African Americans in the U.S. Army Era
While the Hudson's Bay Company gradually relocated to their newly established post at Fort Victoria following the establishment of the border between the United States and Canada in 1846, American settlers continued to emigrate to the Pacific Northwest.
Since African American settlement was barred in the Oregon Territory, several African American pioneers continued north of the Columbia River and settled in what would later become Washington Territory.
Pioneers George Washington and George Washington Bush are two prominent examples of African American pioneers who helped establish communities in what would later become Washington State.
In 1850, George Washington, the son of a slave, set out for the Pacific Northwest along the Oregon Trail. After a brief stay in Oregon City, he moved north of the Columbia River and filed a Donation Land Claim for 640 acres.
By 1875, after learning that the railroad would soon cross their homestead, he and his wife Mary Jane founded the town of Centerville, known today as Centralia.