Col Michael Troutman Simmons 2
- Born: 5 Aug 1814, Shepherdsville, Bullitt County, Kentucky
- Marriage: Elizabeth Kindred on 20 Jan 1835 in Clay County, Iowa
- Died: 15 Nov 1867, Drews Prairie, Washington at age 53
- Buried: Tumwater, Thurston County, Washington
History of the Troutman Family
Flodene Parks Troutman
In the spring of 1844 he set out for Independence, Missouri for the great Northwest. The Independent Oregon Colony chose him as colonel and placed him second in command, of the caravan of 323 persons and 80-odd covered wagons, which achieved the amazing record of traveling 2000 miles to the Columbia River without serious illness or loss of life. Nevertheless many hardships were endured. It rained nearly every day of the first two months of the trek and the mountain trails had to be cleared daily of trees and logs. At nightfall camps were pitched within a circle formed by the prarie schooners as protection against possible attack. On the brighter side, game was abundant along the way and the Indians willingly supplied corn. And there were amusing incidents, too. One day a child was missing and prolonged search failed to locate him. It so happened that large kettles for making maple syrup and for other uses were swung from the back of some of the wagons. Finally the child was found nestled in one of the rock-a-bye-baby kettles, quite comfortable and fast asleep.
The caravan reached its main destination in the late fall of 1844, and Colonel Simmons and his party found temporary winter quarters at Wasbougal, north of the Columbia River. British opposition to American settlement north of the river was of no significance to Colonel Simmons. He was resolute in his plan to explore the Puget Sound area. His attempt to make the journey in December failed when provisions gave out but he succeeded in the summer of 1845, and selected Turnwater Falls as the site of his land claim. In autumn he established the first white American settlement on the Sound. En route he had extended the Oregon Trail by opening 56 miles of road from Cowlitz Landing to Turnwater. A marker bearing the legend "The End of the Oregon Trail" has been placed on the site of his settlement. Colonel Michael Troutman Simmons played an important role in the early history of the State of Washington.
When Vancouver District was organized in 1846 he was appointed one of the three judges. He was a representative in the first Oregon Territorial Legislature in 1849, and a delegate to both the Cowlitz Convention in 1851 and the Monticello Convention in 1852 that led to the creation of the Territory of Washington in 1853. He was the first to harness water power on Puget Sound, where he built the first sawmill and the first gristmill in Washington in 1846. Later he sold his gristmill to Captain Crosby, great-grandfather of Bing and Bob Crosby. Colonel Simmons built the first store in Olympia, was Olympia's first postmaster and first Indian agent, and he was the founder of the first Masonic Lodge north of the Columbia River. His great phisical stature and lofty humanitarian spirit were proportionately and admirable suited to the vast Northwest. He was a big man and he rightly won recognition in a big country. He died at the age of 53 in Lewis County, the northern part of which had once borne his name. He is buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Olympia.
Michael married Elizabeth Kindred, daughter of David Kindred and Talitha Ramey, on 20 Jan 1835 in Clay County, Iowa. (Elizabeth Kindred was born on 15 Feb 1820 in Jackson Cove, Indiana, died on 23 Mar 1891 in Oyster Bay, Washington and was buried in Tumwater, Thurston County, Washington.)