Introduction: Bridget and James Hughes were born in Ireland, migrated to Massachusetts were they met and married, then headed to the northwest where they settled on the Yelm Prairie for a short while. The fighting the 1850’s inspired them to relocate in Steillacoom, which seemed safer than the prairie. The following is from Bridget’s obituary in 1902 and describes her exit from Yelm.
Mrs. Hughes, who was a native of Ireland, came to Washington territory with her husband in 1849. They took up a farm on Yelm prairie, in Thurston County, and prospered there until one day in 1853 [sic] . . . a squaw, to whom Mrs. Hughes had been kind, came to the house with the startling message that is the white woman wished to save her life and the lives of her children she had better set out for Steillacoom instantly, as the Indians were on the war path. Hurrying into the pasture, Mrs. Hughes caught a mare, and, with her four children, set out of a thirty-five-mile ride to Steillacoom. Before the little group were out of sight of their home a red flare showed that the Indians had already set fire to the house and grain stacks.