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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 3.41.04 PM

Seattle Map 15 – Mosquito Fleet 1908

Doing some research on Puget Sound’s infamous Mosquito Fleet. I have been trying to locate the origin of the term. There doesn’t seem to be any consensus, though the earlier uses refer exclusively to military vessels. So far I have traced the usage of Mosquito Fleet back to 1777 and a letter written by Governor George Clinton (he uses Musquito instead of mosquito), in reference to fighting on the Hudson River. Benedict Arnold also commanded a Mosquito Fleet on Lake Champlain at this time. There are also references to Mosquito Fleets in the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

But my favorite discovery is this wonderful map from the August 22, 1908, Seattle P-I. We may think we have a good ferry system that carries people throughout Puget Sound but it certainly pales compared to the routes displayed on this map.

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 2.07.04 PM

Or consider that a 1901 P-I article lists 195 ports of call, quite a few of which I haven’t a clue as to their location. In the days before the automobile took over, the Mosquito Fleet ruled the transportation routes of our inland sea.

125 ports of call