Editor's note: Today continues a monthly column that explores the history of Sequim, the Dungeness Valley and Clallam County. It is produced by Thomas E. Montgomery of John L. Scott-Sequim Real Estate in collaboration with Melissa A. Coughlin.
Did you know about the history of Jamestown?
The founding of Jamestown is interesting and historically important as one of the few native-owned land settlements.
Early non-native settlers were interested in owning and settling the Olympic Peninsula. They hurried to evict the native populations from their homelands in order to establish settlements of their own.
The native people were forced to move from one campsite to another and were prohibited from establishing permanent home sites. The federal government and the local settlers lobbied hard to move the S'Klallam more than 100 miles south to the Skokomish Reservation.
The 1855 Point No Point Treaty, among other provisions, created this reservation on Hood Canal for all the area natives who signed the treaty.
Bought 210 acres
Some S'Klallam did not want to leave their traditional home sites near Washington Harbor to relocate 100 miles away. In fact, less than half of the local population left for the Skokomish Reservation to collect their annuities contracted by the treaty.
In June 1874, individuals from the S'Klallam tribe, under the leadership of Chief Lord James Balch, pooled their money. As a group, they bought 210 acres of logged-off land from Richard and Jane Delanty, local settlers, for $500 in gold coin.
The land was divided into long, narrow lots, each with water frontage. Each of the contributing families was allotted a strip of the purchased land.
In 1875, the town was founded and named in honor of the leader who had made it a reality, Chief Lord James Balch.
First church in county
The Jamestown community built a schoolhouse in the area in April 1878. The federal government provided a teacher for the 31 students. The building doubled as a church, the only one in Clallam County in 1880.
Jamestown was the first S'Klallam-purchased land settlement. It is a tribute to the independence and resourcefulness of these strong people.
At a time when the federal government and new settlers pushed to remove populations of indigenous people, giving no rights to secure title to public domain lands to individual tribe members, this group managed to peacefully reclaim this small portion of their original home site.
For more information
A remarkable book "The Jamestown S'Klallam Story," is available for purchase on
the tribe's Web site at www.
The Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe library loans books at the Tribal Center campus in Blyn.
Reach Tom Montgomery at 460-3796 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
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