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Wagon Train Party Over Cowlitz Trail

Yakima Valley Historical Society Minutes and Historical Papers Vol I. - September 20, 1917 to July 25, 1946

Yakima Valley Museum               

Puget Sound Emigrant Road
by James K. Hurd

In this connection it is well to mention the origin of what is believed to be the first wagon road from the Columbia River to Puget Sound. This was constructed by the following parties:

  • Michael T. Simmons and Mrs. Elizabeth Kindred Simmons
and their children -  George Washington, David Crockett, Francis Marion DeKalb, McDonald and Christopher Columbus
  • James and Mrs. Martha Smith McAllister
and their children - George, America, Martha, John and James
  • David and Mrs. Talitha Kindred
and their son John Karrick.  
  • Gabriel and Mrs. Keziah Brice Jones
and their children - Lewis, Morris and Elizabeth.
  • George and Mrs. Isabella James Bush
and their children - William Owen, Joseph Talbot, Riley Bailey,
Henry Sandford and Jackson January.
  • Samuel Crockett and Jesse Ferguson.  

In all thirty-one persons, twenty-nine of whom crossed the plains in 1844 and spent the winter on the Washougal, about twelve miles east of Vancouver. The other two – Christopher Columbus Simmons and James McAllister – were born at the Washougal camp on April 10 and September 23, 1845, respectively.


All of this company of settlers able to work began their road work in the vicinity of Cowlitz landing, near what is now Toledo, in July 1845, and took their families through to the Sound in October. Bush, Simmons, Kindred, Jones and Ferguson settled on and in the vicinity of Bush prairie; McAllister settled in the Nisqually bottom, not far from what is now the station of Sherlock on the N.P.R.R.

The first American wagons in the Puget Sound basin were taken thither by these people. Prior to their advent rude wooden carts, with wheels made by sawing off round logs, were used to some extent. Conveyances of this kind were used on the Cowlitz by the Hudsons’ Bay Company farmers. It is quite certain that there were a few English wagons in use by the members of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, brought by English vessels to Nisqually bay. Roads connected Mound and contiguous prairies with the other prairies further north and east, and crossed over the Nisqually plains, in 1847-8. South, Porter’s and Connell’s prairies were connected with Indian trails for many years prior to white settlement, and in 1851-2 were connected by roads. In 1849 or 1850 a road was started towards the mountains, with a view of working it through eastward to the interior, but it is believed that at that time nothing was done east of the Puyallup river. This fact was alluded to by Col. Isaac N. Ebey in 1850