A Farming Community
Slaughter was a small community serving the nearby farmers. Levi W. Ballard homesteaded the area about 1866 and named the post office Slaughter, in honor of Lieutenant W. A. Slaughter, who was shot and killed in the area by Indians during the 1855-1856 "Indian War."
Joseph Gibson and later Alexander S. Hughes operated the post office out of their residences. Hughes was also the town physician. Starting in 1870, the mail was delivered on horseback once a week.
Levi W. Ballard, the original homesteader of the town, moved the post office to his general store in August 1878. Ballard ran the only general store in town. In 1880 the town supported two physicians, a blacksmith, an architect, an engineer, a nurseryman, and a dressmaker.
The Slaughter Boom of the Eighties
In 1884, Slaughter claimed a population of 20 and mail was delivered twice a week until the railroad line started regular service. The population jumped from 25 in 1886 to an estimated 300 the following year. A probable reason for the dramatic increase in population was better railroad service. In late 1886, Matthew H. Conners operated the post office out of his hotel.
In 1893 citizens successfully petitioned the Washington State Legislature to change name of Slaughter to Auburn. On September 8, 1893, the name changed to Auburn. John S. Porter was the postmaster at the time of the name change. He distributed the mail from the ground floor of a two-story residential building on Cedar Street.
Auburn is located 20 miles south of Seattle six miles south of Kent, and was situated along four major railroad lines in the Green River Valley.