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Volcanoes and History
Cascade Range Volcanoes - "Volcanoes and History"

James G. Swan

1842 Eruption of Mount St. Helens
(Published in 1857)
1859-1860 Eruption of Mount Baker, possibly 1864 eruption
(J.G. Swan Papers, 1833-1909, University of Washington Libraries)

Excerpts from:
The Northwest Coast; or, Three years' Residence in Washington Territory, by James G. Swan, Harper & Brothers, Publishers, New York, 1857.

Cascade Range

   [p.393]     ... It is emphatically a mountainous country, and contains within its limits some of the highest mountains of the Coast range. The principal peaks of the Cascade range are Mount St. Helen's, Mount Adams, Mount Ranier, and Mount Baker. Mount Olympus, which is the highest of the Coast range, has an elevation of 8197 feet, Mount St. Helen's 13,300, and Mount Ranier 12,000. These peaks are clothed with perpetual snow. ...

Mount St. Helens, 1842

   [p.395]     ... Washington Territory shares with Oregon the grand scenery of the Columbia, the Cascades, the Dalles, and other interesting points. The lofty peaks of St. Helen's, Ranier, Adams, and Baker, of the Cascade range, and Mount Olympus on the Coast, rear their snowy heads. Mount St. Helen's is a volcano, and has been in active operation as late as 1842; and the appearance of many parts of the Territory shows that the volcanic action has not been uncommon. ...

Digital version of "History of Clarke County, Washington Territory" was found at the
Washington State Secretary of State Website Historical Archives (2007).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Excerpts from:
Selected daily journals from the collection titled "James Gilchrist Swan papers, 1833-1909", at the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division.

Mount Baker, 1859-1860, 1864 (?)

   [March 31, 1859]     ... Fine morning, Walked with Mr. Webber to Point ... At 4 p.m. walked back to Port Townsend, distance six miles, splendid view of Mount Baker. ...

   [May 21, 1859]     ... I made a sketch today of Mount Baker. ...

   [May 27, 1859]     ... After supper saw smoke from the crater of Mount Baker. ...

   [December 3, 1859]     ... Heavy squall of snow at 7:30 p.m. Shortly after saw bright flashes as of lightning with report like heavy cannon- judged it to be thunder, but afterwards found it to proceed from Mount Baker, which is in a state of eruption. Sound travels 1142 feet per second. ...

   [December 4, 1859]     ... Wind northeast, heavy gale during the night and morning. Very cold. Saw this morning a great cloud of smoke and steam from Mount Baker. Atmosphere elsewhere clear. ... Mount Baker has showed a dense cloud of smoke all day. Dr. O'Brien, Mr. P.K. Hubbs, Capt. Fowler and others saw the flash last night and thought it was the steamer. ...

   [March 26, 1860]     ... Fine day, light n.w. wind. ... Wrote to Geo. Gibbs and sent him sketch of Mt. Baker. ...

   [December 27, 1860]     ... Magnificent day ... The smoke from Mt. Baker was distinctly visible yeasterday. ...

   [December 17, 1864]     ... Cold and cloudy. I went to Baadah this morning and saw Mr. Stratton who came down in the steamer last evening. I gave him a document to mail for the Commissioner of Agriculture, Washington containing my meteorological report for November and a letter to Prof. Henry with two sketches of Mount Baker taken by me in 1859 showing the alteration of the mountain after the eruption that took place in December of that year also an account cut from a Victoria paper of a recent eruption. ...

Digital version online at Digital Collections, University Libraries, University of Washington, 2009.


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