Territorial Timeline

Seattle founded

European settlement in the area now called Seattle began in 1850 when John C. Holgate selected a claim on the southeastern shore of Elliot Bay, thus entitling him to the honor of being the first settler of Seattle. In the summer of 1851, a party consisting of Luther M. Collins, Henry Van Asselt, Jacob Maple and Samuel Maple settled on a claim on the banks of the Duwamish River.

David T. Denny crossed the Midwest that year and proceeded to Puget Sound to select a place for the family of Arthur, his older brother. David Denny joined John N. Low, Lee Terry and Captain Robert C. Fay in Olympia, and together they journeyed to Elliot Bay. After visiting the Duwamish River settlers on September 25, 1851, Terry and Low selected claims on a point of land at the entrance of the bay (Alki Point), where Terry and Denny started to build a log cabin while Low went back to Olympia to pick up the other members of the Denny Party.

On November 13, 1851 the schooner arrived in Elliot Bay and its passengers disembarked at Alki Point. The new settlement was composed of twelve adults and twelve children. They included Arthur A. Denny, his wife and three children, John N. Low with his wife and four children, William N. Bell with his wife and four children, Carson D. Boren with his wife and child, Louisa Boren, sister of Mr. Boren and Mrs. Denny, the Terry brothers, Charles and Lee, and David T. Denny.

In February 1852, Arthur A. Denny, William Bell and Carson Boren took an Indian canoe, a clothesline and a bundle of horseshoes out into Elliot Bay to make soundings to see if it was deep enough to serve as a harbor. On February 15, 1852 they decided that the harbor was good and the three of them staked their claims on land which would become the site of the City of Seattle. On May 23, 1853 Arthur A. Denny and Carson Boren filed a plat for the establishment of the town of Seattle, naming it for Chief Sealth of the Duwamish Indians.