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Byrd Family Papers

  • 6.2.2
  • 1804 - 1934

Includes diaries, legal documents, photographs, and artifacts related to the Byrd family who arrived in the Puget Sound region from Illinois in 1853.

Byrd Family


ca. 1858. Copy of customer print, ordered by the City of Steilacoom. Unknown artist's rendering of Steilacoom's waterfront in 1858, while Washington was still a territory. Steilacoom became the first seat of government in Pierce County. Picture is from the collection of Mrs. Clyde V. Davidson, Steilacoom resident. The vessel, Enterprise, steams along the quiet waters of Steilacoom, sharing space with various sailboats, canoes and two and three-mast schooners. The Enterprise traded between Olympia and Steilacoom. Copy of print ordered on January 25, 1963. (TNT 5-8-62, D-20; photograph also used by E.T. Short of the T. Times 2/21/1939, pg. 3)

Drawings; Waterfronts--Steilacoom;

WO 157802-A

ca. 1860s. Undated photograph, possibly taken in the 1860s, of an 19th century family posed in front of their home. The photograph is taken at a wide angle so that the family's possessions, including planted crops, horses grazing, wagon and carriage, hitched span of horses, barn and extended home are prominent. The home appears to have been added on; the original sod house has a framed addition. The people themselves are not shown in close-up. The location of the property is not identified. Photograph believed to have been ordered by Mrs. G.R. Utterback on January 24, 1970.

Sod buildings; Horses; Families;

Map of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Part of Montana, 1860

Philadelphia : S. A. Mitchell, Jr.
1 map : hand col. ; 27 x 34 cm. Relief shown by hachures. Shows counties, cities, railroads, routes of wagon trails, and rivers. Scale ca. 1:4,435,000. Lower right: 50. Decorative border. Dated 1860 in bottom margin, but some question whether that might be the date of the original copyright of the base map.


ca. 1862. Portrait of Brigadier General Isaac Ingalls Stevens, first governor of Washington Territory. Copy made for Tacoma Times by Richards Studio, March 7, 1938, also used in Washington Golden Jubilee edition, July 19, 1939. Stevens served as governor from 1853-1857. A Democrat, he was appointed by President Franklin Pierce. In addition, he served as Superintendent of Indian Affairs. This portrait depicts Stevens as a Brigadier General of Volunteers and may have been made ca. 1862. He was killed in action in 1862 during the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas). ALBUM 10.

Governors; Stevens, Isaac Ingalls, 1818-1862; Generals; Portraits;

Johnson's Washington and Oregon, 1863

New York: Johnson and Ward
1 map : hand col. ; 32 x 40 cm. Relief shown by hachures. Shows counties, cities, locations of native American tribal groups, and proposed railroad. Scale ca. 1:3,500,000 On verso: portion of "Historical and Statistical View of the United States, 1860", tables for Vermont, Virginia and Washington. In lower right margin: 57. Decorative border. Oregon counties Jackson and Josephine have been interchanged.


ca. 1868. Copy for Tacoma Times columnist E.T. Short of Treasury warrant for purchase of Alaska, dated 08/01/1868. Check for $7,200,000 to Emperor of Russia. Warrant & acknowledgement. (T. Times)


J. W. Roberts Papers

  • 6.1.3
  • 1868-1914

Includes correspondence, journals, financial papers, legal papers, printed materials and ephemera, photos and maps. Correspondence consists of both personal and business-related letters (1873-1911). Journal entries provide twenty-two years worth of short accounts of daily farm life, and occasionally mention other early Steilacoom pioneers (1868-1912). Financial papers include tax receipts (1866-1930), handwritten and printed receipts (1861-1931), a checkbook (1861-1862), and small account books recording work, expenses, and brief journal entries (1862-1910). Legal documents include land contracts and descriptions, and court documents relating to the estate of J.W. Roberts (1911-1915). Printed materials and ephemera include a variety of items such as business cards, pamphlets, and menus (undated), and newspaper clippings (1895, 1913-1914). A small series of photos are mostly undated and unidentified. There are also two undated handwritten maps of the Spanaway area.

J. W. Roberts


ca. 1870. On October 9, 1963, the Pierce County Pioneer & Historical Association dedicated a marker on the site of the old Steilacoom jail. The marker was made of imported red Swedish granite on which was carved a view of the (pictured) two-story jailhouse. The jail was built in 1858 by George W. Manville, Spanaway architect and contractor. It was the first brick jail north of the Columbia, the first Pierce County jail, and the first jail in the Washington Territory. It was located at 1800 Starling Street, between Balch & Main. Moses Spicer, elected in 1859, was the first jailer. It served as a jail until 1881 and then was used to store government records. In 1910 Dr. S.M. LaCrone and his wife purchased the old jail; the LaCrones lived on the top floor. The jail was demolished in 1944. (TNT 10-6-63, A-1)



ca. 1870. Beginnings of Tacoma City circa 1870. Photo taken by Anthony Carr, who was Old Tacoma's first photographer. Cabin nearest the two trees on the left is Job Carr's cabin and his farm is in the foreground. The Steele Hotel, Tacoma's first hotel, is the "large" L-shaped building at left of center. (Photo donated by Ron Karabaich) (Caroline Gallacci & Tacoma Historical Society: Old Tacoma, p. 11)

Steele Hotel (Tacoma); Hotels--Tacoma--1870-1880; Carr, Job--Homes & haunts;


ca. 1873. "Tacoma, the terminus of the Northern Pacific Rail Road, Washington Territory" image on early stereopticon slide taken by Oliver Dennie of Portland, Oregon (slide from the collection of Dan Kerlee, Seattle, Washington). This photograph, and also KERLEE - 02, shows the area on top of the bluff in "New Tacoma" around what is now South 7th & Pacific Avenue. The unidentified man in the foreground is leaning against a tree stump close to where the Northern Pacific Railroad headquarters building would be constructed in 1887. Once the Board of Directors of the Northern Pacific Railroad formally approved locating the terminus, hundreds began swarming to the area. Tents were set up on vacant lots for which $1 per front foot was paid per month and houses quickly sprang up for waiting occupants. Financial woes would shortly grip the nation, subsequently slowing down the rush of people to Tacoma. (Prosch: McCarver and Tacoma, p. 179-80-article)

Cities & towns--Tacoma;


ca. 1873. "Water front and wharf at Tacoma, W.T." Early stereopticon slide by Oliver Dennie, Portland, Oregon. Pioneering men and women pose by the waterfront next to a downed tree circa 1873. The town was becoming civilized with picket fences, two-storied buildings and even washing hung on a line. In the background at left is the Hanson, Ackerson & Co. lumber mill, store and wharf. The Steele Hotel, Tacoma's first hotel, is the large two-story building at right. (From the collection of Dan Kerlee, Seattle, Washington). (Prosch: McCarver and Tacoma, p. 181)

Waterfronts--Tacoma; Piers & wharves--Tacoma--1870-1880; Pioneers--Tacoma; Hanson, Ackerson & Co. (Tacoma); Lumber industry--Tacoma--1870-1880; Mills--Tacoma; Steele Hotel (Tacoma); Hotels--Tacoma--1870-1880;


ca. 1873. "Old Town of Tacoma, W.T." Early stereopticon slide by Oliver Dennie, Portland, Oregon (From the collection of Dan Kerlee, Seattle, Washington). The building with darker roof in the distance at center-left is believed to be the Steele Hotel at 2105 No. 30th St. It was built in 1868 and was the first frame building and first hotel built in Tacoma. Also on the left near the foreground is a sign indicating "carpenter shop," possibly referring to the Ball & Bonney carpenter shop which opened between 1870 and 1872. On the right side of the photograph in the distance are reportedly a saloon and a dance hall. (dark roof, light exterior). This photograph was taken circa 1873 at the foot of the present No. 30th St. looking south. It was then called Second Street. (Prosch: McCarver and Tacoma, p. 179)

Cities & towns--Tacoma; Houses--Tacoma--1870-1880; Streets--Tacoma--1870-1880;


ca. 1873. Frederick Law Olmsted plat map for City of Tacoma (New Tacoma), Washington Territory. Created for the Northern Pacific Railroad, and the Tacoma Land Company

Maps; Olmsted, Frederick Law, 1822-1903; Tacoma Land Co. (Tacoma); Northern Pacific Railway Co. (Tacoma);


ca. 1873. St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Old Tacoma. Small Carpenter Gothic church, built 1873, with a tall cedar stump covered with ivy for a bell tower. Copy of early photograph for Mr. Short of the Tacoma Times. Two weeks after the Right Reverend B.W. Morris, Episcopal Bishop of Washington and Oregon, rode into Tacoma in the bed of a wagon used for hauling earth on the North Pacific grade, St. Peters Church was built. It was the first church in Tacoma. This photograph was reproduced by Turner Richards from a faded photo made by Joseph Buchtel of Portland after the bell tower on the top of the 40 foot fir stump was completed. The photograph was loaned to the Times by Mrs. Alice Rector Watson. (T.Times 9/27/1935, pg. 16)

Episcopal churches--Tacoma; St. Peter's Episcopal Church (Tacoma);


ca. 1873. "Terminus of Tacoma, looking toward Mt. Rainier, W.T." Early stereopticon slide by Oliver Dennie, Portland, Oregon (From the collection of Dan Kerlee, Seattle, Washington). One or two wooden shacks and a handful of tents occupy the top of the bluff near what is now South 7th & Pacific Avenue. This view is the beginning of New Tacoma as pictured in the fall of 1873. Commencement Bay at left. (Prosch: McCarver and Tacoma, p. 185)

Cities & towns--Tacoma; Commencement Bay (Wash.); Tree stumps--Tacoma; Houses--Tacoma--1870-1880;


ca. 1873. Frederick Law Olmsted plat map for City of Tacoma (New Tacoma), Washington Territory. Created for the Northern Pacific Railroad, and the Tacoma Land Company

Maps; Olmsted, Frederick Law, 1822-1903; Tacoma Land Co. (Tacoma); Northern Pacific Railway Co. (Tacoma);


ca. 1880. Copy of customer's damaged print. Date of original picture is unknown; it could possibly have been taken in the 1880s. Two groups of boys and girls are photographed sitting outside at separate tables. The boys appear to be in the process of making brooms while the girls are doing handiwork. There is a possibility that these children were in some type of custodial living arrangements in a foreign country. Two of the older boys are wearing sweaters with a crown and cross design, possibly signifying they were part of a religious school or home. Photograph commissioned by Peter Anderson on October 22, 1954.

Group portraits; Children; Brooms & brushes; Handicraft;

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