City of Roy host to Civil War Reentactment Aug. 10 – 11

City of Roy host to Civil War reenactment

August 10 and again on August 11, the Civil War Reenactors will be hosting an event in Roy, Washington. Come out, bring your lawn chair and a parasol to watch the North and South battle it out on the big field that Leland Weaver owned on the north end of town. The cost is $10. Also bring water and snacks as the regular food service fellow had an unfortunate medical event a couple days ago and will not be there with goodies for the public. The black powder guns and cannons are rather loud, so if you bring a pet, prepare to comfort them. It’s hot, so don’t leave them in your car.

The encampment has many historical displays to peruse before and after the battle takes place. The Mason-Dixon Township shows what it was like to live in that era. There is a telegraph station, a seamstress with an interesting old sewing machine. A field surgeon has a table of medical equipment from the period and some gruesome reminders of the limbs lost in the battles. Browse and chat, they love to answer\ your questions.

The events go through over 200 pounds of black power each year. The reenactors come from all over Washington state, and some from Oregon and Idaho. There is even an artillery unit that crosses the border from British Columbia to participate. They put on 5 to 7 events each year around the Pacific Northwest.

Sunday’s events begin at 9 a.m. with Sunday chapel at 9:30 a.m.  The battle on Saturday took place at 3p.m. as is likely the same time Sunday.  More information is available on the Washington Civil War Association’s website at

From their website:

“The Washington Civil War Association (WCWA) is committed to honoring our ancestors, both Northern and Southern, who fought in or lived during the American Civil War. With this goal in mind, the WCWA sponsors living history encampments, battle reenactments, school programs, and recruiting drives throughout the state of Washington. The WCWA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization devoted to education.

The WCWA consists of smaller groups of reenactors formed to portray different units and organizations that existed during the American Civil War. These groups portray civilians, infantry, cavalry, navy, marines, engineers, surgeons, nurses, ministry and sutlers.”

Highlights from Saturday:

Tales from Sahagalie Palielah: The Pre-pioneer History of University Place

[Editor note: The Pierce Prairie Post is including this event because Steve Anderson is an expert on the local history of the Hudson’s Bay Company who had Fort Nisqually and the Puget Sound Agricultural Company (PSAC) in our Pierce County area. Some of those PSAC farms were Spanueh (Spanaway), Sastuc (McChord Field), Mullock House (Elk Plain) and several along Muck Creek between Graham and Roy.]SteveAnderson

University Place Historical Society — The next meeting of the University Place Historical Society will be on the first Wednesday in August, August 7th, at 7 pm. There will be a short business meeting followed by a presentation of local history by Steve Anderson, a 1973 Curtis High graduate.

Steve is the son of our esteemed members Ed and Lorraine Anderson. Steve is currently the Executive Director of the Carteret County Historical Museum in Moorhead, North Carolina. His talk is entitled Tales from Sahagalie Palielah: The Pre-pioneer History of University Place. A preview: “Blue bunch grass, now rarely seen in University Place, once covered the land – and burned every summer. The smoke from this and other fires in the open grasslands of early 19th century Pierce County clouded southern Puget Sound. Furthermore, the smoke was entered into early descriptions of the weather and landscape by some of our county’s first settlers.”

The presenter will address how a Native Hawaiian from that archipelago’s big island, a foul-mouthed English shipwright, and a Coast Salish Indian named Steilacoom constituted University Place’s first permanent residents.

The meeting will be held in Suite D-2, the room adjoining the UP Museum, Windmill Village Bldg D, suite D-3. This room can be entered either through the Museum or through the doors which open onto the Windmill Village Drexler St. Parking Lot. August meeting: August 7, 2013 at 7:00pm.

Part 1: George Bush, first black man in Washington Territory

By Chuck Haviland


The first free black man in the Washington Territory, was George Bush.  He had  lived in Missouri for a couple of years before coming out west, on the Oregon trail in 1843.  Four white families joined in the westward journey: Michael and Elizabeth Simmons, James and Martha McAllister, David and Talitha Kindred  and Gabriel and Keziah Jones. Many of these people were related to one another. Simmons sister Martha  was married to James McAllister and Simmons wife Elizabeth was David Kindred’s sister. Michael Troutman Simmons was a longtime friend of George Bush.  Upon arriving in the Oregon Territory, George was forced to live north of the Columbia River, near Vancouver, since the existing white men had already banned black people from the Willamette Valley. He settled on Puget Sound near what is now called Olympia.   The area became known as Bush Prairie. His full name was George Washington Bush  (no relation to our current or past presidents).

As a young man he served in the US Army and may have participated in the battle of New Orleans during the war of 1812. He married Isabell James on 4 July 1831. She was a Tennessee Baptist of German –  American extraction.  All that is known of her childhood was that she was born between 1804 – 1809.   She had outstanding courage for her time to marry a black man in the Southern United States.  Her marital choice may have been because she saw what no one else saw, a striking (nearly 6 foot) tall man who had already lived a lifetime of adventure and exploration of the unknown.  George must have set quite an impression on Isabell for her to take such a leap.  George was broad shouldered and weighed 180 pounds.  He had dark eyes and a roman nose, with a heavy beard.  He maintained a dashing air about himself and must have been very attractive to a young lady.  George was about 40 when he met Isabell. She was a trained as a nurse although she had yet to practice her profession.  Soon they were married and moving to Missouri.  Once there, George honed his farming practices and became quite successful. While living in Missouri they had ten sons of which only five made it to maturity.  Without today’s medicines life was very short for many people, even if they made it to maturity, death still took its toll.

Missouri was a quasi-free state.  At that time only four states allowed black citizens to vote.  “Free blacks” were only quasi – free.  They had limited voting privileges and most state’s forbade marriages between the races.   Their oldest son Owen was not even permitted to attend school.  As time progressed it became gradually clear to George that he would never gain the respect and consideration of his neighboring white men. The Bush family started the journey, loaded down with seeds, farm implements, various fruit trees (some even in buckets). They also brought porcelain platters and the finer things of a woman’s life.  Of all the books that they brought, the Bible and the traditional dictionary meant the most to them.  At this time their family consisted of the following children:

1)      William Owen Bush 1832 – 1907

2)      Joseph Talbot Bush 1834 – 1904

3)      Rial Bailey Bush 1837 –   ?

4)      Henry Sanford Bush 1841 – 1913

5)      Jackson January Bush 1843 – 1888

6)      Henry Sanford Bush 1841 – 1913

7)      Jackson January Bush 1843 – 1888

To be continued…

County Executive signs historic McMillan bridge status

In the Tuesday, July 23 meeting of the Pierce County Council, the council received notice that Pat McCarthy, Pierce County Executive had signed ordinance 2013-18, placing the McMillian Bridge on the Register of Historic Places.

Today in response, the Washington State Department of Transportation recognized that status by taking the demolition of the bridge off their project plans for a new bridge across the carbon River on SR162. The McMillan bridge was a one of a kind structure designed by engineer Homer M. Hadley.

The demolition has been stopped, but that does not necessarily mean the bridge will remain in place. The Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Puyallup Tribe have supported removal of the structure. The new bridge is already funded and slated to have construction begin next Spring.

More detail in the story by the News Tribune, Historic McMillin Bridge outside of Orting may be saved.



Chip sealing warning, mannequins and horses

By Marianne Lincoln

Cruising around Spanaway on this lovely summer day of July, I saw many things happening in the area.DSC_3260

The Washington Ladies Riding Club Association (WLRCA) State Meet Competition was this weekend at the Tacoma Horseman’s Unit in Spanaway. They presented their awards for the weekend riding and horsemanship competition in the outdoor arena. With Mount Rainier in the background, it made for some lovely photos. The Tacoma Lariettes were looking lovely and the horses were so patient waiting for the final presentations to begin. As I walked by, each stuck his/her nose out to be petted. Horses do crave affection. The Rein’n Rowdies had Susie their mascot mannequin brought in on the bucket of a John Deere.DSC_3277

Speaking of mannequins, there is a headless mannequin on the Mountain Highway in military camo beckoning people to check out the new military surplus store, Paracord near the WalMart.DSC_3286

On 176th Street, there is significant progress on the tree removal for the new, wider roadway. There appears to have been a few homes removed close to the hill between  11th and 13th Avenues also. Be aware travel will be getting difficult as roads are being striped, chip sealed, widened and dug up for sewer repair in the area.DSC_3190

Chip sealing notices for Monday July 22 are on 192nd Street between B Street and 38th Avenue. Another chip sealing sign is on 168th Street between Pacific Avenue and 22nd Ave, this one says Monday/Tuesday.

Hope you have a great week and manage to get where you need to go without too many construction holdups. The weather is beautiful and the road projects are underway.DSC_3291

Lovely weather for the Spanaway Historical Society picnic

The Spanaway Historical Society held their annual picnic and meeting on Sunday July 21 at the Prairie House Museum grounds. They re-elected their officers for the year. (correction) Shirley Mathis is the new President, Marilyn Goddard is vice president, Kathleen Creso is secretary and Chuck Overaa is treasurer.. It was a lovely, temperate, sunny summer day. It was delightful weather for a picnic.

Highlights include delicious dishes brought by the attendees, the exhibits of the museum and a June 27, 1946 copy of the Prairie Pointer, and old newspaper from the area. This Prairie Pointer was a pictorial edition with photos of many local businesses from Johnson’s corner, 98th and Pacific, Garfield Street, Steele Street and Sales Road and Midland. Jean Sensel spoke about the book she is working on about Spanaway history.

Spanaway Historical Society Picnic Sunday, July 21

Sunday noon, July 21 is the annual Spanaway Historical Society Potluck Picnic and Annual Meeting. At the Prairie House Museum on 176th Street, next to Fir Lane Memorial Park, many of the oldest citizens of Spanaway will gather with their families to celebrate the historic founding and early days of Spanaway.

2012 - Old Time Fiddlers

2012 – Old Time Fiddlers

The event is a potluck, so participants bring a favorite dish from jello and baked beans to cakes, cookies and pies. The historical Society cooks up the hamburgers and hot dogs and provides lemonade and coffee. There is usually entertainment from the Old Time Fiddlers. Members renew their annual memberships and at the end of the event, they hold their annual meeting.

2012 - Chuck and Sue Overra and Shirley Zlock

2012 – Chuck and Sue Overra and Shirley Zlock

During the event, the Prairie House Museum and surrounding buildings are open to view the displays and memorabilia. There will also be a silent auction, contributions will be accepted. Cost of an annual membership is $8 for an individual.

If you have any questions about the event, you may contact Kathy Creso at 253-537-7565. For more history of the Spanaway area, read this story from the Pierce Prairie Post.