Columbia County, Washington
Genealogy and History

County History

Historic Sketches of Walla Walla, Whitman, Columbia and Garfield Counties
Washington Territory
by Frank Gilbert, 1882

Chapter XXXVI:
Settlement of Columbia County

Chapter XXXVII:
The Towns of Columbia County

An Illustrated History of Southeastern Washington including Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield and Asotin Counties Washington
by Frederic Ambrose Shaver, 1862-;
Richard F. Steele; Arthur P. Rose, 1875-1970



Current Events - 1805 to 1878

The Lewis and Clark Explorers Pass Down Snake River * This Was One Hundred Years Ago * Dangerous Rapids and Scarcity of Game * Incident of the Honesty of Indians * The Famous Nez Perce Trails * Captain Booneville Arrives at Alpowa Creek * Site of the Town of Dayton the Scene of a Battle With Indians * Governor Stevens' Description of the Country * Earliest Pioneers in Columbia County * More Indian Trouble * Faithfulness of Chief Timothy * Conflicting Stories Concerning the Death of Sergeant Williams * First Attempts at Permanent Settlement * Severe Winter of 1861-62 * First Attempt to Navigate the Snake River * Initial Railway Extensions * Opening of Many Country Roads * First Attempt to Create a New County * Many Paper Railroads * Organic Act * Walla Walla Displeased Over County Division * Nez Perce Indian War of 1877 * Captain Hunter Leads Dayton Boys to War * Railroad Rumors of 1877 * The Northwestern Stage Company


Current Events - 1878 to 1884

* Attempt by Oregon to Slice Territory from Washington Defeated * Population of Columbia County in 1878 * Excitement Over Bannock and Piute Indian Wars * Change of Boundry Line Between Walla Walla and Columbia Counties * Severe Wind Storm of 1880 * Transportation Problem * More Railroad Rumors * Henry Villard Comes to the Front * Industrial Fecundity of 1881 * Brutal Murder of Eli H. Cummins * Arrest of Canada Owenby * Lynching of McPherson * Legal Execution of Ezra Snoderly * Escape and Recapture of Owenby * He Dies In Jail


Current Events - 1884 to 1905

* A Year of Financial Depression * Railroad Agitation in 1889 * Prohibition Rules Supreme in 1886 * Judge Langford Declares the Law Invalid * Question of a County Court House Comes to the Front in 1886 * Prohibitive Freight Rates of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company * Organization of the Columbia County Agricultural Association in 1887 * Completion of the "Hunt" Railroad in 1889 * Board of Trade Proceeds to Raise Money for the "Hunt" Railroad * Validity of the Scrip is Questioned in 1903 of the Columbia County Pioneer Association * " Hard Times" and Low Grain Prices * Floods of 1894 * Collapse of High Bridge West of Alto * Disastrous Storm of June 21, 1897


Cities and Towns

* Arrival of the First Resident White Man in 1859 * "Stubbs" Schneble Builds a Cabin on North Bank of the Touche * In 1863 Henry C. Ricky Opens a Hotel * Filing of the Plat of Dayton's Townsite * Town Laid Out by Jesse N. Day * Wait Sc Matzger Build a Flouring Mill * Building Activity of 1872 * Fourth of July Celebration the Same Year * Incorporation of Dayton * List of Business Houses in 1878 * "Brooklyn Across the Patit" * Judge Wingard Decides that the Incorporation of Dayton is Null and Void * Organization of the Dayton Grays * New Golden Era of Prosperity * Epidemic of Smallpox * Legislature of 1881 Grants Dayton a Special Charter of Incorporation * Another Disastrous Fire * Incendiarism * One Fire Bug is Sentenced * Conflagration of June 24, 1887 * Appearance on the Scene of Numerous Burglars * And Still Another Fire * Dayton's Soldiers in the Spanish-American War * Religious Societies and Lodges


Cities and Towns - Continued.

* Second Largest Town in Columbia County * Prosperous Conditions in 1892 * "Hard Times" of 1903 to 1896 * Townsite Platted in 1894 by Mary Mcintosh * Alarm in 1896 Over Reported Removal of Railroad Headquarters


* Was Formerly Known as Pioneer * First Store Erected in 1882 by Wulzen & Schroder * Townsite Surveyed in May, 1884 * Marked Improvements in 1891


* Noted as a Law-Abiding Place * Establishment of a University
* Townsite Surveyed in 1878


* A Beautiful and Picturesque Location * Defeated for County Seat Honors * Grangers Decide to Build a Mill * Townsite Platted May 29, 1876
* Discontinuance in 1882 of Marengo Postoffice


* Most Youthful Town in the County

Grange City

* Town Organized by Farmers
New York Bar
Other Places



* Analysis of the Soil of Columbia County * Perpetually Fertile * Generations of Culture Could Not Impoverish the Majority of the Rolling Lands * Heavy Growth of Bunch Grass * Hill Lands the Most Productive * Crop Record of Columbia County for 1880 * Water Courses Head in the Blue Mountains * The Touchet * "Ode to the Touchet" by "Broncho Jim" * The Tucannon * Unfounded Story of the Genesis of the Name * Geological Formation * Natural Flora
* Columbia County an Extension of the Far-Famed and Historical Walla Walla Valley * Transportation Facilities * Farming the Principal Industry * Mining
* The Columbia Mine



* Organization of Columbia County in 1875 * General Election of 1876 * Delegates to the Washington * Constitutional Convention * County Conventions of 1878 * Election * Political Campaign of 1880 * Columbia County Debatable Ground in 1882 * Results of Election With Official Vote Great Interest Manifested in Elections of 1884 * Republicans Sweep the County in 1886 * Territory of Washington Divided Into Constitutional Districts in 1889 * Politically the County is Close in the Constitutional Year * Gives a Majority Against Adoption of the State Constitution * Official Vote of 1890 * People's Party Come to the Front in 1892 * Fusion Forces Carry the County * Spectacular Campaign of 1894 * The Memorable Campaign of 1896 * County Comes Into Control of the Democrats and Populists * Official Vote of 1900 * Republicans Prevail in 1902 * Official Vote of 1904



* History of Educational Affairs Commences in 1864 * First School Enrolled Ten or Twelve Scholars * First Term Taught by Mr. Sherry; Second by Mrs. Sherry * New School House Erected in Dayton in 1868 * Report of Superintendent J. E. Edmiston in 1879 * Rapid Improvement in School Affairs * Schools Compared Favorably With Those of Other Counties * Dayton School is Graded * Washington Seminary Built in 1879 * Not Until 1903 Was Dayton Supplied With Suitable School Facilities

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