Wednesday, February 28, 2018

George Bush: At Least Part of the Reason Washington State Is Not Part of Canada

A case can be made (and has been made by some historians) that what is now Washington State would have ended up part of Canada if not for George Bush (

George Washington Bush (Samuel Patrick drawing)

The specifics of his early life, including the year he was born are a bit unclear ( Based on what is known, Bush had seen some success prior to traveling to what is now Washington State from Missouri in 1844. I like the unconfirmed oral history that he worked for a time as a fur trapper including a stint with the Hudson Bay Company.

What can be ascertained is that he likely faced discrimination in Missouri and saw opportunity and more freedom traveling to what was then the disputed Oregon Country. He and his party were heading for the Willamette Valley. The American settlement in the Willamette Valley had grown enough that the Americans living there set up a provisional government within this otherwise disputed Oregon County. One of the earliest laws passed was an exclusion law against blacks.

Bush and his fellow pioneers/settlers headed north of the Columbia settling in what later became Tumwater. They were the first settlers north of the Columbia. Others followed. These early north of the Columbia settlers partially bolstered the United States claims to include the land that would become Washington State when the border through the disputed Oregon County was finally settled. By all accounts, Bush was a very generous and gracious early settler who greatly aided those that followed and he was beloved by those in his community.

Bush's legacy appears on maps of the area and a school is named after him.

This short talk on the Cowlitz Trail that Bush helped blaze is part of the local South Puget Sound and Tumwater pride and remembrance of his life and legacy.

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