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 Arthur Armstrong Denny

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Arthur Armstrong Denny

  • Birth 20 Jun 1822 Salem, Washington County, Indiana, USA
  • Death 9 Jan 1899 Seattle, King County, Washington, USA
  • Burial Seattle, King County, Washington, USA
  • Plot Lot 329
  • Memorial ID 2542

Seattle Founder, US Congressman. Born of Scottish-Irish descent, he began his career as a civil engineer and surveyor in Knox, County, Illinois. Enthralled by accounts of vast regions of untouched wilderness, fertile farmlands and mild winters in the Oregon Territory, he became the leader of a wagon train expedition to the Pacific Northwest. Leaving Cherry Grove, Illinois on April 10, 1851, he arrived in Portland, Oregon in late August, following a 108 day journey across country. Hearing of an abundance of potential deep water locations from fellow pioneers encountered along his travels, he sent his brother David T. Denny and John Low north to explore the Puget Sound region of present day Washington state, following the party's arrival in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Receiving positive reports from his brother and fellow pioneer John Low, he organized a party of twelve adults and twelve children to help settle the newly discovered frontier. Booking passage on the schooner "Exact," he arrived on the shores of Alki Point on November 13, 1851 of what would become the future city of Seattle. Following a harsh winter on Alki Point, he moved across the waterway, establishing home sites and deep water claims along Seattle's Elliot Bay. In 1853 he became the first postmaster for the tiny settlement, and one of Seattle's principal merchants. Active in politics he served as commissioner for both King and Thurston Counties and nine terms in the Territorial House of Representatives beginning in 1853, and as Speaker of the House in 1857. From 1851 to 1857 he served as Registrar of the U.S. Land Office in Olympia, and served as president of the Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad. Elected to the thirty-ninth United States Congress in 1864, he served from March 1865 to March 1867 before retiring from politics. Following politics he was involved in a number of private business pursuits including banking, milling, merchandising, irrigation projects, street railways and as a chief legislative sponsor and land donor for the creation of the University of Washington. He was the author of "Pioneer Days on Puget Sound" published in 1888, an 83 page historical account of his life in Illinois and his role in the creation of early pioneer Seattle.

Bio by: Nils M. Solsvik Jr.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2542
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Arthur Armstrong Denny (20 Jun 1822–9 Jan 1899), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2542, citing Lake View Cemetery, Seattle, King County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .