Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
December, 2014
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This Month's Articles

Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

(More) Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

County Benefits from “JBLM Day of Service”

It’s official!

Health Systems Doing a Good Job of Tracking Illnesses

Families Welcome New Members

Perfection is Reality for County Waste Water Treatment Plant

Less Leftovers, More Joy

The Klondike Kings and the telegraph to nowhere

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 Widows and Young Ladies Welcome!

From the Archives:

What do you do when there’s a gender imbalance in the population? If you’re an enterprising gent like Mr. Mercer of Seattle, you head east. According to A History of Thurston County, Washington from 1845 to 1895, published in 1895 by by J. C. Rathbun, this is how it was done in 1865.

The close of the Civil War and the subsidence of the war brought a renewed enthusiasm to the settlements in Thurston County. Prices were good; the lumber industry revived and on all hands was the evidence of coming prosperity. Heretofore, and at this time the larger per cent of the inhabitants of the territory were of the male sex.

During the summer of 1865, A. S. Mercer of Seattle conceived the idea of bringing hither the widows and orphans of the east who were left destitute by the war. It was urged that homes for them could be provided in this great northwest and that there was a demand for wives and domestic help. Mr. Mercer had visited Boston and sent back word that he would soon leave the Hub with a large party of widows and young ladies. Meetings were held in different parts of the territory to inaugurate a concerted move to receive and procure homes for them.

At Olympia a committee was appointed to act with a like committee at Seattle ... A meeting was held and a committee appointed to canvass the county for homes for the widows and orphans.

In due time Mr. Mercer with his ship load of Boston girls arrived, having made the trip around Cape Horn. Olympia being the principal place on the Sound, the most of them, about 300 in number, were brought here. Homes were readily found for them and they rapidly assimilated with the population.

(Photo courtesy of the Washington State Historical Society.)

By Keith Eisner

Main Street in Olympia about 1889. Main Street in Olympia about 1889.