Militia Years (1855-1884)

The 161st Infantry can trace its roots to the early militia companies formed in 1855 and 1856 throughout the Puget Sound area as well as eastern Washington. These companies were formed from ordinary men with a desire to protect families and property from the growing discourse between local Native Americans and the white settlers who were moving in.

Most early militia men had no formal military experience, yet they set an early standard for the current Washington National Guard to follow.