Chief Seattle Thelma Dewitty Thomas Foley Carrie Chapman Catt Anna Louise Strong Mark Tobey Helene Madison Home
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Donate Now! Book Store Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6770 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search

Features

Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Cyberpedia Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Plummer, Charles (?-1866)

HistoryLink.org Essay 398 : Printer-Friendly Format

Little is known of Charles Plummer before his arrival in the village of Seattle in 1853. Although he was too late to claim the best land, he achieved early success as a merchant. In June of 1853, he opened a store with partner John A. Chase. Plummer and Chase also bought a sawmill below the mouth of Cedar River and a coal mine near Black River, King County.

Plummer started the town's first brickyard, constructed a waterworks to compete with Henry L. Yesler's flumes, and built a livery stable. He bought a hotel, called the Conklin House after its former owner, the tart-tongued "Mother Damnable" Mary Ann Conklin. Plummer owned a Seattle waterfront dock and, as town postmaster, served Seattle and ships and skippers from throughout the Pacific basin until his death on August 29, 1866.

Although little information is extant about Charles Plummer, he was a key player in the early commercial growth of King County. One of his most important contributions, with Charles Terry, was as outfitter for pack trains on their way to recently discovered (1858) Eastern Washington gold fields. His cousin, Alfred, was a founder of Port Townsend.

In 1854, Plummer built an imposing residence for his bride, Ellender Smith, sister of another King County pioneer, Dr. Henry A. Smith (Smith's Cove). Ellender died in 1859 while giving birth to their twin sons. A year later, at Alki, Plummer married a widow, Mrs. Sarah J. Harris, with Justice of the Peace David S. "Doc" Maynard officiating.

Charles Plummer built a hall over his store to accommodate meetings and entertainment. The hall provided a venue for everything from court sessions to dances, concerts, and performances by Shakespearean actors and poets. The Good Templars Lodge and Plummer's own Masonic St. John's Lodge also used the hall for meetings.

Upon his death on August 29, 1866, he was buried with Masonic honors at the first city-owned cemetery, on Denny Way and Dexter Avenue (in 1998 a public park and headquarters of Seattle's Park Department). His stepson, George W. Harris, continued for years to manage the many enterprises that Plummer founded during his busy Seattle decade.

Sources:
Clarence B. Bagley, History of King County (Chicago-Seattle: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1929); also see: James R. Warren, King County and its Queen City: Seattle(Woodland Hills, CA: Windsor Publications, Inc., 1981); Murray Morgan, Skid Road (New York: The Viking Press, 1951).


< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Pioneers | Biographies |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You




Charles Plummer (?-1866)
Courtesy Clarence Bagley, History of King County


Charles Plummer residence, Occidental Avenue and Jackson Street, Seattle, 1860s
Courtesy C. H. Hanford, Seattle and Environs


 
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org