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
James K. Hurd,
Puget Sound Emigrant Road.
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
children - George Washington, David Crockett, Francis Marion DeKalb,
McDonald and Christopher Columbus
- James and Mrs.
Martha Smith McAllister
children - George, America, Martha, John and James
- David and Mrs.
son John Karrick.
- Gabriel and Mrs.
Keziah Brice Jones
children - Lewis, Morris and Elizabeth.
- George and Mrs.
Isabella James Bush
children - William Owen, Joseph Talbot, Riley Bailey,
Henry Sandford and
- 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