Secretary of State launches state’s 15-month commemoration

News Release
Issued: November 25, 2002

Secretary of State Sam Reed kicked off the State’s celebration of the birth of Washington. The event marks the 150th anniversary of the Monticello Convention and the beginning of the 15-month commemoration of the Washington Territory.

On November 25, 1852, 44 men gathered in the city of Monticello to petition Congress to divide the Oregon Territory. The city of Monticello washed away during a flood in 1867, and Longview was built near the former town. Three markers were erected during the 1952 centennial describing the historical Monticello Convention.

“Washington’s journey to statehood began almost 150 years ago today,” said Reed. “It is incumbent upon Washingtonians to recognize our state’s triumphs and challenges to improve the quality of life for future generations.”

Secretary Reed, along with descendents of the 44 pioneers, marched from the Monticello Hotel to the markers, located between Maple Street and Olympia Way, to rededicate the markers for the territorial commemoration.

Washington’s namesake George Washington and other founding fathers fought the American Revolution to protest the lack of colonial representation in the British government. Washington’s pioneers demanded Congress divide the expansive Oregon Territory for the same reason – better representation. People north of the Columbia River were forced to travel for several days on unbroken roads to conduct business in Oregon City, the territorial capital.

Over the next 15 months, Secretary Reed will encourage Washington cities and communities to recognize the state’s rich, territorial history by hosting local events.

“This is a valuable opportunity for people to learn about the major political and social events which helped the Washington Territory to evolve into a state,” said Reed. “Our sesquicentennial observance depends on local communities to carry on this commemoration.”

The Longview visit coincides with the launch of the Washington History website. This evolving site features a calendar of territorial-related events throughout the state, a searchable surname database of territorial censuses and a territorial timeline compiled by the State Archives.

The site can be found on the Secretary of State’s website at: http://www.secstate.wa.gov/history