Following are historical records of news in the Olympia area 150 years ago, including excerpts from the Pioneer & Democrat newspaper.
Just married: “Married.— In San Francisco, Nov. 29th, by Rev. Dr. Scott, Capt. Albion B. Gove, of Olympia, W.T., to Mrs. Vestatia J. M. Hyde, of Syracuse, New York.” (A.B., David and Warren Gove brought the first steamboat, Sarah Warren, into Puget Sound in 1853. It was a small side-wheeler called the Fairy. There was a celebration as excited Olympians, noting that their little town was a step closer to civilization with regularly scheduled steamships coming into the harbor, greeted the ship. The Fairy was the start of a fleet that later would number hundreds of vessels. A.B. Gove was to become a successful businessman, with docks and warehouses on Olympia’s west side, fronting the sound.)
Crime in the 1850s: “Mr. Wm. Tidd, of Steilacoom, had his pocket cut out while asleep at Olympia’s Washington Hotel last night. Mr. Tidd says he placed his pants under his head and pillow when retiring at night, and found them thus when he had awakened, but the pocket and money were gone. He says it must have been done ‘very slick,’ and the work of a proficient pickpocket. We think so too, Mr. T., if that will console you. We believe we have just such characters in town. The amount stolen was about $50.”
Attempted arson: “An attempt was made to fire the Washington Hotel, in this place, on Sunday evening last, shortly after dark. A quantity of combustible material, such as splintered shingles, was found to have been inserted under the floor of the wood house, in the rear of the Hotel, and but for its timely discovery by gentlemen of the legislature, who occupy a building close adjoining, would have been beyond redemption in ten minutes time. There is evidently a ‘floating’ character, who has no friend at the house. We warn our citizens to keep a vigilant eye upon certain characters in our town.”
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South Sound historian Roger Easton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This marks the 47th weekly installment in a yearlong series looking back at life in newly incorporated Olympia 150 years ago this week. The Olympian has teamed up with South Sound historian Roger Easton on this feature celebrating the city’s 150th birthday, relying on newspaper articles from the Pioneer & Democrat, town council minutes and other historical records.