Black Settlers and Washington Territory

June 7, 2010
By Anonymous

The Whites have made impressions that make it look like they were very important to territory claim and being the dominant figures in Washington territory. But Black settlers also play a huge role in the history of Washington territory. George Bush and George Washington were all black settlers that were a part of the history of the territory of Washington.

George Bush was created one of the first communities and was successful in farming. He travelled on the Oregon Trail for a place that gave Blacks more freedom (Northwest 4). Wanting to leave, he ended up going to a area, currently Washington, and created the first American community there (Northwest 4). Since Blacks were not able to become citizens, he was able to keep that land as his own until a friend, a white man named Michael Simmons, helped him keep the ownership of the land (Northwest 4). He was able to gain money and buy a ship to help with shipping (Northwest 4). George Bush was one of the first to be able to have ownership to land and it makes him successful being able to do that. But he wasn’t the only one who was able to own or gain land.

George Washington was also a Black Settler that was able to own land and the founder of Centralia. He went on the Oregon Trail with the couple, the Cochrans, which raised him as he was a slave (LeWarne 122). When he was little, he was taught everything from trading to reading to all the things that the Cochrans could teach him (ibid.). But when he wasn’t with the Cochrans and set off by himself, he realized that he couldn’t own any land. In 1853, the laws about blacks no longer were valid so he purchased a steady amount of land and farmed. James Cochrans had passed away and he bought land from the family (Northwest 6). His land was on a railroad line making the town of Centralia become populated and grow. He succeeded in becoming a founder of a town and owning land.

These two Black settlers ended up buying land and were successful in making money. George Bush bought some land and became a really good farmer making enough money to even buy a ship. George Washington created a town and was the founder of it. Both of these people was a part of Washington’s Territory and without them, Washington would probably be different.

The author's comments:
This piece shows how Washington was changed by Black settlers and not only by White settlers. They played a huge part in the shaping of Washington state.

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