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Vader ~ Vulcan Mountain Origin Washington Geographical Names

Vader, a town in the southwestern part of Lewis County, was named by act of the Legislature, dated March 25, 1913. (Laws of Washington, 1913, page 662.) George T. Reed, of Tacoma, Assistant to the President of the Northern Pacific Railway Company gives an interesting account of this name as follows: "There is some humor connected with the naming of Vader. The town formerly had the name of Little Falls. Our company had another town of the same name on its line in Minnesota, and because of the frequent miscarriage of express and freight matter, we changed the name of the station to Sopenah, so that the town had the name of Little Falls and the station the name of Sopenah. The citizens were not satisfied with this and finally asked me to confer with them on the subject. I visited the town and met many of the citizens. I refused to change the name of the station to Little Falls and suggested that if they would change the name of the town I would change the name of the station to conform to it, with only one limitation, namely, that it should not be the name of any other station along our line of road or that of the Great Northern or Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Co. They then got up a petition to the Legislature to change the name to Toronto. There was a faction of 'standpatters' in the town who objected to changing the name of the town at all and they appeared before the committee of the Legislature and among other arguments objected to Toronto because there were five other post offices in the United States bearing that name. The Legislative committee finally told us that they favored changing the name but asked us to select a name that would not be a duplicate of any other post office in the United States. We held a consultation in the hall and I asked them if they could not find the name of some citizen that would be suitable. After canvassing the matter briefly, one of the gentlemen mentioned the name of an old German by the name of Vader and we finally recommended his name to the committee and that name was inserted in the bill and it became a law. The humor of the matter is that we supposed the old gentleman would be highly flattered in having the town named after him but instead of that he took it as a personal indignity and immediately moved to Florida." (In Names MSS. Letter 94.)

Valentine, an abandoned post office in . Garfield County, was named for A. L. Vallen, of Clarkston. (Fred W. Unfried, of Unfried, in Names MSS. Letter 322.)

Valley City, see Algona.

Valley Grove, a town in the south central part of Walla Walla County, was probably given by Mr. and Mrs. Charles McInroe, who settled there in 1879. The name was established there for a station in 1881 by the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company. Mrs. McInroe was postmistress for a number of years. (W. D. Lyman, in Names MSS. Letter 246.)

VanBrunt, a settlement in the northeastern part of Okanogan County, was named for Harry Van Brunt, an old settler there. (Merrill & Rowe, of Wauconda, in Names MSS. Letter 313.)

VanBuren, a town in the north central part of Whatcom County, was named about 1900, after an old settler who was the first postmaster there. (Postmaster at Van Buren, in Names MSS. Letter 435.)

Vance, a post office in the east central part of Lewis County, was named for Zebulon Baird Vance. United States Senator from North Carolina, "who, in the fall of 1886 secured for us the extension of the mail route running east from Mossy Rock into the Big Bottom country a distance of thirty miles, being the first post office east of Mossy Rock in eastern Lewis County." (J. S. Siler, in Names MSS. Letter 409.)

Vancouver, a town in the southwestern part of Clarke County, is the oldest continuous home of white men in the State of Washington See Fort Vancouver, Point Vancouver and Clarke County. Samuel R. Thurston was sent to Congress in 1849 as Oregon Territory's first Delegate. He hated the British and sought to remove their geographic names. While he was in Washington, the Post-Master General changed the name of Vancouver to Columbia City (H. H. Bancroft, Works, Volume XXX., pages 118-119, quoting Oregon Statesman for May 28, 1851.) It is annoying to find Bancroft forgetting this information when writing the next volume of his long series. In Volume XXXI., pages 77-78, he has this footnote: Vancouver is called Columbia City in the act. This patriotic change of name occurred about 1851 or 1852, but I fail to find any mention of it. I think it was done on the motion of the first postmaster at that place, R. H. Lonsdale, who had the post-office called Columbia City. The name, however, would not pass in the face of long usage, and the Washington legislature at its second session changed it to Vancouver." The act which named "Columbia City" as the county seat of Clarke County located it "on the east side of Mrs. Esther Short's land claim" and Mrs. Short's house was made the legal place of holding court until the county should provide a more suitable building. (Laws of Washington, 1854, page 475.) James C Strong says that he and another man surveyed that land into lots, blocks and streets. ("Reminiscences of a Pioneer," in Washington Historical Quarterly, for July, 1912, page 182.) The act by which "Columbia City" was changed back to the old name of Vancouver may be found in Laws of Washington, 1855, page 44. As explained in items above cited, the Vancouver honored by this city's name was Captain George Vancouver, the great English explorer, who named many geographic features in the Pacific Northwest during the years 1792, 1793, and 1894. His biography may be found in Edmond S. Meany's Vancouver's Discovery of Paget Sound, pages 7 to 21. The Indian name for the site of the city is given as Alashikash. (E. S. Curtis, The North American Indian, Volume VII., page 182.)

Vancouver District, see Washington, State of. Vancouver Lake, in the southwestern part of Clarke County, near the Columbia River, like the city nearby, was named in honor of Captain George Vancouver. It was mapped with that name in 1856. (Preston's Map of Oregon and Washington West of the Cascade Mountains.)

Vancouver Point, see Point Vancouver.

Vancouver Straits, was once applied as the name of Rosario Straits.

Vanderford's Harbor, see Whollochet Bay.

Van Horn, a town in the central part of Skagit County, was named for the founder, Tames V. Van Horn. (Postmaster at Van Horn, in Names MSS. Letter 363.)

Van Wyck, a town in the west central part of Whatcom County, was named on July 1, 1889, for Alexander Van Wyck (Hugh Eldridge, in Names MSS. Letter 136.)

Van Zandt, a town in the west central part of Whatcom County, was named in February, 1892, for J. M. Van Zandt, the first postmaster there (John H. Turrell, of Van Zandt, in Names MSS. Letter 137|)

Vashon Island, in the southwestern part of King County, was named by Captain George Vancouver on Tuesday, May 29. 1792, after his friend Captain (later Admiral) James Vashon of the British Navy. (Vancouver's Voyage Round the World, second edition. Volume II, page 145.) For a portrait and biography of Vashon, see Edmond S. Meany's Vancouver's Discovery of Puget Sound, pages 14S-147).

Vashon Point, see Point Vashon.

Vassar, a town in the central part of Adams County, was named for Vassar College. (H. R. Williams, Vice President of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Company, in Names MSS., Letter 589.)

Vaughn, a bay and town on the east shore of Case Inlet, in the northwestern part of Pierce County, were named for W. D. Vaughn, who crossed the plains in 1851 and took up a homestead on the bay. Illness caused him to lose his rights to the land but his name was given to the bay (Alfred Van Slyke, of Vaughn, in Names MSS., Letter 577.) In crossing the plains, Vaughn kept the party in game and was always fond of fishing and hunting. He was called "Nimrod" by pioneers in Oregon and Washington. He served in the Indian wars of 1855-56, and later had a gunsmith store and livery stable at Steilacoom. (H. K. Hines, Illustrated History of the State of Washington, page 808). In 1917, Mr. Vaughn was still living in Steilacoom, 86 years of age. (Pioneer Biography Manuscripts, University of Washington.)

Veazie, a town in the south central part of King County, was named in 1890 for Thomas Veazie of the Veazie & Russell Logging Company. (Joseph T. Paschich, Postmaster, in Names MSS., Letter 31.)

Velvet, a town in the north central part of Stevens County, was first known as "Frontier," so named by the Superintendent of the Red Mountain Railroad. The station is near the international boundary. It is the shipping point of the Velvet Mine, located ten miles north in British Columbia. The name was changed from "Frontier" to Velvet in honor of the mine. (Postmaster at Velvet, in Names MSS., Letter 148.)

Vendovi Island, in the northwestern corner of Skagit County, was named by the Wilkes Expedition, 1841, for a native of Fiji, (or Viti) Island, whom he had captured and carried northward to these waters. Wilkes, in his Narrative, Volume HI., page 120, gives a picture of Vendovi and tells about his capture (Page 131) and of his leave-taking, (page 136 ) In Volume IV., page 297, while describing the Indians of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Wilkes records: "It was amusing to us, who had no very exalted opinion of the Feejians, to observe the contempt our prisoner Vendovi entertained for these Indians, which was such that he would hardly deign to look at them.'' The Expedition reached home on June 10, 1842. Captain Wilkes, in Volume V., page 453, makes this entry: "On our arrival home, the health of the prisoner Vendovi had so far declined that it was necessary to place him in the Naval Hospital at New York. Every attention was paid him ''there, but very soon afterward he expired." The Spanish name for Vendovi and Sinclair Islands was "Islas de Aguayo." (Galiano and Valdes map, in United States Public Documents, Serial Number 1557, chart L.) See also Viti Rocks.

Ventura, a village that existed in the west central part of Okanogan County during the mining boom in the summer of 1395. (Mrs. M. Stewart, of Mazama, in Names MSS., Letter 314.)

Vesta, a creek and post office in the south central part of Grays Harbor County, was named in 1882 in honor of Mrs. Vesta Dwindle. In that year the creek was explored from its source to its junction with North River by M. J. Luark and Milton Dwindle and was named for the wife of the latter. (M. J. Luark, of Montesano, in Names MSS. Letter 548.)

Victim Island, in West Sound, Orcas Island, in the central part of San Juan County, was first mapped on the British Admiralty Chart 2689, Richards, 1858-1859, on account of evidences of Indian battles there. See also Skull Rock, Haida Point, Indian Point, and Massacre Bay.

Vila, a railroad station in the southwestern part of Klickitat County, was named by L. W. Hill and C. M. Levey. (L. C. Gilman, President of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway Company, in Names MSS., Letter 590.) Village Point, see Baadam, Chinook Point, and Restoration Point.

Vineland, a name once applied to Clarkston, Asotin County, Vine Maple Valley, see Maplevalley.

Virden, a town in the north central part of Kittitas County, was named for G. D. Virden. (E. J. Powers, of Liberty, in Names MSS., Letter 295.)

Virgin Cove. "The first settler in the vicinity of Padilla Bay was James McClellan, a bachelor from California, who located about the year 1869 on the place now known as the Smith ranch, but which he named Virgin Cove." (History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, page 103.)

Vista, a former name for Fishtrap, Lincoln County, is now applied to a station on the Northern Pacific Railway, in the southeastern part of Benton County. The name has reference to the outlook.

Viti Rocks, in the southwestern part of Whatcom County, near Vendovi's Island, were named for Viti, one of the Fiji Islands, and refers to the home of Vendovi. The name was given by the Wilkes Expedition, 1841. (Hydrography, Volume XXIII, Atlas, chart 77.) See Vendovi Island.

Vulcan Mountain, in the northwestern part of Ferry County, was named by prospectors who found indications of iron there. (Postmaster at Ferry, in Names MSS. Letter 202.)

Washington AHGP | Geographic Names

Source: Washington Historical Quarterly, Volume 8 - 14


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