A Rose By Any Other Name

Guemes Island
The name was given in 1791 by Lieut. Juan Francisco de Eliza, for the Viceroy of Mexico, Don Juan Vincente de Guemes Pacheco y Padillo Orcasitas y Aguayo, Conde de Revilla Gigedo. In 1841, Cmdr. Charles Wilkes charted it as Lawrence Island, for Capt. James Lawrence, USN, who commanded the Sloop-of-War Hornet in the War of 1812. In 1853 the name Dog Island was given for an episode in which wild dogs raided the camp of Russell Peabody and Capt. Roeder, and ate their food. The late Ken Hansen, chairman of the Samish Tribal Council, said the Indian name for Guemes Island translates into English as Dog Island.

Clark Point
In 1841, it was named Clark's Point by Cmdr. Charles Wilkes, for Levin Clark, captain-of-the-top in one of the expedition's ships. The shortened form is now generally accepted.

Boat Harbor
A small, square-shaped bay or cove on the east shore of Guemes Island is named Boat Harbor. An early name was Square Bay, because of its contour. The present name was substituted later by local navigators. It was approved by the state geographic names board in September of 1976.

Casperson Point
On May 3, 2013 the Washington State Committee on Geographic Names unanimously approved the renaming of Southeast Point on Guemes Island to Casperson Point, in memory of longtime islander and renowned ferry captain Gary Casperson.

Kelly’s Point
Kelly’s Point is where Lawrence Kelly, the smuggler, built a cabin for himself and his wife sometime between 1872 and 1878. His wife would keep watch from Kelly’s Point and signal him if law enforcement was near. Kelly smuggled wine, furs, opium and even Chinese people from British Columbia.

Huckleberry Island
 In 1790, it was included with Dot and Saddlebag islands as Los Tres Hermanos (The Three Brothers) by the Spanish Explorer Dionisio Galiano. In 1841, Cmdr. Charles Wilkes called the group Porpoise Rocks. The present name was given by residents because of the native huckleberries that grow on the island.

Saddlebag island

The present name was charted by U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey for a vague resemblance to saddlebags.

Hat Island
It was named Peacock Island by Cmdr. Charles Wilkes for one of his expedition's ships which was wrecked at the mouth of the Columbia River. It was renamed by U.S. Coast Survey, and given the present name for the island's oval shape.

Vendovi Island

The present name was given by Commander Charles Wilkes in 1841 for a Fiji Islander named Vendovi who was a prisoner on one of his ships having been arrested for the murder of an American seaman in the Fiji Islands. Charles Wilkes, commander of the U.S. Exploring Expedition, chose the name when he surveyed the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A few years earlier he’d encountered a Fijian chief under less than ideal circumstances. Vendovi, chief of Rewa, was held responsible for the murder of the crew on a U.S. whaling vessel in 1833. When Wilkes surveyed the Fiji Islands, he arrested Vendovi. But in the two years they were at sea together, Vendovi became a respected member of the ship’s company. He died a day after the expedition returned to New York, and Wilkes honored his memory by naming the island we know today as Vendovi. A local name once used was Hog Island.

Jack Island

In 1841, Cmdr. Charles Wilkes named it Jack's Island. The person responsible for later changing Wilkes' choice is not on record nor which Jack was honored.

Cypress Island

The first sighting of Cypress Island by Europeans was by the Spanish during the 1791 voyage of José María Narváez, who named it San Vincente. The island was named again by Captain George Vancouver in early June 1792, when he mistook juniper trees for cypress trees.

Strawberry Island
In 1841, it was charted by the Wilkes Expedition as Hautboy Island, using a common name for a species of strawberry that grows there. The U.S. Coast Survey changed it to the present name. An early local name was Loon Island.

Pelican Beach
It was named for the Pelican class of sailboats. There once was an annual meeting of owners of this class of sailboats at the beach.

Cone Islands
A group of three small islands, the most westerly of which is called Buttonhole Island (from a small hole in the thin, jagged rock which constitutes the island), were named by the Wilkes Expedition and are vaguely descriptive of the shapes of these islets. Eagle Cliff was named Cone Hill by the Wilkes Expedition of 1841 but was given the present name in 1854 for eagles seen nesting on its slopes.

Sinclair Island
The island was once covered with cottonwood trees. Spanish explorers charted it as Isla de Ignacio or Isla de Aguayo. Pioneers called it Cottonwood Island or Urban Island for the small settlement of Urban. The Indian name was Scut-las in the Lummi language. The present name was chosen by the Wilkes Expedition for Capt. Arthur Sinclair, a prominent officer in the U.S. Navy during the War of 1812 who died February 7, 1831. The name used was Sinclair's Island.