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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Port Gamble in Kitsap County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

James & Sarah Thompson House

1859

 
 
James & Sarah Thompson House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, December 30, 2012
1. James & Sarah Thompson House Marker
Inscription. This is the oldest continuously occupied house in the state of Washington. James Thompson came to Port Gamble on the schooner Towana and his descendants lived in the home for more than 99 years. The Thompsons owned the house as private property and paid the company an annual ground rent of $1.00 per year. James and Sarah raised their 5 children here where son and grandson followed James as saw filers in the mill.
 
Location. 47° 51.092′ N, 122° 35.048′ W. Marker is in Port Gamble, Washington, in Kitsap County. Marker is on Northeast State Highway 104, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Port Gamble WA 98364, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. David & Joyce Olson House (within shouting distance of this marker); St. Paul's Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Eugene & Ann DeFord House (about 400 feet away); Leo & Goldie Hammersmith House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Daniel B. Jackson House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Port Gamble Market (approx. 0.2 miles away); M.S. Drew House (approx. mile away); Morrill S. Pope House (approx. mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Gamble.
 
Regarding James & Sarah Thompson House.
James & Sarah Thompson House image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, December 30, 2012
2. James & Sarah Thompson House
Historylink.org provides additional history: The Thompson house is one of the oldest continuously occupied houses in Washington state. It was built in at least three stages, the original in 1859, then in 1864 and the last addition in 1872. James A. Thompson sharpened and cared for saws, a specialized skill. Once incentive the Puget Mill Company used to retain men like him was to encourage them to build homes of their own on company land. The Thompson family was one of six who owned their house as private property and paid an annual ground rent of $1 to the company. The families built their houses with materials furnished by the company "with the understanding that when the parties building them should move away from town that the houses should be the property of the Puget Mill Company, free of purchase money, the occupants agreeing to leave the Puget Mill Company in peaceable possession of the same."

James Thompson, a native of Rhode Island and Maine, reportedly worked for the Pope family in East Machias before sailing to Port Gamble in 1859. Family history relates that Thompson sharpened and cared for the saws in Port Gamble almost until the day of his death in 1911. A source states, "In his work at East Machias, James A. had learned to file but he had not learned to give saws the proper tension. This was tremendously important in sawing the big timber that came
James & Sarah Thompson House image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, December 30, 2012
3. James & Sarah Thompson House
into the Port Gamble mill. A professional saw hammerer who had drunk away his money and his job taught James how to tension a saw. It took three days and for it he got free passage on a company ship to San Francisco."

James and his wife Sarah raised their family of five in the house at Port Gamble. Their son Will and grandson Robert followed James as saw filers at Puget Mill, each taught by his father.
 
Also see . . .  Port Gamble online tour. (Submitted on January 18, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon.)
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 21, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 18, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. This page has been viewed 32 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 18, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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