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Topic: Pioneers

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The Schillestad Family: Sketches of Salmon Bay Life

Alfred Schillestad, son of Seattle pioneer Ole Schillestad, left a unique visual record of early life along the shores of Salmon Bay in the sketchbooks he created as young man. Two of Alfred Schillest...

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The Story of Willie Keil

This account of the strange journey of Willie Keil (1836-1855) over the Oregon Trail was written by Dorothea Nordstrand (1916-2011) and first appeared in Adventure West in November 1994.

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The Ulin and Spray Families, Pioneers of Seattle

The Ulin family arrived in Seattle in 1869, and Erick Ulin Sr. worked as a ship carpenter. The Spray family arrived in 1875. Carl Wade, third cousin to the Sprays, contributed this account of these tw...

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Thurston, Samuel (1816-1851)

Samuel Royal Thurston's (1816-1851) political ambitions were greater than his short life allowed. Oregon Territory's first delegate to the U.S. Congress, Thurston is credited with passage of the Donat...

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Treaty of Medicine Creek, 1854

The Treaty of Medicine Creek was signed on December 26, 1854, at a meeting at Medicine Creek in present-day Thurston County. Sixty-two leaders of major Western Washington tribes, including the Nisqua...

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Turning Point 1: An Accidental Metropolis

This the first in a series of special essays commissioned by The Seattle Times to examine crucial turning points in the history of Seattle and King County. "An Accidental Metropolis" considers the gam...

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Turning Point 15: Seattle's Other Birthplace: From Hop Field to Boeing Field

The 15th essay in our Turning Points series for The Seattle Times explores Seattle's "other birthplace," the Collins settlement in present-day Georgetown. Luther Collins, Henry Van Asselt, Jacob and S...

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Turning Point 16: When Worlds Collide: From Contact to Conquest on Puget Sound

The 16th essay in HistoryLink's Turning Point series for The Seattle Times focuses on the cultural interactions between Puget Sound's Native peoples and the first European explorers and early settlers...

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Turning Point 17: Seattle at 150: Reflecting on the Uses of History

The 17th and final essay in our Turning Points series for The Seattle Times, HistoryLink director Walt Crowley looks back on the city's birth and the uses -- and misuses -- of history. It was publishe...

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Walker, Mary Richardson (1811-1897)

As a young girl in Maine, Mary Richardson set her mind to become a missionary. Upon marrying Elkanah Walker in 1837, the couple set out for the Oregon Country. They settled among the Spokane Indians t...

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Walla Walla to Seattle Historic Corridor Wagon Roads

The Cascade Mountains posed a formidable obstacle to wagon travel in the 1840s and 1850s. When waves of emigrants began arriving in the Northwest, they followed the Columbia River Gorge, the easiest (...

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Warbass, Edward (1825-1906)

"A Pioneer of Three States -- Adventurer, Prospector, Miner, Trader, Explorer, Promoter, Soldier and Public Official," was how Edward Warbass was once described ("San Juan's Best Known Pioneer"). He c...

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Washington Territory and Washington State, Founding of

Soon after the creation of Oregon Territory in 1848, settlers north of the Columbia River began demanding a territory of their own. Congress acquiesced on February 8, 1853, with the creation of Washin...

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Wenas Valley -- Thumbnail History

The Wenas Valley in northwestern Yakima County has long been a transportation corridor for people traveling through the Yakima River Valley and across the Cascades. Indian tribes traveled through the ...

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Whitman, Marcus (1802-1847)

Marcus Whitman, a man with unwavering cultural and religious convictions, was one of the first missionaries in the Northwest. He and his wife, Narcissa, established a mission on Cayuse land near Walla...

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Whitman, Narcissa Prentiss (1808-1847)

Narcissa Whitman might have lived out her life in historical obscurity but for two developments. The first was her decision, in 1836, to marry a missionary named Marcus Whitman (1802-1847) and travel ...

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William Bell: Pioneer Recollections, 1878

William Bell (1817-1887) was a member of the Denny party that went ashore at Alki Point on November 13, 1851. The following spring he settled with his wife Sarah Ann Bell (1815-1856) and their four ch...

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Woolley, Philip A. (1831-1912)

Philip A. Woolley was a railroad developer from Elgin, Illinois, who moved to Washington just as the territory became a state in 1889. With the help of Territorial Attorney General James Bard Metcalfe...

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Yesler, Henry L. (1810?-1892)

Henry Yesler was a middle-aged man when he arrived at Elliott Bay in October 1852 and quickly established himself as the most important resident of the rain-swept little spot that would soon become Se...

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