The tour enters an area of farming and grasslands known as Bush Prairie, after George W. Bush, one of the founders of Tumwater. Having moved from Pennsylvania to Missouri, where he acquired a modest fortune in farming and cattle trading, Bush gave up his Missouri home when it became illegal for free African Americans to live in that State. Believing that the Oregon country north of the Columbia River might become British territory, where slavery would not be permitted, Bush and his family joined Colonel Simmons’ westbound caravan. During the long journey and after settlement near Tumwater, Bush gave generously to other settlers from his stores of food and supplies and kept open house for travelers between the Columbia River and Puget Sound points. These deeds stood him in good stead some years later: after developing a large farm on the prairie now bearing his name, Bush discovered that the laws of the Oregon Territory denied residence to African Americans. Some years after the creation of Washington Territory, however, his friends secured the passage of a Congressional resolution granting him title to the land.
Points of Interest
Oregon Trail Monuments
Stone monuments set at intervals mark the route of the northern extension of the Oregon Trail as it crosses Bush Prairie.