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On August 18, 1811, members of John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company met a "tall, meager, middle-aged Indian" -- possibly a shaman from the Wanapum Tribe -- north of what is now Hanford Reach. The Astorians were so captivated by this mystic fellow that they named Priest Rapids in his honor.
On August 20, 1845, Oregon's Provisional Legislature created Vancouver District in what is now southwest Washington. Later that year, Lewis County was formed from the western portion of Vancouver District, and what remained became Vancouver County. Four years later the Oregon Territorial Legislature changed the name to Clark County, which the Washington Territorial Legislature took to spelling as "Clarke County" soon after the new territory's creation in 1853 -- an error not corrected until 1925.
On August 21, 1886, General William Tecumseh Sherman -- one of the Union's most renowned military leaders -- arrived in Seattle for a five-day visit. The retired general, who was traveling with his daughter Lizzie, enjoyed a steamer tour of Lake Washington and Lake Union, spoke to several gatherings of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) veterans organization, and was the honored guest at a clambake held at Alki Point.
One hundred years ago this summer, IWW members in Spokane led a statewide loggers' strike demanding an eight-hour workday and better working conditions. Throughout the state, Wobblies were arrested, in many cases without due process of law. On August 19, 1917, things came to a head with a raid on the Spokane IWW office, the arrest of union leaders, and a declaration of martial law. Defeated, loggers returned to work in the fall, but kept up the fight.
On August 20, 1925, an outdoor concert in Seattle by world-famous opera diva Ernestine Schumann-Heink was cut short by a tugboat blast. And on August 21, 1964, when KJR disc jockey Pat O'Day introduced the Beatles to more than 14,300 fans inside the Seattle Center Coliseum, their screams and shouts were as loud as the music, if not louder. And on August 17, 1984, a new sound was heard when Seattle's "underground" hip-hop scene broke out into the mainstream.
Forty years ago this week, on August 22, 1977, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company began a three-week residency presented by Seattle's Cornish Institute (now Cornish College). Cunningham, a Centralia native and former Cornish student, taught classes and debuted his new work Inlets, designed by Morris Graves, with music by Cunningham's life partner and longtime collaborator, John Cage.
Let us not forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, other arts will follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization.
-- Daniel Webster