Vancouver Naming Puget Sound

In my research for my book about Puget Sound, I often come across fine images of the region. Here’s one that struck me as interesting. It comes from one of a series of books, known as the Zig Zag Journeys. Each was written by Hezekiah Butterworth, who had been inspired by a French book that wove narrative and historic stories for school children. Mr. Butterworth decided to do the same. His first book was Zigzag Journeys in Europe. According to his biography in the book, Mr. Butterworth “is a delightful man to meet.” Plus, “his handshake is cordial and his welcome warm and hearty.” What more do you really need to know about the man?

In Zigzag Journeys in the Great Northwest, which is based on a journey on the Canadian Pacific Railroad to Vancouver, with visits to Puget Sound and the Columbia River, Mr. Butterworth, extols George Vancouver’s discovery of Puget Sound. “Vancouver seems to have had a heart formed for friendship, and he named many of the places of the sublimely picturesque region that he visited under the blue spring sky and in the burning noons and long crimson morning and evening twilights of the June days of 1792 for the honor of his faithful officers and best loved friends.”

Mr. Butterworth, like so many others, fails to mention that Puget Sound had already been discovered by the Native people who had inhabited the place for at least the past 12,500 years or so. Nor does he note that all of the places named by Vancouver already had names.

The image is curious. Where are these deciduous trees, where Vancouver supposedly stopped to name the place? Vancouver may have had friendly heart but nowhere in his or his crew’s journals is there any indication that he discussed place names with his men? The clothes are wonderful though.

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