Captain George Vancouver Julia Butler Hansen Carlos Bulosan Ernestine Anderson Kurt Cobain Bill Gates & Paul Allen Home
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Featured Eassy Book Store Donate Now
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6872 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 >

Washington Territorial Legislature creates Adams County on November 28, 1883.

HistoryLink.org Essay 7832 : Printer-Friendly Format

On November 28, 1883, the Washington Territorial Legislature creates Adams County. It does so by partitioning the large Whitman County into Whitman, Franklin, and Adams counties.

Whitman County was organized on November 29, 1871, and included the present (2006) Whitman, Adams, and Franklin counties. Colfax was the county seat. Settlers in the future Adams County found it inconvenient to travel to Colfax in order to conduct legal business.

At the time Adams County was formed there were about 150 people living in the area, most in or near Ritzville. In 1883 a number of these settlers paid for settler Samuel A. Wells to travel to Olympia and lobby for the creation of one or two new counties to be subdivided out of Whitman County. An Illustrated History of the Big Bend Country, published in 1904, quotes Wells's memories of the moment it occurred to him to try to organize a more convenient county division:

"In looking over a map of the period when Whitman County embraced both Adams and Franklin, it one day occurred to me that Ritzville might be converted into a county capital. Impressed with this idea I went to the railroad station and broached the subject. The people with whom I conversed pronounced the scheme impracticable. They said, 'It can't be done.' I replied, 'Can't is a word I do not recognize in my vocabulary.' On this line I proceeded and against great obstacles and numerous discouragements succeeded in securing the formation of the two counties and the location of the county seat of Adams at Ritzville" (p. 762).
An Illustrated History... states that in Olympia Wells "worked assiduously in the interest of the bill. There was, in fact, but little opposition ..." (p. 761).

Adams County's boundaries were defined as follows:

"Beginning at the northwest corner of township 14 north, range 28 east of the Willamette meridian; running thence north to the 4th standard parallel; thence east to the Columbia guide meridian; thence north to the 5th standard parallel; thence east on said parallel to the line between the ranges 38 and 39; thence south on said line to where it intersects the Palouse River in township 16; thence down said river to where the line between townships 14 and 15 crosses said river; thence west on said line to the place of beginning" (An Illustrated History, p.762).

The county was named in honor of John Adams (1735-1826), the nation's first vice-president and second president.

James G. Bennett, George Sinclair, Sr., and J. L. Johnson were appointed county commissioners. Adams County was attached to Spokane for judicial purposes and to Whitman for legislative purposes.

On December 9, 1883, the newly appointed Adams County commissioners met for the first time and officially organized the county.

Sources:
Newton Carl Abbott and Fred E. Carver, compiled by J. W. Helm, The Evolution of Washington Counties (Yakima: Yakima Valley Genealogical Society and Klickitat County Historical Society, 1978), p. 142; The History of Adams County, Washington (Ritzville: Adams County Historical Society, 1986), p. 3; An Illustrated History of the Big Bend Country Embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams, and Franklin Counties State of Washington (Spokane: Western Historical Publishers, 1904), p. 761-762.


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

Related Topics: Government & Politics | 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


Parade on Main Street, Ritzville, 1900s
Postcard


Southeast Washington counties



 
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