THE VANCOUVER EXPEDITION
The most famous and well documented European expedition into Puget Sound waters occurred in 1792, when English Captain George Vancouver sailed his ship Discovery into Puget Sound.
Vancouver charted the waters and is responsible for naming many of the region's landmarks, including Puget Sound, Hood Canal, Mt. Baker, Port Orchard, Port Townsend, Dungeness Bay, Discovery Bay and Sinclair Inlet.
THE LOGGING INDUSTRY BOOMS
The story of two entrepreneurs from East Machias, Maine -- Andrew Pope and William Talbot is an excellent example of the type of individuals and opportunities that figured prominently in the expansion of white settlement in the Pacific Northwest.
While Pope and Talbot were lured to San Francisco during the gold rush of 1849, these hearty New England conservatives realized that the "real" money was not in panning gold, but in providing supplies and services to the growing community. Upon arrival, they invested $500 for a "ship's old long boat" and began carrying light cargoes ashore. With the profit from this small business, they purchased a small lumberyard.
During the years between 1849 and 1851, San Francisco burned to the ground six times. While most of the city was devastated, Pope and Talbot prospered -- supplying lumber for the rebuilding effort. To secure a stable, cost-effective inventory of lumber, the men decided to head to Puget Sound where they had heard stories of stands of timber that were nearly unbelievable.
They explored options in Olympia, Seattle and Port Townsend, only to find mills already under construction. So, they continued on to the Kitsap Peninsula to Teekalet (Port Gamble) which suited their needs perfectly. The Pope & Talbot dynasty was born. Similar stories can be told for the development of early mills at Seabeck, Port Madison, Enetai Beach (Port Orchard) and Port Blakely.
While every mill town mentioned has remnants of their logging history, the most well-preserved community is the Pope & Talbot mill town at Port Gamble. While the mill is no longer in service (closed in 1995), many of the original buildings from the Victorian era still stand and are beautifully maintained. The Port Gamble museum is located under the General Store, on the lower level facing the bay.
KITSAP COUNTY ESTABLISHED
In January 1857, local mill owners sent representatives to the Territorial Legislature with the mandate to "bring home a new county." Timothy Duane Hinckley from Teeklat (Port Gamble) and S.B. Wilson, a bookkeeper from Puget Mill Company introduced identical bills to create "Madison" County. The bill passed with an amendment to change the name to "Slaughter" County in honor of a young lieutenant who had been killed during a Native American uprising.
In July 1857, the citizens of Slaughter County voted to change the name to Kitsap, a Native American word meaning good and brave. Ironically, it was Chief Kitsap and his band that killed Lt. William Slaughter.
More History: Native Inhabitants Mosquito Fleet Naval Influence