Fred Hutchinson James Delmage Ross Dixy Lee Ray George W. Bush Hazel Wolf Henry M Jackson Warren G. Magnuson Home
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6820 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

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Yakima County is established on January 21, 1865.

HistoryLink.org Essay 7487 : Printer-Friendly Format

On January 21, 1865, the Washington Territorial Legislature establishes Yakima County. Yakima County includes most of the land in the former Ferguson County, which was established in 1863 and disestablished in 1865. The county is located more or less in the area of the future Yakima and Kittitas counties combined.

At the time it was established, Yakima County was bounded by the Simcoe Mountains on the south, the Cascade Mountains on the west, the Wenatchee River on the north, and the Columbia River from below Wallula to Wenatchee on the east.

The Territorial Act establishing Yakima County named William J. Parker, J. H. Wilbur, and Charles Splawn county commissioners, William Wright county auditor, F. Mortimer Thorp county treasurer, and Gilbert Pell sheriff. The men appointed were all democrats and held these offices until 1868, when Yakima County held its first election.

William Wright's house was the first county seat, followed by Mortimer Thorp's house, C. P. Cooke's house, and finally a building in Yakima City donated for that purpose by O. D. and Sumner Barker, who as Barker Brothers operated the first store in Yakima City. Election results in 1870 on the question of where to place the county seat highlight the small number of settlers living in Yakima County at that time. The winner, Yakima City (also known as Mount Ottawa), received 89 votes; Flint's Store took 20 votes, Selah 18 votes, and the Kittitas Valley three votes.

Since the land included in Yakima County had not yet been surveyed, the settlers staked their own claims. In 1868 A. J. Splawn was deputized to assess property within Yakima County. Splawn later wrote in his memoir Ka-mi-akin: The Last Hero Of The Yakimas, "While assessing the property of Yakima County I had no disputes with the people. If they were poor, I passed them up; if well to do, they set their own valuation. We needed but little and wanted no surplus" (p. 160).

By the early 1880s the settlers in Ellensburg were agitating for either a county of their own, or to be named county seat of Yakima County. Despite opposition from some prominent residents of Yakima City, including Yakima Signal editor J. M. Adams, Kittitas County was carved out of Yakima County by Territorial Act on November 24, 1883.

Sources:
An Illustrated History of Klickitat, Yakima and Kittitas Counties, With An Outline Of The Early History of The State Of Washington (Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, [1904] 1977); A History of Kittitas County, Washington, 1989 (Ellensburg: The Kittitas County Centennial Committee, 1989); W. D. Lyman, History of the Yakima Valley Washington, Vol. 1 (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1919); A. J. Splawn, Ka-mi-akin: The Last Hero Of The Yakimas (Portland: Bindords & Mort, [1917] 1944).


Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Pioneers | Cities & Towns | Counties |

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


This essay made possible by:
The State of Washington
Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation


Yakima County Courthouse, North Yakima, 1900s
Postcard


Fielding Mortimer Thorp (1822-1894), pioneer of Yakima and Kittitas counties
Courtesy Kittitas Frontiersmen


 
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