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A (brief) History of Puyallup (the city and the Indians)


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Gateway to the Past

Puyallup is a scenic town that emerged among hops, succulent berries, and the beautiful flowers of the local bulb farmers. Pioneer hop king and champion of the Oregon Trail, Ezra Meeker, planned the city in 1877, giving it it's unique name. The livelihood for many local residents during the early years was primarily agriculture. Through many years of development, Puyallup has transformed to a booming scenic community with an interesting and profound history.

Ezra Meeker platted the town of Puyallup in 1890, but is that the beginning of Puyallup? We've discovered some information about the Puyallup Indians as well.

The Forming of the the Puyallup Valley

Into this natural wonderland (now called the Puyallup Valley) formed between two great mountain ranges, long before the dawn of recorded history, came a race of people, believed to have migrated from Asia some 15,000 years ago across a land bridge that disappeared as the glaciers melted further and the oceans rose. In time, these people spread throughout the two continents. Since 1492, when Columbus found them on the island of San Salvadore, they have been known as Indians (Columbus believed he had found India).
The Puyallup Indians received their name from the Yakima Indians, who came over the mountains to trade and began to refer to this tribe of natives, heretofore unnamed, as "pough-allup" or generous people.
Although there is to this day controversy over who actually came up with the name Puyallup for the town (the Indian tribe and river had already been named), be it Ezra Meeker or A.S. Farquharson, one thing is true; their idea worked. They wanted a name like no other in the country because of problems with postal mail. The first post office in the area was called Franklin, and the mail intended for this area seemed to get spread around the country to other post offices called Franklin. So, when Ezra Meeker platted the first 20 acres for his township, he decided to name it Puyallup, and on August 16, 1890 a special election was held to vote on the incorporation of Puyallup, WA. Ezra Meeker's most famous quote since then is he "… rued the day I gave it the name, Puyallup." Clearly, although he may have come to loathe the name, he loved the town. He was voted as the first mayor of Puyallup, and was re-elected in 1892 to serve a second term.
Even though, to this day, most people in the country can't pronounce the name, no one who has been here can deny how beautiful this valley and town are.

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The Washington Story: A History of Our State. Ruth Pelz. Seattle: Seattle Public Schools, 1988, 1993 (revised edition)

Doin' the Puyallup : An Illustrated History of the Western Washington Fair Since 1900


Washington in Maps

by Iris Miller

Main History page | Puyallup History | Sumner History |The Puyallup Indians | The Puyallup Fair | Read more about Ezra Meeker | Read more about William Kincaid |Why Daffodil Valley? | History of the Daffodil Festival | Indian War of 1855
All historical information has been compiled through the hard work and diligence of the Daffodil Valley Times staff. Anyone may copy this information for private or public use provided links are given to Daffodil Valley Times (http://www.daffodilvalleytimes.com) and full credit is given to Daffodil Valley Times. Thank you!

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