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Contents

County Courthouse

Located in Colville (originally founded at Pinkney City) Courthouse at 215 S. Oak, Colville, WA, 99114. Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Information line 509-684-7512.

Auditor's Office holds records including military discharges, County Commissioner's minutes, homesteads, land records, mining transactions, etc. Land deed records have been digitized, but they are NOT available online. The auditor staff does have digital images of the deeds and can provide them upon promptly upon request. Land Deed volumes D and F are missing.  For Volumes D & F, the indexes may provide basic data like the surname plus initial of the grantor or grantee and an abbreviated land description, but some only direct the person to the actual record.

Check the inventory collection for the Eastern Washington Region of the State Regional Archives at Cheney for many of the older records as these have been moved to the archives for safekeeping.

Court Clerk Office holds records for divorce, naturalization, and court cases. The NeWGS volunteers have permission to access the probate microfilms and can make copies of these records upon request.

History

Land claimed by British and American governments.

With the signing of the Treaty of 1818, British and American jointly claimed the area which includes Stevens County. Prior to 1856, the Hudson's Bay Company controlled most of the land in what is now Stevens County. Their records are available through The Manitoba Archives and The National Archives (UK). Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Colville existed from 1828 to 1856.

Parent County

The Oregon Treaty (Buchanan/Pakenham) was signed June 15, 1846 creating a border between the two countries along the 49th parallel. The U.S. portion was organized as the Oregon Territory in August 14, 1848.

The Washington Territory was formed in February 8, 1853.

Washington State was formed November 11, 1889.

See Boundary Changes for parent counties.

Boundary Changes

  • Prior to 1848, both Great Britain and the United States had joint ownership of the area.  
  • On August 5, 1846, the Oregon Treaty established 49 degrees north as the northern border of the United States and the Oregon Territory was formed.[1]
  • On 25 April 1854, Walla Walla County was created 25 April 1954 from Clark County and Skamania County.[2]
  • On 29 January 1858, Spokane County was created from Walla Walla County.  [3]
  • On January 20, 1863, Stevens County was created. It covered current Okanogan and Ferry Counties and the portion of current Stevens County between the Kettle River and Columbia River.[4]
  • On 19 January 1864, Spokane County was disorganized and placed under Stevens County. County went from summit of Cascade Mountains to the Wenachee River, to the Columbia River, along the Snake River, to the Idaho Territory, then up to the 49th parallel. [5]
  • On 30 October 1879, Spokane County was re-organized from Stevens County. [6] [7]
  • On 21 February 1899, Ferry County was created from Stevens County.[8]
  • Finally on 1 March 1911, Pend Oreille County was created bringing us to what is Stevens County today.[9]
  • See Crossroads on the Columbia for a more detailed timeline http://crossroadsarchive.org/timeline-of-stevens-county-boundary-changes

(Editor's note: An Illustrated History of Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan and Chelan Counties, author Richard S. Steele, pub. Western Historical Publishing Company, 1904 attributes the 1858 and 1860 descriptions of Spokane County to Stevens County creating some confusion.)

Detailed history available at www.HistoryLink.org essay 7995 Stevens County - Thumbnail History.

Timeline

Detailed timeline is available at crossroadsarchive.org/timeline-of-stevens-county-boundary-changes

  • 1811 - David Thompson, Northwest Company visited the area bringing in seed to the Marcus area.[10]
  • 1825 - Hudson's Bay Company began construction of Fort Colvile.[11]
  • 1838 - Missionaries Walker and Eells established Tshimakain Mission near present day Ford.[12]
  • 1845 - Catholic missionaries established a mission near Chewelah. [13]
  • 1846 - Oregon Treaty ended border dispute between US and Great Britain[14]
  • 1854 - Area under Walla Walla County, Washington Territory
  • 1858 - A gold strike in British Columbia brought miners through the area, triggering unrest with the local Indians and started the Indian War of 1858.
  • 1859 - Harney's Depot, US Army Fort Colville established along with Pinkney City and the first post office; Fort Walla Walla Fort Colville Military (Wagon) Road built by Brevet Major Pinkney Lugenbeel and U.S. Army soldiers.[15]
  • 1860 - Spokane County seat was located near Pinkney City.[16]
  • 1871 - Hudson's Bay Company Fort Colvile ended its occupation[17]
  • 1879 - Spokane County broken off from Stevens County
  • 1882 - US Fort Colville disbanded.[18]
  • 1909 - 1910 - Colville River dredged opening up agriculture in the area

Places / Localities

Populated Places

Incorporated communities:

Unincorporated communities with Post Office:

  • Addy 99109
  • Clayton 99110
  • Evans 99126
  • Ford 99013
  • Fruitland 99129
  • Gifford 99131
  • Hunters 99137
  • Loon Lake 99148
  • Rice 99167
  • Tumtum 99034
  • Valley 99181
  • Wellpinit 99040

Communities without a Post Office:

  • Arden
  • Cedonia
  • Deer Lake
  • Echo
  • Lakeside
  • Onion Creek
  • Suncrest

Historical communities that no longer exist

Indian Reservation

The Spokane Indian Reservation is located in southwestern Stevens County.

Neighboring Counties

Resources

Cemeteries

List of Cemeteries

Additionally query cemeteries in neighboring the counties of Ferry, Pend Oreille, and Spokane, for additional possible locations

Census

1850 Population Census is available at FamilySearch and Ancestry.com$ Search under Washington County, Oregon Territory.

1860 US Federal Population Schedule and Mortality Census covering what will be Stevens County is available at USGenWeb extraction. The 1860 Population Census is at Family Search and Ancestry.com$ and at Heritage Quest (available through various libraries, including the Libraries of Stevens County). Look for the "Colville Valley". U.S. Non-population schedules (Agricultural and Industry) for 1860 are available at Ancestry.com$ look for "Colville Valley" or "Coleville Valley" under Spokane County.

1870 U.S. Population and Mortality and Non-population (Agricultural and Industry) schedules are available at Ancestry.com$ look under Stevens County. The 1870 Population schedule is also available at FamilySearch and at Heritage Quest.

1871 Washington Territorial Census is available at the Washington State Digital Archives and Ancestry.com$

1878 Washington Territorial Census is available at the Washington State Digital Archives and Ancestry.com$

1880 U.S. Population and Mortality and Non-population (Agricultural and Manufacturing) schedules are available at Ancestry.com$. The 1880 Population schedule is also available at FamilySearch and Heritage Quest.

1885 Washington Territorial Census is available at the Washington State Digital Archives and Ancestry.com$

1887 Washington Territorial Census is available at the Washington State Digital Archives and Ancestry.com$

1889 Washington Territorial Census is available at the Washington State Digital Archives

1890 Veterans Census covering Washington State is available at Ancestry.com$

1892 Washington State Census is available at the Washington State Digital Archives and Ancestry.com$

The 1900 Population Census is available at Family Search and Ancestry.com$ and at Heritage Quest. 

The 1910 Population Census is available at Washington State Digital Archives, FamilySearch, and Ancestry.com$ and at Heritage Quest.

The 1920 Population Census is available at Family Search and Ancestry.com$ and at Heritage Quest.

The 1930 Population Census is available at Ancestry.com$ and at Family Search There are 81 enumeration districts for Stevens County in this census, with a few exceptions districts are ordered alphabetically.

The 1940 Population Census is available at Ancestry.com$ and at Family Search

The US Indian Censuses covering the Colville and Spokane Tribes of Indians for 1917-1939 are available at Ancestry.com$. If using this database, neither the Colvilles nor the Spokanes are listed as a choice for tribe. Query for the year 1917 and Washington State, click on the first Colville or Spokane tribal member listed, call up the image, and then click on the hyperlink for "Colville and Spokane Reservations" to limit your search to those tribes. Microfilms of these censuses are also available at the Colville Family History Center.

Church

LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Colville 260 E. Juniper, Colville, WA 99114.

Court

1885-89 Stevens County Court Case Index is available at the Washington State Digital Archives

Directories

The Pacific Coast Directory, 1867 is available at Ancestry.com$.

R.L. Polk's Directory of Stevens County, Washington, 1909-1910, at SCHS.

R.L. Polk's Directory of Stevens, Pend Oreille and Ferry Counties 1911-1912 is available at Crossroads on the Columbia

R.L. Polk's Directory of Stevens, Pend Oreille and Ferry Counties 1916-17

Telephone Directories for Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille Counties for 1929 and 1930

1932 Interstate Telephone Company directory for Davenport, Reardan, Medical Lake, Hunters, and Kettle Falls is available at Crossroads on the Columbia


Land

Original homestead records are available at the Bureau of Land Management Federal Land Records Website. The first general land office patent listed on this website was granted May 1884.
To view a Township, Range, Section map within Stevens County *Go to the Stevens County Assessor's website *Look for Parcel Information on Assessor's/Treasurer's Site" and click on it. Agree to the terms of use, click on "I Agree" at least twice when first using this feature. *Enter a parcel number, legal description, or address. In Mapsifter, zoom in close enough to see the blue lines indicating property lines. If not sure of the specific Township/Range, Parcel number, or legal description, click on the Mapsifter tab and it will call up a map of the county. Click on it and then either use the mouse or the control device on the bottom right to zoom and move about the map. These records are current to five years back and provide a lot of detail about the property and current owners.


Bureau of Land Managment General Land Records Office has an explanation of the township/range system, as does Wikipedia;as well as Family Search Wiki.

The BLM also has Cadastral and other survey information at Oregon and Washington Land Status and Cadastral Record, please note this is separate from the survey dropdown on the main glorecords.blm.gov page. To aid in search, the northwest corner of the county is in township 40N Range 36E; the northeast corner is township 40N range 42E; the southwest corner is township 28N range 35E; and the southeast corner is in township 27N range 42E. Per the records clerk at the BLM Spokane Office (Fancher Road) they have NARA microfilms of the railroad land transactions for their assigned area to include Stevens County. Convert latitude and longitude of the desired location to township/range using the converter at Earthpoint.

Local Histories

Colville Collection Book One by Patrick J. Graham A collection of nine stories dealing with early history of the Colville Valley ….120 pages plus index. Book is available at NeWGS

Colville Collection Book Three: Steamboats on the Upper Columbia and Graham Omnibus by Patrick J. Graham Includes stories of the Graham family, Colville & Northport, and the border communities of Boundary, Waneta, Fort Shepard, Leadpoint, Cedar Creek & Deep Creek …....202 pgs plus index. Book is availableat NeWGS

Colville Collection Book Four: Old Dominion Mine...the mine that saved Colville and Jimmie Durkin...A man of his word by Patrick J. Graham The story of one of the richest silver/lead ore mines in Washington state and one of the most colorful characters of the era .... 103 pages plus index. Book is available at NeWGS

Forgotten Corner by Craig E. Holstine A history of the Colville National Forest, Washington….125 pages plus end notes & bibliography. Available at at NeWGS and the Libraries of Stevens County

Heart of Hulda….a biography by Nina Miller The story of the Hanson family who settled on Old Dominion Mountain, 16 miles northeast of Colville ….131 pages. Available at at NeWGS and the Libraries of Stevens County

Kettle River Country by Ruth Lakin Early days along the Kettle River ….274 pages plus an all-name index. Available at at NeWGS and the Libraries of Stevens County

Little Journeys Around The Town, Colville, WA An historical (and sometimes humorous) account of the buildings, businesses, and people who were involved in the evolution of Main Street, written in the 1920s by the then-publisher and editor of the Colville Examiner, J.C. Harrigan…320 pages, 166 photographs, plus an all-name index. Book is available at NeWGS

Northport Pioneers compiled by Northport Over Forty Club (reprinted 2009 by NeWGS) - Stories recounting the history of the Northport community…293 pgs plus all-name index. Book is available at NeWGS

People's History of Stevens County (reprinted 2006 by NeWGS) A history of Stevens County based on 96 oral history interviews done in the early 1980s.....127 pages, plus index. Available at at NeWGS and the Libraries of Stevens County

The People ….Who Will Live in Colville Area History A 1989 centennial celebration book by the Statesman-Examiner, Colville 100 families & people who influenced the area’s history ….159 pages. Book is available at NeWGS

Wets & Drys of Springdale by Rose Brown A history of the little town of Springdale ……130 pgs including index. Available at at NeWGS and the Libraries of Stevens County

The Second 100 Best Main Stems 1959-1964 – Editorials from the Statesman-Examiner relating to events and happenings around Stevens County ..…31 pages. Book is available at NeWGS

The collector : David Douglas and the natural history of the Northwest / Jack Nisbet. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

The mapmaker's eye : David Thompson on the Columbia Plateau / Jack Nisbet. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

Purple Flat Top : in pursuit of a place / Jack Nisbet. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

Sources of the river : tracking David Thompson across western North America / Jack Nisbet ; maps and illustrations by Jack McMaster. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

Visible bones : journeys across time in the Columbia River country / Jack Nisbet. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

Carl Oman Remembers/ Carl Oman. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

Early Birds in the Northwest / Rowland Bond. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

History of North Washington / Western Historical Publishing Company. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

History of the Immaculate Conception Parish in the Colville Valley. / Joseph J. Pash. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

Old Bossburg and Her Ferries / Goldie Putnam. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

Pioneers of Happy Hill : an historical documentary / Jim McMillan. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

Pioneers of the Columbia / Greenwood Park Grange. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

Spokane and the Inland Northwest; historical images Washington counties: Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Spokane; Idaho counties: Boundary, Bonner / Tony Bamonte. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

Elkanah and Mary Walker / Clifford Merrill Drury. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

The First White Women Over the Rockies Vol 1 The First White Women Over the Rockies Vol 2 The First White Women Over the Rockies Vol 3 All by Clifford Merrill Drury. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

Mary Richardson Walker / Ruth Karr McKee. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

On to Oregon : the diaries of Mary Walker and Myra Eells / introductions and editorial notes by Clifford Merrill Drury. Available at the Libraries of Stevens County

Maps

An extensive collection of Oregon Territory, Washington Territory, and Washington State maps is available Department of Geography University of Alabama Map Library

Historic USGS topographical maps. The 1941 maps along the Columbia River show the river and towns prior to Lake Roosevelt forming as well as the lake after it forms.

An 1880 map of Oregon & Washington Territory, issued by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Co.is available at Ancestry.com$

An 1890 map of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company including Eastern Washington is available at Ancestry.com$

1910 Map of the Spokane Indian Reservation is available at Ancestry.com$

Atlases, Gazetteers, Maps held by Stevens County Historical Society

  • Two early County Engineer's maps
  • Undated early partly platted lower British Columbia, Columbia River
  • 1810-1871 coast to coast territory covered by artist Paul Kane for Hudson Bay
  • 1863 state map showing which areas have been surveyed
  • 1863 county map showing place names
  • 1870 Colville and north end
  • 1870-1883 Colville area, shows cemeteries, etc.
  • 1887 survey of military Fort Colville
  • 1890 two sections of Meyers Falls
  • 1903 Colville area, shows cemeteries, etc
  • 1910 railroad map,  Stevens and Bonner County, Idaho
  • 1911 section map
  • 1912 Original Triplicate Copy of the Northwesten Mutual Fire Association, Seattle Washington (Sanborn Maps) for Colville with viewable corrections.
  • 1929 Original Triplicate Copy of the Northwesten Mutual Fire Association, Seattle Washington (Sanborn Maps) Northport with viewable corrections.
  • 1952 county topography map
  • 1963 Metsker's book of maps
  • Original Stevens County plat maps (complete collection)
  • Colville region topography
  • Old Colville City map
  • City of Colville
  • Map of Kettle Falls
  • Sanborn Insurnance Maps (shows buildings)
  • State Highway Map 

Military

The Washington State Department of Military Museum details the formation and history of the territorial militia and national guard units in seven pdf files.  

Fort Colville, located three miles northeast of the current City of Colville, was established June 20, 1859. Initial troops were from the Company A and Company E of the Ninth Infantry under command of Capt. Pinkney Lugenbeel. U.S. Fort Colville was ordered closed September 20, 1882.

More information about the U.S. troops and members of the American Border Commission is available in Colville Collection Book Two: Military Fort Colville by Patrick J. Graham A history of Military Fort Colville (1859-1882) including its officers, and historical manuscripts of events of that period in Colville and northeastern Washington. ....169 pages plus index. Book is available at NeWGS

Civil War Veterans Buried in Stevens County by Roger W. May Information on almost 300 veterans who are buried in or have lived in Stevens County ….219 pages with 217 photos. Book is available at NeWGS

"World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel from Washington" at the National Archives. Query for the exact title; go to the Digital Copies tab, and page through to Stevens County to view those service members who died during WWII.

Stevens County Vietnam War Casualties at USGenWeb.

Naturalization

Washington State Digital Archives has digitized various types of naturalization-related records, including declarations of intentions, delayed birth files, naturalization affidavits, notifications of application for admission to US citizenship, orders fixing naturalization terms, petitions and records, petitions, receipts for certificates of citizenship, record of final decrees of citizenship and record of petitions dockets. Stevens County Naturalization, Declarations of Intentions, and Petition for Naturalization records range from 1908-1973.

Newspapers

Colville Examiner 1907-1922 is available online thanks to the Washington State Library, Library of Congress, and the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities.

The WA National Digital Newspaper Program wiki part of the National Digital Newspaper Project provides the digitization status of state newspapers.

The Loon Lake Times 1911 to 1913 edtions. Query Loon Lake Historical Society Collection and keyword of newspaper.

The Statesman-Examiner is published weekly in Colville.  Precursors to this newspaper, the Colville Republican, Stevens County Standard, the Colville Index, and the Stevens County Statesman-Index for the 1892 to 1897 time frame are available in pdf format at Crossroads on the Columbia items 12945 to 13949.

The Chewelah Independent has been published weekly since 1903. Information about the newspaper is available from the Chewelah Chamber of Commerce website.

An extensive collection of local newspapers on microfilm is available at the Kettle Falls Public Library and some others at the Colville Public Library and Stevens County Historical Society. The Northeast Washington Genealogical Society maintains a listing of these papers.

The Spokane Public Library Downtown Branch has a large microfilm collection of Spokane papers, which has some coverage of Stevens County.

Probate

Stevens County Probate records are available at the courthouse.  Authorized members of the NeWGS can research microfilms of these records. 

Schools

All schools in Stevens County are under the Northeast Washington Educational Service District 101 located at Regal Center 4202 S. Regal Street, Spokane, WA 99223-7738, phone number (p.) 509-789-3800


ESD 101 records at the Washington State Archives at Cheney include item EA801-36-14 Pioneer Interviews (Stevens County) for 1933-47; item EA801-36-1 School Census (Stevens County) school census records for 1915-32, and other early school records. The Digital Archives also has a 1927 Spokane County School District map. Note: Beginning in July or August 2010, the State Archives at Cheney will begin digitizing the 1915-32 School Census Records and, once the names are extracted, the index and images will be available through the Digital Archives.

The Last Bell by Alpha Naff (reprinted 2005 by NeWGS) A history of the rural schools in Stevens County ….152 pages, indexed. Available at at NeWGS and the Libraries of Stevens County (Submitter's note: If you can only get one book on Stevens County, this is it! Mrs. Naff not only discusses each school, but explains how and when the community came about and how it grew or disappeared.)


The Crossroads on the Columbia project has several school records for Chewelah. Other areas will be added.

The Stevens County Historical Society (SCHS) has the October 1897 to June 1904 bound record of teachers' contracts (leather bound with contract information recorded three to a page similar to a receipt book).

SCHS has the August 1891 to 1901 School District No. 32, Pleasant Valley Pupil Attendence Binder.

SCHS has the School District No. 2 Colville Schools Board of Director Minutes, May 15, 1903 – April 8, 1920

The Internet Archives has an article about Washington State Teacher's Cottages in 1915 by Josephine Corliss Preston

Taxation

Vital Records

Births

  • 1891-1907 Washington State Births are available at Ancestry.com$
  • 1907-1919 Washington State Births are available at Ancestry.com$


Marriages

Deaths

  • 1891 - 1907 Washington State Deaths are available at Ancestry.com$
  • 1940-1996 Washington State Death Index is available at Ancestry.com$
  • Washington Death Certificates 1907-1960 A free internet index to the 1907-1960 death certificates can be found at FamilySearch Record Search, no images are available. A transcribed death certificate may contain such information as name of the deceased, date and place of death, age, gender, birth date and birth place, mother’s maiden name and name of spouse, place of residence, occupation and certificate numbers.

Notes from Basic Guide for Genealogy Research in Stevens, Ferry & Pend Oreille Counties by Nancy Wright, Susan DeChant, and Shirley Dodson of NeWGS:  "Stevens County is long and narrow, bisected by the Huckleberry Mountains running north and south through the middle.  In the early days, travel was difficult and there were almost no roads.  During the winter it was impossible to go very far, so people often did their "marrying" and "burying" in Lincoln County if they lived along the River at the south end of the county.  They also went to Spokane County for supplies or to get married.  If they lived in the north end of the county, they caught the ore train going to the smelter in Trail, British Columbia, got off at Rossland, had time to get married and catch the train on its return trip to the states.  All this could be done in time to get home for evening chores.  The railroad was completed in 1892-93.  Lincoln County seat is located in Davenport, WA 99122. The address for the proper office in Rossland is Vital Record, Court Registry, Box 639, Rossland, B.C. VOG 1YO, phone 604-362-7368."

Societies and Libraries

The Northeast Washington Genealogical Society assists those researching in Ferry, Pend Oreille, and Stevens County. Classes and meetings are held the second Wednesday of the month. Mailing address is Northeast Washington Genealogical Society, c/o Colville Public Library, 195 S Oak, Colville, WA 99114.

The NeWGS's publication, Pioneer Branches is available at the Colville Public Library (part of the Libraries of Stevens County), Allen County Public Library, and through the society. Indexes are available on Persi from 1986 to 2007.

The Libraries of Stevens County (formerly the Stevens County Rural Library District) has branches in Chewelah, Colville, Hunters, Kettle Falls, Lakeside, Loon Lake, Northport, Springdale, and a station at Onion Creek.

The Stevens County Historical Society at 700 N Wynne St. P.O. Box 25, Colville, WA 99114 maintains the Keller House and Stevens County Museum.

The Loon Lake Historical Society has an extensive collection of photographs, ledgers, loose papers, and family histories for the Loon Lake and Deer Lake areas, and a number of Clayton documents. 

The Clayton/Deer Park Historical Society has records for the Williams Valley area and Town of Clayton.


Family History Centers

Web Sites

References

  1. The Evolution of Washington Counties by Newton Carl Abbott & Fred E. Carver, 1979. Published by the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society and Klickitat County Genealogical Society.
  2. Washington State Archives p. 716-717.
  3. Washington State Achives, P.621.
  4. Washington State Archives. p. 6.
  5. Washington State Archives. p. 70.
  6. Washington State Archives, p. 203-205.
  7. Washington State Archives. p.70-73.
  8. Washington State Archives, p. 26-29.
  9. Washington State Archives. p. 98-106.
  10. HistoryLink.org Essay 8677
  11. HistoryLink.org Essay 7993
  12. HistoryLink.org Essay 7204
  13. HistoryLink.org Essay 9534
  14. HistoryLink.org Essay 5247
  15. HistoryLink.org Essay 7992
  16. HistoryLink.org Essay 7995
  17. HistoryLink.org Essay 7993
  18. HistoryLink.org Essay 7992

 

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