Captain Dunham

Captain Dunham was from Calais, Maine. He had brought gold prospectors to California when the Orbit was sold to four men, who sought to go to Puget Sound. Captain Dunham eventually claimed land in the sound in the summer of 1850, but was killed a year later by being thrown from a horse.

The American brig Orbit, Captained first by William H. Dunham and then by T. Butler, sailed between Maine, California, and Puget Sound. She was abandoned on Sand Island in Puget when she faced difficulty on the bar. She was eventually salvaged and returned to her owner, Michael Simmons, who sold her to J. H. Swan, H. A. Goldsborough, and others. Though the intention was to make their way with cargo to the Sandwich Islands, she did not make it out of the Straits of Juan de Fuca and found her way to Esquimalt. She was then sold to the Hudson's Bay Company and used in the coast trade for several years. After a subsequent sail, she finally made it to the Sandwich Islands and operated in the trade between there and China.


  • Bancroft, Hubert H. “First Settlements of Washington State.” Access Genealogy.
  • "The Brig named Orbit." George Washington Bush – Washington State Pioneer. http://start-
Miranda Harvey