The explorer Peter Crawford, a native of Kelso, Scotland, first learned of the wealth of the Cowlitz Valley from Marcus Whitman. Following the advice of the well-known missionary, he traveled up the Cowlitz River to explore the interior country. On Christmas Day, 1847, he settled on a river bottom property which is now the general vicinity of North Kelso, Washington. Crawford was an experienced surveyor and later platted the town of Kelso [†], naming it after his birthplace. In 1879 and 1880 he completed his travel journal, which he sent in installments to the historian H. H. Bancroft. Bancroft was doing research for a voluminous history of the west and asked Crawford to write an account of his experiences. Happily, the 400-page manuscript of Crawford's journal was placed in Bancroft's private archives and later in the Bancroft Library.
The journal was turned up there years later by John M. McClelland, Jr., former editor and publisher of The Daily News in Longview, a distinguished historian of the Cowlitz district. He transcribed the journal and reprinted it in the newspaper throughout 1953.
† The Cowlitz Corridor: the Passage Through Time,Margot Coleman Vaughan, Portland State University, 1986, pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu, accessed June, 2022.
Nearby Towns: Longview City •