Dan Carew, Yelm’s Self-Styled ‘One-Legged Cop’, Is Busy Man

The Daily Olympian January 12, 1949

This is the final article of a series about Yelm and its residents which was prepared by a Daily Olympian reporter. The articles are designed to acquaint residents of Southwest Washington with the activities of a progressive community.

By Bill Fox

This is the story about a self-styled “one-legged cop.” His name is Dan Carew, and he’s marshal and midwife of Yelm.

Dan has been holding down this double title for nine years, in the town 22 miles south and east of Olympia.

Mr. Carew lost his leg in an accident in World War I but that fact doesn’t bother him now. “it’s only a foolish man who worries over little things in life,” he says

Being Jack-of-all-trades is an easy job for Dan. From his office in the Yelm Administration Building, he directs traffic control, the duties of a jailer, and assists the Yelm Fire Department whenever he is needed–which is quite often, because he’s a man of experience.

“This business of being town marshal in a community the size of Yelm,” Carew reflected,” is touchy. You see, I know ever man, woman and child around here and sometimes it’s my painful duty to toss one of them into the pokey—some close friend, perhaps.”

“However,” he added with a smile, “most of the people of Yelm are pretty well-behaved, and I don’t find myself in such a spot, too often. It’s mostly the folks who think they can race through our town at forty or fifty miles per hour that cause me trouble. It’s my job to point out to these drivers that Yelm is pretty much concerned with its youngsters—that’s why we can’t allow cars to clip through at high speeds.”

Getting back to Dan’s being a midwife. It’s the second time that he has had the job of assisting at the birth of a baby. Just a few days prior to The Daily Olympian reporter’s visit to Yelm, the marshal was called upon to assist a young mother. “And it was a fine bouncing boy,” he state proudly.

Three years ago, Dan was called upon to help another mother with her baby, and that was when he received his first experience in this line, which seems to have paid off, according to Carew.

“I’m an old timer at this business, now,” he smiles. “Know exactly what to do—although, except in emergencies, I’ll leave it to one of several fine physicians we have here in Yelm!”

Walking back to his office, Carew pointed out Yelm’s pride and joy, the new Administrators Building, which houses the Yelm Fire Dept., the jail, library, city clerk’s office and Carew’s rolltop desk. Mainstay of Yelm’s fire dept. is a new, eight-thousand-dollar truck, outfitted in Portland. A short time ago, the residents of Yelm subscribed to the amount of $6,000 to pay for another pumper and hose cart, which was built in Olympia. The entire amount was raised in three weeks. The department also has a trailer, equipped with pump and hose racks, capable of throwing 550 gallons of water per minute.

These are the things closest to Carew’s heart. They add up to one thing: When you drive through Yelm—drive slowly. If you would like a cup of coffee, look for Dan Carew, a self-styled one-legged cop who is everybody’s friend. He’s also town marshal and midwife.

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