Archive for November, 2010

Snohomish County Sesquicentennial – 1861 – County Formed

Snohomish County : An Illustrated History

To Order a Copy!

Celebrate the Sesquicentennial of Snohomish County

Celebrate the Sesquicentennial of Snohomish County

Snohomish County will be celebrating its Sesquicentennial – see our previous post and the website –

For the story of our county’s formation read the following excerpt from the book Snohomish County: An Illustrated History ~~~~~~~~~`

In 1860 the area [the Snohomish, Stillaguamish River valleys, Everett and Mukilteo shorelines] still was part of Island County, with government at Coupeville and court held at Port Townsend as part of Judicial District 3 (until 1868). With the nation in grave crisis leading toward civil war, a number of the settlers along the Snohomish River wished to participate in that year’s divisive elections. Seventeen votes were cast unofficially and sent to Coupeville, where they were too late to be counted. Frustrated by the situation, a petition meeting was organized and hosted by Emory C. Ferguson where the men requested the territorial legislature create a separate mainland county. Frost and Fowler also may have sent their own. The timing was excellent!

Once again gold and silver had been discovered, and new thousands of eager miners poured into eastern Washington territory, headed for the Boise Basin, Idaho City, and Missoula. Walla Walla surged to the lead in population, most of which supported the Democratic party and had no interest in the issues affecting Puget Sounders, who overwhelmingly supported the victorious Republicans of Abraham Lincoln. Fearing domination of the territorial legislature by those eastern mining interests, a proposal by Territorial Councilman Paul K. Hubbs of Port Townsend to create a new county in his district already had passed by the time the Snohomish men had paddled their canoe down to the capital with their petition.

Effective January 14, 1861, Snohomish County came into existence. The county’s temporary seat would be in Mukilteo, until elections could be held in July, The county’s first officers were Jacob Summers (sheriff); Emory C. Ferguson, Henry McClurg, and John. Harvey (commissioners); Jacob D. Fowler (auditor); Charles Short (judge of probate); and John Harvey (treasurer). A rough census of the non-native population listed 49 men and no women, the majority located near Mukilteo, Snohomish, and Tulalip.

On March 12, 1861 the county commissioners met at Frost and Fowler’s store to conduct their first business: receiving and accepting a petition for the county to build a road from Snohomish City up the Snohomish and Skykomish rivers to Woods Prairie (near the future site of Monroe) and rejecting Fowler’s request to grant him a license to sell a small amount of liquor, holding that they only had authority to issue full licenses for the fee of 8300. Salem Woods (of Woods Prairie) was appointed assessor, with Fowler taking over as treasurer. C.M. Stilwell received appointment as justice of the peace for the Mukilteo precinct, Ferguson for the Snohomish one. At their second meeting on May 6, the county was divided into two voting precincts, ballots to be cast at the store for the Mukilteo precinct and at Ferguson’s house for Snohomish. Salem Woods now became sheriff. Frost and Fowler agreed to the full liquor license, while Ferguson and Cady were licensed to operate their ferry across the river at Snohomish.
The first election oil July 8, 1861 would set the tone of county politics for many years to come. Ferguson showed his skill by organizing 17 votes for his site, while only 10 were cast for Mukilteo.  In 1862 Mukilteo became the county’s first post office, with Fowler appointed the first postmaster.

by Cameron, David A. from Snohomish County: An Illustrated History. Index, WA: Kelcema Books LLC, 2005, p. 63.   For more of the story  – copies of the book are still available

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Womens Legacy Project – New Domain!

Women's Legacy Project of Snohomish CountyOur Women’s Legacy Project now has a new home –

We have 67 stories and are hoping for 100 – if you would like to contribute, please contact info at – our editorial committee will consider all new biographical stories about women in Snohomish County history.   We especially welcome histories of women’s organizations!


Karen Prasse
League of Snohomish County Heritage Organizations

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Snohomish County Sesquicentennial

From: Wendy Becker
Date: Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 4:21 PM
Subject: Celebrate Snohomish County’s 150th Birthday

Fertile farmland, easy water access and abundant forests attracted settlers, who clustered in the Lowell, Monroe, Stanwood and Edmonds areas in the mid 1800s. When Washington became a state in 1889, Snohomish was the county’s most well-developed cultural and political center. As the population grew, local settlers petitioned the territorial legislature to create a separate
county. On *January 14, 1861*, that petition was granted.
* Say hello to Snohomish County! *
150 years later – Snohomish County is still a cultural and political center. Aerospace, biotech and clean energy lure more investment – and a rich cultural heritage gives us a reason to celebrate. *So celebrate we will!*
Snohomish County’s commemoration of its 150th birthday merits countywide
recognition. Here are some ideas to get you involved throughout 2011.
*Heritage Organizations:

· A history exhibit featuring a unique time in Snohomish County’s history
· A lecture series featuring a talk on local pioneer leaders
· A brownbag discussion on the history of the interurban trail
· Historic walking tour of downtown. Choose a city – What has changed?
What has stayed the same?

· Restaurants – create a signature meal or cocktail commemorating our 150th Birthday.
· Retail – a window display featuring an era in women’s fashions during the past 150 years.
· Coffeehouses – have a poetry night featuring the great poets of the ‘60s.
· Tribes – a weekend birthday package and a Native American commemorative.
· Everybody – Promote our 150th Birthday on a business marquee or sponsor a local event banner placement

*Arts Organizations:
· A landscape exhibit featuring photography from 50 years ago and what the landscape looks like today
· A theater reenactment of the Taking of the County seat.
· Book Clubs – choose a title written by Snohomish County historians or authors
· An artist-designed 150 year commemorative display

*Cities & Civic Groups:
· Organize a time capsule event
· Add 150th birthday events to billings and newsletters
· Promote SnoCo150 with banners
· Be an event sponsor
· Host a neighborhood potluck celebrating the County’s birthday on *January 14, 2010*
· Find and feature history articles for neighborhood newsletters
Snohomish County Historic Preservation Commission can provide participating groups with:
· A poster template with the Sesquicentennial Banner
· A 150th birthday logo to publicize your efforts
· A listing on website (under construction)
· A posting on the calendar of events (under construction
Find out more – contact Wendy Becker at wendy.becker at

Wendy Becker
Economic and Cultural Development Officer
Snohomish County
3000 Rockefeller Avenue MS 411
Everett, WA 98201

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