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Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species becomes available for sale on November 22, 1859.

Near the end of 1859, a year full of stabilizing events in the Pacific Northwest, Charles Darwin's revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species, is released to the book trade in Great Britain. Althou...

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U.S. government seizes schooner Black Diamond in Port Townsend on November 30, 1859.

On November 30, 1859, amidst the bustling trade of the "Golden Age of Sail," a Schooner called the Black Diamond is apprehended while docking at Port Townsend on return from Vancouver Island. After fa...

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A post office is established at Pinkney City (forerunner of Colville) on December 7, 1859.

On December 7, 1859, a post office is established at Pinkney City (or Pinkneyville), a raw frontier town that has sprung up across Mill Creek from military Fort Colville in what was then Spokane Count...

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Washington Territorial Legislature charters Whitman Seminary on December 20, 1859.

On December 20, 1859, the Washington Territorial Legislature approves the first charter for an institution of higher educational in the territory. The charter is for Whitman Seminary, a coeducational...

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Washington Territorial Legislature creates Klickitat County on December 29, 1859.

On December 29, 1859, the Washington Territorial Legislature passes an act to create and organize the County of Clickitat. (In 1869 the spelling will be changed to Klickitat.) Only about 15 non-Indi...

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1859 Census: Territorial audit of King County finds 55 horses, 255 white persons, 1 church, etc. in 1859.

On January 4, 1860, the Territorial Auditor submitted to the Washington Territorial Legislative Assembly a report (dated December 31, 1859) on the numbers of white persons, horses, hogs, acres of pota...

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Mercer's Island is named in 1860.

In 1860, a government land survey names Mercer's Island for the first time. Later shortened to Mercer Island, the island is named for Thomas Mercer (1813-1898), an early pioneer who suggested the name...

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John Utz and Hiram Smith settle in the Okanogan Valley in 1860.

In about 1860, Americans John Utz (b. 1824) and Hiram Francis Smith (1829-1893) settle in the Okanogan Valley near Lake Osoyoos. They are the first white residents of the area and although Utz may hav...

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The Washington Territorial Legislature incorporates the city of Port Townsend on January 16, 1860.

On January 16, 1860, the Washington Territorial Legislature passes an act incorporating the city of Port Townsend. The settlement in Jefferson County at the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula b...

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1860 Census: First census to count Washington Territory as discrete entity; population nearly 75 percent male; Native Americans counted for first time, but badly.

The 8th federal census, taken in 1860, is the first to formally include Washington Territory (established in 1853), although the 1850 count had estimated the population north of the Columbia River by ...

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Schwabacher Brothers open store in Walla Walla in the fall of 1860.

In the fall of 1860, the Schwabacher brothers, including Louis (1837-1900), Sigmund (1841-1917), and Abraham (1838-1909), open a store in the small town of Walla Walla on the corner of Main and 3rd st...

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News of November 6 election, with Abraham Lincoln ahead, reaches Olympia on November 22, 1860.

On November 22, 1860, news reaches Olympia, Washington, that preliminary returns from the November 6, 1860, election show that Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) is ahead in 18 of 33 states and will most lik...

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Kent Beginnings: D'wamish Post Office opens on December 7, 1860.

The opening of a post office is an important marker of the beginning of a community. D'wamish Post Office is established December 7, 1860. David A. Neely is appointed postmaster. The post office was l...

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Pioneer William Grose, an African American, arrives in Seattle in 1861.

In 1861, William Grose (1835-1898), African American pioneer, arrives in Seattle and becomes a successful businessman.

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John Pinnell builds a Seattle brothel in 1861.

In 1861, John Pinnell (or Pennell, in some sources), the proprietor of several lucrative brothels in San Francisco, arrives in Seattle, Washington Territory, and establishes a brothel. He builds it ju...

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Rains, heavy snow, and unprecedented cold hit Washington Territory during the winter of 1861-1862.

The winter of 1861-1862 is by far the worst in Washington Territory's short history since the arrival of the first non-Native settlers. In November and December of 1861 heavy rains cause extreme flood...

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Washington Territorial Legislature creates Snohomish County (out of Island County) on January 14, 1861.

On January 14, 1861, the Washington Territorial Legislature creates Snohomish County out of Island County and designates Mukilteo as the temporary county seat. The background is as follows. In Novembe...

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Former Governor Isaac Stevens returns to Washington Territory on April 12, 1861.

On April 12, 1861, former Governor Isaac Stevens (1818-1862), the delegate to the U.S. Congress for Washington Territory, returns to the Northwest after an absence of 19 months spent attending Congres...

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U.S. Civil War starts with shelling of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.

On April 12, 1861, forces of the Confederate States of America shell the Union Army-held Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, setting off the bloody Civil War that will not end until almo...

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Steamer Cortez reaches Portland on April 29, 1861, with news of the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter.

At 4 p.m. on April 28, 1861, the steamer Cortez crosses the Columbia bar, and reaches Portland at 4 a.m. the following morning. The ship brings news of the April 12 attack on Fort Sumter by Confederat...

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Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Colonel George Wright receives orders on May 2, 1861, to send soldiers from Fort Vancouver to San Francisco.

On May 2, 1861, Colonel George Wright (1803-1865), the officer in charge of the U.S. Army's District of Oregon, which includes all troops within Washington Territory and the state of Oregon, receives ...

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Acting Governor Henry McGill issues a proclamation on May 10, 1861, calling on citizens to organize themselves into a civilian militia.

On May 10, 1861, Henry M. McGill (1831-1915), the acting governor of Washington Territory, issues a proclamation requiring all male citizens of the territory who are capable of bearing arms to enroll ...

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Former Governor Isaac Stevens offers his services to the U.S. Army in the Civil War on May 22, 1861.

On May 22, 1861, Isaac I. Stevens (1818-1862), Washington Territory's former Governor and congressional delegate, offers his services to the U. S. Army to fight in the newly declared Civil War.

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President Abraham Lincoln signs the Revenue Act, which includes the first federal income tax, on August 5, 1861.

On August 5, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) signs the Revenue Act of 1861, passed by the U.S. Congress "to provide increased Revenue from Imports, to pay Interest on the Public Debt, and ...

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