Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Who Was Spokane's Founding Father?


Who Was Spokane’s Founding Father?

The city of Spokan (The “e” will be added in 1883.) Falls, Washington, was incorporated on November 29, 1881.  Spokan Falls’ population was 350 residents and covered a 1.56 square mile area.  The Mayor was R.W. Forrest, and a seven-member city council worked with no pay. 

Prior to this time, Spokan Falls was a small settlement…lets go back 10 years earlier.

1871 saw James J Downing and Seth R Scranton settling their families on 160 acres on the banks of the Spokane River near the falls.   Their settlement was called Spokan Falls, and by year's end, their settlement included a sawmill owned by Downing, a post office, and a general store.    

1873 saw James Nettleton Glover, later known as the “Father of Spokane”, arriving in Spokan Falls from Oregon.  Along with Glover came his partner Jasper N Matheney.  They were seeking land and to possibly build a town.  They were impressed with the beauty of the land Downing and Scranton had purchased near the falls and the potential for such property.  Glover and Matheney didn’t reveal their intentions to Downing and Scranton; however,  they succeeded in purchasing Downing’s sawmill and his land. 

Glover ultimately purchased Scranton’s land, bought out his partner, Matheney, and persuaded Frederick Post to build a gristmill—a mill for grinding grain--at the falls.  Post was in the process of building a lumber mill farther up the river before Glover approached him about the gristmill. 

Glover expanded the sawmill and built a general store where the first post office, bank, city hall, court room, and theater were housed.  The Glover and Gilliam Livery Stable was built across the street, and Glover’s residence was on the opposite corner. 

 1878 saw Glover completing Spokan’s first survey.  Glover laid out the streets, developed the main intersections, and named the streets.  Glover planned for the streets to be 60 feet wide; he said if the streets were narrower than 60 feet he would not donate his land.  This area is now Spokane Falls Boulevard.

Glover was a politician, a banker, a founder, and Spokan’s second Mayor—elected in 1883 and serving until the 1895 election.  It is said that Glover did give away chunks of the 160 acres to anyone who promised to build a business in the settlement.  He strongly promoted the growth of Spokan’s economy.

The 1893 bank Panic hit Glover very hard; he was the leading banker in Spokane at that time.  Glover moved to a more modest home in 1909, where he resided until his death in 1921.

Sources:  Spokane Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau, Spokane Historical, An Illustrated History of Spokane County, State of Washington by Johnathan Edwards

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Whitman County Genealogical Society Mini Seminar

Whitman County Genealogical Society
is hosting a FREE Fall mini-seminar
Bishop Place Independent Living Social Room, 811 SE Klemgard, Pullman, WA
Saturday, October 13, 2018
All About Heraldry and Its Use in Genealogy

By Anthony (Tony) Durnford deGray Birch

“Digital Research – Tips, Tricks and Resources” By Lee Pierce

9:00 am: The doors open.
9:30 am-10:30 am: Anthony (Tony) Birch is a retired higher education administrator and long standing member of Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. He doesn’t claim to be a heraldry expert, but a family historian trying to make sense out of things he has inherited or found through research. His presentation will focus on heraldry, and how the genealogist/family historian can use heraldry to learn more about their ancestors. He will share examples of his ten-year search of his ancestors’ crests and coats of arms and what the many images, forms and colors mean.
10:30-10:45 Break and refreshments.
10:45 am-11:45 am: Lee Pierce is the archivist for the Eastern Region Branch of the Washington State Archives in Cheney, Washington. His mission is to collect, preserve and provide access to the records of local government agencies of the 11 furthest east counties of the state. He will be showing and telling about the digital archives and how best to use it, as well as other government resources that are available to researchers.
If you have any questions or need more information contact WCGS President, Sue Kreikemeier at: or 509-635-1303. Please RSVP to Sue or
by October 6 to accommodate handouts & refreshments.
While the seminar is free, donations are welcome at the door.
Directions: Turn off Bishop Boulevard onto Klemgard Ave., follow Klemgard Ave. up the hill and turn left at the top. Do not go into the front entrance, but turn right, continuing up the hill and turn left at the white car ports. Find an appropriate parking place, enter the building through the main doors and go straight ahead to the Social Room.
Anthony (Tony) Durnford deGray Birch’s biography includes the following:
  • BS and MS degrees from Oregon State University
  • MBA from University of Washington
  • 40 years working in higher education, including 16 years as administrative vice-president of Clark College in Vancouver, Washington
  • Selected by his community college peers as Outstanding Chief Business Officer for the four-state Northwest Region in 1996
  • Came with his wife, Janette, to the Inland Empire in 2006
  • Longtime member of Eastern Washington Genealogical Society where he and his wife are “greeters”
  • He and Janette were honored in 2015 as Washington State Outstanding Volunteers
  • He and Janette have done the following:
Compiled seven books about their ancestors
Volunteered with Find-A-Grave for many small cemeteries in the Palouse area
Enjoyed a number of weeklong trips to the Family History Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
Lee Pierce’s biography includes the following:

  • Been in the archival field broadly since 1997
  • BA in history from Eastern Washington University in 1998
  • MA in history from Eastern Washington University in 2000
  • Worked for the Arizona State Historical Society Museum’s archives at Papago Park in Tempe
  • Worked as a freelance researcher and a freelance processing archivist
  • Began working at Eastern Region Branch of the Washington State Archives in 2005
  • Currently the Archivist at Eastern Region Branch of the Washington State Archives
  • Enthusiastic historian of the American military experience, most especially the period of the American War of Independence and from WWII to present
  • Writes fiction in his “spare time”
  • Member of the City of Cheney’s Historic Preservation Commission

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Saltese Cemetery


Saltese Cemetery

Another area of the Saltese Flats that interests me is the Saltese Cemetary.  A mile or so beyond the Saltese Flats area is the Saltese Cemetary—one of the oldest cemetaries in Spokane Valley. 

Daniel Courchaine an early Valley pioneer purchased the land for the cemetary in 1878, from Coeur d’Alene Chief Andrew Seltice.  Daniel was a farmer, but he raised and sold cattle as a business.

Burials officially began in 1881 with some headstones/graves as far back at 1819.  Unmarked graves were most likely there before 1881.  

Daniel Courchaine is buried in Saltese Cemetery; he was kicked in head by a horse and died.  His home was built in the Saltse Flats with lumber from the nearest mill—Walla Walla, Washington.

Saltese Cemetary is a pioneer cemetary run by The Saltese Cemetary Association.  The families who are buried here were pioneers who participated in territorial expansion from the 18th through 20th centuries.  Available plots can only be sold to Valley residents so the burial sites can be taken care of by their families., a source for cemetary records online, has a November 18, 2017, article, “Saltese Cemetary – Burial Records, Spokane, Spokane County, Washington, stating that the Eagle Scouts and the Ridgecrest Ward of LDS worked together to transcribe headstones and recorded them in a list that is attached.  Also, in Google, there is a list by Maggie Roll first transcribed in February 2000 and later updated in May 2017.  You can also find a list of graves in Find A Grave by searching Saltese Cemetary.  If you click on the blue link showing 550 added, an alphabetical list of all the graves is provided.

 Sources:  Spokane Historical, Find A Grave,