Brig named Orbit
brig Orbit arrived at Tumwater, Washington, in January, I850, coming
Francisco, where she was bought by Col. Isaac N. Ebey, B. F. Shaw, E.
and S. Jackson. They purchased her as a means of transit to the
and brought one passenger with them. On reaching Tumwater they sold the
to Michael Simmons, who sent her to San Francisco in charge of Captain
She next went on a trip to the Columbia in command of Captain Butler,
meeting with difficulty on the bar, was abandoned. She afterward
into Baker's Bay, and was held for salvage by the Astorians. Simmons
with them, took her back to the Sound, and sold her to J. H. Swan, H.
Goldsborough and others. They loaded her with piles and started her for
Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), but she was disabled in a gale on the
of Fuca and went into Esquimalt (Southern tip of Vancouver Island),
she was sold to the Hudson's Bay Company for a thousand dollars. They
her and ran her in the coast trade for several years.
Leonard & Green purchased the brig Orbit and operated her in the
Island and China trade, where she ran for several years in command of
C. Erskine. E. W. Wright, Puget Sound Steamboats,
Golden Days of Fraser River Navigation, Lewis & Dryden's Marine
of the Pacific Northwest. New York: Antiquarian Press, Ltd., 1961.,
The American brig, stranded on Sand Island inbound from Puget Sound,
1850. Captain T. Butler and his crew, fearing that the breakers would
make short work of the brig, abandoned her. Some Astorians with an eye
later boarded the vessel and after herculean efforts succeeded in
her afloat. She drifted to Bakers Bay, and was safely anchored. Michael
of Newmarket, Washington, paid off the salvagers and regained his
James A. Gibbs, Jr. Pacific Graveyard. A narrative of the ships lost
the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. Portland: Binfords and
1950, p. 153-190
Murray C. Morgan, Puget's Sound. P. 78-79.
Stranded on Sand Island in March of 1850 but refloated. Gibbs, Pacific
Cecil Dryden. Dryden's
of Washington. 1968., p. 115.
First American vessel from Puget Sound. North Pacific History Company.
of the Pacific
Northwest, I, p. 335.
Clinton Clinton Snowden, History of Washington, the rise and progress
an American State . History of Washington., II, p. 451-52, 454.
James McCurdy, By Juan De Fuca's Strait., p. 53.
That summer (1850),
Ebey, and other investors purchased the brig Orbit, Puget
first home-owned ship. The Orbit ran pilings sawed by Michael
mill to San Francisco and returned with goods for the growing
He (Edmund Sylvester) had no success in
California gold fields so together with several other men, he purchased
brig Orbit and sailed back to Budd Inlet. He used the Orbit
to travel between Budd Inlet and San Francisco where he purchased
to sell to the settlers on Puget Sound, establishing the first general
in the region.
In the winter of 1849-50,
Isaac N. Ebey, B.F. Shaw, Edmond Sylvester, George Moore and Jackson
the brig Orbit. She arrived at Olympia January 1, 1850, when
M.T. Simmons purchased the interest of Jackson. She loaded with a cargo
piles for San Francisco. The Orbit was the first American
from and owned at Puget Sound.
In 1851, the 154-ton brig Orbit carried
timber and shingles from the Sound to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii).
the lumber trade was first opened on the shores of Puget Sound by a
vessel from San Francisco (the brig "Orbit"),
obtained a load of piles at Budd's Inlet. From that time on the
along the shores and inlet of Puget Sound rapidly and steadily
increased. The lumber and fur trades had much to do with inducing these early settlements.
Volume 11 - Publications of the Ohio State Archaeological
and Historical Society - 1902
1850 - Olympia’s commerce by water began when the brig, Orbit, arrived
the harbor from California, where she had been purchased by Sylvester,
and other Olympians with profits from gold mining. She was the first
ship owned on Puget Sound. Pilings were loaded for San Francisco.