Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Abernethy Creek, Washington"
Includes ... Abernethy Creek ... "Abernathy Creek" ... "Nequally Creek" ...
Image, 2007, Abernethy Creek, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Abernethy Creek, Washington. View from moving car on Washington State Highway 4. Image taken January 28, 2007.

Abernethy Creek ...
The 10-mile-long Abernethy Creek is located on the Washington side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 54, just upstream of Mill Creek and Oak Point and downstream of Germany Creek and Stella, Washington.

Early Abernethy Creek ...
Abernethy Creek was named for Alexander S. Abernethy, brother of George Abernethy, an Oregon pioneer. George built a mill near Oak Point, Washington before 1850 and worked with his brother Alexander. Alexander settled on nearby property and filed for a Donation Land Claim.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office Records (GLO) database, Alexander Abernethy and Eliza Abernethy were granted title to 636.87 acres of T8N R4W, parts of Sections 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11 on September 20, 1867 (1850 Oregon-Donation Act). The GLO database also shows Alexander S. Abernethy and Hiram Carnahan being granted title to 162.75 acres of T8N R4W, parts of Sections 1 and 12, on December 1, 1869 (1855 Scrip Warrant Act).

Henry Landis wrote in " Geographic Dictionary of Washington" (1917, Washington State Geological Survey Bulletin 17):

"Negisticook Creek ... A northern tributary of Columbia River, at Oak Point, in southwestern Cowlitz County."

Edmund S. Meany wrote in "Origin of Washington Geographic Names" (1923, University of Washington Press):

"Abernethy Creek ... see Nequally Creek."

"Nequally Creek ... a small tributary of the Columbia River at Memaloose Point, a rocky promontory jutting out into the river. The name was given by Captain Rockwell, who triangulated the Columbia in 1871 to 1876. Prior to that it was known as Abernethy Creek in honor of Alexander S. Abernethy who settled on the adjacent land in 1850."

Robert Hitchman wrote in "Place Names of Washington" (1985, Washington State Historical Society):

"Abernethy Creek (T8,9N R4W) ... The stream of the creek heads 12 miles north of Columbia River, northwest Cowlitz County; flows to the river near Oak Point. It was named for George Abernethy, an Oregon pioneer, who built a mill near Oak Poit before 1850. This stream has borne a number of other names in the past, including Nequally, Negisticook, Ordway, Mill and Abernathy. It is carried on some recent maps under the latter name."

Name Chronology ...
There are three creeks in the Stella/Oak Point area which have sported various names throughout the years, often sharing and switching names. They are today's Germany Creek (RM 56), Abernethy Creek (RM 54), and Mill Creek (RM 54).

The 1858 Cadastral Survey (tax survey) for T8N R4W has Mill Creek named "Abernethy's Mill Creek" ("South Fork" and "North Fork"). At its mouth, a "Mill" is shown on the right bank and a "Store" is shown on the left bank. The Abernethy home was shown upstream, about half way between today's Mill Creek and today's Abernethy Creek (shown but not named). Further upstream is depicted a "Methodist Church", "Meagers" homestead, and "Nequally Creek" (today's Germany Creek).

The 1878 U.S. Coast Survey's Chart No.6142, "Columbia River, Sheet No.3", had today's Mill Creek labeled "Negisticook Cr." and today's Abernethy Creek labeled "Nequally Cr.". Germany Creek was depicted but not named.

Between 1905 and 1937, today's Abernethy Creek sported five different names. The U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database, Decision Card dated June 30, 1937, shows the following progression of the names.

  • 1905, "Mill Creek", Columbia River through the Cascade Mountains. to the Pacific Ocean, by O.R.R. & N. Co.
  • 1908, "Ordway Creek", Post Route Map of Washington.
  • 1912, "Nequally Creek", Channel Maps of Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean to the Cascade Locks by the National Colortype Co. (shows just mouth).
  • 1914, "Nequally Creek", U.S.C. & G.S. Chart 6152.
  • 1914, "Mill Creek", U.S.G.S. Map of Washington.
  • 1918, "Mill Creek", Map issued by Bureau of Statistics & Immigration of the State of Washington.
  • 1918, "Negisticook Creek", Bulletin 17, Washington Geological Survey, Geographic Dictionary of Washington.
  • 1918, "Mill Creek", Heald's New Authentic Classified Road Map of Washington.
  • 1919, "Mill Creek", Corps of Eng. Tactical Map, Magyer quad., Wash.
  • 1924, "Mill Creek", G.L.O. Map of Washington.
  • 1925, "Abernathy Creek", Map of Southwestern Washington by Chas. S.B. Henry.
  • 1927, "Mill Creek", Map of Western Washington by Kroll Map Co.
  • 1927, "Mill Creek", Atlas of Cowlitz County by Kroll Map Co.
  • 1929, "Mill Creek", Metskers Atlas of Cowlitz County (on index map).
  • 1929, "Abernathy Creek", Same as above (shown on detailed map).
  • 1935, "Abernathy Creek", Map of Cowlitz County in Metsker's Atlas of Pacific Northwest.
  • 1937, "Abernathy Creek", Local usage, Cowlitz County Engineer, March.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database (2019):

  • In 1937 the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Abernathy Creek" official.
  • In 1938 the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Abernethy Creek" official.
  • In 1953 the Board made "Abernathy Creek" once again official.
  • In 1987 the Board re-corrected the spelling and made "Abernethy Creek" official.

Views ...

Image, 2011, Abernethy Creek, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Abernethy Creek at mouth, Washington. View from moving car on Washington State Highway 4. Image taken August 7, 2011.

Abernethy Creek, etc.

  • Oak Point Mills ...

Oak Point Mills ...
"Oak Point Mills. -- A visit of about two hours at the historic works of Mr. A.S. Abernethy, on Nikisticoke creek, W.T., last Saturday gave us an opportunity to visit the pioneer mills, which at last gave the place the name of Oak Point. Mr. Abernethy's operations extend over a period of more than a quarter of a century at Oak Point, and embrace manufacturing, shipping, flouring, lumbering, etc. For many years past the flouring mill has remained idle, but is still complete in its line of gearing, bolts, etc., and with the addition of needed repairs and a few parts of machinery could again be made useful. The saw mill is now in good running order, and it is expected that as soon as business will justify, its wheels will be again set in motion. Oak point must be considered one of the finest locations on the lower Columbia river for business. It was settled at an early day, when the pioneer had the pick of places, and has lost nothing in respect to location by the building up of innumerable other points above and below it (including Portland). Capt. Rockwell of the United States coast survey was stationed at Oak Point one season, and he has left an elegant painting of scenes about there, true to nature, which include the hospitable home of our friend, the Hon. A.S. Abernethy, proprietor of Oak Point."

Source:    "The Daily Astorian", October 16, 1877, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2019.

[More Oak Point]

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 6, 1805 ...

Journey to the PacificReturn to

*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

  • Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2019;
  • Hitchman, R., 1985, "Place Names of Washington", Washington State Historical Society;
  • Landis, H., 1917, "A Geographic Dictionary of Washington", Washington State Geological Society, Bulletin No.17;
  • Meany, E.S., 1923, "Origin of Washington Geographic Names", University of Washington Press, Seattle;
  • NOAA Office of Coast Survey website, 2007;
  • U.S. Bureay of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database, 2007;
  • U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database, 2006;

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
September 2008