Territorial Timeline

Settlers met at Monticello to sign a petition asking Congress to create a separate territory north of the Columbia River

On August 29, 1851 the “Cowlitz Convention” met near present-day Toledo, Washington, to draft a petition to the U.S. Congress asking that a new territory be established north of the Columbia River. They met again at Monticello (near present-day Longview, Washington) on November 25, 1852 and signed the petition asking Congress to establish "Columbia Territory."

The petition of the Monticello Convention was delivered to Oregon Territorial Governor Joseph Lane. The Oregon Territorial Legislature supported the memorial and forwarded it to Congress.

The memorial to Congress, which resulted from the Monticello Convention, was the first step towards the establishment of Washington Territory. In part, the memorial stated: "The territory north of the Columbia River and west of the great northern bend of that stream contains sufficient numbers of square miles to form a state which in point of resources and capacity to maintain a population will compare favorably with most of the states of the Union."

On March 2, 1853 Congress passed the bill creating the new territory, but they changed the name to Washington to honor the "Father of the Country," George Washington. The bill was known as the Organic Act and served as the basis for law in Washington until Statehood was achieved in 1889.