. . .from Genealogy Trails
| Historical Sketch of
It is not
necessary to the purposes of this brief historic
sketch to detail the events connected with the
early voyages of discovery to the Northwest,
although they constituted the basis upon which
Spain, Great Britain and the United States
asserted claims to the Northwest Coast.
north of the 51st degree, with all adjacent
islands; Spain claimed to the 55th degree by
right of discovery; Great Britain asserted no
exclusive right to particular portions of the
coast, but maintained that the voyages of Drake,
Cook. Meares and Vancouver to the coast; the
overland voyages of Mackenzie and Thomson,
followed by the formation of establishments
within the territory "conferred a right of joint
occupancy with other states, leaving the right
of exclusive do minion in abeyance."
At the outset
of the controversy the United States' claim was
two-fold: First, in its own right, based upon
the discovery of the Columbia river by Captain
Gray; the exploration of that river by Lewis and
Clark, followed by settlements by its citizens
upon its banks. Upon the principal that the
discovery of a river followed by acts of
occupancy, secured A right to the territory such
river drained, the United States asserted claim
to the territory west of the Rocky Mountains
lying between 42 and 51 degrees north, subject,
however, to the rights of Spain of prior
discoveries of islands and lauds upon the coast.
Second, as successor to France.
Louisiana purchase of 1803, the United States
acquired the right of continuity of the
territory west of the Mississippi river to the
Pacific Ocean, of the breadth of that: province,
its north line being the boundary between the
Hudson's Bay territory and the French provinces
in Canada. Negotiations between the United
States and Great Britain were commenced early in
the century; the war of 1812 intervened;
Astoria, captured during that war, had been
restored. In 1818. the condition was slightly
changed by the convention which permitted a
joint occupancy of the territory by citizens and
subjects of both nations, really a non-occupancy
by the nations themselves, for they but agreed
that they would not exclude the citizens of the
other, nor gain any right or claim by virtue of
the occupancy by their own citizens. On the 22nd
of February, 1819, the United States, by the
Florida treaty, acquired front Spain all that
nation's rights to land upon the Pacific Coast
north of 42nd degree north latitude. In 1824 and
1825 the United States and Great Britain had
respectively concluded treaties with Russia by
which 54 degrees 40 minutes north latitude was
established as the south boundary of Russian
possessions on the Northwest Coast.
In 1827 the joint occupancy treaty was renewed,
with the modification that either nation could
abrogate it by giving twelve months' notice. The
Oregon question continued to be agitated until
June 15, 1846, the United States Senate advise;
President Polk to accept the treaty of limits
then offered. By that treaty 49 degrees north
was fixed as the northern boundary. But the
treaty of 1846 proved but a temporization, not a
settlement. It yielded to Great Britain all of
Vancouver Island, but was vague as to water
boundaries. The indistinct recognition of the
possessory rights of the Hudson Bay and Puget
Sound Agricultural Companies, almost wholly in
Washington, left much for controversy. In 1859,
war was imminent, growing out of dispute as to
sovereignty as to San Juan Island. This
difficulty was temporized by a military joint
occupancy A special treaty enabled the United
States to secure by purchase the extinguishment
of the possessory rights of the Hudson Bay
Company and Puget Sound Agricultural Company.
Not until 1872, by the award of the German
Emperor, was the water boundary adjusted and the
Oregon controversy finally settled.
What was known as the provisional government of
Oregon was organized in July, 1845, and all that
country north of the Columbia River formed a
single County known as Vancouver District. Sir
James Douglas, M. T. Simmons and John Forrest
were the first County Commissioners. Douglas was
connected with the Hudson Bay Company and
Simmons came into the country in the year 1844,
with a company from Missouri.
Lewis County was organized in 1846, and embraced
all the territory lying north of the Columbia
river and west of the Cowlitz River. Dr. W. T.
Tommie, of Nisqually, was elected the first
In April, 1845, at Washougal, Mrs. M. T. Simmons
gave birth to the first white child born north
and west of the Columbia River. In March, 1846.
Mrs. James McAllister gave birth to a son, the
first born in the Puget Sound region. In the
Summer of 1846, Mrs. Sidney S. Ford gave birth
to a daughter, the first American girl born
north and west of the Columbia River. The child
after became Mrs. John Shelton
The first marriage recorded in the Colony was at
New Market, Puget Sound, at the house of Mr.
Davis, on the 6th day of July, by Judge Simmons,
Mr. Daniel F. Kinsey to Miss Ruth Brock of the
In August of 1847, Jesse Ferguson, Col. Simmons,
Frank Shaw, E. Sylvester, A. B. Rabbeson,
Gabriel Jones, A. D. Carnefix and John Kindred
formed a company for the purpose of building a
sawmill at New Market, named the Puget Sound
Milling Company. The site was the northwest part
of the Lower Falls. The mill was completed
during the winter of that year.
On August 24, 1847, a trail was made between
Smithfield (Olympia) and New Market (Tumwater).
In the Fall of 1847, there arrived in this
section Thomas M. Chambers and his sons, David,
Andrew, Thomas J. and McLain, also a Mr. Brail
and Geo. Shaser.
The last election held in Lewis County under the
Provisional Government was in 1848, when Levi
Lathrop Smith was elected Representative to the
Oregon Provisional Legislature and A. B.
Rabbeson was elected Sheriff. Mr. Smith did not
live to enter upon the duties of his office.
While in a canoe on his way to New Market in
August he was seized with an epileptic fit and
drowned. This was the first recorded death of an
American in this section.
Mr. Smith was a partner of Edmund Sylvester in
joint claims owned, by them. Under the
partnership clause of the land laws of Oregon's
Provisional Government the occupancy of claims
by each party for the benefit of the firm was
permissable. Smith resided on the Smithfield
claim and Sylvester occupied a prairie farm near
the Sound. Thus, upon the death if Smith,
Sylvester, as the survivor of the firm, became
owner of the present site of the City of
Olympia. He moved thereon and built the first
hotel. It was 16x24, built of logs and contained
Rev. Pascal Ricard and a small party of Oblat
missionaries in June, 1848, established the St.
Joseph Mission, on the site of the present city
park, on the east of Budd's Inlet. The Mission
continued for several years. Hence the name by
which the point has since been known, and which
name is now given to Olympia's splendid
playground—Priest Point Park. Another settlement
was made about this time almost directly across
the inlet from Priest Point by Samuel Hancock.
This claim later became the property of Conrad
The Territorial Government of Oregon was
established on August 14. 1848, and included all
the Pacific possessions of the United States
north to the 32nd parallel, this line being
fixed by treaty between the United States and
The development of this section of the Oregon
territory was greatly retarded soon after its
organization by the gold discoveries made in
California, which caused a stampede from the
Northwest, and considerably reduced the male
population, who preferred to try their fortunes
in the gold fields rather than continue the
pursuit of fortune along slower bill more
certain lines. Farms were abandoned; in many
cases crops were not planted, or, if planted,
were left neglected and unharvested.
After the arrival of Governor Lane to assume the
duties of his office as first Governor of Oregon
Territory, Judicial districts were proclaimed
and Judges assigned in two, but the third
Judicial district which constituted Lewis
County, was left without an official clothed
with authority to afford protection in all the
territory north of the Columbia River.
The first American vessel owned by Washington
Territory residents hailed from Olympia, on
Puget Sound, and was called the Orbit. She
arrived at Olympia on New Years day. 1850, and
loaded with piles for San Francisco. Her owners
v;ere Messrs. Sylvester, Jackson, Moore, Shaw
The first Legislature under Oregon Territorial
Government convened at Oregon City, July, 1849.
Lewis County was then included in a
Representative and Council district with Clatsop
County (now Oregon), and was represented by
Samuel T. McKean, of Clatsop, as Councilman, and
M. T. Simmons, as Representative. The session
continued one hundred days.
Thomas W. Glascow settled on a claim at what is
known as Ebey's Landing, Whidby Island, in 1848.
and after some preliminary work returned to New
Market (Tumwater) and induced A. D. Carnefix and
A. B. Rabbeson to return to his new home with
him. At the head of Hood's Canal, which they
desired to explore, while on their way, they
found Indians, many of whom had never beheld a
white man. Though Carnefix returned home at the
head of the Sound, Rabbeson and Glascow
continued their voyage and in July reached the
new home of the latter.
About this time there was held in this vicinity
a council of Puget Sound Indians, called
together by the Chief of the Snoqualmies,
Patkanim. The object of this meeting was to
induce all the Sound Indians to combine and
annihilate the white settlers. Patkanim was the
leader in the effort to bring about hostilities.
He urged that it was only a matter of a short
time when the whites would outnumber the
Indians, and the latter would then be
transported to a land where the sun never shone,
and would there be left to die. One of the great
arguments used by this crafty statesman and
warrior, however, was that by conquering the
whites the Indians would acquire a large amount
This war-like spirit was strongly opposed by the
Indians from the Upper Sound, who felt quite
friendly to the whites. This pacific attitude of
the Indians about the head of the Sound was due
to the fact that the stronger tribes on the
lower Sound had made war on the weaker ones and
made slaves of those of the Indians that they
took captives. The presence of the white in and
about Smithfield and New Market had proved a
protection to their Indian neighbors. More than
this the whites had thus far proven themselves
scrupulously honest in their dealings with the
Indians and thus had the "King George" or
"Boston Men" won their confidence.
This opposition to hostilities came near causing
a fight on the council grounds. Rabbeson and
Glascow, seeing that it. would be unsafe to
remain in the neighborhood left, the latter
abandoning his claim.
In the Spring of 1849, a party of Snoqualmie
Indians made an attack on the Hudson Bay
Company's fort at Nisqually, in which Leander C.
Wallace was killed and two men, Lewis and
Walker, were wounded.
From accounts derived from various sources the
following appear to be the facts: A force of
Snoqualmies visited the fort, ostensibly to
settle a dispute with the Nisqually tribe. There
appears to have been a force varying according
to several accounts, from 100 to 150. Patkanim
was within the fort conferring with Dr. Tolmie,
the Agent, while the gates were closed against
the other Indians. Wallace, Lewis and Walker,
visitors at the fort, together with one, Chas.
Wren, outside the fort, noticed hostile
demonstrations on the part of the Indians, and
apprehending danger, retreated towards the
gates. Wren reached it and tried to enter, but
was prevented from within. The discharge of a
gun at this time precipitated an attack. It was
fired into the air by a guard on the inside,
preparatory to reloading, and was used as a
pretext for the attack. A volley was then fired
from the fort and the Indians retreated.
Wallace was the first white man killed by
Indians on Puget Sound. The Indians were induced
for a consideration of eighty blankets, to
deliver up the murderers for trial. This method
of dealing was strongly resented by Governor
Lane. as it could be construed as putting a
premium rather than a punishment on such
However, before he could prevent it the deal,
which had been authorized by an Indian Agent for
this district, had been consummated and six
Snoqualmie Indians given up by the crafty
At a special term of court held in Ft.
Steilacoom the six prisoners were indicted,
tried, and two convicted, who were leaders in
the attack. The remaining four were acquitted. A
vast conclave of Indians were present at the
execution. which occurred the day following
the first United States court held North of the
Columbia River. It was convened on the 1st day
of October, the trial continued through the
second day and upon the third day the two
Indians were suspended, as mute object lessons
to the Indians that the law must be respected.
Some of the jurors who participated in this
trial traveled two hundred miles from their
homes to reach the court. The summary justice
then dealt out could be well used as object
lessons for more modern courts.
Bryant presided at this trial. The prosecution
was conducted by Judge Alonzo A. Skinner and the
Court assigned David Stone, then Prosecuting
Attorney for the Third Judicial District to
defend the Indians.
Sylvester, who by the death of his partner, had
become sole owner of the claim they had located
at the head of Budd's Inlet, in 1850, laid off
the claim as a town site and named it Olympia.
The name suggests the idea that even in this
remote region with rude environments, there were
those conversant with the classics. The name was
bestowed by Charles H. Smith, who together with
Mr. Simmons, had that year established a store
in the new settlement, at the corner of Main and
Second Streets. The name was doubtless suggested
by the beautiful views spread out before them at
the head of the Sound, where to the North the
Olympic Range was visible and to the East old
Rainier reared his majestic head.
At this period,
of course, the methods of living by the
inhabitants were most primitive. Little in the
way of household necessities had reached the new
settlement and luxuries were not missed by these
necessaries of life and those fancy articles
which appealed to the Indians were dealt in at
the time. However, in 1852, George A. Barnes
opened a general merchandise store: at the West
end of First Street, from which time business
assumed more pretentious proportions. Later
business houses were opened by A. J. Moses, J.
G. Parker, Sam Coulter, L. Bettman, Goldman
& Rosenblatt, and Louisson & Company. As
Olympia was the only town on the Sound a customs
house was established here in 1851.
receipt of news of the discovery of gold on
Queen Charlotte's Island, this year, a schooner
was chartered by Samuel Williams, J. Colvig,
William Billings, S. D. Howe. Charles Weed, S.
S. Ford and three Sargent Brothers to go to the
new fields. The schooner was wrecked on the East
side of the island, plundered by the Indians and
the gold- seekers taken prisoners. They were
rescued by a revenue cutter and troops from
Steilacoom and returned home after two months'
The year 1852
found the settlers in fair condition with
brighter prospects, for coal had been discovered
and sawmills had been established on the Sound,
and these industries had caused a few shipments
to be made to San Francisco, the beginning of a
trade that was destined at a later date to grow
to such dimensions.
country, which then constituted the Northern
part of the Territory of Oregon, was isolated.
Many of the towns and settlements were five
hundred miles from the seat of government, and
under such conditions the settlers here received
little attention or consideration from the
Territorial Legislature, though at this period
it was considered that Lewis County, that
section north of Cowlitz County, contained a
little over three hundred inhabitants, of which
180 were citizens.
was created in 1851 and in 1852 a new County was
created to include the territory west of the
Cascade Mountains and north of the Cowlitz
divide. The new County was named Thurston, after
Samuel R. Thurston, a highly cultured gentleman
who had been elected to Congress by the factions
opposed to the Hudson Bay Company. Thurston died
at sea April 9, 1851, while returning from the
National Capitol His remains were buried at
Acapulco. though they were afterward brought to
Salem, Oregon, and buried, marked with a stone
bearing this inscription: "Here rests Oregon's
delegate, a man of genius and learning, a lawyer
and statesman, his Christian virtues equaled by
his wide philanthropy. His public acts are his
with the act creating the new County of Thurston
an election was held in June. 1852, at which the
following officers were elected: A. J. Simmons,
Sheriff; A. M. Poe. County Clerk; D. R. Bigelow,
Treasurer; R. S. Bailey, Assessor; Edmund
Sylvester. Coroner; A. A. Denny, S. S. Ford and
David Shelton, County Commissioners.
The records of
the first session of the County Commissioners,
shows the following business transacted:
The tax levy
was fixed at 4 mills for County purposes. 1 1/2
mills for schools, 1 1/2 mills Territorial, and
$1 poll tax.
T. F. McElroy
and Geo. Barnes were appointed Justices of the
were established and Wm. Packwood was authorized
to establish a ferry on the Nisqually River.
established as follows: Skagit precinct. Whidby
Island and all islands north. Port Townsend
precinct, territory north of Hood's Canal on the
west side of the Sound. Duwamish precinct, east
side of Sound north of Puyallup River and all
south of Hood's Canal to the parallel of the
north parallel of the Puyallup river on west
side of Sound. Steilacoom precinct, territory
north of Nisqually River to the Puyallup on the
east side of the Sound and thence due west to
mouth of Nisqually River to the parallel of the
mouth of the Puyallup. Olympia precinct,
territory south of Steilacoom precinct.
purposes: Olympia precinct contained districts 1
and 2; Duwamish was designed as one district,
Skagit precinct, one district; Port Townsend
precinct as one district.
The first term
of the district Court was convened at Olympia
this year and Elwood Evans, D. R. Bigelow.
Quincy A. Brooks and S. H. Moses were admitted
McElroy and J. \V. Wiley printed the first
newspaper published in Thurston County. It was
called the Columbian and the first issue
appeared on September 11, 1852.
district school opened this year and was taught
by David L. Phillips.
settlers now began to feel the absolute
necessity for a division of the territory and
desired to be set aside from Oregon. Agitation
along these lines resulted in a call for a
convention to meet at Monticello November 25,
1852. Monticello was then a considerable
settlement on the Cow- lit/ River.
sent as delegates to this convention M. T.
Simmons. S. D. Ruddle, S. P. Moses, Adam Wylie,
Q. A. .Brooks and C. H. Hale.
The result of
this convention was that Congress was
memorialized to create the Territory of Columbia
out of that portion of Oregon lying north and
west of the Columbia River. There was no
opposition on the part of the people of Oregon
to this separation, and the result was that the
new territory was created by an Act signed by
the President on March 3, 1853. Congress,
however, overruled the people in the matter of a
name for the new territory, and inasmuch as
there was already a District of Columbia, it was
decided to honor the Father of His Country,
hence the Territory of Washington.
A school house
was erected in the Fall of 1852 on the now
northwest corner of Sixth and Franklin Streets,
Olympia. The structure was a frail one and
succumbed under a heavy fall: of snow during the
winter. It was rebuilt later.
The tide of
immigration now set in quite strong, and demand
for lumber increasing, a mill was built at New
Market by Ira Ward, N. Barnes and S. Hays, with
a daily output of :},000 feet per day.
1853, before the new Territorial Government
became effective, the Oregon Territorial
Legislature created the Counties of Pierce,
King, Island and Jefferson, all out of Thurston
County, leaving the latter to include only the
present Counties of Thurston, Chehalis and
Pierce, soon after his inauguration, appointed
Isaac I. Stevens as Governor of the new
Territory; Chas. H. Mason, Secretary; J. S.
Clendennin, Attorney; J. Patton
Anderson. Marshal; Edward Lander, Chief Justice;
Victor Monroe and O. B. McFadden, Associate
Anderson's first official act was to cause a
census to be taken, and a population of 3,965
was reported, of which 1682 were voters.
and mail facilities in 1853 were very
unsatisfactory for the residents of the Sound
region. At this time connection was made with
Portland by means of a stage which left Olympia
every Tuesday, connecting with boats on the
Columbia. Later, however, B. F. Yantis and A. B.
Robbeson formed a partnership for the purpose of
running a stage line, and advertised to put
their passengers through in twelve hours.
In 1853 the
resources of the County began to be developed. A
little coal was mined, a bed of natural oysters
was discovered on Budd's Inlet, and hewed timber
was quoted at 16 to 18 cents per cubic foot,
shingles $4.50 to $5.00 per thousand and
cordwood $4.00 per cord.
for an emigrant route over the Cascades led to a
public meeting being held in Thurston County and
a committee appointed to view out a route, and a
road through the Natchez pass was the result,
which was a means of greatly stimulating
In the Summer
of 1853, a census taken for Thurston County
showed a population of 996. The first grand and
petit jurors were drawn at this time.
Stevens reached Olympia on November 25, 1853,
five months and nineteen days from St. Paul.
Secretary Charles H. Mason had already arrived.
ready to welcome the new Governor to the Sound
were Colonel William Cock, Shirley Ensign. D. R.
Bigelow, Geo. A. Barnes, H. A. Goldsborough,
Jno. M. Swan. C. H. Hale. Judge B. F. Yantis,
Judge Gilmore Hays, Jno. G. Parker, Quincy A.
Brooks, Dr. G. K. Willard, Col. M. T. Simmons,
Capt. Clanrick Crosby. Ira Ward, James Biles,
Joseph Cushman, S. W. Percival, Edwin Marsh. R.
M. Walker, Levi and James Offut, J. C. Head, W.
Dobbins, Isaac Hawk, Rev. Geo. F. Whitworth,
Jared S. Hurd, H. R. Woodward, B. F. Brown, and
The arrival of
the new Governor was the most momentous event
that had occurred in the history of Olympia. and
on his appearance in the garb of a hardy
frontiersman he was given a hearty welcome and
reception at the Washington Hotel (now standing)
at the corner of Main and Second Streets, and
when, a little later Governor Stevens delivered
a lecture, giving the results of his
explorations for a Northern transcontinental
route, the enthusiasm of the pioneers was
upon arrival of the Governor, he issued ;
proclamation establishing election districts,
and appointing January 30. 1854. as the time for
holding an election for delegate to Congress,
and members of the Legislature, which was to
meet in Olympia February 28th.
The Governor appointed M. T. Simmons Indian
Agent for the Puget Sound Indians and sent him
to visit the various tribes, and bear a message
of friendship from the White Father.
The first political campaign in Thurston County
was an exciting one, in which three parties
participated, the Democratic, Whig and Union.
The Legislative nominees on the respective
tickets were as follows:
Democratic—For Councilman, D. R. Bigelow and S.
D. Ruddell; for Representatives, L. D. Durgin,
George Gallaher, David Shelton and A. J.
Union—For Councilman, D. R. Bigelow and B. F.
Yantis; for Representatives, A. W. Moore, F. W.
Glascow, S. S. Ford, and James H. Roundtree.
Whig—For Councilman, B. F. Yantis and E. J.
Allen: for Representatives, Ira Ward, C. H.
Hale, J. L. Brown, Gallatin Hartsock.
After a short but hard-fought campaign the
following were elected: Councilmen, B. F. Yantis
and D. R. Bigelow; Representatives, L. D.
Durgin, David Shelton, Ira Ward, and C. H. Hale.
Judge Columbus Lancaster was elected first
Delegate to Congress.
Upon convening of the Legislature in a small
two-story building on Main Street, between
Second and Third, the Governor delivered an able
message, in which he predicted a brilliant
future for the new territory, much of which has
already been realized; urged County and school
organization and the organization of a militia.
He dwelt on the importance of extinguishing the
Indian titles and the claims of the Hudson Bay
and Puget Sound Agricultural Companies and
settling the boundary line of the British side,
and advised the Legislature to memorialize
Congress for the appointment of a
Surveyor-General to facilitate the survey of the
lands, and advocated many other salutary
measures which were promptly adopted by the
Legislature except the recommendation regarding
a militia. This proved a bad oversight as later
redevelopments showed, when two years later the
Indians became hostile.
Governor Stevens purchased Block 84, Olympia,
for his future home, and a tract of ten acres in
what is now known as Maple Park. He also
contracted for the purchase of the north half of
the Walker donation claim, between Olympia and
Governor Stevens, amid his other duties, worked
with zeal on the reports of his exploration for
the Northern transcontinental route and was
assisted by Capt. McClellan (afterwards Gen.
Geo. B. McClellan) and others. Governor Stevens'
offices were in two one-story buildings on the
West side of Main Street, between Second and
The Governor reported to Secretary of War
Jefferson C. Davis on his exploration and later
received peremptory orders to bring his
operations along these lines to a close, which
he did, but not without urging their continuance
at a later day. The opposition with which
Governor Stevens met in this regard was
doubtless due to the eagerness of the future
President of the Southern Confederacy for a
Southern transcontinental route.
The acts of the first Legislature affecting
Thurston County was that of creating Chehalis
County out of the southwest part of the former
and Sawamish out of the northwest section, thus
materially reducing the area of Thurston. The
name of the latter County was afterward changed
to Mason, after the first Secretary of the
Also a road was ordered located between Olympia
and Shoal water Bay; from Cathlamet to S. S.
Ford's in Thurston County; Olympia to the mouth
of the Columbia River, and Olympia to
The Legislature also appointed County officers
for the various Counties, and the following were
assigned for Thurston County: County
Commissioners, S. S. Ford, David J. Chambers and
James McAllister; Auditor, U. E. Hicks; Sheriff,
Frank Kennedy; Assessor, Whitfield Kertley;
Probate Judge, Stephen D. Ruddle; County
Treasurer, D. R. Bigalow; School Superintendent,
Elwood Evans; William Plumb, Nathan Eaton and
Joseph Broshears, Justices of the Peace
Stephen Ruddle declining the Probate Judgeship,
Joseph Cushman was appointed in his place.
Commissioners adopted measures protecting the
school interests in the matter of public lands;
fixed the license fee for retailing liquor at
$100 for six months, and howling alleys at $25
per annum, and accepted a report from Thos. J.
Chambers, who had been appointed to mark out a
quarter section of land for the benefit of a
County seat to be the most valuable unclaimed
land within the limits of the County. Mr.
Chambers reported in favor of section 19,
township 18, range 1 West,
The tax rolls
for 1854 showed a valuation of $418,140 and the
rate of taxation was fixed at 3 mills.
Commissioners this year authorized the
construction of a bridge across the Bay on the
Eastside at a cost of $500, and one across the
Skookumchuck, for which they appropriated
$1,000. The former bridge was built at a cost of
$1,500, $1,000 being subscribed for that
Up to this time
no proper provision had been made for County
offices and records were kept in a very
temporary manner. The Commissioners now
authorized a contract for a Court House to cost
not to exceed $1,200 and ordered the Auditor to
procure suitable books for the records.
At the election
in 1854 three tickets were in the field, Free
Soil, Democratic and Whig.
There were no
local issues involved and the battle was fought
along the lines agitated in the East. The
straight Democratic County ticket was elected,
Representatives, Wm. Cock, B. L. Henness,
Stephen Guthrie, Wm. P. Wells; County
Commissioners, Levi Shelton, S. S. Ford, John
Low; Probate Judge, Joseph Cushman; School
Superintendent, D. R. Bigelow; Auditor, U. E.
Hicks; Treasurer, Wm. Rutledge; Sheriff, A. B.
Rabbeson; Assessor, Wm. Packwood; Coroner, A. J.
Baldwin. J. Patton Anderson, who had come to the
Territory as United States Marshal, was elected
as Delegate to Congress.
period Governor Stevens returned East, spending
much of his time at the National Capitol, in the
interests of his Territory. Much of the
legislation secured for Washington was due to
his efforts, which included needed amendments to
the land laws and the creation of the office of
Surveyor General, and making appropriations for
surveys and mail service.
Stevens and his family left New York City for
the Territory September 20, 1854, and arrived at
their new home in December. A pen picture of the
impression gained by the family, upon their
arrival, as described by General Stevens, showed
conditions as they then prevailed:
"It was a
dreary dark December day. It had rained
considerably. The road from Tumwater to Olympia
was ankle deep in mud and threaded a dense
forest with a narrow track. With expectations
raised at the idea of seeing the Capital and
chief town of the Territory, the weary travelers
toiled up the small hill in the edge of the
timber, reached the summit and eagerly looked to
see the new metropolis. Their hearts sank with
bitter disappointment as they surveyed the
dismal and forlorn scene before them. A low,
flat neck of land, running into the bay, down it
stretched the narrow, muddy track, winding among
the stumps, which stood thickly on either side
twenty small wooden houses bordered the road,
while back of them on the left and next the
shore were a number of Indian lodges, with
canoes drawn up on the beach, and Indians and
dogs lounging about." The little hill mentioned
is where the Masonic Temple now stands, opposite
the new Federal building. The site of the Indian
camp is now Columbia Street, between Third and
Fourth. There were only one or two buildings
above, or south of Sixth Street. The public
square was a tangle of fallen timber. Main
street terminated in Giddings' wharf, which was
left high and dry at low tides."
It is not a
matter of surprise that the Governor's family
were appalled at the appearance of their future
home, accentuated as it was by the hardships of
the trip from the East, the latter part of which
is thus described:
The party took
canoes (at a point named Rainier), manned by
Indians, crossed the Columbia and paddled a few
miles up the Cowlitz to Monticello, where they
spent the night. At daylight the next morning
the Governor and family embarked in one canoe,
while the trunks and baggage followed in
another, and pushed up stream against a swift
current. There were in the canoe the Governor,
his wife and four children, the nurse and a crew
of four Indians, two on each end. It was a dark,
drizzling day, with frequent showers. The
passengers sat upon the bottom of the canoe upon
plenty of Indian mats and well wrapped in
blankets, and, except for the strained and
irksome position were fairly comfortable. The
Indians, urged by promises of extra pay, paddled
vigorously. At the rapids (and it seemed that
nearly all the stream was in rapids) they laid
aside their paddles, and, standing up, forced
the canoe ahead with poles, which they wielded
with great skill and vigor. It was dark
when they reached Cowlitz Landing, thirty miles
continues the narrative, here quoted, as a vivid
description of the methods of travel in this
section at that time:
We walked ankle
deep in mud to a small log house, where we had a
good meal. Here we found a number of rough,
dirty-looking men, with pantaloons tucked inside
their boots, and so much hair upon their heads
and faces that they all looked alike. After tea
we were shown a room to sleep in, full of beds,
which were for the women. I was so worn out with
the novel way of traveling, that I laid down on
a narrow strip of bed, not undressed, all my
family alongside on the same bed. The Governor
sat on a stool near by, and, strange to say,
slept sound through the long, dismal night. lie
had been shown his bed up through a hole on top
of the shanty. He said one look was sufficient.
Men were strewn as thick as possible on the
floor in their blankets. The steam generated
from their wet clothes, boots and blankets was
stifling. One small hole cut through the roof
was the only ventilation. As soon as breakfast
was over the next morning, we mounted a wagon
without springs and proceeded on our journey.
There surely were no worse roads in the world
than this. The horses went down deep into the
mud every step; the wheels sank to the hub, and
often had to be pried out. "We forded rivers,
the water coming above our ankles in the wagon.
Many big, deep holes they would jump over,
making the horses run quick, when the wagon
would jump across, shaking us up fearfully. In
one of these holes the horses fell down, and we
stuck fast in the mud. We were taken from the
wagon by men of our party, plunging up to their
knees in mud, and carrying us out by sheer force
of their strength. After seating us upon a
fallen log, the horses were, with difficulty,
extricated from the mud. After another long
day's tiresome travel we stopped at a log house
for the night."
party proceeded the following day through a
drizzling rain, with the roads all but
impassible. At Saunders Bottom, where the Town
of Chehalis now stands, the mud was knee deep
for two miles. This day the party made 25 miles.
The travelers reached Olympia the next day,
after 30 miles' travel, upon a somewhat better
road. Such were the hardships endured by those
looking for new homes in the far Northwest, but
harder yet were the experiences of those
reaching here by way of the Natchez Pass, as
many were coming that way.
An idea of the
cost of living during this period, may be
gleaned from the following market report,
published in the only paper printed in the
Territory at that time:
bushel, $3; flour, $10 per 100 pounds; pork, 20
cents; butter, $1 per pound; onions, $4 per
bushel; eggs, $1 a dozen; beets, $3.50 per
bushel; sugar, I21/o cents; coffee, 18 cents;
tea, $1; molasses, 75 cents; salmon, 10 cents.
Sawed lumber for $20 per thousand; cedar, $30;
shingles, $4.50; piles, per foot, 5 to 8 cents;
square timber, per foot, 12 to 15 cents.
1854, W. B. Goodell established a stage line
between Olympia and Cowlitz via Grand .Mound,
leaving Olympia on Tuesdays and Fridays of each
week. At Cowlitz, near the present site of
Toledo, it made connections with boats for
Monticello and Portland. Olympia to Grand Mound,
$3.50; to Cowlitz, $10.00.
W. W. Miller
built a saw mill the latter part of 1854 on the
East side of Budd's Inlet, a short distance
below the town, and the old Masonic hall was
built on the site of the more pretentious Temple
of today. In this old building the Legislative
session of 1855 was held. Edward Giddings built
a wharf, 300 feet long, at the foot of Main
Street, which was used for many years. Later it
was extended to deep water and was used until
the Government deepened the channel for a nearer
approach to the town.
In 1855, Samuel
Coulter, who had been appointed Assessor,
reported the valuation of taxable property at
$396,825, and a levy of 4 mills was made. The
County debt, at the same time amounted to
duties devolving upon the Legislature of 1855
was that of permanently locating the seat of
Government. Hon. Arthur A. Denny was a member of
the House from King County, and spoke as follows
upon the subject:
propose to do now what I have not done before: I
propose to say now what I have not heretofore
said to anyone (if my memory serves me) relative
to my views upon this location question. I now
for the first time announce my purpose to vote
for the location of the territorial capital at
or near Olympia; and for my vote upon this
question I shall briefly assign a few reasons.
"Justice to all
sections of the territory require at our hands
patient and careful investigation as to the
proper place at which to locate the Territorial
capital. Its location should be central both as
to its geographical position, as well as to its
center compared with our population. In my
investigation of this question, I have arrived
at the conclusion that Olympia is nearer the
geographical center than any other point I have
heard mentioned during the discussion on this
subject, and that it is also nearer the center
of our present population. If, Mr. Speaker, you
take Thurston County, with its population and
add it to the Counties north, there will be
found a clear and decided majority of the
population of our Territory in those Counties.
If you will take Thurston from the northern
Counties and unite her with the Counties south.
then it will show a still more decided majority
south. Thus it is clearly demonstrated that
Olympia is about the center of population in
this Territory. It is as easily accessible from
all parts of the Territory as any place which
has been named during the pendency of this
question, or that could have been named. It is
at the head of navigation at a point the
farthest inland, accessible from all Counties
north by all manner of watercraft from steamer
down to the Indian canoe. It is in a direct line
from the Counties south to the Counties north,
of the Territory. If you travel from the
northern to the southern Counties, you must go
through Thurston or travel out of your course.
If you travel from the southern to the northern
Counties you have to pass through Thurston. Then
as to the particular location—the site is
clearly eligible, the land selected is elevated
and overlooks the placid waters of Puget Sound
for many miles to the northward. The scenery is
grand and imposing—to the north the Coast Range
is seen looming up in the distance. Mount
Olympus standing out in bold relief amidst the
hundreds of less elevated peaks in the vicinity.
Speaker, I know of no other place combining
anything like the claims, all things considered,
to the Territorial capital as does this
immediate vicinity; hence I shall most willingly
give my support to the bill under consideration.
In doing so. I am influenced by no motives of a
pecuniary character—I own no town lots or landed
estate in Thurston County and such is the poor
estimate of my vote or influence that I have not
had even the offer of an oyster supper from the
good citizens of Olympia as an inducement for
Even as early
as 1855 the question of prohibition was, to some
extent, agitated. This year the Legislature
submitted the question of the manufacture and
sale of ardent spirits to a vote of the people
of the Territory at the next election in July.
Quite a vigorous campaign was had, Elwood Evans
being appointed Chairman of the Executive
Committee, who issued a call upon temperance
people to form societies.
County Convention was called for April of this
year. The Whig convention was held May 5, and
the Free Soil convention May 26. At the election
Thurston County gave J. Patton Anderson,
Democratic candidate for Delegate to Congress
nine majority. Wm. Cock was elected Councilman ;
R. M. Walker, C. B. Baker, D. J. Chambers,
Representatives; T. F. Berry, Surveyor;
Assessor, W. B. D. Newman; Commissioner, J. S.
Broshears; Fence Viewer, B. M. Walker;
Lieutenant Colonel, Joseph Miles; Major, J. K.
The vote of
Thurston by precincts will give the reader a
practical idea of how the population was
scattered throughout the County: Three hundred
and seventy-three votes were cast as follows:
Olympia precinct, 260; South Bay, 18; Black
Lake, 15; Yelm Prairie, 18; Grand Mound, 39;
Miami, 9; Coal Bank, 18. Prohibition received a
majority of 14 votes in this County, but failed
to carry in the Territory.
1855, a two story school building was erected to
replace the one that had been crushed by snow a
few years previously. This building has served
various purposes. Erected as a school house
originally, it was so used for years; from 1871
to 1892 it was the Court house, and latter
became a newspaper office. It has since been
moved off the property at Sixth and Franklin and
is now occupied as a lodging house.
A history of
the year 1856 is almost exclusively a story of
Indian troubles. All the serious difficulties
that Thurston County experienced in this regard,
or during which much apprehension was felt, was
during this year. Reports were coming to Olympia
of troubles in the White River valley, which
aroused considerable apprehension. The Yakima
tribes were the troublesome element, and it was
presumed then, and has since been accepted as
reasonably certain, that they were encouraged in
their depredations by the Hudson Bay Company,
which, in this way, hoped to discourage
The first overt
act to occur in Thurston County, and from which
trouble may be said to date, was early in 1854.
when a Kake (a Northern tribe) Indian was killed
by a man named Burke, both of whom worked for H.
L. Butler, at Butler's Cove. Subsequently the
Northern Indians frequently visited the head of
the Sound and committed depredations. The acts
at least became so flagrant that Commander
Swartout, then in command of what United States
navy there was in these waters, was notified. On
November 20th, he made an attack upon their camp
at Port Gamble. About thirty were killed and
twenty wounded, their camp and canoes destroyed.
The remainder were taken to Victoria. This act
but served to whet the appetite of the Indians
The Indians on
the Sound, including those on the Straits,
numbered about 8,000, divided into many tribes
Stevens, early in his administration, outlined a
very wise and pacific policy toward the Indians,
and one which he devoted himself to actively and
sincerely, the features of which were:
concentrate the Indians upon a few reservations
and encourage them to cultivate the soil and
adopt civilized habits.
2. To pay for
their lands in annuities of blankets, clothing,
and stable articles during a long term of years,
rather than in money.
3. To furnish
them with schools, teachers, farmers and farming
implements, blacksmiths and carpenters, with
shops of their trade.
discourage wars and disputes among them.
5. To abolish
6. To stop, as
far as possible, the use of liquor.
7. They were to
retain rights of hunting and fishing on vacant
8. That at some
future date, when they were deemed fitted for
it, the reservations were to be allotted to them
Council in Thurston County was held on
McAllister Creek, a mile above its mouth, on the
The Indians, to
the number of 650, assembled, and Governor
Stevens made an address, at once pacific and
appealing, in which he made plain to the Indians
his policy as outlined above, and invited their
The treaty was
then read, section by section, and the Indians
given every opportunity to discuss it. After
which, there being no objections, the treaty was
signed by Governor I.I. Stevens and the Chiefs,
Delegates and Headmen on the part of the
Indians. Provisions and presents were then
delivered to the Chiefs, who divided them among
Following is a
synopsis of the treaty:
1. The Indians
to cede their lands in Thurston, Pierce and
parts of Mason and King to the United States.
2. Set off as
reservations: Squaxon Island, containing about
1280 acres; a square tract of two sections near
and south of the mouth of McAllister Creek and
another equal tract on the south side of
Commencement Bay, with accessible roads to and
right of fishing and hunting on other than
thousand five hundred dollars to be paid in
annuities in staple and useful articles.5.
Thirty thousand two hundred and fifty dollars to
be expended in placing the Indians on their
the President to remove the Indians when the
interests of the Territory demanded, by
reimbursing the Indians for improvements.
use of annuities to pay personal debts.
wars, and provided for arbitration of
differences by the Government.
liquor from reservations on penalty of
forfeiture of annuity.
for a General Agency and instruction in useful
trades for twenty years.
trade by the Indians outside of the United
States, and forbade foreign Indians residing on
the reservations except by consent of the Agent.
Indians signed. Leschi, an intelligent and
designing Indian, who has since been
immortalized by having a Seattle park named for
him, being the third. The first signer was
Qui-ee-muth, Leschi's brother. Both these
Indians met death as a reward for their
On October 14,
1855, Acting Governor Mason issued a
proclamation, stating conditions and called for
the enrollment of two Companies, and Vancouver
and Olympia were named as places of enrollment.
enrolled at Olympia was called the Puget Sound
Mounted Volunteers, which elected officers as
follows. Captain, Gilmore Hays; First
Lieutenant, Jared S. Hurd; Second Lieutenant,
Wm. Martin; First Sergeant, Joseph Gibson;
Second Sergeant, H. D. Cock; Third Sergeant,
Thomas Prather; Fourth Sergeant. Joseph "White;
First Corporal, Joseph S. Taylor; Second
Corporal, Whitfield Kirtley; Third Corporal, D.
T. Wheelock; Fourth Corporal, John Scott.
The people were
disappointed in receiving arms that were
expected at that time, which necessitated a
visit by Surveyor General Tilton to Seattle with
a view to securing arms from the Decatur, a
sloop of war, and the revenue cutter Jefferson
Davis, both then in the harbor. He was
successful to the extent of securing 30 muskets,
40 carbines, 50 holster pistols, 50 sabers and
belts and 3500 ball cartridges.
Nathan Eaton, a settler in Thurston, was
authorized by Acting Governor Mason, to organize
a Company of Rangers, which was officered as
follows: First Lieutenant, James McAllister;
Second Lieutenant, James Tullis; Third
Lieutenant. A. M. Poe; First Sergeant, John
Harold; Second Sergeant. Chas. E. Weed; Third
Sergeant, W. W. Miller; Fourth Sergeant, S.
Phillips; First Corporal, S. D. Reinhart; Second
Corporal, Thos. Bracken; Third Corporal, S.
Hodgdon; Fourth Corporal, James Hughes.
proceeded to White River valley on October 20,
A Company was
organized on Mound Prairie and tho citizens then
built a blockhouse for protection. A Company was
also formed on Chambers Prairie.
precautionary measure it was deemed wise to hold
a reserve force and four more Companies were
called for. By the terms of this call, Lewis,
Thurston, Pierce and Samamish were to furnish
one Company to enroll at Olympia. This Company
enrolled 110 men and elected the following
officers: Captain, Geo. B. Goudy; First
Lieutenant, W. B. Affleck; Second Lieutenant, J.
K. Hurd; First Sergeant. Francis Lindler; Second
Sergeant, A. J. Baldwin; Third Sergeant, F. W.
Sealy ; Fourth Sergeant, James Roberts. Jos.
"Walraven. E. W. Austin. Hiel Barnes and Joseph
the protection of families were built in this
County, one on Chambers Prairie and one on Mound
Prairie. Business was practically suspended in
town and claims were abandoned in the country.
Men were either preparing to leave for the scene
of the trouble or were engaged in the erection
of forts and stockades for protection.
left home on October 24th, to seek the wily
Chief of the Nesquallys, Leschi, who was the
instigator of much of the trouble and hostile
attitude of many of the natives, but they found
he had gone to the "White River Valley, and the
troops immediately started in pursuit. At
Puyallup Crossing, Captain Eaton, Lieutenant
McAllister and Connell. together with a friendly
Indian, went ahead of their Company to have a
conference with the Indians. The Indians, with
characteristic treachery, professed friendship.
Upon returning to camp, McAllister and Council
were fired upon and killed. An Indian rode to
the McAllister claim and told the family of
McAllister's death and helped them to the fort
on Chambers' Prairie, A few days later Cols. A.
B. Moses and Joseph Miles were killed. It was
for the murder of these men that Leschi was
the hostiles on the East side of the mountains
visited the Sound Indians, and by ingenious
argument incited the natives on this side to
hostility. Straggling bands were perpetrating
outrages here and there, and thus were families
intimidated and forced to take refuge in Olympia
A town meeting was held, at which Wm. Cock was
chosen chairman and Elwood Evans, secretary.
After discussing the situation it was resolved
to build a stockade. Rev. J. F. Devore, R. M.
Walker and Wm. Cock were constituted a committee
to proceed at once on works for defense, and, if
necessary, to detain the brig Tarquina. then in
the harbor; as a means of refuge.
condition existed and a sable cloud lay low over
the little town, the bodies of McAllister. Moses
and Miles were brought in, and during a dismal
fall of rain, the little community bared their
heads in grief over the mortal remains of their
first martyrs. The three young men were buried
on Chambers' Prairie,
A stockade was
erected along Fourth Street, from bay to bay.
with a block house at the corner of Main, on
which was placed a cannon.
merely precautionary measures. Actual fighting
occurred only in the White and Puyallup Valleys,
and in December, the Militia Companies were
An attack on
Seattle occurred January 26, 1856. an 1 Governor
Stevens then issued a proclamation calling for
six Companies, two of which were to enroll at
white population of the Sound at this time: was
barely 4,000 souls and all the male population
fit to bear arms had been and were now devoting
their time and energies to defense, rather than
in the pursuit of their occupations; they were
destitute and discouraged, and were receiving
little or no help from the Government.
Company here to respond was officered as
follows: Captain, Gilmore Hays; First
Lieutenant, A. B. Rabbison ; Second Lieutenant.
Wm. Martin ; Orderly Sergeant, Frank Ruth;
Sergeants, A. J. Moses, D. Martin, M. Goddell;
Corporals, N. B. Coffey, J. L. Myers, F. Hughes.
A Company of
Mounted Rangers elected officers as follows:
Captain, B. L. Henness; First Lieutenant, Geo.
C. Blanken- ship; Second Lieutenant, F. A.
Godwin; Sergeants, Jos. Cush- man. W. J. Yeager,
Henry Laws, Jas. Phillips; Corporals, Wm. E,
Kady, Thos. Hicks, S. A. Phillips, H. A.
On February 8
there was organized a company of miners and
sappers under Captain Jas. A. White; U. E.
Hicks, First Lieutenant; McLain Chambers, Second
Lieutenant; D. J. Hubbard, C. White, Marcus
McMillan, H. G. Parsons, Sergeants, Corporals,
Isaac Lemon, Wm. Ruddell. Wm. Mengle. This
Company was organized to cut roads, build
fortifications, guard stock, etc.
General Tilton, on March 1, issued a call for
too more men for service under Major Hays, with
headquarters in Olympia. and in April a block
house was built, sufficient to accommodate the
whole population, on a site now known as Capital
Park. The spot is indicated by a stone, erected
by the Daughters of the American Revolution, to
mark the end of the Oregon trail.
The Indians now
seemed tiring of the unavailing struggle,
although a Peace Commission composed of M. T.
Simmons and Ed. C. Fitzhugh, appointed by the
Governor to treat with the Indians, was unable
to bring about satisfactory results. But the
Indians were disbanding and the soldiers
returned home, subject to call and were finally
mustered out in August. The horses, stores,
etc., were sold at public auction. An incident
which shows the characteristic integrity and
regard for honor prevalent among the pioneers is
here given. An officer of one of the volunteer
Companies had captured a mule in Grand; Ronde
Valley. While in the service, he rode it home to
Olympia. and turned it in. He desired to bid it
in and own it, but the highest bid was $475 and
the faithful volunteer, impoverished by ten
months' military service, was unable to meet,
struggle stockades and block houses had been
built in Thurston County by settlers as follows:
Stockade at Cochran's, Skookumchuck; stockade.
Fort Henness, Grand Mound Prairie; stockade at
Goodell's, Grand Mound Prairie; block house,
Tenalquot Prairie; block house, Nathan Eaton's.
Chambers Prairie , two block houses. Chambers
Prairie; block house at Ruddell's, Chambers
Prairie; stockade at Bush's. Bush Prairie; block
house at Rutledge's, Bush Prairie; two block
houses in Tumwater; block house at Doffelmeyer's
Forts and block
houses built in Thurston County by the
Volunteers were: Block house at Skooknmchuck,
Port Miller. Tenalquot Plains; Fort Stevens,
Yelm Prairie; block house at Lowe's, Chambers
Prairie; block house and stockade at Olympia.
were built by the Federal troops in Thurston
had acquitted themselves creditably. Though a
sturdy type of the Western pioneer, they had
subjected themselves to strict discipline. All
captured property was turned over or accounted
for. No case of wanton killing of Indians had
At the close of
hostility the settlers justly felt that the
murderers among the Indians should be tried and
subjected To punishment. In this they were
firmly supported by Governor Stevens. In a
letter to Col. Casey, the Governor asked his
assistance to this end:
therefore, to request your aid in apprehending
Leschi, Qui-ee-muth, Kitsap, Slahi and Nelson,
and other murderers, and to keep them in custody
awaiting a warrant from the nearest magistrate.
I have to state that I do not believe that any
coxmtry or any age has afforded an example of
the kindness and justice which has been shown
towards the Indians by the suffering inhabitants
of the Sound during the recent troubles. They
have, in spite of the few cases of murder which
have occurred, shown themselves eminently
law-abiding, a just and forbearing people. They
desire the murderers of the Indians to be
punished, but they complain, and they have a
right to complain, if the Indians, whose hands
are steeped in the blood of the innocent, go
unwhipped of justice."
arisen a question between the Governor and the
military as to wether any promise of protection
had beer, made to the Indians when they
delivered themselves up to
in Yakima, Col. "Casey claiming that to attempt.
to hold any on a charge of murder would be a
violation of good faith. The Governor positively
controverted the assumption of protection to the
Indians, as he had received positive assurance
from Col. Wright that he had made no terms with
them and promised them no immunity. The
Governor, relying upon this statement made to
him by Col. Wright, in tin- presence of
creditable witnesses, refused to receive and
take charge of a party of about 100 Sound
Indians until the murderers' were arrested,
claiming that Leschi and the others had
committed murders in time of peace, in a
barbarous way, when their victims were nnaware
accused murderers were arrested and indicted and
received by Col. Casey for custody at Fort
Steilacoom, whereupon the Governor took charge
of the other Indians and returned them to their
reservations. At the first trial of Leschi the
jury disagreed, but at a subsequent trial he was
convicted. The case was appealed to the Supreme1
Court, where the judgment of the lower court was
affirmed and the murderer was sentenced to be
hanged on January 22, 1858, at Port Steilacoom.
Petitions were circulated for pardon and
numerous remonstrances were filed with the
Governor, but the Governor declined to
interfere. Time for the execution passed and
Leschi still lived. A committee, appointed by
indignant citizens, inquired into the cause for
delay. The report of this committee disclosed
interference by the military authorities at Fort
Steilacoom, and severely censured the Sheriff of
Pierce County. At a session of the Supreme Court
February 12, 1858, Leschi was resentenced to
hang February 19. Sheriff Hays was ordered to
carry out the order of the court. In the absence
of the Sheriff. Deputy Mitchell went, with a
posse of twelve men. to Steilacoom, where the
sentence was carried out and Leschi was made to
pay the penalty of his crimes.
Yelm Jim who
had been charged with the murder of Wm. White in
March, 1856, came to trial April, 1859. He was
found guilty and was sentenced to be hanged.
Before the time set for the execution arrived,
however, two Indians came to Olympia and
confessed to the crime. Yelm Jim was pardoned.
Qui-ee-muth, Leschi's brother, was captured near
Yelm and brought to the Governor's office in
Olympia late at night. The Governor stationed a
guard over the Indian, with strict orders for
protection until morning, when the prisoner
would be removed to Steilacoom. About daylight,
while the guard slept, a man burst into the
room, shooting the Indian in the arm and then
stabbing him. The deed was done and the assassin
gone before the guard was thoroughly aroused.
The man making the attack was not identified,
and no testimony could be found against anyone.
The impression gained credence, however, that
Joseph Bunting, son-in-law of McAllister,
committed the deed, thus revenging the death of
As has been
before stated, the Indians, in their hostilities
toward the settlers, were much encouraged by the
Hudson Bay Company. During the war there lived
in the country back of Steilacoom, a number of
ex-employees of the Company, who had Indian
wives and half breed children. It was reported
to the Governor that these men were giving aid
and comfort to the Indians. The Indians who
killed White and Northcraft in Thurston County,
were tracked straight to the houses of these
men, who, when asked concerning it, admitted the
fact, but denied any knowledge of their acts.
precautionary measure, the Governor ordered
these men to remove either to Steilacoom,
Nisqually or Olympia, until the end of
hostilities, where they would be harmless to the
interests of the settlers. Accordingly twelve of
them moved in. They had taken out their first
papers and had located donation claims. A few
lawyers who had not distinguished themselves by
assisting, or even been identified with, the
worthy settler in resisting the Indians, here
saw a chance for serving their own purposes, and
incited these men to resist the Governor's order
in the courts, and in the meantime return to
their claims, which five of them did. On
learning this, the Governor ordered them
arrested and turned over to Col. Casey at Port
designing lawyers sued out a writ of habeas
corpus. To forestall an effort on the part of
the conspirators to seriously impair the plans
of his administration, the Governor declared
martial law on April 3. The prisoners were
brought to Olympia and incarcerated in the old
block house en the public square. Judge
Chenoweth, whose place it was to hear the
proceedings, plead illness, and asked Judge
Lander, whose district included Thurston County,
to hear the habeas corpus cases. Lander hastened
to Steilacoom and opened court May 7. The
Governor had urged the Judge to adjourn court
until Indian troubles were over, which must
necessarily be soon, and all trouble thus
averted. But Lander proceeded to open court,
whereupon Col. Shaw walked into court and
arrested the Judge and the officers of his court
and brought them to Olympia, where they were
then at home, and the time for holding court in
his own district having arrived, he opened court
on the 14th, and summoned the Governor to answer
contempt proceedings. The Governor ignored the
order and accordingly United States Marshal Geo.
W. Corliss proceeded to the Governor's office to
arrest him. The Marshal and his party, however,
after failing to execute their errand, were
ejected from the office by a party composed of
Major Tilton, Capt. Cain, Jas. Doty, Q. A.
Brooks, R. M. Walker, A. J. Baldwin, Lewis
Ensign, Chas. E. Weed and J. L. Mitchell.
volunteers entered the Town and Judge Lander
hearing of their approach, adjourned court, and,
in company with Elwood Evans, went to the office
of the latter and locked themselves in. Captain
Miller, with his men, approached, and finding
himself barred, remarked: "I will here add a new
letter to the alphabet, let 'er rip," and kicked
in the door and arrested the occupants of the
room. Evans was released at once. Lander was
held in honorable custody until the war was
Much was made
of this act by the enemies of Governor Stevens
to injure him and his administration. A mass
meeting was held in Olympia on the public square
(now Capita' Park), which was presided over by
Judge B. F. Yantis, J. W. Goodell, Secretary,
which heartily endorsed the course of the
Governor in declaring martial law.
proclamation revoking martial law was
promulgated May 24 and Lander held court in July
following. The Governor appeared in court by
counsel disclaiming any disrespect to the Court,
was fined $50, which he paid, and the incident
At the election which occurred in July, Thurston
County elected the entire Democratic ticket,
except Sheriff, which was as follows:
Councilman, J. W. Wiley; Representatives, B. L. Henness, C.
B. Baker, J. A. Longmire, Daniel Kiper, G. C.
Blankenship, Wm. Rutledge; Auditor, Wm. "Wright;
Assessor, T. W. Glascow; Treasurer, G. K.
Willard; Coroner, H. D. Morgan. Isaac
Hays, on the "Whig ticket, defeated Samuel
Coulter. The Democratic ticket was opposed by
the Whigs and Free Soldiers.
The Puget Sound
Institute, a private school, was organized this
year by Rev. J. F. Dillon, a Methodist minister,
assisted by his wife.
The end of the
year 1856 found confidence restored among the
settlers, who had returned to the pursuit of
their avocations. Settlers had returned to their
claims without fear. The first threshing machine
was brought into the County and a cabinet and
chair factory was opened in town.
J. M. Swan
platted his donation claim adjoining the
Sylvester tract, on the East side of the bay,
which was known for many years as Swantown.
Pacific Railroad Company was incorporated by the
Legislature of 1857. Under the terms of the
charter the road was to commence at one of the
passes in the Rocky Mountains between the
Territories of Washington and Nebraska and
connecting with such road passing through
Minnevta and Nebraska as the Company might
select, thence to the Sound. The following
residents of the Territory were incorporators:
I. I. Stevens, C. H. Mason, E. Lander, Geo.
Gibbs, B. F. Kendall, Wm. Cock, R. M. Walker. W.
W. Miller. W. H. Wallace, Lafayette Balch, M. T.
Simmons, Elwood Evans, A. A. Denny, David
Phillips, Alex Abernethy, J. P. Keller, Jas.
Tilton, E. H. Fowler, S. D. Howe, E. C.
Fitzhugh, Walter Crockett, L. H. Davis, C. C.
Pagett, Jno. R, Jackson, Seth Catlin, Wm.
Strong, Wm. Dillon, Sumner Barker, Wm. Kelly,
Ira Patterson, H. D. Huntington, N. Ostrander
and B. B. Bishop.
also authorized the appointing of a Board of
Commissioners with authority to build a bridge
across the Western arm of Budd's Inlet. Wm.
Cock, Edwin Marsh, W. W. Miller, Wm. McLean, J.
K. Kurd, Jos. Cushman, S. W. Percival and Elwood
Evans composed the Commission. The report
favored a bridge 1803 feet long, with a draw, at
an estimated cost of $3000.
At the March
term of the County Commissioners the election
precincts of Coal Bank, Rabboson's Prairie,
Nisqually Prairie and Miami were abandoned and
the territory attached to adjoining precincts.
This was due, in a great extent, to the
depopulating of the country by the Indian War.
withstanding the fact that the country showed a
falling off in population. Olympia continued to
improve and a number of small industries were
started in 1857.
The rate of
taxation was 3 mills for County purposes.. 1 for
court, 1 for territorial, and 2 mills for school
On July 13 the
annual election occurred. The opposition to the
Democrats of the year before had united under
the name of Republican. The Democrats carried
the election, losing only the School
Superintendent and Prosecuting Attorney. The
following officers were elected: Representatives
W. W. Miller, Stephen Guthrie, B. F. Shaw. C. B.
Baker, T. W Glascow; Joint Representative, W. M.
Morrow; Probate Judge. G. K. Willard; Assessor,
J. R. Smith; County Commissioner. James Biles;
School Superintendent. G. P. Whitworth; Prose
eating Attorney, C. C. Hewitt; Coroner, C. II.
Stevens was elected delegate to Congress this
year, and Fayette McMullan was appointed to fill
his place as Governor. McMullan arrived in
September and was enthusiastically received.
A contract was
awarded the Pacific Mail Steamship Company to
carry the mail from San Francisco to Olympia.
Fairy, owned and operated on Puget Sound by A.
B. Rabbeson, plying between Olympia and
Steilacoom blew up when leaving the wharf at the
latter place, October 15
The year 1858
was distinguished by the Frazier River
excitement. Settlers in Washington and Oregon
again abandoned their claims in quest of riches,
as ten years before California had attracted
at the head of tidewater and the only town north
of the Columbia, was an outfitting point for the
miners. Wells Fargo & Co. established an
office in Olympia this year, with T. M. Reed as
The election of
1858 resulted in the choice of the entire
Democratic ticket as follows: Councilman, W. W.
Miller; Representatives, E. Sylvester, B. L.
Henness, Wm. Rutledge J. M. Hawk, Jas. Longmire,
Oliver Shead; Prosecuting Attorney, B. P.
Anderson; County Commissioner, Jas. Cornell;
Treasurer, G. K. Willard; Auditor, Richard Lane;
Sheriff. G. C. Blankenship; Assessor, Wm.
Martin; Coroner, A. J. Baldwin.
As early as
1858 the matter of a transcontinental railroad
began to be actively agitated. A meeting was
held in Masonic Hall, September 29th, and
Congress urged to make a land grant to the
Northern Pacific Railroad. At this meeting
Elwood Evans presided.
as an industry began to attract attention and
two nurseries were established in the County.
A postal agent
visited Olympia in the fall of this year and
arranged for the mail steamer Constitution
leaving on Monday instead of Friday. Connections
were made at San Francisco by which overland
mail reached Olympia from St. Louis in 24 days.
In May of 1859
the Commissioners called a special election to
vote a 4-mill tax to build a new Courthouse. It
was hoped to derive a revenue of $5,000, $2.500
to be applied to existing indebtedness. The
proposition was decidedly defeated.
At the election
in July the Democrats and Republicans had
tickets in the field, the former being
successful. For Councilman, Jas. Biles;
Representatives. B. L. Henness, G. K Willard.
Oliver Shead, A. S. Yantis, Chas. E. Weed, Levi
Shelton; County Commissioner, A. J. Chambers;
Assessor. Jno. Chambers.
Secretary C. H.
Mason died in July of this year, at the age of
29. He was universally loved and respected.
into Thurston County received a decided impetus
at this time and resulted in much encouraging
the earlier settlers.
General Winfield Scott visited Olympia. he
having come to the Northwest in connection with
the international boundary question.
At the session
of the legislature this year a bill was
introduced removing the Capitol from Olympia to
Vancouver, which passed the house by a vote of
19 to 9, but met defeat in the Council by one
In the winter
of this year, as a result of frequent fires, the
first steps toward protection were taken by. the
organization of the Alert Hook and Ladder
Company—Foreman. C. E. Williams; 1st Assistant,
J. L. Head; 2d Assistant, H. D. Morgan;
President, T. M. Reed; Secretary, A. J. Moses;
Treasurer. W. G. Dunlap.
The Puget Sound
University was chartered this year, with the
following officers: D. R. Bigelow, Chancellor;
G. A. Barnes Vice President; Rev. B. C.
Lippincott, President and General Agent.
The town of
Olympia was incorporated January 29, 1859. the
election to be held in April following. The Act
designated G. A. Barnes, T. F. McElroy, Jas.
Tilton, Jos. Cushman and Elwood Evans as
Trustees. Jos. Cushman was elected President of
At the April
election U. G. Warbass, Geo. A. Barnes Edwin
Marsh, W. D. Dunlap and Isaac Lightner were
elected Trustees. Geo. A. Barnes was elected
President and Richard Lane Clerk of the Board.
Dr. Warbass declined to serve and Elwood Evans
let for cisterns at the intersections of Second,
Third and Fourth Streets with Main Street. The
old blockhouse on the square was fitted up for a
A reaction from
the good times of the previous years was
experienced in 1860. The war cloud was looming
large in the East, and helped to a degree the
depression. The Capitol removal was again
agitated in every County, which, together with a
heavy assessment, on the previous year's boom
valuations, did not help to relieve the feeling
resigning as County Treasurer, T. F. McElroy was
appointed to fill the vacancy.
At this time
Olympia was served by four religious
denominations : Methodist, Presbyterian,
Catholic and Episcopalian.
At the election
this year the realignment in political parties
began, as a result of the war issues, though the
Democrats elected most of their ticket. The
following County officers were elected for the
ensuing year: Representatives, D. L. Phillips,
B. F. Ruth, B. L. Henness, U. G. Warbass,
Gilmore Hays and C. H. Hale; Sheriff, Wm.
Billings; School Superintendent, R. M. Walker;
Auditor, Richard Lane; Treasurer, Win. Wright;
Commissioner, S. S. Ford; Probate Judge, R. M.
Walker; Assessor, A. W. Sargent.
legislative session this year steps were taken
toward the erection of a capitol building. A
Commissioner was appointed and bids called for.
The matter went by default, however, as no
satisfactory bids were received.
census of this year showed a population of 1439
for Thurston County—967 males, 522 females. Real
property valuation was £942.990; personal,
was awarded a daily mail contract between
Olympia and Monticello.
Standard was this year started by John Miller
Murphy as a Republican paper and the Pioneer and
Democrat was sold by Wiley & Furste to James
connected with the main town by a footbridge
early this year.
Town Board was elected in 1860: G. A. Barnes.
Elwood Evans. W. G. Dunlap. Isaac Lightner,
Edwin Marsh. Wm. Billings was elected Marshal
and D. R. Bigelow, Police Judge.
legislature of 1860-61 convened it was quite
apparent that Portland, Oregon, was taking part
in Washington Territory's Capital fight, in her
own interests. Under the great influence brought
to bear the bill for removal to Vancouver passed
both houses and was approved. However, it was
discovered, after adjournment of the
legislature, that the bill had no enacting
clause, and, as enrolled, bore no date At a
session of the Supreme Court at Olympia, a plea
as to the jurisdiction of the Court, in one
case, was entered. This brought the question
squarely before the Court. The plea was
overruled, and Olympia has since remained the
attached the south part of Thurston County to
In July the
question of Capital location was submitted to
the people with the following result: Whole
number of votes cast 2315. of which Olympia
received 1239, Vancouver 639, Steilacoom 253.
Scattering votes went to Port Townsend, Walla
Walla and Seattle.
In 1861 the
people of Tumwater offered, as a bonus for the
location of the County seat at Tumwater, a
considerable amount in lumber, shingles, labor
and land. C. Crosby and wife filed with the
Commissioners a bond in the sum of $4000.
conditioned on the delivery of a deed for four
blocks of land. At the same session Olympia
offered to donate the public square to the
County on condition that the County seat remain
being submitted to the people at the annual
election following, Olympia received 344.
Tumwater 104. West Olympia 4. Up:>n a
delivery of a conveyance of the public square to
the County a call was made for bids for 200,000
bricks, with which to build a jail.
attaching of a portion of Thurston County to
Lewis. Commissioner Biles was disqualified from
acting, though by failure of his successor to
qualify, Mr. Biles presided at the next meeting
of the Board, fixing a rate of 7 mills for
school, court and Territorial purposes.
of 1861 had extended the terms of County
officers to two years, hence only
Representatives to the legislature and County
Commissioners were elected this year.
B. F. Ruth, A.
S. Yantis, Wm. Cock and Win. McLain were elected
Representatives. G. W. Miller and G. W. French
were elected Commissioners.
In the Summer
of 1861 A. M. Poe established the Overland Press
Rev. B. C.
Lippincott this year assumed charge of the
public school in Olympia.
At the Spring
election Elwood Evans, T. M. Reed, B. Harned, A.
Frankee and S. W. Percival were elected Trustees
R. Lane was chosen Clerk, Wm. Billings, Marshal,
and W. G. Dunlap, Magistrate.
abandonment of the military post at Steilacoom.
which occurred this year, some uneasiness was
felt due to the prevalent idea that the absence
of troops might encourage the Indians to resume
hostilities. But the year closed with bright
prospects for the County. Of 53 post offices in
the Territory, Thurston County had nine.
Early in 1862
the erection of a Courthouse was agitated.
During the discussion of the matter it was
discovered that the County had no title to the
public square, which it had been reserving for
County purposes. It will be recalled that a few
years previously, after Tumwater had offered a
bonus for the location of the County seat there,
that Olympia made a deed to the County for the
public square (bounded by Sixth. Seventh, Main
and Washington Streets. Later it was found that
Edmund Sylvester had donated this to the city
for park purposes exclusively, hence the
conveyance by the city to the County was
At the May term
of the Commissioners this year they purchased
property on the northeast corner of Union and
Washington streets, which had formerly been used
for school purposes, and awarded a contract to
B. Harned to fit up the building for courthouse
F. M. Sargent
resigned as County Treasurer and S. W. Percival
was appointed to fill the vacancy.
this year resulted in the choice of the
following : Joint Councilman, 0. B. McFadden;
Representatives, Wm. McLain, T. Hunt, H. Kandle,
Jas. Longmire; Sheriff. R. W. Moxlie; Auditor,
A. W. Moore; Treasurer, S. W. Percival;
Surveyor, Edwin Marsh; Attorney, B. F. Dennison;
Commissioner, S. D. Ruddell.
News of the
death of Isaac I. Stevens, who was shot in the
battle of Chantilly on September 1, was received
in Olympic October 18. Proper memorial services
were held here.
Up to October
of this year $2,210.08 had been raised in
Thurston County to aid the Federal cause.
In 1862 B. F.
Kendall, a man of marked ability, though
combative and vindictive, had become publisher
of the Overland Press. In a December issue he
charged a man named Horace Howe with burning the
buildings of the Puget Sound Agricultural
Company, in Lewis County. Later Howe met Kendall
at the corner of Main and Third Streets.
Olympia, and during a controversy struck Kendall
with a switch he was holding. Kendall ran, Howe
following, for a short distance, then turned and
fired four shots at his pursuer, one entering
the left side
of Howe, which proved a serious but not fatal
wound. Kendall's version, as published in his
own paper, gave offense to Howe's friends, and
on January 8, 1863, Howe's son entered Kendall's
office and asked to see him privately. The two
retired to an adjoining room, when a pistol shot
was heard and Howe came from the room saying. "I
shot him in self defense." The young man was put
under bail for his appearance for trial, but he
later disappeared. The case was dismissed, when
some time afterward the news of Howe's death
reached Olympia. The pistol used by the assassin
was one belonging to a prominent Territorial
official, which gave some color to the belief at
the time that Kendall was the victim of a plot
among political enemies.
elected this year: G. A. Barnes, Jos. Gushman,
Jas. Tilton, C. E. Williams, W. G. Dunlap. R.
Lane, Clerk; H. M. McGee, Magistrate; W. B.
Gosnell, Marshal. Dunlap died soon after
election and David Phillips succeeded him.
begun to be engaged in quite extensively in and
about Olympia, the output finding ready market
at good prices.
In 1863, being
an off year, only a Legislative ticket, a
Commissioner and Probate Judge were elected. The
Unionists defeated the Democrats, with the
following result: Repre sentatives, C. Crosby.
H. D. McGee, \Vm. McLain; Commissioner, Joseph
Gibson; Probate Judge, P. M. Sargent.
At the Town
election Jos. Cushman, C. E. Williams, B.
Harned, S. Holmes and Wm. Mitchell were elected
Trustees; R. Lane, Clerk; P. M. Sargent,
Magistrate, and John Sealy. Marshal. W. J.
Yeager succeeded the latter later.
The Fall of
1863 John Paul Judson was elected teacher of the
public school and was authorized to collect from
the scholars, or parents, a sum sufficient to
make his salary $80 per month and for an
assistant at $120 per quarter, in addition to
the $50 allowed by law. The only examination to
which teachers were submitted at this time was
that made by a committee of the Town Board.
The year 1864
was one of unusual quiet, little transpiring of
sufficient importance to chronicle A tri-weekly
mail contract direct to Portland was awarded
At the election
Republicans and Democrats placed tickets in the
field. The result was a victory for the
Republicans, losing only their candidate for
Auditor. Representatives, C. Crosby, S. D.
Ruddle, P. M. Rhodes; Sheriff, J. H. Kellett;
Commissioner, J. Dunlap; Auditor, R. Lane;
Treasurer, S. W. Percival.
The Fourth of
July was enthusiastically celebrated this year,
at the close of which a Lincoln and Johnson Club
was organized, and notwithstanding the fact that
the people had no vote for choice of President,
the political interest was intense.
A slight flurry
was occasioned the latter part of 1864 by the
report that gold had been discovered in the
Nachez Pass, about 70 miles from Olympia. This
little community furnished its quota of
gold-seekers, who soon returned to their homes
elected: Trustees, L. D. Durgin, Jesse Chapman,
H. M. McGill, A. J. Brown, Edward Giddings;
Clerk, R. Lane; Treasurer, Jesse Chapman;
Marshal, J. L. Head; Magistrate, F. M. Sargent.
Sunday closing ordinance was passed by this
on Streets was instructed to build a reservoir
about a spring on the northeast corner of Main
and Fourth streets and establish a pump for the
convenience of the general public. This spring,
which furnished pure and cold water had long
been a village institution, and this corner a
gathering place in the evening when alike
politics and village gossip were discussed.
evening, September 4, 1864, the telegraph was
completed to Olympia. The following
congratulatory dispatch was sent by the
Territorial executive to President Lincoln. It
and its reply were the first messages sent
between this Territory and the National Capital:
Territory, Executive Office, Olympia, Sept. 5,
1854. To His Excellency Abraham Lincoln,
President of the United States:
Territory this day sends her first telegraphic
dispatch greeting yourself, Washington City and
the whole United States, with our sincere
prayers to Almighty God that his richest
blessings, both spiritual and temporal, may rest
upon and perpetuate the Union of our beloved
country, that His own omnipotent power may
bless, protect and defend the President of the
United States, our brave army and gallant navy,
our Congress, and every department of the
For and on
behalf of Washington Territory.
C., Sept. 6, 1864. Gov. Pickering, Olympia, W.
dispatch of yesterday received and will be
published. A. LINCOLN.
For the first
term of school contract was made this year with
J. P. Judson; for the two succeeding terms with
D. J. Ilubbard as principal.
celebrated with great patriotic fervor the news
which reached the West of the success of the
Union armies. The news of Lincoln's
assassination was received here, as elsewhere
throughout the United States, with sincere
In the Summer
of 1865 the wagon road across the Cascade
Mountains was completed. This had long been a
dream of the pioneers on both sides of the
mountains. Thurston County had contributed $800
toward the project and every means was resorted
to to help the project. Even the ladies of
Olympia had put their hands to the wheel, and on
July 4 gave a Calico Ball, turning the proceeds.
$120. over to the road project.
At the election
this year Thurston County polled 362 votes,
Denny (Republican) for delegate to Congress,
receiving 220 votes, and Tilton (Democrat) 142.
Republican County ticket was elected as follows:
Councilman, S. S. Ford: Representatives, Wm.
McLain, G. W. Miller, S. D. Ruddell;
Commissioners, A. Tilley, W. S. Parsons; School
Superintendent, D. R. Bigelow; Coroner, Robert
Colfax, Speaker of the National House of
Representatives, visited the Sound in July of
this year and addressed the people of Olympia.
The close of
the war found the business affairs of the Sound
region in good condition. Demand for lumber was
activ,; itt good prices.
Up to this time
the male population had far exceeded the female
in number. In view of this fact A. S. Mercer
conceived the idea of chartering a vessel and
bringing to the Sound » large number of women.
On receiving notice from Mercer that the ship
Continental was s'.ion to leave Boston, with a
large passenger list, Olympia appointed a
committee, consisting of Klwood Evans and wife,
D. R. Bigelow and wife. T. F. McElroy and wife,
T. M. Reed and wife, Francis Henry and wife,
George Barnes and wife. James Biles and wife,
Henry Winsor and wife. to receive and provide
for the newcomers. Homes in the County were
found for 80, of the 300 that arrived.
the lumber industry, owing to a decision of a
California Court that the export of lumber and
spars cut from U. S. lands must be taxed $2.50
Tax levy this
year.- Four mills for County, 2 for School and 2
1/2 mills for road purposes.
Owing to a lack
of funds no public schools opened this year. For
the purpose of running a private school. Misses
Biddings and Slocum leased the school house.
elected this year: Chas. "Weed, U. E. Hicks. .F.
R. Wood, B. F. Yantis, Robt. Frost. U. E. Hicks
was elected Treasurer; R. Lane, Clerk; W. J.
levied a tax for school purposes of 1 1.2 mills
and purchased a hand fire engine.
were put in the field at the election in 1866.
The split in the Republican party was due to the
disaffection between President Johnson and
Change in the
Republican party resulted in the election of the
Democratic ticket with the exception of Henness
for Sheriff. The following County officers were
elected: Representatives, Jas. Longmire, B. F.
Ruth, F. Henry; Sheriff. J. H. Kellett; Auditor,
P. F. Turpin; Probate Judge, C. P. Judson;
Treasurer, I. Lightner; Commissioner, R.
old town pump gave away to a water system that
was installed this year.
Commissioners appropriated $800 toward the
Swantown bridge, and provided bounties for the
following animals: Wildcat $1, Coyote $2.50,
"Wolf $4, Cougar $5, grown Bear $2, Cub $1.
S. S. Ford,
Sr., who was a joint Councilman with Lewis
County, died this year. In the election to fill
the vacancy Wm. H. Mitchell defeated Geo. A.
Barnes by 23 votes.
On December 20,
1866, the stores at the lower end of Main
Street, were flooded by the highest tide that
had been known up to that time.
Engine Company was organized this year and
formally took possession of the new hand engine.
A. J. Baldwin was foreman.
elected this year: Geo. A. Barnes, T. M. Reed,
Isaac Lightner, B. Harned, A. J. Baldwin. T. M.
Reed was elected Treasurer and Richard Lane,
L. P. Venen was
this year elected principal of the district
County election occurred in 1861 and resulted in
the selection of the following officers: Wm.
McLane, Councilman; F. Henry, Ira Ward and J. E.
Baker, Representatives; J. H. Kellett, Sheriff;
A. W. Cairnes, J. M. Shotwell and Jas. Dunlap,
Commissioners; P. Turpin, Auditor; I. Lightnerf
Treasurer; D. R. Bigelow, Probate Judge and
contested the election of McLane for the
Council, which was again referred to the people,
and Mr. Longmire lost.
In November of
this year E. T. Gunn and J. N. Gale, commenced
the publication of the Olympia Transcript, as a
Republican paper, the Washington Standard having
been drawn into the Democratic field during the
political evolutions now taking place. The
Pacific Tribune was also established by Chas.
Prosch & Sons.
Trustees serving this year were: F. Henry, G. A.
Barnes, Albert Robb, J. G. Parker, J. M. Hawk.
On November 15
occurred the death of M. T. Simmons, who lived
in Lewis County. His death was mourned as a
great loss. He had been identified with the
history of the Sound country from the first, and
was highly regarded as an upright citizen.
A contract was
awarded to E. L. Finch to build a new Swantown
precinct was re-created this year, the
population of the southeast corner of the County
having increased to justify it.
The session of
the Legislature of 1868 was a most acrimonious
one. Personal altercations within and without
the legislative halls made a very lively town
out of the Capital, then a village of 500. So
bitter was the feeling that personal encounters
were frequent in the saloons and about the town
bridge to the Westside was completed this year.
L. P. Venen was
elected principal of the district school,
assisted by Misses Slocum and Mary O'Neal as
were elected to serve for the year as follows:
6. K. Barnes, Wm. Mitchell, C. E. Williams,
Benj. Harned, C. H. Hale. Richard Lane was
elected Clerk and Mr. Williams, Treasurer.
Commissioners this year discovered that they
were being systematically robbed by the wily
Indians, who were taking animal scalps wherever
they might be found and cashing in over Thurston
County's counter. The practice was stopped by
At the August
term the County Commissioners ordered the
Auditor to advertise for bids for a two-story
old blockhouse on the corner of the public
square was razed this year and the lumber in it
put upon the streets.
organization of the Territory there was
established at Olympia as the Capital a
Territorial library, for which Congress had made
an appropriation. But the first town library was
established in 1869. On January 1, 1869, D. B.
Finch, a wealthy steamboat man, commanding the
old Eliza Anderson, running between Olympia and
Victoria, donated to the Lodge of Good Templars
of this city what was then known as the Olympic
building on the site now occupied by the K. of
P. hall, on condition that the Lodge would
maintain a library and free reading room. The
conditions were complied with and the first town
library opened July 19th. The first librarian to
take charge was John B. Allen, a young attorney
just from Minnesota, who was one of the first U.
S. Senators from the State of Washington. Mr.
Allen, telling his early experiences, related
that the Lodge, having defaulted in part of his
salary, he was given an old silver watch, in
lieu thereof. In a trip down the bay later Mr.
Allen met with an accident and the old watch
went to the bottom of Budd's Inlet. Thus, the
librarian was illy recompensed for his labors.
indication of real estate values it might be
stated that in February. 1869, C. J. Allen sold
five acres of land adjoining the Capital grounds
for $5000. This is now known as the Mottman
Early this year
Wm. Billings took the contract to build a timber
jail 16x20, two cells, on the County property,
Union and Washington Streets.
1869-Rabbeson & Clark were awarded a
contract to build a Town Hall on Fourth Street,
between Washington and Franklin. The building
was completed November 26, and dedicated by ball
and supper. The ground floor rooms were occupied
for municipal purposes, while a hall, with ante
room above, was utilized for many years as ball
room, theater, etc. With other relics of the
past the Town Hall, so familiar to the "old
tinier." is no more, as such, but has passed
into private hands, and was recently torn down.
In the Spring
of 1839 the Columbia River and Puget Sound
Railroad Company desired a terminus on Puget
Sound. A committee, composed of 0. B. McPadden,
C. II. Hale, Joseph Cushman, S. D. Howe, James
Biles, G. W. French, H. Hartley, Clanrick
Crosby, A. J. Chambers, W. H. Mitchell, C. C.
Hewitt, P. D. Moore and J. II. Cleale were
appointed to solicit for donations of land to
induce the company to locate its terminus on
Society at the
Capital city was revolutionized after the
inauguration of President Grant. As many of the
inhabitants of the small community were Federal
employees, the new appointments made many
At the County
election in 1869 the full Republican ticket was
elected, as follows: Councilman, J. Scammons;
Representatives, L. A. Treen, W. Packwood;
Commissioners, G. A. Barnes. C. Crosby, S.
Hodgdon; Sheriff, Wm. Billings; Treasurer, B.
Auditor, A. A. Philips; Probate Judge, D. R.
Bigelow ; School Superintendent, D. R. Bigelow;
Surveyor, F. W. Brown; Coroner, C. Wood.
had increased her assessed valuation in the last
year by $123,267 and was $911,129.
Commissioners appropriated $1000 for a bridge
across the inlet to Tumwater. This amount was
increased by private subscription to $3266.
The growth of
the town now made an imperative demand for a
definite location of streets and the Council so
ordered. Cattle were restrained from running at
large and a tax of $2.50 was put upon each dog.
considerable building activity this year and saw
mills were kept busy meeting the demand.
The first bank
building to be erected in the Territory of
Washington was commenced this year by G. A.
Barnes, who for several years conducted a
banking business here.
Trustees this year were G. A. Barnes, F. Henry,
S. W. Percival, R. Frost, J. M. Murphy; S. W.
Percival, Treasurer; R. Lane, Clerk.
was principal of the public school this year,
assisted by Mary O'Neil. Mr. Hoover later
practice;! law, an.l became a wealthy capitalist
census of 1870 showed a population of 1203 for
Olympia and 2246 in the County. Tumwater
contained 206. By way of comparison it may here
be stated that at this time Seattle contained
1142, with 2164 inhabitants in King County.
Olympia had a public school of 75 pupils, taught
by two teachers; fully 75 more pupils were
taught in private schools.
March 1, 1870,
the town paid the County $1333 for the public
square, which the town had deeded to the County
in the early days, when the County seat question
was agitated. Although the deed then given was
invalid this settlement was reached, and the
amount paid to assist the County in building a
Courthouse at the corner of Washington and Sixth
At the Town
election in April the following Trustees were
elected: F. Henry, A. A. Phillips, B. Bettman,
C. C. Hewitt, Levi Shelton.
At the County
election the following were chosen: Councilman,
L. P. Smith; Representatives, D. R. Bigelow, B.
—Campbell; Sheriff, Wm. Billings; Auditor, A. A.
Phillips; Commissioners, Wm. McLane, Ira Ward.
Wm. James; Treasurer, L. G. Abbott; Assessor, W.
M. White; Probate Judge, A. R. Elder; School
Superintendent, D. R. Bigelow.
this year commenced operating a sash and door
factory between Second and Third streets, near
the West end of Swantown bridge.
of the location of the Northern Pacific Railroad
terminus at Olympia was the cause of
considerable real estate activity in 1870. In
April T. I. McKenny and Geo. Barnes platted the
town site of Puget City, this County. Later the
plat was vacated.
C. B. Mann was
chosen principal of the district school this
A franchise was
granted to the Washington Water Pipe
Manufacturing Company to lay pipe and supply the
inhabitants with water.
Wm. H. Cushman
was elected Town Clerk to fill a vacancy.
The Barnes Hook
& Ladder Company was organized to supplement
the Fire Company.
In September of
this year, Olympia and vicinity was visited by
the most violent earthquake ever experienced
here before or since. The fact that the
prevailing style of architecture was one and
two-story frame buildings saved immense damage.
This year the
citizens of Olympia experienced their first
disappointment relative to the location of the
Northern Pacific terminus, which it was now
reported would be located on the Columbia River.
A committee, headed by E. P. Ferry, was
appointed to confer with the railroad officials
as to the best terms on which railroad
connection could be had at Olympia. Little was
gained by the conference.
1870, Marshall Blinn, C. II. Hale. A. J. Miller,
James Pattison, E. Marsh, G. A. Barnes, W. H.
Mitchell, C. Crosby, J. M. Murphy and E. P.
Ferry organized a Company with a capital of
$400,000 capital to construct a branch of the
Northern Pacific Railroad. It petitioned for
1337 acres of the mud flats conditioned that the
Des Chutes channel should be opened. It was the
intention to obtain possession of these and
offer them to the Northern Pacific Railroad
Company on condition that their terminus be
located on Budd's Inlet, but the petition did
not receive favorable action by Congress,
In 1871 the
location of the Northern Pacific Railroad
terminus was the paramount question.
Pacific Railroad Company had been apprised of
the effort to secure the tide lands and present
them to the Railroad Company. General Sprague of
the Company replied by sending blanks necessary
for making the donation
Railroad Company recommended that the citizen
property owners on Budd's Inlet donate one-half
their holdings to the Northern Pacific on
condition that it would build and operate a
railroad into Olympia before January 1. 1875,
and locate the road before May 1, 1872. This
most remarkable proposition did not meet with
great favor with all classes, many feeling that
if the Company desired to come here they would
come anyway; if not, no reasonable bonus would
be an inducement.
contractors were working during the Summer in
the Cowlitz Valley, and expected to have 25
miles built from Kalama by October 2, and
connection made with the Sound by 1872.
1871, the road was within 15 miles of Olympia.
and still the matter of terminus was an
uncertainty. On Christmas day Olympia citizens
experienced great relief when a communication
was received over the signatures of Goodwin and
Sprague by Marshal Blinn accepting the
proposition of the Branch Railroad Company,
stating that the Northern Pacific Company would
comply with the first condition by causing a
railroad to be located before May 1 next,
connecting the Columbia river with a point on
the navigable waters of Budd's Inlet. They also
asked a right of way from Bush Prairie. This
seemed to the expectant citizens of Olympia that
Budd's Inlet was to be the "Western terminus of
the Northern Pacific Railroad. To many then
living this seemed a realization of their
fondest hopes which they had entertained since
they emigrated here in the early '50's. Their
real estate holdings were to assume a value that
meant to them a competence. And, indeed, on this
vague promise real estate did go to fabulous
values, but little changed hands.
Building in and
about Olympia was reasonably active, and
considerable progress was made along the line of
general improvement. At Tumwater D. Barnhart had
installed a furniture factory, and Leonard &
Cooper were also operating a sash and door
factory at the same place. To add to the general
tension of expectancy, the usual report of
discovery of gold in the Black Hills became
Geo. A. Barnes, Ben Harned and A. H. Stelle were
elected School Directors. N. Crosby Clerk.
organization was effected this year for the
purpose of the advancement of agricultural
interests, though it was short lived.
On the death of
Wm. James, County Commissioner, G. W. French was
chosen to fill the vacancy.
In this year
Mrs. Case and Miss Churchill, two Eastern
ladies, leased the old Court House on Union and
Washington Streets and started a Young Ladies'
Summer of 1871, a newspaper plant was brought
from Port Townsend and the Puget Sound Courier
was started. This was the organ of the Federal
this year: F. Henry, S. W. Percival, John M.
Murphy, A. H. Steele.
assisted by Miss Mary O'Neil and Mary Post
taught the public school.
Owing to the
still prevailing hope that Olympia would be H
railroad terminus, the year 1872 opened up with
much activity. Streets and bridges were
improved, a fire alarm system installed; while
building was active rents were very high.
The fact that a
man named Ira Bradley Thomas was in Olympia
buying up land seemed significant. In fact, he
had secured title to several thousand acres on
the East side of the inlet. "While still in
pursuit of his business he died suddenly
In this year
occurred the revolt against the so-called
Federal ring. Selucius Garfield, a man of
splendid ability and a magnificent orator, on
the Republican ticket, was defeated for Delegate
to Congress by 0. B. McFadden, on the Peoples'
People's Party County ticket was elected as
follows: Councilman, Wm. McLain;
Representatives. B. F. Yan- tis. Ira Ward, Frank
Henry; Auditor, A. A. Phillips; Sheriff,
Treasurer, W. J. Grainger; Surveyor, D. S. B.
Henry; School Superintendent, C. A. Huntington;
Pro- bate Judge, J. M. Lowe; Coroner, I. V.
A vote on the
question for a State Constitution was defeated,
54 to 141.
building, on Third and Main, was built this
municipal election the following officers were
elected: Mayor, W. W. Miller; Councilmen—First
Ward, A. J. Burr, B. Bettman; Second Ward, M.
Blinn, T. F. McElroy; Third Ward, J. S. Dobbins,
D. S. B. Henry; A. A. Phillips, Clerk; K. W.
Ryerson, Treasurer; A. R. Elder, Magistrate; J.
J. Westbrook, Marshal.
14th, of this year, Olympia and vicinity was
visited by a severe earthquake, resulting in
little actual damage.
As the year
1872 drew to a close it became evident, even to
the most sanguine, that the Northern Pacific
Railroad Company was not going to keep faith
with Olympia, but proposed to locate the
terminus of its road at a point lower down on
the Sound. As the time had arrived for some
evidence of good faith. Marshal Blinn wrote to
Messrs. Goodwin and Sprague, asking when the
line would be located. They replied: c'The line
of railroad runs to the East side of Budd's
Inlet to the Billings or Wylie donation claim,
sections 25, 26, 35, 36, township 19, range 2
West, and a point will be selected on one of
these claims for a freight and passenger depot,
where said line will terminate."
confidence for a time until it was evident the
road was being continued through Yelm toward
statement may serve to throw some light on the.
inside history of the location of the terminus
of the first transcontinental line to reach the
Included in the
directorate of the Northern Pacific Railroad
Company were men who composed the Lake Superior
and Puget Sound Land Company. They were
sufficiently strong in the railroad company to
dictate its policy. The railroad company was not
interested in town sites; the land company
was—so they had sent a man West to secure title
to lands at the prospective terminus. That man
was Ira Bradley Thomas, before mentioned. After
having secured title to large tracts on Budd's
Inlet he died. Thus, considering the time that
would be consumed in probating the estate of Mr.
Thomas, with the law's delays, this land was
withdrawn from the market indefinitely. Time was
all in all. The result was that in order to
realize their financial expectations the Lake
Superior & Puget Sound Land Company secured
lands a few miles from Old Tacoma. and went into
the Northern Pacific directorate and located the
terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
On what seeming
insignificant circumstances do great things
depend. Had Ira Bradley Thomas lived but even a
short time longer, in all probability Olympia
would have been the terminus of the Northern
Pacific Railroad, and the site of the present
City of Tacoma still a wilderness.
Thus, briefly sketched, is the history of
Thurston County. First, as a part of the
Territory of Oregon, and later an integral part
of the fast-growing Territory of Washington. It
was the intention of the compiler of this volume
to trace merely the pioneer history of the
County. The line of demarkation between early
history and the later was arbitrarily fixed by
the Society of Thurston County Pioneers, which
made eligible those who had taken up residence
in the County before 1872. Though the people who
came to Washington Territory in the early 70's
seem as "Che Chacos" to the pioneers of '49 or
'50, yet the line as fixed by the Society seems
a conservative placing of time to mark the
difference between old and new. The laying of
the foundation, by a few sturdy pioneers, of a
great commonwealth to be, who, after a life full
of privation and hardship, were laid to rest in
the soil of the new country, giving way to a
young and sturdy race of new comers, no longer
"pioneers" but "early settlers," until the year
1872 arrived, which closed the door, and all
later arrivals must fall under the head of "Che
From 1873 to 1889. that period during
which Washington remained a Territory, Olympia
and Thurston County made slow progress. The
location of a railroad terminus at Tacoma
detracted greatly from the head of the Sound.
Seattle made a start and has experienced a
phenomenal growth, which in a way, too, affected
However, since admission of the Territory
as a State in 1889, Olympia and Thurston County
has experienced a steady improvement. The
ability to command some attention in Congress,
has resulted in appropriations for the
improvement of the harbor, which has always been
a deterring influence. Notwithstanding frequent
attempts to move the Capitol, it seems at last a
fixture, the State's investments here precluding
the possibility of a change. But what is of
greater importance, the difficulties of
transportation in and out of Olympia have to a
great extent been, or are being, overcome. The
Northern Pacific, after years of neglect, saw a
territory in the Southwest that could no longer
be ignored and the Tacoma and Grays Harbor
branch of that road resulted. At this writing
the Oregon & Washington Railway is making
preparations to connect the Capital City with
their line, with further possibilities of
transcontinental connection in the near future.
Substantial fireproof buildings are
taking the place of the old frames, paved
streets are being actively extended and u
spirit of enterprise has been the result of
the advent of the new blood that is to take up
the fight where the pioneer, after a hard
fought battle, for which his successors
delight to honor his memory, laid down his
burden and entered into his rest.
Source: Early History of Thurston County,
Washington By Georgiana Mitchell Blankenship
by Barbara Ziegenmeyer of Geneology