June 30, 1976
Early Settlers Left Issaquah Footprints
By Harriet Fish
Ten score years ago, in 1776, adventurers from the old world were exploring coastal fringes in what is now our State of Washington. Some of the crew members were jumping ship with the newness of the land in mind, and the possibilities provided for self expression. They did this into the late 1800s, mingling with the native Indians and becoming “lost” in the history of the area.
It was almost 100 years later when preserved records tell of the penetration of the early curious hunters, trappers and explorers, into this inland fertile valley, which we call Issaquah, and the Indians called Squak. From the Oregon Territory to the south, from the Hudson’s Bay region to the north, came the fore-runners with an eye to building new empires in this untouched land. From the rugged mountains and the hot plains to the east, the pioneer families came seeking a good life, one of hard work, ingenious innovation and endless days in order to survive.
In 1862, the first recorded filing of land patents reached Squak Valley, with the visit of Mr. L.B. Andrews who laid claim to the land where he found coal chunks in the fast-running stream. Four years later, in 1867, three bachelors, two of whom were brothers, Lars and Ingebright Wold, and Jacob Jones all filed claims on eighty acres each. These chosen plots of land intersected at a common corner, for by now United States surveyors had laid out Townships, Ranges and Sections for record keeping in land areas.
This map is drawn from a linen map, one of the earliest presrved treasures of the Issaquah Historical Society. It had been kept carefully by the late Andrew Wold, neatly folded, since the death of his father, Lars. It came to the society through the kindness of his descendents.
The corner they chose we now know as Front Street and Sunset Way, right in the middle of Issaquah. But on a handdrawn linen map, which came to the Issaquah Historical Society from the late Andrew Wold’s family items, this is the point where Township 24′s Sections 28, 27, 33 and 34 intersect. So from the very start here was “the middle of things” – and it still is today!
The older brother, Lars Wold, having purchased earlier the Ned Welsh farm, (north and east of this corner near today’s Gilman Village) filed claim to the northeast, Ingebright the southeast, and Jacob the northwest quadrants. The fourth corner had already been claimed by Mr. L.B. Andrews four years earlier.
During the years of collecting the history from that generation, Andy, Lars’ son, told us in his own words: “Instead of each man building his own house on the land there, the three bachelors erected one hand-split cedar shake cabin on the land where their claims touched. Then each one had his bed on his own ground.” But they did not cook there. Lars’ cabin, on his farm, was more complete with a stove and he had a tilled garden, so this is where they went for their meals.
From the fact that Lars’ cabin had been built earlier by Ned Welsh and a garden started before the days of the bachelors, we know many people had passed through this valley previously, but no documented footprints are left to us.
The notable thing about the common corner filings is that these men must have had some sort of eye to the future – a forward looking ability – or perhaps it was the drive they engendered which made this intersection grow into what it is today.
No one sleeps here now, for, 100 years later, we stop at the bidding of a traffic signal for cars and people to pass – and sometimes a horse!