Signed by Superintendent of Public Instruction January 1, 1862

Signed by Superintendent of Public Instruction (Washington Standard January 1, 1862)

1.  Number of Children:

From the most reliable information at our command, we find that the number of children over the age of four and under twenty-one years is 2,141.

2.  Number of School-Houses:

We have about fifty-three school-houses in the Territory, and some of them are not worth so much as the name of a school-house.  The probable cost of these buildings will not amount to the sum of twenty-six thousand five hundred dollars.

As the country is yet new, and we have just begun to build our school-houses, we would suggest to the directors of school districts, that when you build school-houses, do it well – make them large and comfortable.  You may not have to stop in them, but your little ones do.  “The thing that is worth doing at all is worth doing well.”  Let us prove this in every school-house we build – let each one be an ornament to the district and to the Territory.

3.  Cost of Instruction:

From the very best information I have at hand, there is paid out annually about $9,638.22 for instruction out of public school fund.

4.  School Registers:

The law requires me to furnish county superintendents with forms for the district trustees and teachers, for keeping their accounts and registers.  These forms are to be delivered by the several county superintendents to all the districts throughout their representative counties.  This is an important provision, and in fact the only way we can arrive at all the important items of our common school system.

This duty I was unable to perform from want of means to purchase such forms.  I hope your honorable body will relive this office from that embarrassment in the future.

[Education] April 8, 1871


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.

A Rural Picnic June 17, 1871

A Rural Picnic

Washington Standard June 17, 1871

A Rural Picnic – 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.

Contributions for Relief of Disabled Soldiers in the Federal Army October 11, 1862

Contributions for Relief of Disabled Soldiers in the Federal Army

Washington Standard October 11, 1862

The following sums have been received from citizens of Yelm precinct:

A. O’Neal                   $5.00

Jas. Longmire             5.00

Fred Wagner               5.00

William Wegner          5.00

Matthew Becker         5.00

Henry Kandle              5.00

Elijah Laiser                5.00

George Edwards         3.00

Levi Shelton                3.00

Union Mass Meeting March 9, 1861

Union Mass Meeting

Washington Standard – March 9, 1861

The undersigned citizens pf Thurston county, Washington Territory, being ardently attached to our General Government under its present structure and decidedly opposed to a Pacific Confederacy (should such a dogma be entertained by any portion of our people) hereby invite all their fellow citizens, to assemble in Mass Meeting at the Capitol, at 3 o’clock p.m. on Thursday March 11, 1861; for the purpose of giving a full public expression of their views in connection therewith:

L. Shelton

Jas. Longmire

G. Brail

J. Remley

G. Jones

J. Broshear

D. R. Bigelow

W. Jordan

C. Grainger

Fourth of July July 6, 1860

Fourth of July

July 6, 1860Pioneer and Democrat

Mr. Jas Longmire, of Yelm prairie, gave a free dinner, which was largely attended and “ably discussed.”  We also heard of another pic-nic party having assembled on the above prairie, which was largely attended on the above prairie, which is said to have been greatly enjoyed by the young people.  Every one, so far as we know, spent the 4th rationality and agreeably.

Yelm’s Agriculture September 16, 1854

Yelm’s Agriculture

Pioneer and Democrat September 16, 1854

John Edgar and James Hughes of the gallant, democratic little Yelm prairie, afforded us a rare treat in the shape of green corn, colliflowers, beets, onions, carrots, &c, of mammoth growth and epicurean flavor.  The Yelm prairie is a trump every time, and in connection with its vegetable reputation, it might be proper to observe that with the handsome present of the aforesaid luxuries, was accompanied a stalk of wheat, perfectly matured and well-headed measuring over eight feet in length!  Mr. Pullum, of the gravelly prairie, has also left at our office specimens of wheat heads that we might challenge the world to surpass in the length, and in the development of the kernel, and in the number of grains per head.  The harvest this year, would be ample to bread the whole territory, and for the credit of our population we hope that the sour flower of San Fran mat be speedily excluded from our market.  Milled at the newly erected mill of Ward and Hays at Tumwater.

Education in Yelm (From: The Story of Yelm)


By Len Longmire, Mrs. F. N. Edwards and Mrs. Jack Kettleman

Introduction:  The following is an excerpt from The Story of Yelm.

At least 22 schools have served the people of this community in the cause of education, and all have at this date been incorporated into the Yelm or rainier schools.  Oldest of all was the Yelm school, which was started as a private school in the Longmire log cabin (formerly McLean Chambers’ cabin).  One day when Mr. Longmire was in Olympia, he heard a man remark that he was a teacher by profession.

“Then come and teach for me,” said the pioneer.  “You can board at my house and all your pupils will be Longmires.  My children went to school in Fountain County, Indiana, and while we were forted up in Olympia but have had no schooling since.”  The man accepted, but his name, unfortunately has been forgotten.

When a schoolhouse was finally built, sometime in the early [18]60’s it was down on Yelm Prairie, a log structure located across from the present site of the Adventist Church.  Several years later a frame building was erected here and was used also as a church and meeting place for the first Grange organization.  Very few dates are available for this period but the school was a going concern by 1872 when J. C. Conine taught the first of his four terms there.

Other teachers recalled by old-timers as having taught here are: Lou Jackson (Longmire), Amelia Ditman of Olympia, Anne Broden, Miss Shelton (Van Trump), Seymour Stone, Mrs. Stoddard, Anna Hart, Mrs. M. Alberta Johnson, Clara McKenzie, Zouy Jackson, Lizzie Waddell and Fred Brown.

The Des Chutes district school was the next in the point of time in this vicinity.  It too was a log cabin, built in 1876.  The site was later occupied by the Morehead school and was a part of the ranch known successively as the Hazlin, Medley and Jensen place.  Here the first teacher was Renny Pollard.

The second teacher proved to be the most famous ever to instruct the youth of this locality.  She was Ada Woodruff (Anderson), author of “Heart of the Red Firs” and other novels.  The scene of her books was laid in the Bald Hill country and one of the families described was the Longmire  family with whom the author boarded.  The gold mine discussed was an actual one and the disappearance was just as authentic.

Following her was Harry Garfield, nephew of James A. Garfield, at that time governor of Ohio and later president. He was a gay Lothario whom the country girls did not seem to appreciate.

Following him were Victor Bunnell; Bill Hart of San Francisco, and Harry Hart his cousin, who claimed some connection with the family of President Wm. Harrison; then Amelia Ditmana and Emma Chitman.

The families of La Blanch Reil and Chadotte Winnue, relatives of Joe Laramie; Johnny Milkain and George Leslie, nephews of Yelm Jim; Fred and Dora Berchti (McVittie); the Gardner girls, Moses Kabana and Dick Fiander
were the first attending this school.

The Des Chutes district was subsequently broken up into four schools:  Laramie, first teacher, Edith Corbett; Moorehead first teacher, Emma Chitman; Bald Hill, first teacher, Ethel Ross; Longmire, first teacher Bertie Cooper; and Hull, first teacher, Fred Grass.  These were in turn combined in the Lakamas school where a modern building was erected and where one year of high school was taught.  This building is still used as a community center.

The District School

Other schools to the North and east, but nearer to Yelm, were: Smith Prairie, Lawrence Lake (Bob Smith), Kandle (Tony), Eureka, Forest, Willow Lawn, and Hewitt (Cook); and in Pierce County, Lieber and McKenna.

West of Yelm were Wells, Rathbun-Morgan, and Lindstrum.  All three of these were at various times presided over by Mrs. Alberta Johnson, a very superior woman.  Out towards Rainier was the Mt. View School.

When the old Yelm school became so crowded that classes had to be held in the cloak room, the primary grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 were moved to a room in the home of Mrs. Anna Coates which had been furnished for their use.  This was about 1899.

Eventually, a new building was erected, but on the present site, which act cause some opposition in the town.  This two  room building was later enlarged to four, and the “shop” annex used as a classroom before the new High School was erected in 1920.

Collins (Freedom) School Memories By Mrs. D.M. Kagy

Collins (Freedom) School Memories By Mrs. D.M. Kagy

The first School meeting to organize a school district and elect directors was held at the home of Mr. J.H. Conner.  William White, J.H. Conner and Marcus McMillan were elected directors and the school was called Freedom District.  July 29, 1854

William S. Parsons, Sec.

This was the third school district organized in the county.  Copied from the old school district Secretary’s report book:

“The first school building was a log house in the North East corner of the Marcus McMillan homestead (now owned by Charles Rawlings.)  It was a low straight building with the door in one (this description was…..there) end and a large cobble stone fireplace in the other end.  The chimney was made of sticks and clay.  There was a row of small windows on each side.  The seats were benches along the side of the wall, and there were six or seven clumsy home made desks with a shelf for books.  One low bench had a back and could be moved around.  It was used by the smallest children.  There was no well on the grounds so each child carried his own individual water bottle which was placed on a bench in one corner of the room.  When we wanted a drink all we had to do was walk over there and find our own bottle.  My recollection is that we were permitted to drink when ever we wished.  There was quite a rivalry among the pupils as to who had the finest bottle.  There was a ball around in front and teeters on the fence back of the house.”

This description was given to me by my sister Flora Parsons, who attended school there.  She has very happy recollections oh her school days in the little log cabin with only about a dozen pupils.  Her first teacher was Stephen Ruddell, son of the man who gave the plot for the Pioneer Cemetery.

In 1875 as most of the pupils were in the south end of the district, it was decided……location.  Therefore they leased two acres of land from Nathan Eaton situated in the north west corner of the field south of the Old Fort site and the Yelm road.  The building was blocked up on rollers and hauled to the new location.  It was somewhat wrecked but was repaired and used until the present building was erected.  Some of the happiest days of my life were spent in that old school building.  The days were never so stormy but what we were glad to walk a mile and a half to school rather than miss a day.  The old log forts were our play houses.  Two of them were still standing at that time.

Puyallup Indian Agency Report 1865


Office Puyallup Agency,

Olympia, Washington Territory, September 6, 1865

Sir: I have the honor to submit the following annual report of the condition of the Indian tribes under my charge as an Indian agent: I take pleasure in referring to decide the improvement of their condition within the last year. Many of these people are becoming industrious and practical farmers. When I was given the job as an Indian agent and was assigned to this agency by your predecessor, they were in a prosperous condition. They had very little to work with in the way of farming, notwithstanding the government that had made up an ample provision for all of these things. And there is no doubt that they had been furnished. The employees that were placed on the reservation didn’t seem to comprehend the job they had been assigned to by the government. The job was simple all they had to do was make a treaty with them to relocating them on many reservations. They seemed to think that it was a universal opinion as far as I could tell. On the reservations there were so many asylums for the lazy and indolent men who happened to be the favorites of the party in power. The whole machinery of the Indian department was to used as a political stepping-stone to some demagogue to a seat in congress. I have been accosted time and again by persons asking a solutions on some one of my reservations, saying, ”I am unable to work, and would like to have a place in the Indian department,” although the Indian department was a refuge for the lazy, drunken and vicious men.

My experience in management of Indians in order to the improvement of their condition is, that the less intercourse they have with the whites outside of the Indian service the better; and in order that I may accomplish my purpose in carrying out my views and the instructions given to me by the department. I have instructed the employees to not let any one of vicious habits come on the reservation except to accomplish legitimate business and then leave.

The four tribes under my charge are in a far more prosperous condition than ever before, particularly the Puyallup and Chehalis. You will see from the report of Mr.Billings, assistant farmer in charge of the Puyallups, a copy of which will accompany this report, that they have received for produce sold and labor done for whites outside the sum of $6,215. I have not yet received reportsfrom any of the other reservations except the Chehalis, a copy of which is herewith transmitted. The crop on this reservation has been harvested and secured from the rains some time since, which is what few farmers in the country can say of their crops. I have, in order to induce the Indians all to work, instructed the employees to inform them that unless they work they will not have a share in the crop: and not only to teach them so, but to enforce the rule.

We have yet some difficulty in our endeavors to overcome those old habits and practices which, to a considerable degree, still linger among them: I allude to polygamy, the flattening the heads of their children, necromancy in the healing of the sick, and the murder of the necromancer in the case of a fatal termination of the disease. They have murdered two of their doctors since I have been in charge, and made an attempt to murder the third.

I think I have succeeded in alarming them to such a degree that they will not again commit the act. The few weeks ago some of the Nisquallies came to me and asked me if I would not reverse my decision in regard to their right to kill their doctors; they said one of their doctors had caused the death of one of their best women, and they thought he ought to die; but I told them emphatically that if they killed him every one engaged in it should be hung- so the doctor has not been killed. Occasionally a case occurs, where the parties have been drinking, that an Indian gets killed. A case of this kind occurred on the Chehalis river, several miles above the reservation, about a month and a half since. An Indian, about thirty years of age, made an attack on his father in law, who stabbed the young man in the abdomen, which caused his death in a few days; surgical aid was secured, but he could not be saved. A very short time afterwards a friend of the young Indian killed the old man. The only way to put a stop to those tragedies, in my judgement, is to make an example of the offenders by a prosecution in a criminal court. If this was done, and a conviction of the criminal, there would be no more cases of murder among them. I think it will have it’s effect.

This is the eleventh year of the Medicine Creek treaty, and very little, considering the amount of money appropriated by the government, has been accomplished. In that length of time the Indians, under the care of good, honest, religious, and practical men, would have been far advanced in civilization; but, unfortunately for them and the government, no interest has been taken in their welfare. The pay at the end of the quarter was the great desideratum. Their knowledge of agriculture and mechanics in eleven years ought to have been far in advance of what it is. Nine years more and the treaty of Medicine Creek will have expired, and almost all that the government contemplated in reference to these tribes is yet to be accomplished. The object of the government, as I understand it, is to prepare them to take care of themselves when the twenty years has been fulfilled. In order, therefore, to enable them to do this, the farmer must give them a practical idea of agriculture. The carpenter must instruct them in the art of building houses. The blacksmith must teach them the use of his tools, in order that they may be able to repair or make their own plows, hoes, and axes. The employees upon the reservations at the present time fully understand their duties to the government and the Indians, and will, I have no doubt, faithfully discharge them. None of my predecessors have ever given instructions to the carpenter or blacksmith to take an apprentice. There are a number of boys, some of whom are half-breeds, who ought to be at trades, and it is my purpose, so soon as I can make proper arrangements for their board and lodging, to have them learning carpentry and blacksmithing. I have one already learning the blacksmith’s trade, and he is making great progress. Our school, owing to the death of Mrs. Wylie, who was employed as teacher, and for wants of a house, and the means to prepare one, has been suspended for the present. Accompanying this report I transmit the report of C.H. Spinning, the physician, which will furnish you with all the information necessary as to the diseases among the Indians and their treatment, with some important suggestions.

I would respectfully call your attention to the agreement on the part of the government found in the 10th article of the treaty of Medicine Creek. “The expenses of the said school, shops, employees and medical attendance, to be defrayed by the United States, and not deducted from the annuities.”

Now, sir, for some cause unknown to me, there has been a deficiency in the incidental fund for this service, and I have not been able to meet the expenses which are necessary to keep up the school and supply the carpenter and blacksmith with material to carry on their work without using other funds.

And furthermore, in the remittance for the 1st and 2nd quarters 1865, there was a deficit in the employee’s fund for beneficial objects amounting $90.50, which should be forwarded. If the incideental funds for the 1st and 2nd quarters 1864 had been remitted, as they should have been there would have been no necessity for intrenching upon other funds.

I believe I have called your attention to all the points of importance necessary for you to consider at the present time.