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First court with Amos Short (1850)

Clark County has had four courthouses in its history; five if you count the log cabin of Amos Short where the first session of the Clark County Probate Court was held on July 2, 1850.

Elected in June 1850, the county's first commissioners were Amos Short, John C. Allman, and William Goodwin, and the first County Clerk was Richard H. Lansdale. The court was held three days a month at Amos Short's log cabin, about one-half mile below Fort Vancouver. Amos received $20 a month for the use of his home.

The official records of the first session were destroyed when the second courthouse burned down in 1890. However, it is said that the first business of the county fathers was to grant a license to Forbes and Barclay to operate a ferry across the Columbia River at the "upper Landing of the Indian Village." Ferries remained in business until 1917 when the Interstate Bridge was constructed.

The second item of business was to install a wagon road beginning opposite the mouth of the Willamette on the north bank and running up and along the river bank to the home of Joseph Gibbons on the Washougal River. This was the first of many roads to crisscross the county.

The Probate Court of Clark County met at the Amos Short Cabin until April 1852 when they moved to an old Hudson's Bay Company building. Three years later the county's first permanent courthouse went out for bid.

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Street address: 1300 Franklin Street, Floor 6, Vancouver, WA 98660
Mailing address: P.O. Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000
Main phone: (360) 397-6012 | FAX: (360) 397-6015
E-mail: pio@clark.wa.gov

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