Hudson's Bay Company establishes Fort Nisqually, first non-Native settlement on Puget Sound, in April 1833.

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 2/18/2003
  • Essay 5231

In spring 1833, the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) dispatches Archibald McDonald to Puget Sound from Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia River near present-day Portland, Oregon. McDonald establishes a stockade and trading post in April near Sequalitchew Creek on the Nisqually Delta, which becomes the first permanent European settlement on Puget Sound.

The HBC's Puget Sound Agricultural company established "Cowlitz Farm" near the fort in 1838 and tolerated American citizens who began to raise cattle and crops in the vicinity. In 1843, the post was taken over by Dr. William Fraser Tolmie (1812-1886), who had briefly visited Nisqually ten years earlier.

Tolmie directed construction of a new and larger fort in 1846 and supervised the camp until 1859, when the property was turned over to American control. The federal government finally (in 1869) paid the HBC $200,000 for Puget Sound Agricultural Company holdings.


Murray Morgan, Puget's Sound, A Narrative of Early Tacoma and the Southern Sound (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1979); Richard D. Dougherty, Ph.D., Northwest Landing Historic District application to National Register of Historic Places, August 20, 1999; "The Puget Sound Agricultural Company," Hudson's Bay Company Heritage website accessed May 5, 2011(
Note: This essay was revised on May 5, 2011, and on April 20, 2015.

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