Homesteaders and Pioneers

Settlement Areas

Map of Peninsula showing areas of settlement


  1. Quillayute - Dickey rivers
    Early arrivals were members of the Balch, Morgenthaler, Ericson, Rixon, Pullen and Taylor families. William T and Fanny Taylor were respectively the store owner and post-mistress at Boston (later called Mora). These families began arriving in the 1870's, and by 1890, the Sunday Oregonian reported there were 300-500 settlers in this region. Other members of the Pullen family were early homesteaders on the Quillayute Prairie near the present-day town of Forks. Until the salmon run was depleted, fishing was profitable in this area, and even supported a fish hatchery and cannery. At nearby Third Beach, the Newbert family built a community above the Pacific Ocean, which included a cable tramway up from the beach. Arriving in 1907, the Newberts were gone by 1912.
  2. Hoh river
    J. W. Hanks and I. Anderson were the first settlers at the mouth of the Hoh river. By 1899 fifteen homesteads were claimed here. The village was later named Oil City.
  3. Ozette
    Beginning in 1892, many Scandinavian settlers made claims around Lake Ozette, inland about 2 miles from the ocean. This community was self-sufficient and successful at farming. Dairy products were packed by trail for sale at Clallam Bay and shipment to Port Angeles and Seattle. By 1892, 33 claims were improved, and the numbers of claims reached 130 before dwindling due to the Olympic Forest Reserve's establishment. Willoughby and Ferguson operated a store and there were two post offices at the height of the settlement. Some placer mining of the ocean beaches occurred. Early names were many, and included N. P. Andrews, J. E. Johnson, O. Boe, O. Klaboe, Isaksen, and Johnson. By 1900, remaining families included the Borseths, Ericksons, Nylunds, and Palmquists. A second wave of settlers arrived and occupied the abandoned houses there, and some families stayed until the early 1940s.
  4. Kalaloch Cove (mouth of Kalaloch creek)
    S. Castile and T. Lawder opened a cannery here and a post office served the 17 people who lived here by 1907.

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  1. Morse and Ennis Creeks
    Gold and silver deposits were discovered near the headwaters of the Morse and Ennis creeks around 1900. Not many settlers made claims on the watershed however, due to the steep terrain and narrow valley floors, which made farming difficult. Early names include Fisher, Nelson, Dietz, and Cox.
  2. Elwha
    The Elwha river reaches into the heart of the Olympic range and was used as an entry point for early explorers. Being close to Port Angeles, the lower Elwha was relatively densely populated by 1885, but almost no one lived in the upper valley until the late 1880s, when the Hansen brothers settled there. W. MacDonald, the Stringhams, Laufelds, Krauses, Andersons, and many others soon followed. As mountaineering and hunting groups used this entry into the mountains, Will and Grant Humes made a living as packers, guides, and provided accommodations.
  3. Lake Crescent
    There is almost no farmable land around Lake Crescent because it is situated within steep, heavily timbered ridges. A few land claims were established but residents quickly realized its recreational value to tourists. By 1909, the shores hosted inns and resorts, and ferries plied the waters. George Mitchell was the first postmaster at Fairholm, followed by two other post offices at other parts of the lake.
  4. Sol duc River
    The Sol duc is a long river, and settlement occurring in the 1880s and 1890s was later than in some areas. Farmable lands were ten-twenty miles from ocean waters. Early settlers included O. Dimmel, J. Fasel, C. Jones, the Moores, E. Boehrig, G. Icke, Mrs. Hunters, and Mrs. Brown. Charles Jones set up a colony of 25 settlers, and Arthur Moore opened a store. Most left the area after experiencing the difficulties described above. T. Moritz discovered the hot springs on the upper Sol Duc in the 1880s, but they weren't developed commercially until after1900.
  5. Bogachiel
    The upper Bogachiel River, like the Sol Duc, is far from supplies and markets - over 25 miles to the coast. The terrain is steep and mountainous, not conducive to settlement or farming. Nonetheless, over 12 claims had been made by 1892, including the J. Henne, G Hemphill, the Roarks, and Chris Morganroth's claims. Most settlers didn't stay long, but more came and replaced them. The homesteader's dreams were grounded when the area was included in the Olympic Forest Reserve in 1897. The Siegfrieds and the Brandeberrys arrived later, and stayed on the land until much later in the new century.
  6. Hoh
    The Hoh river presented challenges to homesteaders very similar to those found on the Bogachiel and the Sol Duc rivers. In addition, the annual average rainfall of 145 inches made life and farming all that more difficult. The Huelsdonk family was the first to homestead on the upper river, arriving in the early 1890s. The area's most famous settler, John Huelsdonk, was known locally as "The Iron Man of the Hoh." Although the Huelsdonk family stayed on the Hoh river , and still have a ranch outside the National Park, others had short stays on the river. By 1901, 25 residents signed a petition to request exclusion from the Olympic Forest Reserve, and they included the P. Willoughby, W. Snell, the Moritz family, H. Milbourn, T. Schmidt, O. Crippen, P. Brandeberry, and F. Fisher. Of the people who left the area, no trace remained even by 1920.
  7. Queets
    An organized settlement colony on the Queets river was an entrepreneurial plan put into place by J. Banta and S. Price Sharp in 1889. Many stayed on for several years pursuing subsistence farming. Beef cattle were the only product which turned much profit for these homesteaders. This area was added to the Olympic National Park in 1953 and all the settlers still remaining left the land. Forty three homestead clearings were identified in the 1970s.
  8. Quinault
    Much of the lower river basin was set aside for the Quinault Indian Reservation, so only the more remote upper river was available for homesteading. From the first homesteader's claim in 1888, this area enjoyed relatively vigorous growth. By the end of 1890, between 20-30 settlers had made claims, though some were observed as "mere travesties on houses, are absolutely uninhabitable, being put together merely to enable the claimant to hold the land" though the area appeared amenable to farming. Expeditions through the Olympic Range typically ended in the Quinault River Basin. Second and third waves of settlement brought numbers higher, and included the formation of the Quinault Township Company, organized by land speculator Dr. O. Chase. Prominent early names included: the Lockes, F. Ziegler, A. Kestner, A. Merriman, Martha Hitchens, the McCallas, the Bunch family, and A. Higley. Eventually all claims were left when the entire area became part of the Olympic National Park.

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