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First court with Amos Short (1850)

Clark County has had four courthouses, or five, if you count Amos Short's log cabin, where the first session of Clark County Probate Court was held July 2, 1850.

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

The official records of the first session were destroyed when the county's second courthouse burned in 1890. However, the county fathers' first business might have been to grant Forbes and Barclay a license 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 commissioners' second item of business was to install a wagon road from opposite the north bank of the mouth of the Willamette River along the river bank to Joseph Gibbons' home on the Washougal River. It was the first of many roads to crisscross the county.

The Probate Court of Clark County met at the Short Cabin until April 1852, when it 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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