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Connecting curious minds with uncommon, undeniably Northwest reads

A Yankee on Puget Sound

Pioneer Dispatches of Edward Jay Allen, 1852 - 1855

Karen L. Johnson and Dennis M. Larsen


During his three-year stay, Edward Jay Allen—a Monticello Convention delegate and Puget Sound pioneer—leaves an indelible mark on Washington Territory. He chronicles his impressive exploits in eloquent letters that survive 160 years to deliver new insight into regional history.


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In 1852 twenty-two-year-old Edward Jay Allen completed a difficult overland trek to Oregon. His exploits during a three-year stay in Washington Territory featured unique twists and left a distinct, indelible mark.

The young Yankee traveled north from the Columbia River to Cowlitz Landing and was promptly drafted as a delegate to the Monticello Convention. After claiming donation land north of Olympia, he led survey and construction teams laying out the Naches Pass wagon road, initiated relief efforts for Longmire wagon train families, explored Puget Sound on a whaleboat, ran for the Territorial Council, and with two others, made the first documented ascent of Mt. Adams.

Allen recorded his adventures in letters and a diary, deftly weaving in descriptive passages, humor, and poetry while eloquently reflecting social, political, racial, and religious views of his time. His hometown newspaper, the Pittsburgh Daily Dispatch, published his correspondence. Pasted into a recently-discovered scrapbook, his observations deliver new insight into Pacific Northwest history.

Photographs / maps / notes / bibliography / index / 208 pages (2013)

Additional information

Weight 1.28 oz
Dimensions 8.5 x 11 in