Oregon Territorial Legislature creates King County and names Seattle county seat on December 22, 1852.

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 10/15/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1755

On December 22, 1852, the Oregon Territorial Legislature approves creation of King County, located in Western Washington and names Seattle as the seat of its government. The legislation is sponsored by Col. Isaac Ebey (1818-1857) to honor Vice President-elect William R. King (who will die just weeks later).

The first County officers were Arthur Denny (1832-1899) and Luther Collins (1813-1860), commissioners (John Low declined the third seat on the commission); Henry Yesler (1810-1892), auditor; and Carson Boren (1824-1912), sheriff. The new government met for the first time in March 1853. Denny also served as postmaster and Dr. David S. Maynard (1808-1873) held the position of justice of the peace and federal Indian Agent.

King County covers some 2,100 square miles extending from the crest of the Cascade Range to Puget Sound, including Vashon Island. It is Washington's most populous county and contains what remains (in 2011) its largest city -- Seattle.


Clarence Bagley, History of Seattle (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1916); Clarence Bagley, History of King County, Washington (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1929); Murray Morgan, Skid Road, An Informal Portrait of Seattle (New York: Viking Press, 1951).

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