SPSCC History Instructor Shares Bits Of Historic ‘Tid’

first_imgSubmitted by Don TrosperI’m not sure what a ‘Tid’ is, but I have heard of ‘Tidbits.’  In my years of making local history a fulfilling hobby I’ve discovered many unique stories and interesting tidbits about historic people throughout southwest Washington.  Let me highlight just a few of these ‘bits’ just to tease you, and perhaps entice you to consider making local history your hobby too.I suppose I should first mention my road.  Trosper Road in Tumwater is named for my great grandfather who brought his family here from Kansas in 1892.  They bought 60 acres from our uncle, Jesse Ferguson, who was a member of the Simmons/Bush party that founded Tumwater in 1845, the first permanent American community north of the Columbia.  We still live on that property and have some Northern Spy apple trees still barely surviving that uncle Jesse planted more than 150 years ago.Speaking of Tumwater, did you know that one of the reasons for the forming of our state of Washington and the early settlement of towns like Tumwater and Centralia was the fact of racism in the Willamette Valley in Oregon?  Two primary early settlers were men of color, George Bush of the Tumwater area and George Washington of Centralia.  They were not allowed to settle on the south, or American side of the Columbia and so moved north to the British side of the river.  That led to the eventual formation of Washington.Don Trosper will be teaching a history community education course at SPSCC this fall.Did you know that Tumwater is five years older than Olympia?  Their proposed original names did not stick. Simmons wanted to name his little town “New Market,” but the early townsfolk instead used an Americanized name of Chinook jargon “Tum chuck”, which means noisy water, hence the name Tumwater.  Olympia was going to be called Smithfield for co-founder Levi Lathrop Smith, but after he died while having an epileptic fit while on a canoe on the Sound, his partner Edmund Sylvester laid out a town and named it for the beautiful backdrop of the Olympic Mountains. He called it Olympia.Oh there are so many great stories throughout our area, enough for a lifetime of research.  I think of how Grand Mound was actually named for a big mound or hill on the prairie not far from today’s Great Wolf Lodge, or how there are conflicting stories of how Maytown got its name, my favorite being that it was named by a former British sailor Joseph Shelley who laid out a proposed town and said that it may become a town or it may not, “so I’ll call it Maytown.”I love the stories of the many one-room schoolhouses throughout the area, the forts and blockhouses that protected early settlers during the two year period of tribal uprisings, the many railroads that not only connected towns but also wound their way through the hills for logging purposes.I haven’t even begun to mention all the wonderful ‘tidbits’ I’ve learned about Lewis, Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties.If you’d like to know more you might want to consider signing up for my “History of SW Washington” series of non-credit classes I’ll be teaching again this fall at SPSCC on Monday evenings at the main campus from September 16 through November 4.  Class information can be found on the South Puget Sound Community College website focused on Community Education courses.  Click on Writing or Washington State to find the course.I hope you’ll join me as we talk over old times and obtain more ‘bits of tid.’ Facebook40Tweet0Pin0last_img

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