Ebey's Landing 

National Historical Reserve

Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve is located on the outskirts of Coupeville in the Central region of Whidbey Island, Washington State.  First of the national historical reserves to be established in the United States, it has been hailed as a very successful group effort by federal, state and local participants. The Ebey Reserve preserves a slice of land which reflects the hardy lifestyles of the local mid-nineteenth century Native Americans and pioneers.  Many activities are available to the visitor, including camping, hiking on scenic trails, boating, natural history museum tours and views of over 100 buildings listed in the National Historic Register.  Contact the Ebey's Landing official website or the congenial Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce  for more information about this quite remarkable area.


The Night Isaac Ebey Lost His Head

Sometime that night a large number of Indians came back to Ebey’s Landing. They raised a ruckus outside his home. When Ebey stepped out to investigate they shot him first, then cut off his head. A guest, Mr. Corliss, held the front door firm, while the others in the house escaped out the back door. Mrs.Corliss ran to the Engles' house to get help. The Indians trashed the house, then took Ebey's head with them and fled. Isaac's brother, Winfield and other men found the rest of the family hiding in the woods. The family was extremely distraught over the death of Isaac. Winfield filed the necessary reports at Port Townsend, and a funeral was later held.

No one was ever sure which tribe had attacked the Ebey family. The territorial governors of Washington and Vancouver Island decided not to pursue it because they were afraid of touching off an all out war with the Indians. Three years after the murder, one Captain Charles Dodd was able to recover the scalp of Ebey. He gave it to Winfield, who had set up law practice. Much of his time was devoted to handling his brother's legal affairs.



Copyright 2000 by Beth Gibson. Source:  "Beheaded Pioneer," Laura Arksey, Columbia

Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma; Spring 1988.

For more detail go to:  http://members.aol.com/Gibson0817/ebey.htm


Isaac Ebey's headstone may be viewed at the Sunnyside Cemetery, Coupeville.


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