred from California to Fort Vancouver, where he remained until discharged in 1854, when he settled in the town. In 1866 he was made a Capt. in the 8th U. S. car., and was stationed in Arizona and New Mexico. He died at Denver, Colorado, while en route to Vancouver to visit his wife and children.

Charles Proux, a Canadian voyageur, had resided near Vancouver since 1833 and acquired a handsome property. He died Jan. 10, 1868.

Ingersoll Stanwood and his wife, Matilda, came from Illinois to Oregon in 1852, settling near Vancouver. Mrs Stanwood died in April 1882, leaving 11 children with their father.

Thomas Nerton, born in England in 1822, married Eliza Lakin in 1832, and immigrated to Oregon the same year. He settled in Washington in 1855, residing in Clarke County until his death in Sept. 1882. He left a wife and 13 children.

H. Martin, a veteran mountain man, a North Carolinian by birth, settled north of the Columbia in or about 1840. He planted 8 orchards in Washington, and ate of the fruits of each successively. He died in June 1862, aged 85 years.

Frederick Shobert, a native of Pennsylvania, came to Oregon in 1851, settling in Clarke County. He died in Sept. 1871, aged 63 years.

Two pioneers of 1848, Felix Dodd and Henry Beckman, residents of Clarke County, died in April 1879, penniless.

Port Townsend

Port Townsend, situated on Quimper peninsula, ranked fifth in point of population among the towns of western Washington. It was incorporated in 1860, the act being amended in 1871 and 1873. Occupying a commanding position, it was regarded as the key of Admiralty Inlet as well as Port Townsend Bay. There is a tradition that had the original owners of the town site been more liberal they might have benefited themselves. Brigg’s Port Townsend, MS., 26-8.

Loren B. Hastings, came to Oregon in 1847 and settled at Portland, and was a member of the 1st municipal council of that city. On the 20th of Oct. 1851 he set out for Puget Sound, travelling by canoe to Cowlitz landing, and on foot from there to the Sound. Hastings was successful in business, and filled the various offices of justice of the peace, county treasurer, and representative in the legislature. He died in June 1881, and was buried with masonic ceremonies. Port Townsend Puget Sound Argus, June 17, 1881.

Thomas Stimpson, a settler of Port Townsend, and a native of Maine, was swept overboard from the deck of the fishing schooner Shooting Star September 15, 1870, and drowned. He was the pioneer captain of the fishing fleet, and much regretted by the people among whom he lived. His wife and 2 children survived him.

Frederick A. Wilson, born in Providence, Rhode Island, came to Puget Sound about 1856, and was collector of customs for several years. He removed to California about 1866, and died at San Rafael, Dec. 28, 1876. Seattle Pac. Tribune, Jan. 26, 1877.

Edward Lill, a native of England, came to Puget Sound in 1853, and settled on Colseed Inlet. He died at Port Townsend, June 1876, aged 48 years. Olympia Transcript, June 10, 1876.

D. C. H. Rothschild, merchant, settled in Port Townsend in 1858. He came to California in 1849. Portland West Shore, Dec. 1876, 64.

Henry L. Tibbals also settled in 1858. He died in Jan. 1883.

Oliver Franklin Gerrish settled in 1863, too late to be a pioneer, but was identified with the affairs of Jefferson County, and had attained the highest degree of freemasonry. He was a native of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, born April 14, 1830, and died at Victoria, British Columbia, Oct. 2, 1878. Port Townsend Argus, Oct. 3, 1878.

Steilacoom, the contemporary of Olympia, is most beautifully situated. Lafayette Balsh erected the first house, having brought the materials from the east in his vessel.

The first house built out of native wood was put up by John Collins, a discharged soldier. Collins was a native of Ireland, born in 1812, emigrated to the U. S. in 1840, was in the Mexican War, in which be won a medal. Morse’s Wash. Ter., MS., ii. 111-15.

William Bolton, a deserter from the English ship Albion in 1850, located a claim two miles north of Steilacoom, where he had a shipyard and built several of the early sloops, which traversed the waters of the Sound. Evans’ Notes, MS., v.

Lemuel Bills, a native of Vermont, came to Puget Sound about 1851 and settled at Steilacoom soon after. He died in August 1875, aged 73 years. Steilacoom Express, Aug. 12, 1875. Bills’ claim joined Balch’s on the east.

Abner Martin, native of Virginia, immigrated in 1852, settling in Pierce County the same fall. He died in April 1880, at the age of 80 years.

Hill Harmon came to Puget Sound in 1850, engaged in various enterprises, was in charge of the insane asylum at one time, owned a logging camp, built the Harmon Hotel at Steilacoom and resided there, and had an extensive acquaintance with the most prominent men in this country. His wife was the first white woman at Port Gamble, her daughter Emma being the first white child born at that place. Mrs Harmon died in Dec. 1876, soon after returning to Steilacoom from her former home in Maine.

Mason Guess, an immigrant of 1853, and a volunteer in the Indian War, resided at Steilacoom, and carried the mail from that place.

John Walker came to the Pacific coast from Newark, New Jersey, in 1849, and settled in 1831 or 1832 in Pierce County. He died in 1869 in the Puyallup Valley.

William M. Kincaid, born in Lexington, Kentucky., who belonged to the immigration of 1853, with his 7 children, 4 boys and 3 girls, his wife being dead, settled in the Puyallup Valley, and was driven out by the Indian War, but returned after several years. His death occurred in Feb. 1870, at the age of 71 years. John R., Joseph, and Christopher Kincaid are his sons. Seattle Intelligencer, Feb. 21, 1870.

J. B. Webber, E. A. Light, James Hughes, Samuel McCaw, and Rodgers were among the early settlers of Steilacoom. The donation claimants in the immediate vicinity were, after L. Balch, C. Chapman, and L. Bills: Thomas Chambers, J. Van Buskirk, W. Wallace, M. Byrd, John Rigney, W. P. Dougherty, L. Reach, James H. Minson, M. Faley, G. Gibbs, Peter Smith, J. Faucett, I. Talentire, W. P. Melville, Henry Johns, W. D. Bushaker, C. Mahan, W. Downey, W. N. Savage, T. Sears, H. Barnes, W. Northover, H. M. Percy, J. Thompson, Jesse Dunlap, E. Meeker, J. Montgomery, Frederick Mayer, G. Brown.

Other towns of Pierce County were Puyallup, in the hop growing region of that valley, Franklin, Alerton, Orting, Wilkeson, Lake View, Sumner, Elhi, and Nisqually.


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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