1890’s – In the News

1890s’ Yelm in the News and Other Useful Informaton

 

1890 – Shore and O”Dell sawmill (later Shore Shingle Mill (lst in area) built on the Nisqually River.  (YP)

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Washington Standard    February 7, 1890

Ducks in small detachments are beginning to make their appearance in the upper waters of the Sound.

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Washington Standard    October 3, 1890

The Democrats of Thurston County met in Columbia Hall, Saturday, and made the following nominations: Legislature, A.H. Chambers, Olympia; B.F. Ruth, Yelm; Attorney J.R. Mitchell, Olympia; Sheriff, G.S. Prince, Bucoda; Treasurer, O.R. Simenson, Olympia; Auditor, Walter Crosby, Olympia; Surveyor, Theodore Young, Olympia; Assessor, J.C. Conine, Yelm; Commissioners, T.C. Van Epps, Olympia; B.B. Smith, Bucoda; J.K. Littlejohn, Black River; School Superintendent, L.R. Byrne, Bucoda; Coroner, Peter Cook, Olympia; Wreekmaster, Henry Hadlan, Olympia.

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Washington Standard    October 3, 1890

One of the most important offices within the gift of the people is the County Assessor. The validity, as well as the justice, of an assessment depends upon its being fair, impartial, and uniform. Mr. J.C. Conine, we think, possesses the qualifications for performing this difficult task faithfully and well.

CLIMBING MOUNT RAINIER

Washington Standard    October 15, 1890

 

Van Trump Fails to Reach the Top of Precipitous North Peak.

The party of Centralians who went off to climb Mount Rainier some ten days ago returned yesterday without having accomplished the ascent. The party consisted of ex-sheriff Degeler, Homer, and L.M. Bean, Ed. and C.L. Butts, J.H. Douglas, F.D. Case and John Holt. These eight gentlemen reached Longmyer springs at the base of the mountain on the southeast side, and climbed as far as Gibraltar rock before turning back. While in camp at the Camp of the Clouds, a party of three men and a hound came sown the mountain and spent the might with the Centralians. The three men were Dr. Riley, of Olympia, and Messrs. Van Trump and Drewry, of Yelm. Van Trump is a veteran climber, he with General Hazard Stevens, in 1873, being the first to ever reach the top.

This time he with his friends climbed up the west side in an effort to reach the north peak. They took provisions for two days. The route was found to be extra difficult, and within 300 feet of the north peak, which shoot into the air almost perpendicularly, the three men and the hound found themselves exhausted and out of supplies, having consumed two days in the ascent. Crossing over the crater on the sound peak without much difficulty, the night was spent there. The daring travelers knew it would be impossible for them, it their exhausted condition, to return by the precipitous route they had come, the next day started down on the east side and discovered the camp of Centralians at the Camp of the Clouds. Our representatives hospitality made them welcome to everything eatable and drinkable in their possession.

Cups of boiling coffee and slices of bread and meat disappeared as if by magic, and after they reached the point of safety all gathered round the fire to listen to the adventures of the bold climbers. The faces of all three were swollen and disfigured beyond recognition. Leathern masks and smoked glasses had not prevented the peeling of the outer circle of the face and inflammation of the eyes. The snow had rendered them all but blind, and all walked on the last day with their hands over their eyes, looking as best they could through the crevices between their fingers. The poor dog stayed with them all through, and was just as badly used up as his companions. Dr. Riley says the wind was blowing sixty miles an hour on top. The party discovered a leaden plate with Van Trump’s mane on it, which had been placed on the top in 1873.

As all attempts had signally failed in placing a flag on the summit which could be seen from below, the party suspended a large looking-glass, taken there for the purpose. The glass was pointed at the town of Yelm, which was distinctly seen below. No word has been received from there yet whether it can be seen.

The Centralians listened to all this and more, and as they found they had neglected to bring along several very essential articles for a successful climb, they returned without having gone higher than the celebrated rock of Gibraltar – the point where many every year turn round and come back.

Mere Mention

Washington Standard    November 14, 1890

Miss Margie Ross, of Eastside, had been engaged to teach a second term of school at Yelm.

The following teachers are present at the November examination: Edith Corbett from Yelm; Estella Tyler from Chambers Prairie; Addie M. Manvill, Elmer Ralston and Kate E. Perry, Tenino; Marion F. Gaby, Mary Jenkins, Maria A. Bethel, Etta M. Venen, Lucy Hartman, Lizzie Richards, H. Villard Card and Lulu E. Dunn, Olympia; Hattie Callow, Kamilchie; Minnie Mize, Clara A. Adams, Mrs. W.G. Harthanft, Mamie S. Cowen, Bucoda; Thomas A. Henry, Little Rock; Alice Langridge, South Bay, and Maggie Sutton of Tumwater.

[untitled]

Washington Standard    November 21, 1890

 

Miss Lizzie Richards, of Olympia, and Miss Edith Corbett, of Yelm, were the two bright young ladies that received first-grade certificates at the late teachers’ examination.

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Washington Standard    November 28, 1890

Scarlet fever has prevailed to some extent in the vicinity of Yelm station, and the district school has been discontinued in consequence of it prevalence among the children.

Washington Standard    November 28, 1890

A medical commission decides that cigarette-smoking boys and gum-chewing girls were born for each other. So there is hope for the dudes and dudines of Olympia.

Washington Standard    November 28, 1890

Strange as it may seem, the Indians in this vicinity know all about the uprising among the redskins farther east who are dancing the ghost dance and looking for the advent of an Indian messiah.

Washington Standard    November 28, 1890

There was no bogus happiness among the loggers who come into town to spend the day set apart from labor by the President’s proclamation.

Washington Standard    June 28, 1891

Miss Fay Fuller, of Tacoma, who has spent the past year in Washington as a clerk in the census office, has returned fro the summer and visited this city Wednesday. The young lady is a talented newspaper correspondent and her articles have…

The Institute

Washington Standard    August 10, 1894   

           

At the session Monday Mrs. Keyes opened the work on “Word-making,” and Miss Stowell gave an interesting talk on studies from nature, in which she dwelt upon the benefit to be derived from use of the eyes as a means of self-aid.  Prof. Beeler gave some instructive exercises in algebra, and Mrs. Keyes and State Superintendent Bean spoke on the rights and duties of teachers.  The latter made the point that duty should come first and rights afterwards, and that teachers should not be content with doing simply what duty requires them to do.  Mental arithmetic was the subject of thought, introduced in the afternoon by Mrs. Keyes and Prof. Beeler, and Miss Stowell favored the institute with one of her interesting talks on “busy Work.”

Mr. Falknor gave instruction in the preliminary lines for study of the constitution, and President Getz, of the State Normal School at Ellensburg, closed the session with an address.

An entertainment was given the institute in the evening, at which the following program was rendered:

            March – “Crusader,” Sousa

            Address – “Our Country and Our Public Schools,” State Superintendent                                          Bean.

            Bass Solo – B.W. Hill

            Song – O’Shanty Glee Club

            Organ Solo – Prof. Roberts

            Solo – Mrs. Bolton

            Overture – “Sunrise,” Orchestra

            Recitation from J. Whitcomb Riley

            A.J. Falknor

            Solo – Miss Ward

            Selection – O’Shanty Glee Club

The exercises on Tuesday were briefly:  Superintendent Bean’s diagramming and analysis of English Grammar; Miss Stowell’s resumption of her talk on “Busy Work”; Prof. Getz o Pedagogy; exercises in arithmetic and algebra by Mrs. Keyes and Prof. Beeler; reading of an essay on Miss Frances E. Willard by Miss Coulson, of Rainier; some reference to adoption of the constitution by Mr. Falknor, and a discussion of temperance in which many of the members participated. 

The Institute closed its work Wednesday.  There has been no previous session at which the members departed with a more satisfactory consciousness of duty will performed.  Its effect will doubtless be visible in the improved work of the school-room. 

Resolutions of thanks were adopted to the County Superintendent, to Prof. Beeler, to Miss Agnes Stowell, to Mrs. Keyes, to Mrs. Falknor, to Prof. Royal, to Rev. T.J. Lamont, to Prof. Brintnall, to Judge Root, to Prof. Getz, to Miss Emma E. Page, to Dr. Massey, to the Press, to the Band, to Miss Conant, the Secretary, and to State Supt. Bean, for the interest they have taken in the Institute and the aid they have rendered to make it a success.     

A resolution was likewise adopted against the sin of cruelty to dumb animals.

Also one favoring a school exhibit for all the schools of the county in Olympia, during the coming winter, and asking the County Commissioners to furnish rooms in the Court house for such exhibit.

Too much credit cannot be accorded to main promoters of this work – Miss Case, the County Superintendent, Profs. Beeler and Bean, and Mrs. Keyes, who be indefatigable and industry and zeal have done so much to elevate educational work, and the object of the institute was rounded into completeness by the timely and practical comments of Miss Stowell.  An incident of the closing day was an address by Rev. Dr. Massey, of Tumwater.  The prominent feature of the day was a debate on the resolution that the ration of male to female teachers should be increased.  The question was, very properly, decided in the negative. 

1893 – Alexander McKenzie in legislature  (YP)

September 15, 1897 – James Longmire dies

1880’s – In the News

 1880’s – Yelm in the News & Other Useful Information

1881 – Twenty children attended class in a one room log cabin school, purchased from Thomas McClain Chambers.  Their teacher was Mr. Dolby for a school term.  (YP)

1888 – Business News

James Longmire, capitalist

Robert Longmire, general store

P. B. Van Trump, general store and hotel

 [untitled]

Washington Standard   February 8, 1889 

Messrs. J. B. Jonis, R. H. Kandle and S.S. Lawrence, of Yelm, were in town this week transacting school business before the County Commissioners.

 

 [untitled]

Washington Standard    February 22, 1889 

 

Messrs. John Algyer and John Montgomery, of Yelm, visited Olympia this week on district school business before the superintendent. 

Jacob Stone Probate

Introduction:  Jacob Stone lived southeast of the town of Yelm.  The following information is taken from his probate record. 

Shopping at the Robert Longmire Store

(money owed by Stone)

Five visits in October 1887 – April 1889, 74 visits to the store, average nearly four times month

Beginning Balance of $29.74

October $34.64

November-December $20.80

January – $17.64

February   $5.25

March – $17.42

April – $23.90

May to August – $131.37, Paid – $1.45 on dry goods

September (1887) -$37.99, $20 paid toward account

Paid – December 28, 1888-$9.00, January 4, 1889-$6.00, another time $2.00

$20 interest charge = $422.96

$316 debt, paid $21.45, bought $286, paid $21.45

Total indebtedness = $422.96

The following is a list of the types of (though not quantities) of items purchased on Jacob Stone’s account at the Longmire store in Yelm


Maintenance/Farm

lumber

bolt

ax handle

rope

axle grease

wagon

file

Clothing

boots

overalls

gloves  (it was winter)

overalls

pants

shirt

denims

drawers

socks

cheviot

hose

hat

muslin

lace

white shirt

ladies shoes

 

Sundries

thread

coal oil

tobacco

books

whetstone

skillet

fork

soap

broom

matches

oil cloth

tacks

shot

salt petre

castor oil

powder

tinware

bucket

Food

flour

sugar

rice

baking powder

coffee

vinegar

bacon

beans

sirup [sic]

tea

cornstarch

oat flakes, rolled oats

lard

pepper

soda

apples

peaches

bran

butter

Household

lamp

lantern

candles

1890

corset

washboard

Jamaican ginger

Miscellaneous Financial

Sold his personal property $486.35

Seems to have leased land for people to run their horses on

Sold J. C. Conine hay

Amos Miles rented land from him

Borrowed $500 from James Longmire in 1887

Had borrowed money from Theresa Riell

Land

South half of sw qtr, section 10

North half of section 15, twp 16 north, range east 2 = $2500

January 11, 1889 – doctor visit

Died January 12, 1889 

Property For Sale at Auction

10 cows

2 three year old cattle

1 bull

6 two year old cattle

7 calves

1 wagon

1 set harnesses

3 plows

2 work horses

1 scrapred?

1 joint harrow

1 revolving hay rack

½ interest in dick harrow

1 mower

1 hay knife

1 mowing scythe

1 grain cradle

3 pitch forks

2 shovels

1 hay press

1 pair of scales

2 barrels

1 crosscut saw

1 log chain

1 crowbar

1 barking iron

2 hand rakes

1 kit of horse shoeing tools

1 drawing knife

2 augers

1 brush scythe

1 brace & bits

1 pick

1 stove

1 clock

1 tub

dishes

17 milk pans

1 churn

1 table

2 lamps

3 lanterns

1 dish fran?

Bailing rope

6 seamless jacks

3 hogs

2 dozen chicken

County Commissioners 

Washington Standard   April 26, 1889 

 

Yelm – J. A. McKenzie and P. Van Trump, Judges and John Allen Inspector.

 

[untitled]

Washington Standard    May 3, 1889 

Mrs. Lou Jackson Longmire, of Yelm Prairie, will please accept the thanks of the OLYMPIAN for a beautiful bouquet of choice pansies. They are the largest ever seen here and are a convincing argument of the capabilities of Yelm Prairie soil.

It is reported that Yelm creek is almost dry, and the like had not been known the past twenty years.

Democratic Convention

Washington Standard    May 10, 1889 

 

Representative Democrats from the different precincts of this county, and from the precinct of Centralia, in Lewis County, met at Columbia Hall Wednesday afternoon at 1 o’clock and transacted the following business:

The Convention was called to order by John Miller Murphy, who placed in nomination E. T. Young, for chairman of the Convention. D. L. Ward elected secretary and J. A. Taylor, of Centralia assistant secretary.

On motion, J. B. Landrum, John Miller Murphy, and P. B. Van Trump were appointed a committee on credentials and submitted the following report which was adopted:

Yelm- P. B. Van Trump and Thos. Chambers by Van Trump, proxy.

[untitled]

Washington Standard   June 7, 1889

The hoodoo Indian doctor, from Yelm Prairie, who received a wound in the wrist sometime ago, is in town. The death of an Indian girl was attributed, by her father, to the hoodooing of the doctor. To avenge her death, the father attempted to kill the doctor, but only shot him through the wrist.

[untitled]

Washington Standard    June 16, 1889

Several Indians are in the city today to attend District Court, as witnesses in the case of the shooting of the Indian doctor.

Mr. James Longmire is in the city, and brings his usual budget of good cheer from the southwestern portion of the county.

            [untitled]

Washington Standard    June 23, 1889

 

The blackberries that have been brought into Olympia from the neighboring woods since the season commenced would load a freight car.

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Washington Standard    July 5, 1889

Logging camps have generally shut down in vicinity of Olympia and loggers are coming into town to have a good time.

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Washington Standard    August 8, 1889

Mr. Henry Kandle, one of the pioneers of our Territory, now a resident of Pierce county, is on a visit to the Capital city.

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Washington Standard    August 9, 1889

It is reported that Yelm creek is almost dry, and the like had not been known the past twenty years.

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Washington Standard    August 9, 1889

The house of Mr. Ed. Norman, at Yelm, was destroyed by fire, on the 30th ult., with all its contents. It caught from a forest fire while the owner was absent.

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Washington Standard    August 9, 1889

Willow Lawn school house, in this county, was destroyed by fire, last Tuesday. Fires are raging in every direction and great damage will be done if it does not rain soon.

            [untitled]

Washington Standard    August 16, 1889

Mr. James Longmire, of Yelm, called on the OLYMPIAN, today, and stated that the report published some days ago of the robbery of his son, at that place, was inaccurate in several particulars. The store was entered at night, and the safe opened and $1,000 taken from there. Nobody was assaulted, and the safe was opened without violence, although Mr. Robert Longmire is sure that it was locked on combination when the store was closed for the night. Two men, who had been at Yelm that day, and who bought tickets for Portland at Media next morning have not yet been apprehended.

Longmire’s health resort, the medical springs at the headwaters of the Nisqually, are beginning to attract considerable attention, and there is an average attendance of twenty-five guests, at this season of the year. The springs are situated about sixty-eight miles from this city, and are reached from Yelm by horses over a good trail.

 

            [untitled]

Washington Standard    August 16, 1889

A collision occurred on the Northern Pacific railroad at Yelm station a few days ago, between a freight and a coal train, which resulted in the destruction of several cars and much damage to the locomotives.

            [untitled]

Washington Standard    August 30, 1889

 

Miss Margie Ross, of Eastside, will close her second term of school at Yelm next week, and then resume her studies at one of the schools in this city.

1890 – Shore and O”Dell sawmill (later Shore Shingle Mill (lst in area) built on the Nisqually River.  (YP)

1898 – Taxes

TAXES OF 1898

Due February, 1899: First installment, payable on or before May 31, 1899. Second installment, payable on or before November 30, 1899. The total tax may be paid at any time after February 13, 1899, and prior to May 31, 1899.

Unless the first installment is paid prior to June 1, 1899, the Second installment may be paid, without interest, on or before November 30, 1899, but if said second installment is not paid by November 30, 1899, then interest attaches at the rate of fifteen per cent, per annum from June 1, 1899. All personal property tax is due and payable March 15, 1899.

Special School

District # ………Mills………………..District # …Mills……..District # ….Mills

1 (Olympia) …..5.00 …………………33 ……….5.00 …………62 ……….8.00

2 …………………5.00 …………………36 ……….3.00 …………63 ……….5.00

3 ………………….5.00 ………………..37 ……….5.00 …………64 ………9.25

4 ………………… 2.00 ……………….. 38 ………10.00

5 ………………….6.00 ………………..39 ………..3.00

6 (Tumwater)….. 3.00 ………………..42 ………..5.00 (Mt. View**)

7 ………………….2.00 ………………..43(Eureka) 4.00

11 ………………..4.00 …………………44(Tenino) 8.50

12 (Collins)……. 2.50 ……………….. 47 ………….5.00

13 (Yelm)……… 2.00 …………………48 ………….5.00

15 ……………….3.00 …………………49 …………..4.00

16 ……………….0.50 …………………50……………5.00

19 ……………….5.00 ………………..52 …………..5.00

22 ……………….1.00 …………………54 ……….. …2.00

28 (Deschutes*) 3.00 ……………….56 …………. 10.00

30 ………………..1.00 ………………. 59 ……………2.00

31 ………………..5.00 ………………..60 ……………5.00

32…………………1.00 ………………..61 ……………5.00

* Also known as Morehead

** Also known as Longmire

J. C. Conine – Yelm Teacher & Much More

Joseph Conine:  Early Life

Joseph Cowan Conine was born on August 25, 1839, in Ashland County, Ohio.  He was born on his father’s (Otto S. Conine) farm located near the town of Perrysville.  His mother, Mary Cowan Conine, was the daughter of Irish immigrants.  Joseph was the eldest of (possibly) nine children.  Education was important to the Conine family.  At the time of the 1860 census, not only was ten year old Joseph and a seven year old brother going to the local schoolhouse, but so was 5 year old Bartley. 

In 1852, the elder Conine decided to leave his native Ohio for Clarke County, Iowa.  What inspired this move to Hopeville, Iowa is unclear.  Settlers moved into the area in the early 1850s.  The first newcomers were inspired by the communitarian ideas of the French social philosopher, Charles Fourier.  Whether the elder Conine was inspired by this radical philosophy of “sharing” is also unclear.  Nevertheless, Conine traded the flat lands of north central Ohio, for similar terrain near the Iowa-Missouri border.  In 1860, Otto Conine ran the only hotel in Hopeville.

                                                Joseph Conine:  Teacher

At the time of the 1860 census Joseph Conine, 21, was working as a teacher in the common school in Hopeville.  He had begun his teaching career at the age of 17 and like so many teachers of the era he lacked college preparation.  When he enlisted in the army he identified himself as a “professor.” Teaching would remain part of Joseph’s life for decades to come.  How he prepared for his profession is not known at this time.  There is, however, a tantalizing account of the school that Joseph might have worked at during that year.  Writing in 1935, Mrs. Ella Ashley recalled the only school in Hopeville at that time.  In the late 1850’s or early sixties the original log school house was replaced by a frame building.  She believed that the new building was possibly eighteen by thirty feet.  There were “always two teachers, the one who taught the larger scholars had one end of the room in which there were two long desks with a long bench.”  Joseph would have probably signed a contract for a term of three months.  One term lasted from December to February, the other from March until June.  Ella Ashley thought that the teachers of the era might have been paid $20 for working with older students and $15 for those working with the younger scholars. Ashley remembered that the teacher “had to go early in the winter and make the fire or hire it done.”  Joseph ran a multi-age classroom.  “No such thing as a grade [level] was ever known, beginning with learning the letters, each child went on to learn all they could.”  Joseph’s professional life, however, was about to interrupted by events in the nation.

Joseph Conine in the Civil War

Nearly sixty years after its conclusion Ella Ashley recalled the war taking away the young men of her community. 

Looking east from my old home, where Owen Chew now lives, half mile away, two went to the army, Cyrus and Wilson Huff. Wilson came back alone. From a home not a half mile north, Wash Nelson went and never came back. About a half mile northwest, Lem Garrison went, never to return. A short distance west of the Garrison home Conines lived, two, Joe and Bart, went from there. Six near neighbor boys and only three came back.

In 1858 a newspaper was established in Osceola, the largest town in the county.  One can imagine Joseph following the events of the era from copies that circulated in the county.  Stories about John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry and Abraham Lincoln’s run for the presidency in 1860 would have certainly caught his attention.

When Lincoln was inaugurated in 1861 southern states had already been seceding from the United States.  Ft. Sumter surrendered that April.  The first battle of Bull Run was fought that summer.

On August 2, 1861 Joseph enlisted in the army for three years.  Army records described him as five foot six inches tall, with a fair complexion and blue eyes.  Before there was a draft or a signing bonus Joseph threw his lot with the United States.  Whether his motivation was to save the Union or promote equality, Joseph Conine was going to be a soldier.  At Council Bluffs, Iowa men from throughout Iowa met their commander Grenville M. Dodge (later to be involved in the building of the transcontinental railroad). By the middle of August 1861, Joseph and the rest of Company I (commanded by William E Taylor), 4th Iowa Infantry boarded steamboats and headed down the Mississippi to St. Louis.   From St. Louis the unit moved by railroad to Rolla, Missouri.  Joseph was a private in the lst brigade, 4th division of the Army of Southwest Missouri.  There the company remained until the spring campaign was ready to move south.

Once the regiment was fully assembled at the Rolla, Missouri training resumed in earnest.  The “partially uniformed” men were ready, but the War Department had yet to meet the exigencies of the times.  Old Prussian rifles provided to the recruits proved faulty and thirteen exploded when fired.  Col. Dodge finally took it upon himself to visit Gen. Fremont’s headquarters back in St. Louis in order to secure suitable clothing, weapons, and other necessities.  The men built barracks and moved out of their tents.  Once inside the barracks the largely country men and boys suffered from “measles, mumps, and pneumonia.”

In a speech he gave to the 4th Iowa veterans after the war Dodge recalled, with pride, his role as leader of that regiment:

You will all remember that when at Rolla, and whenever I had an opportunity, I drilled the regiment thoroughly. I took it out, exercising it in firing in movements and even taking it through the brush and timber so as to give the practice from any condition they might meet. The boys protested and complained a great deal. The other regiments got no such drilling and the 4th Iowa thought that there was no necessity for it. They wore out their clothes and shoes, and they had very little use for their Colonel at this time, but when they had an opportunity to see how much benefit this drilling was to them, when they got into action, they looked differently upon it.

Joseph Conine was now part of the E. A. Carr’s division of General Curtis’s army.

Curtis’ mission was to drive the Confederate army under General Price out of Missouri.  For over 200 miles the Union forces nipped at the heels of Price’s Confederates.  It was a march few would forget.

Heading South on the “Wire Road

Joseph Conine and the rest of the 4th Iowa Regiment headed down the Telegraph Road toward the Arkansas line.  One soldier recounted that it ‘[wound] along, up and down, guiltless of art, or fill, or bridge; mere hard and beaten path, or prolonged dust-heap, or lengthened quagmire, according to the sun or rain, the shifting and uncertain elements, stretched the ‘Wire road,’ a Via Dolorosa.’  It was still winter in the Ozarks as the Union Army moved south.  There was rain and snow.  Muddy rutted ground, froze at night into upright daggers. Footwear took a beating.  The poorly made shoes tore apart at the stitching on the sole.  Soldiers jerry-rigged the uppers and lowers into one bound up shoe.

Recalled one Illinois soldier:

For two days and the night intervening everything we possessed, and we in connection, became saturated with the rain that was poured down upon us…All this froze right away, and tents and tent occupants and furniture were like little land ice bergs.  Our pantaloons, when we drew them on at reveille, were stiff with ice, so also were shirts, coats, boots, everything.  Yet there was no remedy, so we shivered till our animal heat thawed the ice, and wore wet clothes till they dried upon us.

As the day warmed the road was transformed into mud that swallowed the marching feet of the.

Residents of the area fled before the advancing army.  Marching through the town of Springfield Conine would have seen abandoned houses, doors ajar, with discarded clothes and furniture, items no longer considered essential.  Graffiti, had been scrawled on the sides of buildings, memorializing Confederate victories taunted the Union forces.  Dead horses attracted buzzards which circled over head.

When the 4th division reached Crane Creek the Confederate presence was palpable.  Cooking fires were found the day’s meal in the kettle.  Captured stragglers moved to the rear of Conine’s column.  Joseph Conine’s war was drawing near.  As the evidence mounted of Confederates near by, what went through Joseph’s mind?  The line of march was littered with ‘crippled and demolished wagons, pots, pans, skillets, camp trumpery, dead and dying horses and mules, together with all manner of goods and chattels.’  More prisoners were taken.  Snow fell on the men.  On the night of February 15th, Joseph Conine was discovered to be missing.  Amidst the debris on the Telegraph Road his personal invasion of the Arkansas had stopped, cold, literally, in its tracks. 

The 4th Iowa continued without Joseph.   The Iowans continued to pass discarded

accoutrements of war.  Confederate stragglers were captured.  Firefights broke out, but the southerners were not ready to fight a major engagement.  Veterans of both armies remembered the weather.  The storm of March 5th was described by one Iowan as “spitting snow.”  A Missourian wrote, ‘I felt like dying. . . . our clothes were frozen on our bodies.’  Joseph Conine fought off the cold and his sickness to rejoin his company. 

The Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern)

The two armies faced off on March 6th.  The battle was on the Union left that day and the 4th Iowa was on the right wing just beyond the crossroads of the Elkhorn Tavern.  When the morning came, Joseph Conine and his company were facing north.  Somewhere in the forest, out of sight, was the enemy.

In the afternoon, however, the Confederates appeared on the right flank of the 4th Iowa.  The Iowans were ordered to face this new threat.  Quickly they swung down like a door hinge so that their line was parallel to the growing Confederate threat.  Company C, along with the rest of the 4th Iowa, dug in at the western edge of the Clemon’s farm.  200 yards to the east, beyond the fallow fields of Rufus Clemon, in the trees, the Confederates unlimbered three batteries of artillery to shell the Union position.

Conine and his compatriots prepared for the inevitable attack.  Farmer Rufus Clemon had spent the winter rooting out trees and piling them at the edge of his field.  The Iowans quickly moved these slash piles.  They piled tree trunks, branches, and fence rails to form a breastwork.  Soon Confederate artillery opened and the men burrowed into their new fortification.  Shells exploded all around them.  The trees to their rear were set ablaze by the shelling.  Capt. William H. Kinsman, of the 4th Iowa wrote:

The thunder of the artillery was terrific, and the shot and shell hissed and screamed through the air like flying devils, while the infantry with their rifles, shotguns, and muskets, kept a perfect hurricane of death howling through the woods.

This continued for a half and hour.  During it all Grenville Dodge rode along the line “encouraging his men and belittling the danger of artillery fire.”   A shell exploded near him and tore his pants.  Another shell fragment glanced off his knuckles.  A shell struck and tree and a falling branch dismounted him.  He cracked two ribs.   He got back on his horse and continued to command.  “He continued to expose himself recklessly, and by the end of the day he had lost three horses and accumulated six bullet and canister holes in his coat.” 

Suddenly, 100 yards away the Confederates appeared at the top of the rise midway in Clemon’s field.  Wrote one Missourian, ‘We charged to within twenty steps of their ambush when they turned loose on us.’   Another recalled,   ‘We were met by a most terrific and deadly volley of musketry . . . “and for a moment our brave men recoiled before its deadly aim.’  The Confederate attack was broken.  Others followed, but they too were broken by the barrage of musket fire coming from the impromptu fortifications along Clemon’s field.  After one assault the Iowans let out ‘Such a yell as they crossed that field with, you never heard. . .  .It was unearthly and scared the rebels so bad they never stopped to fire at us or let us reach them.’  With bayonets pointing the way the 4th Iowa pursued the Confederates back across Clemon’s field.

Conditions, however, along the rest of the Union line, called for realignment of battered regiments.  Slowly the 4th Iowa retreated to the new Union line, a little further south.  In Pea Ridge:  Civil War Campaign in the West, William Shea and Earl Hess, described that evening:

Darkness spread across the Pea Ridge and brought an end to the carnage but there was little rest for the weary on the cold, clear night of March 7-8.  Moonlights filtering through the lingering haze of battle dimly illuminated a scene of surprising activity.  Hundreds of soldiers wandered across the battlefield to succor the wounded or streak from the dead.  Thousands more stumbled through thickets and toiled along rutted roads in preparation for the dawn.  Still others struggled, sometimes in vain, to replenish empty cartridge boxes and ammunition chests.  In the background, sharp in the frigid air, were the terrible sounds of broken men and animals.

Captured

Decades after the battle of Pea Ridge, Joseph Conine wrote that he was captured on March 8, 1862.  This would have been the day after the battle at Clemon’s Farm.   There was fighting that day.  The Union Army advanced as a solid mile front against the southern line.  On that day, the badly depleted 4th Iowa exchanged little fire with the enemy.  There would have no chance for Joseph Conine to be captured that day.  In fact, it was Confederates that became prioners that day.  This writer wonders if Joseph Conine was actually captured on March 7th when the 4th Iowa advanced and retreated on several occasions.  The bayonet charge at the conclusion of the battle at Clemon’s Farm or the 4th Iowa’s retreat to

Ruddick’s farm.

 

On the last day of the battle Joseph Conine was guarded by men in gray.  It is unclear when, where, or under what circumstances on March 8th that Joseph Conine was captured.  He was not one of the fortunate federal prisoners exchanged shortly after the battle.

“A Very Hard, Tedious, Tiresome March”

 

Not being one of the chosen prisoners, Joseph Conine fell into line with the Confederate Army of the West as they headed south.  What he remembered from those weeks was not recorded, but others wrote about their experience:

The army was a confused mob, not a regiment, not a company in rank, save two regiments of cavalry, which, as a rear guard, passed through near sundown; the rest were a rabble-rout, not four or five abreast, but the whole road about fifty feet wide perfectly filled with men, every one seemingly animated by the same desire to get away…They were thoroughly dispirited.  And thus, for hours, the human tide swept by, a broken, drifting, disorganized mass, not an officer, that I could see, to give an order; and had there been, he could not have reduced that formless mass to discipline or order.

The skies ‘poured down from the heavens in abundance.’  The terrain was treacherous.  Concerning heading over the Boston Mountains a southerner on the same march wrote:

There were no roads or bridges; the country was mostly hills covered with scrub oaks, rocks, rivers, and creeks, and very sparsely settled, and so poor, as some of the men expressed it, that turkey buzzards would not fly over it…Price’s army had preceded us; but if they did any good by opening a path, they did us a great deal of harm by clearing the country of everything that could be eaten by man or beast, even to the last acorn, which seemed to be the only thing the country produced.  We proceeded to scramble along the best ways we could, wading through creeks and rivers and scrambling over rocks and through brushwood.  At night we kindled large fires and took off our wet clothes, wrung the water out of them, and dried them the best way we could. 

In the midst of this chaos one may only imagine what the experience was for the captive federal soldiers.  Were the prisoners at the end of the food distribution chain?  Were they allowed some latitude in regard to their own physical needs?  Were the ignored like so much human baggage or were they treated with the disdain extended to “enemy” prisoners?

Food was a major problem.  Those who wrote about those miserable weeks often used variations of the word “starve” to describe the experience.   Soldiers rummaged the countryside for anything that could be eaten or carried away.  Arkansas farmers had much of their produce stolen by the starving soldiers.  One such victim wrote that the hungry men ‘killed every fowl of any kind, all the cattle, hogs and sheep, and took all the bacon and corn that they could find for several miles around . . .  They cooked at our house from 11 o’clock until midnite, until there was nothing left to cook.’  One survivor saw ‘lots of men cut out slices of beef and mutton before it was done bleeding and eat it raw.  The only bread they had was the corn they had hooked on the road.  They threw the ears into the fire and burnt the outside black and eat it.’  Amidst this, Joseph Conine, prisoner of war contemplated his fate.  He had marched over 300 miles and was in the middle of enemy territory. 

                                                            Prison

On August 18, 1892, Mordecai Smith wrote that he had been captured with Joseph Conine at the Battle of Pea Ridge.  They were taken first to Van Buren and then to Little Rock, Arkansas where they were held for five months. Smith wrote that the prisoners were “ill treated.”  An 1892 newspaper article stated, “He spent the 4th of July in a solitary cell in Little Rock prison; lived on cornmeal and water for a month.”  This punishment was for planning an escape. Little else is known about his captivity.   Joseph and others were exchanged for Confederate prisoners and rejoined the 4th Infantry Division at Helena, Arkansas on August 5, 1862. 

Immediately after returning to his comrades Joseph developed a severe case of dysentery with chronic diarrhea.  Unable to fulfill his duties as a soldier he was sent upriver on a steamboat to St. Louis arriving there on September 29th.  From there Joseph was sent to the Estes House Hospital in Keokuk, Iowa.

The Estes House Hospital was one of seven facilities dedicated to the care of soldiers from both sides.  It held over 600 patients and was the largest hospital in Keokuk.   Contemporaneous accounts describe crowded conditions, lousy food, disease, and the numerous amputations.  Joseph Conine remained there from October 1862 through March the following spring.  In April Joseph was discharged from the service with a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability.  His chronic diarrhea and general debility was “not improving under treatment.”

Marriage and a Return to the War

In the July 18, 1863 Union Sentinel the following appeared:

MARRIED

At the residence of Wm Gustin on the evening of the 13th of July 1863, by M. B. Rees, Esqr., Mr. JOSEPH C. CONINE to Miss EMMA P. BATES.

Three months later, October 23, 1863, Joseph re-enlisted.  He received a $25 bounty for being a veteran re-upping.  Moving on to Davenport, Iowa in late November he was promoted to 1st corporal in Co. C, 9th Iowa Cavalry.   From there the regiment traveled south to Arkansas where Joseph spent the rest of the war.

Arkansas was now a sideshow of the Civil War.  Vicksburg had fallen in July 1863 and the war had shifted to eastern Tennessee.  The 9th Iowa spent the rest of the war patrolling the region while occasionally engaging in skirmishes with southern sympathizers.  Few men were lost during this time.  Joseph’s war was much different than his earlier version with prolonged scouting missions replacing the pitched battle of Pea Ridge.  He was promoted to second duty sergeant on September 15, 1864.

Following his return from his last scouting patrol in the fall of 1864 Joseph was assigned to Col. M. M. Trumbull and worked as a clerk at headquarters.  When the war ended in the spring of 1865 Joseph was serving as a clerk for a general court-martial being conducted.  The end of the war, however, did not signal the end of his service.  Joseph continued to clerk, but now serving at the adjutant general’s office.  He received 2nd and 3rd installments of his Veteran’s Bounty, bring that total to $175.  Finally on February 28, 1866, nearly a year after hostilities had ended.  Sergeant Conine was mustered out in Little Rock, Arkansas, the site of his previous imprisonment.  Paying eight dollars for his service revolver and owed $225 in bounty payments he headed north for his reunion with his wife Emma.

Returning from the war Joseph and Emma settled in Illinois.  They remained there two years.  Their first son, Herbert Wilbur (Willie), was born there.  After two years he returned to Iowa with his family. A daughter, Annie, was born in May 3, 1869.  In 1870, Joseph was farming in Pleasant, Union County, Iowa.  The name of the town was misleading.  Something went dreadfully wrong.  Lucy May Conine was born on March 10, 1871.  Emma died on April 12, 1872 and was buried in the North Hopeville Cemetery.  This date is interesting in light of the fact that two other sources (Including a narrative written in 1951 by Jenny Lind Conine Edwards) maintain Joseph moved to the Northwest in October 1871.    

J. C. Conine in Yelm

In 1871 or 1872, J. C. Conine and Henry Fouts arrived in Seattle, just in time for the rainy season.  The mixture of mountains and water, trees and mist, must have impressed the Iowans.  Jennie Conine Edwards later wrote, “Seattle was only a little hamlet on the bay, almost surrounded by gigantic fir and cedar trees, but with one sawmill.  They could have taken a homestead most any where where Seattle is now but they didn’t.”  From Seattle, the pair caught the steamer “North Pacific” heading to Olympia.  The men carried with them a letter of introduction to Mr. Tyrus Himes who they eventually located at his farm six miles outside of Olympia.  Jennie Conine Edwards later wrote, “There was about ten of them in the family including them.  They [Henry and Joseph]  said they never had a better time.  They worked all that winter for their board and room.”

The disposition of the Conine children is unclear.  In 1880, census rolls show Wilbur “Willy” Conine living in Iowa with Joseph’s father Otto.  Sometime after 1880 Willie came to the Yelm area to live with his father.  In the summer of 1884, however, Willie decided to return to Iowa to live.  The girls, Annie and May moved to the northwest, although the year is unclear. 

One night Virinda and James Longmire stopped at the Himes place.  A trip from the Yelm Prairie to Olympia in a horse drawn wagon was sometimes a two day journey.  The Longmires decided to complete their journey the next morning.  After all, their friendship with the Himes family was forged on the wagon train to the northwest.  During the course of the evening’s conversation Longmire mentioned that Yelm was looking for a school teacher.  Conine recalled saying, “That was my line, having taught ten years in Illinois and Iowa.”  Longmire replied, “Come up some time and I think you can get the school.”

Joseph Conine took James Longmire up on his offer.  Conine recalled, “So one fine day in February, my friend Henry Fouts, who came with me from Iowa, and I borrowed a couple of horses from Mr. Himes and drove to Yelm.”   Joseph fell in love with the area at once.  “On coming out of the timber to the prairie, we beheld a sight that was enchanting to those who have never had never seen a snow mountain before.  The morning clouds of fog had cleared away and its snowy cap showed up in great splendor.  I’ll never forget my first view of that great mountain . . .” Plus, he got the teaching job.

According to The Story of Yelm, Joseph began teaching in Yelm in 1872.  “I engaged the school for six months at the enormous salary of $33 per month and board around and was glad to get it.  I got my hash well mixed.  All teachers in those days got the same price and same fare.” 

County records show J. C. Conine working at the Willow Lawn School southeast of Yelm in October 1891.  He was earning $45 dollars a month for a term of three months.  The next year his salary had been reduced by one third.  Later he would serve on the board of directors of Willow Lawn from 1897-1900.

His daughter, Jennie Conine (Edwards), recalled attending six different schools in the area.  Writing late in her life Jennie recalled, “WE walked to school from 2 to 5 miles a day each way.  Would only have three months in a district.  When ours was out we would go to Yelm, then to Eureka, then to a small school up by where Newton Smith live[d].” 

                                                No Better Wife Ever Lived

Joseph’s meager teaching salary was augmented by his ability to hunt to food.  “Deer, bear, cougar, grouse, and pheasant” were plentiful.  It was on one of these hunting journeys that Joseph discovered the land that would eventually become his homestead.  South of Yelm he squatted on land “with the greatest natural facilities,” by which he meant the waters of Yelm creek.  After he “bached” there for two years Joseph again married

 

On April 12, 1874, sixteen year old Martha Longmire married Joseph Conine, her teacher. The newlyweds began a family on this homestead. Over the next decade they had three children, Herbert L. Conine (January 15, 1875), Jennie Lind  (April 15, 1879), and Neonetta (March 4, 1883)  Joseph wrote that it took six years to clear the beaver pond and otherwise make the land productive.  Husband and wife “slashed and cleared” to create a farm in the spring and summer, with Joseph working as a teacher in the winter.  Virinda and James Longmire started the newlyweds off with a “team, two cows, [a] pig, and some chickens.”

Joseph’s daughter Jennie painted the following of life on the Conine homestead:

We had to hustle home from school to weed the garden, dig spuds, pick apples and berries, help top and load wagons with beets and carrots for the cattle in winter, help milk, get wood, get the rutabagas and cabbage in for winter, make sour kraut and such like.  Mamma used to knit socks and stockings, make us shoes and get the vine maple to make pegs to tack the soles on with.  If a sheep died we would pull the wool off, wash it and card it by hand to make quilts, also some carpet rags for carpets.  Mamma would weave the carpet.  Had straw under the carpet and also straw ticks or feather ticks for out beds.

The thrashers would come to thrash our grain with about 10 or 12 horses and as many men.  Some times would be there for a week or more.   We had to feed them and wash dishes.  Besides milking about 25 or 30 cows, set all the milk away in pans for the cream to rise.  Then skim and churn, then all the pans to wash and skim milk for the pigs.  Churned butter in a barrel churn by hand.  Printed butter by hand and sold it to Miller Bros. in Tacoma.  Then later got more modern equipment.

J.C. Conine (CO9) – Populist

 

The 1890’s found a new, activist J. C. Conine competing for elected office in Thurston County.  First, as a Democrat, then as a Populist, Joseph Conine ran for and eventually won elective office.  Joseph ran for county sheriff as a Populist in 1894 and lost.  In 1896 he won the Populist Party’s nomination to represent the 27th legislative district in Olympia.

To promote his candidacy and the Populist cause Joseph wrote numerous letters to the Washington Standard newspaper.  Between 1895 and 1898 he elaborated on the problems confronting the nation and the state.  In addition, he was one of the roving band of Populist speakers who traveled the county spreading the “new gospel of silver.”  Joseph spoke at a rally near Yelm which, according to one estimate, attracted over 100 cheering Populists.  Other speeches were given at Smith Prairie, the Eureka schoolhouse, and the Collins school.  The debate during the campaign season was intense

When talking about the Republicans and their supporters Joseph spared no invective.   The “syndicate [was] in the saddle.”  The Populists were there to fight the “money power” and the “money sharks.”  The Republicans were dominated by “unprincipled scoundrels” and the party supported “pernicious legislation.”  The gold standard, the crime of 1873, the protective tariff, the greenback controversy, the banking system, and other legislative measures supported by the Republicans were so evil as to require a “new vocabulary to describe [them].”  The result was beneficial to the “avarice” and “greed of the Shylocks.”  The “oil trust,” “sugar trust,” “salt trust,” and even the “nail trust” were taking money “from the pockets of labor” and making “colossal fortunes for a few lazy barnacles.”  The Republicans and their wealthy supporters cared for the people like a “vulture has for the lamb, or a hawk for a dove.”  Once elected, Republicans sang “the song of Vanderbilt, ‘the people be damned.’”

What had all of this brought to the laboring classes?  The people were in “bondage.”  Interest rates could be as high as 20% and property values had declined by as much as 50%, wages were low.  They were ruled by injunction, while Pinkerton agents patrolled their towns.  Misery, poverty, and pauperism were the realities of the wealth producing class.  In fact the government seemed more interested in the construction of penitentiaries, jails, asylums, poorhouses, and soup houses, than the “welfare of producers.”

It was, however, time to “get on the populist bandwagon.”  In one letter he compared the current problems facing the nation to that of a boil on one’s body.

“Corruption,” yellow and vile was feeding the boil.  “In fact at the present time this boil has attained such colossal proportions . . . that it has been decided by universal consent to apply a surgical remedy, and William J. Bryan has been selected to perform the operation with his silver lance.”  It was time for the “piratical crew” to be “relegated to the shades of oblivion and smolder in their own rottenness.”

Bryan, according to Conine, should be the choice of the people if democracy was to be “redeemed.”  Joseph Conine reveled in the words of William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold Speech.” “You shall not press this crown of thorns down on the brow of Labor. You shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold” were “glorious words,” according to Conine.  Bryan would bring justice for the “toiling masses.”  After all, William McKinley was in the pocket of the moneyed interests.  He had been “bought and bound and owned” by gold interests.  McKinley was the “tool of the money power.”  Worse still, McKinley had changed his traditional position on the silver issue and was a “captive” of the “soulless syndicate.”  By contrast, Bryan, although he was young, was at least “free.”  He had spent his career fighting “tyranny” and “oppression.”

William McKinley won the election of 1896 and became president.  In Thurston County, however, the Populist-Democrat fusion ticket swept the county races.  Joseph Conine would now be serving in the Washington state legislature.

The 1897 Legislative Session

By Meghan Young  (2004)

The election of the Populist Governor John Rogers was accompanied by an insurgence of new faces into Washington State Legislature and various tiffs of great hilarity.  Governor Rogers himself was quite an interesting man.  From the very beginning, he shunned convention and opened his inaugural ball to the public, much to the dismay of fellow politicians.  Governor Rogers established himself as a man of the people.  In his opening speech to the Washington State Legislature, Governor Rogers delivered a solemn speech on the problems facing the state.  With the prevalence of novice legislators, temptations rose greatly.  From illegal railroad passes to liquor interests, fish packers, timber barons and “corporate fat cats” the possibility for corruption abounded. 

Governor Rogers took the opportunity to remind legislators about the low pay standards for laborers, the depreciation of property and (fitting with the Populist movement) the detriment of the gold standard on the economy.  Governor Rogers introduced his idea to have free, state financed books for education.  They would be published at the state penitentiary both to provide inmates with vocational training and avoid monopolies established by publishing companies.  He declared his plan to establish a state bank examiner to prevent losses through bank failure, and a mine inspector to insure mine safety in light of the recent tragic mine accidents.  He urged the passage of anti-coercion acts to protect voters and demanded that no more stationary fish trapping gear be used.  He also called for penalties for violation of the constitutional provision against the acceptance of free railroad transportation passes by state officials. 

The first great excitement came with the senatorial election.  Huge accusations of corruption and bribery were brought out against Judge Turner, the winner of the election. In the Seattle Post Intelligencer, accusations against various legislators where brought out by Dr. G.V. Calhoun who said that many legislators were offering their votes in exchange for money. Representative Conine arose at one meeting to “shock and titillate” his colleagues with a tale of “sexy intrigue” which was recorded by The Standard:

Representative Conine told of his experience with a beautiful woman lobbyist who, he alleged, had offered to pay him a “consideration” to vote for Judge Turner, and that he had repelled the suggestion even as Samson thrice Repelled Delilah.

Eventually, a Senate Committee investigation concluded that there was no evidence of bribes or corruption.  In the opening of the Legislature, Senator Van Patten irritated the legislature with his opening prayer, especially Senator Rhinehart, a known agnostic.  To continue this, the Secretary of Senate Dudley Eshelman sang “My God to Thee” further irritating Rhinehart.  In retaliation, upon the end of the song, Senator Rhinehart arose and stated that he would now like to allow the Salvation Army in, and with that the legislators took a break.  In another disagreement, the legislators argued bitterly for hours about the request of an African American man from Spokane who wanted to become a doorkeeper.  Eventually they decided against him, but not before hours of squabbling took place.  In another fine showing of legislators maturity, they entered into a heated debate on whether or not there soaps and towels should be provided in their outhouse.  The official decision was that “all ablutions should be performed before coming to the capitol.”  These sorts of debates often led to heated outbursts, and (gasp) even fistfights among the legislators amidst the pillows and pots at the Hotel Olympia, the place to be among the politicians.  In fact, because legislators enjoyed immunity from arrest from minor crimes, fights often broke out while the bemused police looked on, unable to stop them even if they wanted to. 

Eventually the legislators got down to business.  Among the first motions passed was one which required that all bills be submitted to the reading clerk typewritten, as there was trouble in trying to decipher the scrawled writings of some legislators.  A bill was introduced to abolish the “fifth wheel” or lieutenant governor; however it served only to arouse controversy and ultimately did not pass.   They were successful in setting a maximum freight of $4.25 a ton within the state, but did not establish a railroad commission with the power to fully regulate the railroads, so it was largely ineffective.  Similarly, a State Labor Board was established to “protect the health and lives of employees” but there were no effective controls established over corporate operations and so it enjoyed little success.  Legislation was passed to protect debtors from foreclosure and garnishment, to encourage agriculture and give laborers priority in liens against employers from nonpayment of wages.  Prison reform was established with a bill that reduced terms for prisoners based upon good behavior and aboard of pardons was established consisting of the Secretary of State, State Auditor, and the Attorney General.  A coal mine inspector was authorized and a commissioner for the Board of Institutions was established.  New state land laws codified land, and authorized land leases at lower rates.  A land commission was born with the Secretary of State, Land Commissioner and Superintendent of Public Instruction.  An insurance committee was created to regulate insurance companies and new regulations were set forth on those doing business in Washington State.  Revenue laws were passed with relatively liberal methods of assessment and collection of taxes as well as the remission of penalties on delinquent taxes except a 6% interest charge from the date of delinquencies.  In a huge step for women, they introduced legislature that would allow women to be the administrix or executrix of their estates and tried to pass women’s suffrage, but it was voted down by the male electorate.  The means was provided for the reservation and improvement of cycle paths and a $50 dollar fee for the willful obstruction or damage of the paths.  Another bill was submitted to protect manufacturers, bottlers and other dealers in ale, porter, lager beer, and other beers as well as the loss of casks, barrels, kegs, bottles and etc.  All of these exciting stories took place in only the first 60 day session of the Washington State Legislation, an omen of even more exciting and potentially nonsensical events.

Joseph Conine served just this one term in the state legislature.  He returned to his farm near Yelm, never to re-enter electoral politics again.

 “I Am Not Asking For Charity”

 

Civil War veterans were voted a pension by Congress in 1890.  An additional sum was provided for those suffering from some sort of war related disability.  During the last half of his life Joseph Conine carried on a vigorous correspondence with the War Department, as well as members of Washington’s Congressional delegation, identifying his disabilities and advocating increased compensation for his military service.

One of the themes he continually returned to was the fact that veterans were richly deserving of their nation’s attention.  “I am not asking for charity” he wrote.  “I simply ask for justice.”  After all, the men in blue had kept the “country from disintegrating.”  Joseph continued writing:

It does seem to me that the old veterans who made it possible for our president to occupy his present position ought to be entitled to as much consideration as the lame ducks like Mr. Dial of S.C. who given a position of the Muscle Shoals Commission at $30 per day.  If $2.40 is too great a strain on the government treasury, nearly fifteen times that much is awful.  Consistency thou art a _______ (writing unclear).

A Long Way Beyond the Age of Production”

 

Between 1903 and 1930 the U.S. Congress raised the basic monthly pension check from $8 to $100.  An extra stipend was granted to those who were disabled.  Throughout this era Joseph carried on a correspondence with the Bureau of Pensions.  His letters not only shared stories of his physical ills, but also made economic arguments demonstrating his claim.  Joseph Conine owned hundreds of acres of land south of Yelm.  He was straight forward about this.  He told them that he could not enter the Soldier’s Home in Washington since he had over a thousand dollars in land and money.  He had been, however, “floundering around from one place to another.”  He was “absolutely nonproductive as a mule.”  Joseph pointed out that he had been living with his son Herbert.

“My general health is not bad for my age,” wrote Joseph in one letter to Washington, D.C.   He had, whoever, “a serious spill this morning.”  As his vicissitudes of aging impacted him Joseph made sure that those making decisions about this “comrade” in his eighties was getting on.  “It’s difficult for me to read ordinary print even with my glasses.  I can’t write as well as I used to.” “I haven’t had a tooth in my head for fifteen years and can’t get a set of teeth that will fit, besides my eye sight and hearing is bad.  What else could one suspect?”

Near the time of his death his letter included these ominous details, “I have been afflicted with a cancer for the past year and for . . . months have been taking X-ray treatment in the Tacoma General hospital [at] considerable expense.” 

J. C. Conine’s Physical Complaints

(By Meghan Young)

Throughout Joseph Conine’s quest to obtain more money from the government, he developed quite a list of ailments.  While some of these were verified, most were dismissed.  The following list entails the various ailments that Mr. Conine claimed to suffer from (as taken from medical reports) due to his service during the American Civil War.

  • January 21, 1891:  Conine claimed to suffer from a disease of the kidneys as well as chronic diarrhea.  The examining physician concluded that Mr. Conine was suffering from lumbago and he was qualified for a 4/18 disability rating. 
  • June 1, 1893:  Conine claimed to be suffering from lumbago, disease of the kidneys, liver dyspepsia and general debility.  He claimed that he could not perform hard work because of lameness and vomiting, and was entitle to an 8/18 disability rating for debility.
  • December 19, 1894:  Conine again claimed lumbago, disease of the kidneys and liver, dyspepsia and general debility.  He was awarded a pension of $6 a month for debility.
  • July 28, 1897:  Mr. Conine claimed to suffer from lumbago, disease of the kidneys, chronic diarrhea, indigestion and disease, weakness of back and general debility.  Additionally, he claimed that he could not perform any hard work nor become excited as he was subject to fainting spells and indigestion problems.  The examining physician, however, concluded that Mr. Conine did not suffer from any real diseases.
  • September 2, 1903:  Mr. Conine claimed to be suffering from lumbago for the last years after he had hurt his back lifting and from that point on had been experiencing pain.  The examining physician concluded that Mr. Conine’s pain was not due to vicious habits, and that Conine indeed had lumbago as well as being old and feeble. Conine was qualified for a 16/18 disability rating and ordered not to perform any manual labor.

 

In a letter responding to an inquiry about Mr. Conine’s ailments from the Medical Division of the Department of The Interior, Dr. Pool responded in regards to Mr. Conine’s health.  He stated that Mr. Conine was able to respond to the “calls of nature” and he was also able to feed himself.  However, he remarked that due to fainting spells, Mr. Conine should not be left without an attendant.  Mr. Conine eventually claimed total disability, stating that he suffered from petit mal, arterio sclerosis, fainting spells, poor sleeping and continued debility and declining strength.  Eventually doctors stated that he needed a full time assistant due to his condition.

Later Years

 

In his more harsh epistles to the bureaucrats in Washington, Conine reflected some of his old Populist spirit. Writing in the twenties, he complained about government’s “callousness” and “parsimonious” demeanor.  He complained about “lame ducks” controlling government and the government’s waste of money.  He reminded the Pension bureau that the current government owed their very existence to the men who fought in the Civil War.  After all, how would President Coolidge like to “live on $50 a month.”  “Our president’s policy of economy reminds me of the old adage save at the spigot and spend at the ____ ”  (writing indecipherable – Whatever the final word in that sentence it appears to be uncomplimentary)

Yet, Joseph Conine the “lion” was softened by Conine the “lamb.”  “Of course I realize that the last Congress was very favorable toward the Civil War veterans.  . . . I have no complaint to make against the great government for which we served.  No government on earth serves it soldiers better.  And the last Congress proved its sympathy by enacting favorable laws.” 

Joseph Conine spent his last decades “wandering” and living with his children.  Martha Longmire, Joseph’s “excellent wife,” died in 1906.  He remained shattered by this loss.  “Those who have had the experience know what a misfortune it is to lose a good wife.  I have never gotten entirely over the loss; it was my greatest misfortune for I had great inspirations for making a model home for my family.”   Joseph the romantic, however, could be replaced by Conine the gritty realist.  Writing about Martha’s death Joseph concluded, “one can get used to most anything.”

He placed his farm in the hands of an attorney and left its operations to others.  For a while he stayed with one of his daughters in Los Angeles.  He lived at the Angeles hotel in Olympia, but he spent much of his time at his son Herbert L.’s place near Yelm.

Writing in the Nisqually Valley News, sometime in the 1920’s, Joseph ruminated about his life’s lessons.  Referring to himself as “the oldest settler, now living, that lived on Yelm [prairie],” Joseph made one last contribution to a local paper:

I love to see everybody happy, though not religious.  Happiness is the greatest good; Reason the greatest torch; Justice the only worship and Love, the priest.”

I am bound by no creed except the Court of Justice and love of my fellowman.  A man holding to some creed or dogma cannot be absolutely free; he is bound to a creed.  I believe in absolute liberty as long as one does not infringe on another and society.  I dislike fanaticism, and that is why I am opposed to prohibition.

People of Yelm, I salute you.  If I was a praying man, I’d pray for you, but it wouldn’t do any good.  No prayer ever changed a natural law, but it may relieve the mind of the believer and I don’t begrudge them the relief.  J. C. Conine

Finally, living with his daughter Jennie Edwards on the shores of Lake Lawrence, J. C. Conine passed away.  He had served his nation well.  He had taught its children, tried to improve its government, and fought for its very survival.  Ninety two years after his birth in central Ohio, J. C. Conine was laid to rest in the Yelm Cemetery.

 

Obituary – J.C. Conine

Olympia News – November 17, 1932

Joseph C. Conine, 92, veteran and pioneer, passed away at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Jennie Edwards, Lawrence Lake, Sunday forenoon.  Mr. Conine was born in Ashland county, Ohio, August 25, 1839.  At the age of 13 he went to Iowa to make his home and began teaching in the schools there at the age of 20.  Two years later he enlisted for service in the Fourth Iowa Infantry.  He was taken prisoner at the battle of Pea Ridge in March, 1862.  He was released by exchange the following August.  Later he was taken prisoner again being held for a month when he returned to his regiment and was discharged and was discharged because of disability.  He was married, in 1863 in Iowa.  Having regained his health he again enlisted for service, this time with the Ninth Iowa Cavalry, serving until the close of the war.  He was promoted to the post of second duty sergeant and received an honorable discharge at Little Rock, Arkansas.  Following the war Mr. and Mrs. Conine moved to Illinois, remaining for two years, when they returned to Iowa, where Mrs. Conine died in 1871, locating in this county [Thurston], where he remained until his death.  He spent the first winter working for his board for the pioneer Himes family.  The next year he secured the Yelm school, which he taught for three terms, afterward continuing at the same profession for thirty years in this county.  He was married to Miss Martha Longmire, a pioneer woman, in 1874.  She died in 1906.

Surviving the deceased are two sons, Harry Wilbur and H. L. of this county; four daughters, Mrs. Annie Ward and Mrs. Neo Squire of Los Angeles, Mrs. May Jewell and Mrs. Jennie Edwards of Yelm; 22 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.  Funeral services were held at Yelm Wednesday afternoon at 2, with interment in Yelm cemetery where military honors were accorded.  The Mills parlors were in charge of funeral arrangements.

A Short History of Yelm

  A Short History of Yelm

The history of Yelm’s post office capsulizes the creation of the community. With the exception of a period of time between November 1880 and May 1881 (when mail was delivered to Tenino), Yelm Prairie has had a post office. It was first named Yelm on August 18, 1858, nice months after its creation at Fort Stevens. Until 1974, when Moses M. Metcalf became postmaster, the various post offices were located in homes situated throughout the prairie. Metcalf moved the postmastership into him home and store at Yelm, thus being the first to locate it in the new community. In 1881, Frank Longmire became postmaster, and the post office was moved to his store. Dow R. Hughes, postmaster from 1907 through 1934, moved the post office in 1925 to the Mosman Building, where it stayed until 1968. (A full list of postmasters is provided at the end of this history.)

Yelm greeted the twentieth century with the creation, in 1901, of three plats that formally established the blocks, lots and streets of the town. These included the Yelm Addition, situated immediately to the northwest of the railroad tracks near Yelm Avenue, and two filed by John McKenzie which platted his land southeast of the tracks. Ten years later Ole Solberg purchased the old George Edwards

George Edwards House

claim and, in 1916, platted a portion of it as Solberg’s First Addition. This land was located northwest of the railroad tracks. With Solberg’s filing of a second addition in 1923, the historic town of Yelm was complete.

The first quarter of the twentieth century was a period of growth, development and re-development when fires plagued the town in 1908, 1913 and 1924. In the process its population grew from 50 (by 1908) to 400 (1926). The business district acquired all the trappings of a small town emporium designed to serve the loggers, lumbermen and farmers living nearby. Close friendships were formed with McKenna and Roy, Pierce County neighbors situated north of Yelm along the northern Pacific line. (A listing of Yelm businesses is provided at the end of this history.) The agricultural development of Yelm during this time was related closely to lumbering operations. Many settlers were employees of the McKenna Lumber Company. This firm, in acquiring land for a power site also obtained land on the Yelm Prairie. “Officials of the company encouraged their employees to purchase tracts and to build homes of their own. They believed that such a policy was to the advantage of the employees [and would] promote a more stable labor supply for their lumbering operations.” (WSU, 1943) The land was divided into five to fifteen acre tracts, and was offered to mill employees at reasonable terms. The company provided an agriculturalist to give advice and a home demonstration agent to help the farm-working wives. In this way lumber workers could “increase their earnings through producing a part of their food.” By 1912, when the Northern Pacific Railroad elevated Yelm to official station status, the town had assumed the form still visible today. Businesses, as they had since 1874, concentrated along the rail line and Yelm Avenue, centering at the crossing of these two routes. Surrounding this district were the residential neighborhoods whose architecture reflected the vernacular styles popular in the builder’s manuals and design catalogs of the day. Later, some houses were prefabricated at the Gruber and Docherty Mill, located near Yelm. Some were imported logging camp bunkhouses modified to meet family needs. Others were constructed by local carpenters, such as Charles Mittge. The first quarter century also saw the creation of one of Western Washington’s few irrigation districts. The impetus for this project came in 1910 when a few prairie farmers viewed irrigation as a way to increase productivity, and to invite more families to settle in the area. The Yelm Irrigation Company was organized, issued stock, and began construction. On June 16, 1916, the project was completed. The Yelm Ditch, as it was popularly called, was the product of an enthusiasm rising from the pre-World War I agricultural boom in the United States. Farm prices were good, demand for produce was high. This Golden Age, however, did not last. By the 1930s the economics of farming and problems of maintenance were taking its toll on the irrigation system in spite of Works Projects Administration (WPA) and State assistance.

When the Yelm Irrigation Company ceased operations by the late 1940s it was also faced with the changing demographics of the prairie. Farmers were being replaced by commuters. According to one local resident commenting later, “The people work for Weyerhaeuser. They work in Olympia or Tacoma or at Fort Lewis. They don’t want to farm. They want a place to live and raise their families. Yelm should be a bedroom town.” (Prescott, 1979) On December 8, 1924 Yelm was incorporated as a city. It was one of four in Washington State to do so that year (Bingen, Longview and Winthrop were the other three). The Yelm Women’s Civic Club started the movement following the May, 1924 fire that destroyed much of the business district. The purpose of incorporation was to allow the construction of a water system to fight fires, and one of the main orders of business for Yelm’s first Mayor, R.B. Patterson, and his council was to establish a fire department. Many buildings seen today along Yelm’s main street were built following the 1924 fire. They types of business uses were similar to those of the past, except for one thing. By 1926, Yelm had an automobile dealer to supplement the garages located there prior to the fire. The modern age of commuting had arrived.

James Longmire is Dead

James Longmire is dead
Sturdy Pioneer of Thurston County PASSES TO FINAL REST

 Sketch of His Experience in Early Days            

James Longmire, one of the oldest pioneers of the state and the proprietor of the Longmire springs, died at 4:15 Wednesday afternoon at the residence of his daughter in law, Mrs. Jackson Longmire, in Tacoma.  He had been very sick for ten days past and hut little hopes were entertained of his recovery form the first.   His wife and all of his children except Robert Longmire, who is in Alaska, were at his bedside.          

 The funeral takes place at the family burying grounds at Yelm this afternoon. Mr. Longmire died from a combination of heart troubles and grip.            James Longmire was one of nature’s nobemen, a typical pioneer and if his biography were fully written a great many of the historical events connected with the territorial days of Washington would be woven into the record of his life.           

He descended form the hardy race of people who settled Virginia and Carolinas and later poured across the Allegheny mountains and found homes in Kentucky and Tennessee. He inherited the sterling qualities of these people, and true to their love of liberty he sought the freedom of a pioneer life.          

He was born in 1818 near Bono, Washington County, Indiana.           

His grandfather was a German from the valley of the Rhine, who settled in North Carolina, and later removed to Tennessee. The family removed from that state to Indiana. It was a prolife race and James Longmire was one of thirteen children.           

He was married when quite young to Susan Isley, who bore him two children, Elcaine and David. His first wife died in 1847, and he later was married to Miss Virinda Taylor, who survives him. By this union he has nine children, all of whom are alive.           

In 1858 he disposed of his possessions at Newton, Indiana and started across the plains on what proved to be a long and perilous journey to the Puget sound country, which was about as well known then as ÒDarkest AfricaÓ is today.           

This trip was full of exciting incidents. At Rawhide creek he and Ivan Watt, one of his party, while hunting buffaloes, were driven away from a large buffalo. Which they had killed by a pack of thirty wolves. Their horses were stampeded and lost, and they were nearly famished before they found their way to camp. At Bear River mountains their cattle drank from a poison stream and many of them died, in crossing Snake river, Mr. Longmire was only saved from drowning by the coolness and bravery of Ivan Watt.           

After meeting with many vicissitudes and giving several adventures with Indians, they arrived at the Columbia river, their party being the first party of immigrants to cross that stream north of The Dalles.           

News of their coming had been received and an attempt was made by the people of Steilacoom and Olympia to cut a road through the Natchez pass for their use. It was only partly successful, and Mr. Longmire and his friends had an unusually ardnous trip across the Cascades and down their western slopes to the beautiful shores of the sound which was reached late in the fall.           

Mr. Longmire settled at Yelm prairie, where he improved an excellent farm, upon which he lived to the time of his death.           

He was a factor in the Indian wars of 1855-56. His family was driven into a block house and later to Olympia for safety and he enlisted with the Puget Sound Regulars; which did good service in hunting down fugitive Indians. His house and premises were pillaged by the Indians at the beginning of the war, and he narrowly escaped being massacred by them.            When the famous chief Quiemuth grew tired of fighting and desired to surrender, fearing murder he sent word to Mr. Longmire that he would like to give himself into his hands to be taken before Governor Stevens. He went to Mr. Longmire’s house and they two and several others came by night to Olympia. They met the governor, had a conversation and Mr. Longmire and Quiemuth lay down in a vacant room to sleep.           

Mr. Longmire was aroused by hearing pistol shots and scuffling in the room. He saw by the dim firelight a man fall and rushing to him found it was Quiemuth, speechless and dying. He had been stabbed and shot by assassins.           

Mr. Longmire never forgot the deed and to the day of his death was unable to speak of it without anger. The war ended soon afterwards.           

Mr. Longmire was an intimate friend of Governor Stevens and in territorial days represented this district in the legislature.           

August 13, 1883, while on a trip to Mount Rainier, he discovered the famous springs, which bear his mane. Sine that time he has spent his winters at Yelm and his summers at that resort in the mountains.   Mr. Longmire was known all over western Washington and the greater portion of eastern Washington in which section he has spent considerable time.           

He was a Mason and a belonged to the Christian church.          

 He was well liked by all who knew him, and the Indians were especially friendly to him.           

Mr. Longmire had a striking personality and when once seen his imposing presence was rarely forgotten. He was genial and cordial in address, and bad a princely courtesy, which did not forsake him, even in the darkest hour of his illness.

Yelm 1870-1910

Yelm 1870-1910

By the early 1870s, the future town site of Yelm was owned by George Edwards and John McKenzie.  Edwards, a former  Hudson’s Bay Company employee, acquired most of the western part of the future town through purchase from the United States.  John McKenzie owned all of the land in the eastern portion of what would become Yelm.

The defining moment for Yelm came when the Northern Pacific Railroad extended its line from Portland, Oregon to Tacoma in 1873.  This route followed the old Hudson’s Bay wagon road through Yelm Prairie.  A business and residential district quickly grew along Yelm Avenue where this road crossed.

Yelm, as a community did not exist before the railroad.  According to one town historian, “nothing resembling a business community existed prior to 1873… West of the tracks, at its intersection with the wagon road to Olympia, Metcalf and Treat built Yelm’s first store.  This was followed within a few years by another store east of the track (P.B. Van Trump and Balletti).  These businesses, together with a blacksmith shop across the road, served the needs of prairie residents for years.” (Prescott, 1979)  Prescott goes on to write:

The railroad never gave us much in the way of service,” James Mosman told me.  “Trains stopped only on flag.  Neither passengers nor freight had any shelter, only a board platform and sometimes on the ground, rain or shine.  The company never got around to building a station until around 1912.”

The Yelm business district and its residential area grew to become the commercial center for the prairie, with an economy based on dairy farms, grain and cattle.  Farmers shared this environment with sawmills and shingle mills.  By the 1890s, the Nisqually River was used to transport shingle bolts to a mill located at its mouth.  As the twentieth century approached, lumber work provided a principal means of employment for local residents.

An 1888 directory of Puget Sound lists 54 men living on the Yelm Prairie.  We do not know how many of these were married, or the names of their wives and children.  We do know that 49 called themselves farmers, two were a laborer and a logger, and three (Robert and James Longmire, and P.B. Van Trump) were identified with business activity in the area.  The complete list follows:

YELM AREA RESIDENTS IN 1888

(Source: Puget Sound Directory. 1888)

BALLETTI, Charles – farmer

BALLETTI, Giacinto — farmer

BASTIAN, Isaac — farmer

CABANA, Joseph — farmer

CAPEN, George B. — farmer

CHAMBERS, David J. — farmer

CHAMBERS, David J., Jr. — farmer

CHAMBERS, Thomas M. — farmer

CHIPMAN, John — farmer

CHIPMAN, William B. — farmer

CONBOY, Thomas — farmer

CONINE, J.C. — farmer

CORTERELLI, Antonia — logger

ENFIELD, A. — farmer

FINADER, John — farmer

FINADER, Richard — farmer

GARDNER, Moses — farmer

GONYEAR, Mrs. Catherine — farmer

GOURD, Peter — farmer

HAIZMAN, Georhe — farmer

HULL, William — farmer

JONES, J.B. — farmer

LaFLAME, Charles — laborer

LARNEY, Joseph — farmer

LAWRENCE, S.D. — farmer

LONGMIRE, Frank — farmer

LONGMIRE, EIcaine — farmer

LONGMIRE, George — farmer

LONGMIRE, James — capitalist

LONGMIRE, John A. — farmer

LONGMIRE, Robert — general store

LORD, William — farmer

LOTZ, George — farmer

LYNN, James – farmer

McDONALD, Wiskum — farmer

McKENZIE, A.S. and J.A. — farmer

McVITTEE, James — farmer

OTTO, Jospeh — farmer

POLLARD, Asa — farmer

POWELL, C.W. — farmer

POWELL, T.N. — farmer

PRICE, Alexander — farmer

PRICE, Archibald — farmer

PRICE, Mrs. D. — farmer

PRICE, J.B. — farmer

REDMOND, George — farmer

ROSSITER, John S. — farmer

SMITH, Thomas — farmer

SOTZEN, George — farmer

STAFFORD, H.B. — farmer

STONE, Jacob — farmer

SUMPTER, James N. – farmer

SUMTER, T.E. — farmer

VAN TRUMP, P.B. — general store and hotel

Thus, as Washington was approaching statehood, Yelm was still evolving as a town. That the prairie was a home for families is clear, for a school and church were a part of the social and cultural environment. That is desired community status and communication with neighbors is seen in the early existence of the Yelm post office.

The history of Yelm’s post office capsulizes the creation of the community.  With the exception of a period of time between November 1880 and May 1881 (when mail was delivered to Tenino), Yelm Prairie has had a post office.  It was first named Yelm on August 18, 1858, nice months after its creation at Fort Stevens.  Until 1974, when Moses M. Metcalf became postmaster, the various post offices were located in homes situated throughout the prairie.  Metcalf moved the postmastership into him home and store at Yelm, thus  being the first to locate it in the new community. In 1881, Frank Longmire  became postmaster, and the post office was moved to his store. Dow R. Hughes, postmaster from 1907 through 1934, moved the post office in 1925 to the Mosman Building, where it stayed until 1968.  (From:  A Guide to Historic Resources of Yelm, Washington 1994)

Children first “attended school in a one-room log cabin purchased from McLane Chambers.” According to Edgar Prescott, who is the source for much that follows, “a young man named Dolby, whom James Longmire had met in Olympia, served as its first teacher.” The school term lasted about three months. In 1881, there were twenty children attending school.  Eventually a one-room school building was constructed eat of Yelm. This was also used for Presbyterian Church services. When a fire destroyed the structure sometime prior to 1907, separate school and church buildings were constructed. Prescott, reporting James Mosman’s reminiscences, continues the story. “We built a new school west of the track, and we began soliciting for a new church. We took out corporation papers on November 5, 1907. John McKenzie and his wife donated two lots as a site for the building. Everybody cooperated in raising money.  We wanted a community church, but we soon discovered that non-denominational ministers were hard to find.  We finally  advertised the church for sale to any denomination that would run it. The Methodists offered the only bid, and we granted them the property for $150.”

History Of Church Activities In Yelm Dates Back To Days Of Civil War

By Edgar Prescott (The Sunday Olympian February 10, 1980)

The night of Dec. 29, 1979, the former Yelm Community Church was destroyed by fire. The Yelm Fire Department received the first call, the Nisqually Valley News reported, at 10:55 p.m. when flames broke through the roof of the ancient wooden structure which was constructed early in the century.

Even in early days, residents of Yelm prairie were sometimes allowed the privilege to attend church . Floss and Dick Loutzenhiser and Franklin King, in the booklet, “Stories of Yelm,” recount that on occasion’s ministers along with visitors, which at least once included Gov. Stevens and his family, rode out to Olympia to provide services. Such meetings were held in the Longmire home and were followed by dinner gatherings.

Earl Howell, in “Methodism in the Northwest,” records that Sunday school was organized on the prairie in the 1860’s in the home of James Longmire. Early Methodist ministers serving the area were John F DeVore, Ebenezer Hopkins, and B.F. Brooks. Beginning in 1899 classes also were held in the nearby Eureka church.

Cleora Paine was there. “It was 1889 when my father took out his homestead,” she remembers. “At that time the people in the community were building the Eureka school. It was on an acre of land donated by Mr. and Mrs. John Algyer, who had come originally from Eureka, Calif.

“The building served not only as a school. For 10 years we had church there and Sunday school. Then Mr. and Mrs. Algyer gave us another acre of land closer to their residence so that the community might have a separate church. It was six or seven miles from Yelm. It would be at the south end of the Beckman place.

“The church was completed in 1889. My two sisters and I were present at the dedication. Everybody was there: the Langdens, the Algyers, the Morrises, the Smiths, and the Ferbrashes. There were several families of each of them. Mr. and Mrs. True were there and Mrs. W.J. Inman and Miss Emma Cawdry. They were sisters of Mrs. Spencer.

“The Rev. A.J. Joselin preached the sermon that morning in the place of C.G. Morris who was our regular minister. Sermons were different, more punch, and they lasted for an hour or more instead of maybe 20 minutes the way they do now. People weren’t in such a hurry to get home to watch a football game. After services they went to each other’s houses for dinner.

“At first the church was only one room, but after the Ladies Aid started holding meetings there, the men in the community built a little kitchen in the back. We had dinners there and social gatherings. We didn’t mind that there were no separate rooms for Sunday school classes. The little ones had a corner, the intermediates, the young people, the adults; we each had a corner of our own.

In 1907 we installed our new bell. It was just before Christmas, the day Mr. Pollard died. We had his funeral the day after Christmas, and we tolled the bell 36 times, once for each of the years he had lived. Every Sunday they rang that bell, all the years I was home. We could hear it at our place a mile away just as loud and clear as if it had been next door.

“We walked to church in those days. [through] pastures and crawled over the fences. Most everybody walked except the Morrises. They had a team and a buggy. We didn’t drive, we girls. We were afraid of the horses. They were too lively. The folks didn’t go to church much. Father was too busy.”

“We had everything a church needed. We had an organ and a choir, and we had Dwight Wells. He had gone to the Eureka school and was a natural musician. He and his father and mother, his married sisters, Mrs. Thorn and Mrs. Smith, and a brother, Herb, were all wonderful singers. On special occasions they sang duet or quartet arrangements. We liked that. After Mrs. Thorn and her sister moved away, we young folks took over, my sisters and I and the Robinson girls and the Conine girls.”

Though both Rainier and McKenna Methodist churches were active at the turn of the century, “Methodism in the Northwest,” makes no mention of a Yelm Church prior to 1909. Floss Loutzenhiser, in her story of the Yelm Community Church, tells of a log school house built on the Yelm Prairie which was used as a community gathering place and also as a church whenever a minister was available. There is no record of the time of its demise.

Thirty-five years ago Dow Hughes, who had come to town in 1896, told of a frame building about a quarter of a mile east of town, which served as both church and school. “It was Presbyterian,” he said. “The preacher was a good man. He worked for me in the blacksmith shop. He conducted services every two weeks. Alternate Sundays he preached in Roy.”

Apparently Dow’s assistant was not the only minister to serve the community. Floss Loutzenhiser writes: “Church services were held whenever the presence of the Rev. Ebenezer Hopkins of Tumwater, the Rev. B.F. Brooks, presiding elder from Olympia, M.O.R. Thompson or the beloved Father Taylor made it possible.”

Floss also recounts that in later years the noise of Sunday baseball on the school grounds often competed with the sermon . . . [People eventually] considered that the building was too small, too dingy and uncomfortable.

James Mosman Sr., a resident of Yelm since 1892, complained bitterly that the community continued using the building long after it had become inadequate either as a school or church.

“I suppose we would still be using it if it hadn’t burned down,” he told me in 1946, a year or so after I had come to town to teach. He confessed that he had prayed for such a conflagration, but disclaimed any responsibility for starting it. “There were those who accused me,” he said.

A new school was built west of the tracks, and during the summer, meetings were held to promote the organization of a new church, which was to be strictly non-denominational.

Fortunately, most of the records of the period have been preserved. Among them is a half-sheet, a little brittle from age:

“NOTICE:”

“The Ladies Aid of Yelm. Sale afternoon and evening of April 24th. Ice Cream and hot coffee from 11:30 A.M. Auction sale and short program in the evening to close with box lunch. Proceeds to pay for finishing church so it can be used. “All ladies please bring box lunch.”

This was one of the flyers announcing the “famous ice cream festival” which Floss told about: “It was held west of the track on the present site of the Shoe Repair and Fixit Shop, which at the time was open prairie. A truly remarkable setting was arranged by the committee which transplanted small fir trees to form a make-believe grove about the area where white covered tables were set up.”

A couple of months later, on July 13, 1908, the records reveal that the church building committee, selected at evening services the night previous, met at Mr. Hughes’ store and proceeded to organize the committee by the selection of a chairman and secretary-treasurer:

“On motion Mr. Murphy was chosen as chairman of the committee. “On motion Mr. James Mosman was selected as Secretary-Treasurer of the committee. “On motion the whole committee was authorized to solicit subscriptions. “Mr. Medley read his report as Treasurer: Money received at stand $40.80. Paid out for Ice Cream $15. Expense on Ice Cream $1.45. Paid to Mosman Bros. For groceries $.40. Total Paid out $16.85. Received on subscription $5. Total receipts $45.88. Total on hand $28.95.

“Committee asked to submit plans for new church. Mr. Murphy & Mr. Mixel submitted one plan each.

“Committee spent much time figuring on plans and estimating approximate cost of material and labor to erect new church. It was decided that at least three hundred and fifty dollars was needed to purchase the material.

“Motion was carried to adjourn until Tuesday night, July 14, 1908.” James L. Mosman “Secretary”

“A subscription paper was always in evidence at the Mosman Brothers Store,” Floss records. “Officials and workers at the McKenna Mill were petitioned. Dedicated women drove the length and breadth of the rutted, rock strewn prairie collecting donations.”

Among the preserved papers and documents is such a subscription paper; two sheets more than a foot log on lined paper with inch-and-a-half red margins at the left. It is dated July 1908: “We the undersigned agree to give the sum opposite our names for the building of a chapel for religious purposes in Yelm. Payment to be made on demand to James L. Mosman, Treasurer of the Building Committee.”

The subscription list starts boldly with $50 donations by James Mosman and Dow Hughes. There are a few $25 and $20 donations, one by the baseball team which, by the way, was never marked as paid; but the great majority of subscriptions range from $1 to $5.

On Aug. 15, 1908, another meeting of the building committee was held at which it was “moved and seconded that the committee accept the two front lots of donated by the McKenzie Brothers instead of one front and one back.”

There is a lapse of more than a month before the records indicate any

progress toward construction, a receipt dated Sept. 26,1908: “Received

from James L. Mosman Sect. & Treas. Of Yelm Church Building Committee the sum of two hundred & twenty nine and 34-100 dollars in payment in full for 16,916 ft. lumber.” The receipt was signed by George Lockead.

Most of the receipts, however, were for wages, paid mainly to C.H. Robbins and John Pohrman. The earliest I found was dated Jan. 29, 1909. It is signed by C.H. Robbins: “Received from D.R. Hughes $25 and from James Mosman $23.75, amount due me for labor on Yelm Church to date.”

The following month Robbins listed his hours of labor, day by day, Feb. 18-27, a total of 87 hours for which he assessed a charge of 34 ? cents per hour.

It is recorded in remarkably legible longhand in the old church record book that “funds and labor to the amount of about one thousand dollars were secured, and the building was enclosed.” A treasurer’s report scribbled in pencil on three torn-out pages of notebook paper shows that through Jan. 26, 1910, a total of $580.73 was paid in subscriptions. On the back of one of the pages is the account of expenditures of $509.92 through May 27, 1909.

Sometime in 1909 the building program slowed to a stop. “The money was exhausted and so were the laborers,” it was reported in “Methodism in the Northwest.”

“Neglected home duties claimed the workers,” Floss writes. “The little church sat forlornly by the side of the road. Not until a farmer offered to buy the building to be used as a barn was the committee stung into action.”

“We discovered that non-denominational ministers were hard to find,” James Mosman told me nearly 40 years later. “We advertised the church for sale to any denomination that would run it. The Methodists were the only ones interested.”

The building committee met in final session on Sept. 4, 1909.

“Motion made by C.A. Robbins and seconded by James Mosman to transfer Yelm church property to Methodist denomination under the following conditions: that said church pay the sum of two hundred dollars to pay off the debt and complete said church and also to build a parsonage on said property inside of six months from date or said transfer becomes null & void.

“In case the said conditions are not fulfilled the church shall revert to its present owners on condition that they pay back the amount the Methodists have put in.”

“Motion carried to transfer.”

“Motion made by C.A. Robbins and seconded by James Mosman to post three motions in conspicuous places, that anyone dissatisfied with transfer put in claim for the amount of subscription inside of fifteen days.”

“Motion carried.”

1880 – Yelm in the News

  1881 – Twenty children attended class in a one room log cabin school, purchased from Thomas McClain Chambers.  Their teacher was Mr. Dolby for a school term.  (YP) 
 
1888  James Longmire, capitalistRobert Longmire, general storeP. B. Van Trump, general store and hotel 
 
[untitled]Washington Standard   February 8, 1889 
 
Messrs. J. B. Jonis, R. H. Kandle and S.S. Lawrence, of Yelm, were in town this week transacting school business before the County Commissioners.  
[untitled]Washington Standard    February 22, 1889 
 
Messrs. John Algyer and John Montgomery, of Yelm, visited Olympia this week on district school business before the superintendent.  
 
Jacob Stone Probate Introduction:  Jacob Stone lived southeast of the town of Yelm.  The following information is taken from his probate record. 
 
Shopping at the Robert Longmire Store(money owed by Stone) 
 
Five visits in October 1887 – April 1889,
74 visits to the store, average nearly four times month 
Beginning Balance of $29.74October $34.64November-December $20.80
January – $17.64
February   $5.25March – $17.42
April – $23.90May to August – $131.37, Paid – $1.45 on dry goods
September (1887) -$37.99, $20 paid toward account
Paid – December 28, 1888-$9.00,
January 4, 1889-$6.00, another time $2.00$20 interest charge = $422.96  
$316 debt, paid $21.45, bought $286, paid $21.45
Total indebtedness = $422.96 The following is a list of the types of (though not quantities) of items purchased on Jacob Stone’s account at the Longmire store in Yelm
 
Maintenance/Farm
lumber
bolt
ax handle
rope
axle grease
wagon
file 
Clothing
boots
overalls
gloves  (it was winter)
overalls
pants
shirt
denims
drawers
socks
cheviot
hose
hat
muslin
lace
white
shirt
ladies shoes 
 
Sundries
thread
coal
oil
tobacco
books
whetstone
skillet
fork
soap
broom
matches
oil
cloth
tacks
shot
salt petre
castor
oil
powder
tinware
bucket 
 
Food
flour
sugar
rice
baking powder
coffee
vinegar
bacon
beans
sirup [sic]
tea
cornstarch
oat flakes, r
olled oats
lardpepper
soda
applesp
eaches
bran
butter 
 
Household
lamp
lantern
candles 
 
1890
corset
washboard
Jamaican ginger

Miscellaneous Financial Sold his personal property $486.35
Seems to have leased land for people to run their horses on
Sold J. C. Conine hay
Amos Miles rented land from him
Borrowed $500 from James Longmire in 1887
Had borrowed money from Theresa Riell 
 
Land
South half of sw qtr, section 10North half of section 15, twp 16 north, range east 2 = $2500 
 
January 11, 1889 – doctor visit
 
Died January 12, 1889 
 
Property For Sale at Auction 


10 cows
2 three year old cattle
1 bull
6 two year old cattle
7 calves1 wagon
1 set harnesses
3 plows
2 work horses
1 scrapred?
1 joint harrow
1 revolving hay rack
½ interest in dick harrow
1 mower
1 hay knife
1 mowing scythe
1 grain cradle
3 pitch forks
2 shovels
1 hay press
1 pair of scales
2 barrels
1 crosscut saw
1 log chain
1 crowbar
1 barking iron
2 hand rakes
1 kit of horse shoeing tools
1 drawing knife
2 augers
1 brush scythe
1 brace & bits
1 pick1 stove
1 clock1 tubdishes
17 milk pans
1 churn
1 table
2 lamps
3 lanterns
1 dish fran?
Bailing rope
6 seamless jacks
3 hogs
2 dozen chicken



County Commissioners   Washington Standard   April 26, 1889 – Yelm J. A. McKenzie and P. Van Trump, Judges and John Allen Inspector.   

 

untitled] Washington Standard    May 3, 1889  – Mrs. Lou Jackson Longmire, of Yelm Prairie, will please accept the thanks of the OLYMPIAN for a beautiful bouquet of choice pansies. They are the largest ever seen here and are a convincing argument of the capabilities of Yelm Prairie soil. It is reported that Yelm creek is almost dry, and the like had not been known the past twenty years.  

 

Democratic Convention  Washington Standard    May 10, 1889 Representative Democrats from the different precincts of this county, and from the precinct of Centralia, in Lewis County, met at Columbia Hall Wednesday afternoon at 1 o’clock and transacted the following business: The Convention was called to order by John Miller Murphy, who placed in nomination E. T. Young, for chairman of the Convention. D. L. Ward elected secretary and J. A. Taylor, of Centralia assistant secretary. On motion, J. B. Landrum, John Miller Murphy, and P. B. Van Trump were appointed a committee on credentials and submitted the following report which was adopted: Yelm- P. B. Van Trump and Thos. Chambers by Van Trump, proxy. 

[untitled] Washington Standard   June 7, 1889  The hoodoo Indian doctor, from Yelm Prairie, who received a wound in the wrist sometime ago, is in town. The death of an Indian girl was attributed, by her father, to the hoodooing of the doctor. To avenge her death, the father attempted to kill the doctor, but only shot him through the wrist.  

 

[untitled] Washington Standard    June 16, 1889 – Several Indians are in the city today to attend District Court, as witnesses in the case of the shooting of the Indian doctor. Mr. James Longmire is in the city, and brings his usual budget of good cheer from the southwestern portion of the county.           

[untitled]  Washington Standard    June 23, 1889 – The blackberries that have been brought into Olympia from the neighboring woods since the season commenced would load a freight car.            

[untitled] Washington Standard    July 5, 1889 – Logging camps have generally shut down in vicinity of Olympia and loggers are coming into town to have a good time.            

[untitled] Washington Standard    August 8, 1889 – Mr. Henry Kandle, one of the pioneers of our Territory, now a resident of Pierce county, is on a visit to the Capital city.           

[untitled] Washington Standard    August 9, 1889 – It is reported that Yelm creek is almost dry, and the like had not been known the past twenty years.    [untitled] Washington Standard    August 9, 1889 – The house of Mr. Ed. Norman, at Yelm, was destroyed by fire, on the 30th ult., with all its contents. It caught from a forest fire while the owner was absent.            

[untitled] Washington Standard    August 9, 1889 – Willow Lawn school house, in this county, was destroyed by fire, last Tuesday. Fires are raging in every direction and great damage will be done if it does not rain soon.            

[untitled] Washington Standard    August 16, 1889 – Mr. James Longmire, of Yelm, called on the OLYMPIAN, today, and stated that the report published some days ago of the robbery of his son, at that place, was inaccurate in several particulars. The store was entered at night, and the safe opened and $1,000 taken from there. Nobody was assaulted, and the safe was opened without violence, although Mr. Robert Longmire is sure that it was locked on combination when the store was closed for the night. Two men, who had been at Yelm that day, and who bought tickets for Portland at Media next morning have not yet been apprehended.Longmire’s health resort, the medical springs at the headwaters of the Nisqually, are beginning to attract considerable attention, and there is an average attendance of twenty-five guests, at this season of the year. The springs are situated about sixty-eight miles from this city, and are reached from Yelm by horses over a good trail.            

[untitled]  Washington Standard    August 16, 1889 – A collision occurred on the Northern Pacific railroad at Yelm station a few days ago, between a freight and a coal train, which resulted in the destruction of several cars and much damage to the locomotives.

[untitled] Washington Standard    August 30, 1889 – Miss Margie Ross, of Eastside, will close her second term of school at Yelm next week, and then resume her studies at one of the schools in this city.  

 

1890 – Shore and O”Dell sawmill (later Shore Shingle Mill (lst in area) built on the Nisqually River.  (YP)  

1870 – Yelm in the News

A Rural Picnic – Washington Standard, June 17, 1871 The picnic goers of Yelm and Chambers’ Prairies had a pleasant time last Saturday, the tenth, at the Pattison Springs, near Chambers’ Prairie, where they found fields of sweet ripe wild strawberries.  Some people have a prejudice against native picked strawberries, and the excursionists on this occasion were choice enough to keep the sentiment in view and pick with their own hands the delicious food.  For the lovers of strawberries and cream (and who are not?) and everything that makes a picnic a gastronomical success, this was the time and place.  After the feast of good things, followed games of an intellectual and mirth-provoking character.   Many justly complain of the tedium of large gatherings, particularly of picnics, and the conclusion follows that the smaller the picnic the greater the pleasure and the longer it will be remembered.  Give me Thurston county for a PICNIC.  [Education] – Washington Standard   April 8, 1871

 

The following is the programme of exercises held at the Yelm Prairie School, on Friday, the 31st, at which the parents and friends of the school were present. After some general exercises in reading, geography and grammar, in which the pupils acquitted themselves tolerably well, the following compositions were read: “A Hunting Excursion,” Robert Grainger; “Yelm Prairie, and Things in General,” Mary O’Neal; “Gardens,” Rosa Girlock; “Fruit,” Willie O’Neal; “Mount Rainier,” Martha Longmire [the future wife of J. C. Conine]; “Birds,” Lizzie Lotz, and “A Letter,” by Lizzie Longmire. Then followed singing by the school, a dialogue by Lizzie and Martha Longmire, Mary O’Neal and Virinda Pollard, and the exhibition closed by declamations from Fred Girlock, Robert, Frank and George Longmire, Johnnie O’Neal, and others. A lecture on “Education” was delivered here not long ago, for the benefit of the school, and the attendance indicated that nearly all the Yelmites appreciate efforts of an intellectual character. The proceeds were invested in some school furniture, which now renders the house quite comfortable. 1874 – Moses m. Metcalf, postmaster of Fort Stevens, served from his home and store.  Former postmasters had also provided service from their homes throughout the prairie.  (From:  Yelm Pioneers)