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19th Century Jefferson County Chronology

26 April 1854

The following 19th century dates and events in the history of Jefferson County are considered significant from the standpoint of the genealogist and family historian:

In The Beginning

9,000-12,000 BC Area settled by Indians at the end of the last ice age.
Late 1700s Exploration by England, Russia and Spain. All three countries claimed parts of what is now Jefferson County.
8 May 1792 Port Townsend (the body of water) named by Captain Vancouver after the Marquis of Townshend.
Early 1800s Spain (1819) and Russia (1825) withdrew claims.


1841 Port Townsend Bay explored and charted by the Wilkes Expedition.
1843 Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post and fort at the southeast tip of Vancouver Island, named "Fort Victoria."
1846 Oregon Treaty, which established that the area which is now Washington state would be a part of the United States instead of the British Empire.
1849 British government created the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island to encourage colonization. By 1853 Victoria had 450 residents centered in the business of the Hudson's Bay Company.
There were settlers in Jefferson County before the first permanent inhabitants arrived at Port Townsend. These men were British subjects, and entered via Vancouver Island. No documentation is known that establishes the actual dates of arrival.

   John Cooper and Capt. Horace Hawkins, Port Ludlow, ca. 1848
   William "Blanket Bill" Jarman, Port Townsend, ca. 1849-1852
   John F. Tukey, Port Discovery (now Discovery Bay,) ca. 1850-1853

Settlement — 1850-1859

27 September 1850 Oregon Donation Act passed by Congress providing land to those who settled and cultivated land in Oregon Territory between 1 December 1850 and 1 December 1855. Seventeen claimants acquired title to land in Jefferson County through this Act.
24 April 1851 Alfred Augustus Plummer and Charles Bachelder landed and built a cabin at the site of Port Townsend.

Donation land claim filed in Olympia by A. A. Plummer as of the date of his arrival, 24 April 1851. This date is now generally used as the date of the founding of Port Townsend.
1852 Sawmill built at the site of Port Ludlow by William F. Sayward and J. E. Thorndyke.
21 February 1852 Francis William Pettygrove, Loren Brown Hastings and Benjamin Ross and their families arrived in Port Townsend on the schooner Mary Taylor.
28 September 1852 Post Office established in Port Townsend.
23 December 1852 Jefferson Country created from a part of Lewis County by the Oregon Territorial Legislature.
1853 First white children born in Port Townsend: Celia Clinger, William Hammond, and Loren (Lote) Bingham Hastings.

Reuben S. Robinson took donation claim on the Chimacum Prairie.
2 March 1853 Washington Territory created from the northern part of Oregon Territory.
October 1853 A. A. Plummer named first Jefferson County Auditor. Issued first marriage license, for his own wedding to Miss Ann Hill on 26 October.
1854 Customs Port of Entry moved from Olympia to Port Townsend. Isaac Neff Ebey, Collector.

U.S. Territorial District Court, part of 3rd Judicial District, established. Clallam, Island, and San Juan Counties were attached during the entire territorial period (1854-1889). Cases included criminal, civil, chancery, admiralty and probate.
Clallam county created from the Northwest portion of Jefferson County
1855 Point No Point Treaty with local Indian tribes established reservations, defined tribal rights, and freed most of the land for settlement.
19 July 1856 First deed for sale of property recorded with county auditor's office.
2 December 1857 Post Office established at Port Ludlow.
1858 Sawmill built at Discovery Bay by S. B. Mastick and associates.
1859 300 whites, 200 Klallam Indians living in Port Townsend.

Sawmill built at mouth of Chimacum Creek by L. P. Hoff.


16 January 1860 Port Townsend incorporated as a city. Charles Eisenbeis was first mayor.
July-August 1860 Territorial census: Port Discovery population, 70; Port Ludlow population, 124; Port Townsend and vicinity population, 336.
1860s Elwell P. Brinnon staked claim at mouth of Duckabush River; later staked another claim at the mouth of the Dosewallips River, site of the present community of Brinnon.

Chinese began arriving. People of Chinese descent were 19% of Port Townsend's population in 1900, 2% in 1910.
1861 Customs Port of Entry moved to Port Angeles.
28 February 1861 Post Office established at Port Discovery.
1866 Customs Port of Entry moved to Port Townsend
1868 Samuel H. Cottle settled at the present site of Quilcene.


1870s First settlers on Indian and Marrowstone Islands.
1870 Samuel Hadlock settled on the southwest shore of Port Townsend Bay and laid out the town of Hadlock (now Port Hadlock.)
1872 Jefferson County began keeping marriage records and has done so since.
1878 Port Ludlow founded by Andrew J. Pope and Captain William C. Talbot.


1881 Sawmill built at Point Hudson in Port Townsend.
1885 Sawmill built at Hadlock by W. J. Adams (grandfather of Ansel Adams).
October 1889 Newspaper: Port Townsend Morning Leader, began publication
11 November 1889 Washington became a state.


1890 Port Townsend population 7,000.
21 July 1891 Jefferson County began keeping birth records.
7 August 1891 Jefferson County began keeping death records.
1893 Start of depression; Port Townsend population to decline to 2,000
1895 Fort Townsend abandoned.
1897 Work began on Fort Worden, Fort Flagler
1901 Irondale platted; population 500 in 1910.
7 March 1906 Jefferson County stopped keeping death records. Death records have been kept by the state from July 1, 1907 to present.
22 November 1906 Jefferson County stopped keeping birth records. Birth records have been kept by the state from July 1, 1907 to present.

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Customs Port of Entry moved to Seattle.

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Maintained by Phil Kohl, Jefferson County coordinator.
Revised: 26 October 2010
Copyright © 1998-2017 Philip H. Kohl