Timothy D. Hinckley

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Timothy Duane Hinckley

Birthplace: Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois, United States
Death: February 21, 1907 (79)
Seattle, King County, Washington, United States (Paralysis)
Place of Burial: Seattle, King County, Washington, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Timothy Hinckley and Hannah Smith
Husband of Maggie Hinckley (Dunn)
Father of Lyman Hinckley; Ferdinand Hinckley; Walter Raleigh Hinckley; Ralph Waldo Hinckley and Ira Hinckley
Brother of Samuel Hinckley; Russell Hinckley; Hannah Hinckley; Jacob Carr Hinckley; Smith Hinckley and 4 others

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About Timothy D. Hinckley

Profile from the book: History of Seattle from the earliest settlement to the present time, Volume 2

By Clarence Bagley (1916)


Timothy D. Hinckley was numbered among those who engaged in farming on the present site of the city of Seattle. Tall trees stood where electric light poles are now to be seen and native grasses covered the sections which have been converted into broad thoroughfares, in which is heard the rumble of traffic that connects Seattle in its trade relations with many parts of the world. Mr. Hinckley lived to witness remarkable changes, for he made his home in the Sound country for more than six decades. He was born in St. Clair county, Illinois, June 30, 1827, and is a representative of one of the old pioneer families of Hamilton county, Ohio. The ancestral line comes from New England. His father, Timothy Hinckley, was born in Maine and followed the ship carpenter's trade at Bath until 1816, when he removed to Ohio. He married Hannah Smith, also a native of Maine, and after living for some time in the Buckeye state they became residents of St. Clair county, Illinois, where Mr. Hinckley became the owner of a farm. He also worked at the builder's trade in St. Louis, Missouri. He was about fifty-five years of age at the time of his demise and his wife, surviving him for some years, passed away when about the same age. They were both consistent and faithful members of the Baptist church and Mr. Hinckley, who was a whig in politics, filled the office of justice of the peace for a number of years.

Timothy D. Hinckley was one of a family of eleven children. After acquiring a public-school education he took up the study of engineering and devoted the early part of his life to work of that character. In 1850 he joined a party that on

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the 30th of April started across the plains for Missouri. He drove a mule team and was accompanied by his brothers, Samuel and Jacob. It was not difficult to obtain buffalo meat on the trip and other wild game was also to be secured. They had no encounter of any moment with the Indians and after traveling for three months the party reached Hangtown, now Placerville, California. There Mr. Hinckley and his brother separated and the former engaged in placer mining at Cold Springs, but was only fairly successful. He had no better luck near Georgetown, on the middle fork of the American river, and later proceeded to Volcano and thence to Weaverville, in the Trinity country, where he met with much better success.

It was in March, 1853, that Mr. Hinckley arrived on the present site of Seattle and secured a claim bordering Lake Washington. There was no market for his farm products, however, and this caused him to abandon the work. He afterward removed to Port Madison, where he operated an engine for three years, and later he was employed as an engineer at Port Orchard. Subsequently he erected a number of buildings on and near the site of the Phoenix Hotel, in Seattle, but these were destroyed in the great fire of 1889. After disposing of that land Mr. Hinckley purchased nine acres on the west side of Lake Union and erected thereon a fine residence. It was just after the fire that he built the Hinckley block, one hundred and twenty by one hundred and eight feet, and five stories and basement in height. This proved a paying investment and he retained the ownership of the property until his death. A portion of his land bordering Lake Union was divided and sold as town lots, but he retained four acres surrounding his home.

It was in 1867 that Mr. Hinckley was united in marriage to Mrs. Margaret E. Hinckley, widow of his brother Jacob. She was born in Ireland and by her first marriage had the following children: Katherine Hannah, now the wife of Perry Polson, a prominent merchant of Seattle; Charles Byron and Mary Francis, who was deceased; Clara Duane, the wife of Sherman Moran of Seattle; and two who died in infancy in California. Five children were born to her second marriage: Ferdinand, who died at the age of twenty-six years; Walter Raleigh, who some years previous to his father's death became manager of his business interests; Ralph Waldo, deceased; and Ira and Lyman, who are at home. Mrs. Hinckley is numbered among the pioneer settlers of both California and Washington, having lived in the coast country since 1854.

In politics Mr. Hinckley was a democrat and for many years capably served as justice of the peace, his decisions being strictly fair and impartial. He also aided in framing the laws of Washington during territorial days, being for three terms a representative in the general assembly. He was largely influential in securing the passage of the liquor license law, requiring the payment of five hundred dollars annually as a license, and he was also the author of a bill creating and organizing the county of Kitsap. His fraternal relations were with the Masons and his religious faith was evidenced by his membership in the Baptist church. He also belonged to the Pioneers Association and took a great interest in the meetings of that organization, where he came into contact with other early settlers, who like himself had borne a part in the work of developing the country, doing away with conditions of frontier times and introducing the advantages of modern civilization. In the later years of his life he lived retired, enjoying the respect and esteem of all, reviewing in retrospect the events which had shaped the history of the northwest. He was in the eighty-seventh year of his age when called to the home beyond in February, 1914.

From the book:

A history of the Puget Sound country: its resources, its commerce and its ...

By William Farrand Prosser

page 389


Fifty years have been added to the cycle of the centuries since Timothy Duane Hinckley came to the Sound country, and his mind bears the impress of its historic annals throughout this period. While conducting important business interests and improving opportunities that have made him a capitalist of the northwest, he has at the same time labored for the substantial improvement and development of this part of the country, and his services have been of marked benefit along many lines of endeavor for the general good. Indians were his neighbors in those early days, and around him stood the silent mountains, their great forests towering skyward, the riches of the earth still unclaimed by the white race.

Mr. Hinckley was born in St. Clair county, Illinois, June 30, 1827. That was still a pioneer region, for only nine years before had the state been admitted to the Union. The Hinckley family is of English descent, and was represented by devoted patriots in the continental army in the Revolutionary war. Timothy Hinckley, father of our subject, was born in Maine, learned the ship carpenter's trade in Bath and always followed that pursuit. He married Hannah Smith, also a native of the Pine Tree state and of Revolutionary stock of English lineage. Both the father and mother died in the fifties. Of their family two daughters are yet living: Mrs. Paulina Mehaney, who is residing in Virginia; and Maria, the wife of John Hay, of Belleville, Illinois, the present county judge there.

Timothy D- Hinckley, the only surviving son, was educated by itinerant teachers up to the time he was fourteen years of age, when he began work in a flouring mill in Belleville, where he was employed until 1848. He then removed to Lexington, Missouri, and became proprietor of a sawmill, which he operated until the spring of 1850, when he crossed the plains in a prairie schooner to California. It was his purpose to search for gold, and he went to the mining regions on Weaver creek in Placer county, also to the Georgetown diggings and later to Trinity county.

The year 1853 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Hinckley in the Sound country. He came through the woods with Henry Adams and Frank Mathias and settled on the present townsite of Seattle. There were probably fifty settlers here at that time. He first took up a claim on Lake Washington and afterward went to work in the Port Madison mill. After three years' service there he went to Port Orchard, where he spent a year, and on the expiration of that period returned to Seattle and purchased some business property, including the present site of the Phoenix Hotel. In 1859 he purchased another piece of property on Second and Columbia streets, the present site of the Hinckley block, which he now owns. Since that time he was engaged in farming and surveying until about 1875, when he settled down permanently on his home property on Lake Union, which he purchased at that time. He has since been engaged in superintending his real estate and invested interests, and the value of his property has greatly increased, making him one of the capitalists of the city. He erected on some of his land several frame buildings, which were destroyed by the great fire of June, 1889. In 1890 he rebuilt, erecting a five-story and basement brick building, covering an area of one hundred and twenty by one hundred and eight feet, at a cost of eighty thousand dollars. This is one of the principal business corners of the city

In November, 1869, Mr. Hinckley was united in marriage to Miss Margaret E. Dunn, a native of Ireland. They have three sons: Walter, who is associated with his father in the management of the Hinckley block; Ira, who is collector for that block; and Lyman, who is the engineer for the block. Mr. and Mrs. Hinckley now have a fine home amid beautiful surroundings, all of which is in great contrast to the conditions which they knew here at an early day. During the Indian troubles of 1855-6 Mr. Hinckley was at Port Madison. He had to build a fort for the protection of the men at that time, and, although the settlers there had no firearms, they felt perfectly secure. Mr. Hinckley has only good words for Chief Seattle, the ruler of the Duwamish tribe, who refused to take any part at all in the trouble. All of the white men were warm friends of the chief. From his own experience Mr. Hinckley is prepared to take issue with the historians who made the statement that the Indians were troublesome prior to the time the treaty was formed. He says that the treaty itself was what started the Indians, who by it became cognizant of the fact that they had title to land which had a real value, something that they had never understood until the treaty was presented for their consideration.

In early life Mr. Hinckley was a Whig, and on the dissolution of that party he joined the Democracy. He was elected to the territorial legislature of Washington for three terms, and was a member in 1856-7 when the county of Kitsap was organized. Indeed, he was the father of the movement, drawing up the bill creating the new county. In 1857-8 he represented that county in the general assembly, and was also a member from King county in 1859-60. When Kitsap county was organized Mr. Hinckley was elected its first treasurer. He was also elected justice of the peace in King county, being one of the first to hold that office there. For two terms he served in the city council of Seattle, and in all of these public offices his labors have directly benefited his locality, his constituents and the commonwealth. Fraternally he is connected with the Masons.

Watching the growth of the state from its early pioneer times, bearing his share in the work of its reclamation from a state of nature and in transforming it into one of the richest and most productive sections of the country, building up a fortune for himself through legitimate business channels, Mr. Hinckley certainly deserves mention in this volume, and well merits the respect and honor so uniformly accorded him in Seattle and the northwest.

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Timothy D. Hinckley's Timeline

June 30, 1827
Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois, United States
Washington, United States
February 21, 1907
Age 79
Seattle, King County, Washington, United States
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Seattle, King County, Washington, United States