Memorial to Congress for George Bush

On February 27, 1854, the first meeting of the Legislature of the Territory of Washington was held on Capitol Way in Olympia. On March 1, two days later, a group of concerned citizens of the Puget Sound region signed a petition which asked the new Legislature to memorialize Congress to pass a special act granting to George Washington Bush his 640 acres of improved land.

On March 17, 1854, the following memorial directed to the Congress of the United States was passed by Washington’s first Territorial Legislature:

…the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington… would most respectfully represent unto your honorable body, that George Bush, free mulatto with his wife and children, emigrated to and settled in the Washington Territory, Thurston County, in the year 1846 and that he laid claim to and settled upon, with his family, 640 acres of land… and that he… has resided upon and cultivated said tract of land continuously from said year 1845 to the present time, and that his habits of life during that time, have been exemplary and industrious, and that by a constant and laborious cultivation of said claims and by an accommodating and charitable disposal to emigrants, he has contributed much towards the settlement of this territory, the suffering and needy never having applied to him in vain for succor and assistance; and that at the present time the said George Bush has a large portion of his claim under a high rate of cultivation… your memorialists are of the opinion that the case of George Bush is of meritorious nature, that Congress ought to pass a special law, donating to his said claim…