Beginning at a point which is 330 feet East and 530 feet South of the center of Section 28 in Township 7 North of Range 36 East of the Willamette Meridian; thence South and parallel with the center line of said Section 28, a distance of 130 feet; thence at right angles East 300 feet to a street or way running North and South 60 feet in width; thence North on the West line of said street or way, parallel with and 60 feet from the West line of the premises of John B. Allen, a distance of 130 feet; thence at right angles West 300 feet to THE PLACE OF BEGINNING. Situated in the City and County of Walla Walla, State of Washington.
Washington Territory was created in 1853. The new legislature created Walla Walla County in 1854 which stretched from the crest of the Cascade Mountains to the crest of the Rocky Mountains in the present states of Washington, Idaho and Montana. In 1855 an Indian council was held on the banks of Mill Creek at the present site of Walla Walla to purchase land from the Indians. The Yakimas, Cayuses and Walla Wallas were dissatisfied with the treaties and war followed. Missionaries, former French-Canadian employees of the Hudson Bay Company trading post at Wallula, and soldiers at the military Fort Walla Walla were the primary European occupants of the area prior to 1859 when it was opened for settlement. All of the land in this area was acquired from the Cayuse and Walla Walla Indian tribes by the U.S. Government in a treaty signed on June 9, 1855 in Walla Walla, and ratified on March 8, 1859 by President James Buchanan.
Walla Walla was originally laid out by County Surveyor H.H. Case in 1859, even before its formal incorporation as a city in 1862, as a one-quarter mile square with its eastern side centered on the point where Main Street crossed Mill Creek (at roughly the point where it does now). The City of Walla Walla received a Trustee Townsite from the U. S. government which consisted of 80 acres issued on July 20, 1869 by the Vancouver, W.T. District Land Office.
The first owner, after the U. S. government, of this property was Stephen W. Babcox who acquired 80 acres under a U. S. Patent in 1865. Land records at this time were kept in Vancouver, WT. The first owner to be recorded in the local legal records was John F. Seeber. Seeber came west from Fort Plain, New York in 1858 and became a trapper, hunter and mountaineer. He settled in Walla Walla in 1862 and prospered as farmer along with the new town that became known informally as “Garden City.” He owned 300 acres on Yellowhawk Creek and donated 2.5 acres on which Seeber School was built which later became Berney School. Seeber had several legal transactions on this portion of his property that appear to have been the early equivalent of mortgages. On April 11, 1883 he received $1000 from W. S. Gilliam for this parcel (then it was 330 feet by 660 feet) plus 19 other parcels. Gilliam had a residence at 315 Dr. Newell Street in 1892 and owned adjacent property west of this parcel. On April 24, 1883 Seeber received $900 from Howard R. Keylor. Dr. Keylor was a physician with Bingham and Keylor and had a residence on the southeast corner of Birch and Palouse Streets. He is remembered for the Keylor Grand Theater he built at Fourth and Alder Streets in 1905. The theater seated 1000 people and had one of the largest stages on the West Coast. For another $900 Dr. Keylor apparently took possession of this property in 1883 until he sold it in 1889 to Arthur W. and Belle Perley and G. W. Thompson. George W. and Mary A. Thompson (Thomson) transferred an undivided half of the property to Charles Henry who sold his interest to A. W. Perley on January 1, 1893. Belle Perley died without a will in 1889 and a portion of her interest in this property was sold to the highest bidder on the court house steps to Francis A. Garrecht (a deputy county clerk living at 117 Poplar) for $350. Perley paid Garrecht the same amount to repurchase his deceased wife’s share. On November 17, 1905, Perley’s 22 year old daughter Helen R. gave a deed to her father for her interest in this property. The next day Arthur Perley sold the original 300 feet by 600 feet parcel (including all rights from H. R. Keylor and G. W. Thompson) to H. O. Olson of Tekoa, Washington for $1500.
On March 8, 1906 H. O. Olson sold a 130 feet by 300 feet portion of this property to Edward W. Olson for $1. He also sold Edward an undivided half interest in some adjacent property. Edward Olson died in Thurston County on February 1, 1917. His four heirs were Julia Olson, age 42, Helen M., age 20, Ruth E., age 16 and Edward W., age 14, all of Olympia, Washington. On January 31, 1925 Julia Olson Huber sold this property to E. P. and Samantha Woolcutt. On February 15, 1941 Woolcutt sold to Adolph Suckow, an unmarried man. On March 20, 1941, Helen Olson Hodgetts, Ruth Olson Rogers and Edward W. Olson, only children and heirs of Edward W. Olson, signed a Quit Claim Deed to clear title on this property. On October 6, 1948 Adolph and Margaret L Suckow signed a real estate contract to sell this property to Francis P. and Melvina Schock. On November 3, 1950 Suckow signed a Sellers Assignment of Real Estate Contract transferring the $3140.60 balance owed to Walla Walla First Federal Savings and Loan. This loan was fully paid in 1960.
On November 16, 1953 Frances P. Schock signed a Quit Claim Deed on this property to Melvina Schock. On March 11, 1960 Frances P. and Melvina Schock, formerly husband and wife, gave a $4750 mortgage to Walla Walla Federal Savings and Loan. This mortgage was paid off in 1969. On June 24, 1970 Melvina Schock signed an agreement with the City of Walla Walla to extend city water with the right of future annexation, which occurred in 2007. On August 10, 1981 the Estate of Melvina Schock (Laura Lee Osborn and Trudi D. Turcotte, executors) sold this property to Bill and Christine Thrasher for $50,000. On June 21, 2002 the Thrashers sold this property to Daniel M. Vernon and Nancy R. Forsthoefel, the present owners. Daniel is an Assistant Professor of Biology and Nancy is a Research Specialist and Research Associate in the Whitman College science department.
This property was outside the city limits until 2007. Therefore early fire maps and street indexes did not include this area. In 1889 John Seeber’s property was described as “2 1/2 miles se on Bryant.” The first city directory to list someone living on this property was in 1907 when Edward W. Olson lived “2 n Stubblefield Hm.” Olson’s occupation was listed as a printer at Washington Printing and Book Manufacturing Company, 110 E. Alder. The Stubblefield Home, on the hill south of this property, was a home for orphans and indigent widows located in the former home of W. W. Baker, president of Baker Boyer Bank. In 1907 the street was called Ruth Street. Then this location was referred to RFD 5 and subsequently renamed Home Street, since it was the approach to the orphanage which operated here at least until 1963.
In 1925 Edward P. and Mattie Woolcutt, Edward A. and Samantha Woolcutt and Victor Woolcutt lived at this address. Victor was a student. Edward P. and Edward A. were both carpenters. Fred Woolcutt also a carpenter, and Marguerite Woolcutt, a bookkeeper at the Walla Walla County Farm Bureau, are listed as living here in 1933. Arlyne D. Woolcutt, treasurer of the Walla Walla County Agricultural Conservation Association lived here in 1937 and the address was then called RFD 3. By 1941 Fred and Frances Woolcutt had moved to 318 Ninth Avenue South and Edward P. and Mattie Woolcutt and Marguerite lived at 1048 Frances.
Adolph Suckow lived here from 1941 to 1953 and the address was listed in the city directory as RFD 3. By 1946 Adolph had married Margaret L. and was a mechanic at White Brothers. Suckow was listed at 1404 Fern Street in the 1954-55 directory.
In 1953-54 Francis P. Schock was listed at RFD 3 and was a welder for A. A. Durand and Son, well drillers. Mrs. Melvina G. Schock was separately listed at RFD 3 Home Street as a cook at Whitman College. The first time the city directory listed this address as 1404 Home Street was 1960. Francis had various other addresses but Melvina continued to live here. Francis returned after 1964 when he was a welder for Braden Tractor Company. Melvina worked as a cook at the Elks in 1979. Their daughter Rebecca Lynn was a student at Warner Pacific College from 1965-1970. They were no longer listed in the local directory in 1982 when Bill and Christine Thrasher moved to this home. Bill worked for Reiff Fiberglass Company and Christine was a cafeteria assistant at Wa-Hi. In the city directory published in 1997 they were both listed as retired. Directories were not published after 1999.
Construction of the Building:
The Walla Walla County Assessor’s records list a construction date of 1900 for this house. Because it was located outside the city limits there were no early fire maps or building permits available.
In 1905 A. W. Perley sold a 300 feet by 600 feet parcel including this property for $1500. Perley was listed in the 1902 Walla Walla County directory as owning property worth $365 with an unknown address. In 1904 he was listed in the Walla Walla County directory as owning property in this county worth $500 but his address was in Tekoa, Washington, the same place that H. O. Olson lived when he bought Mr. Perley’s parcels in 1905. On March 8, 1906, Olson divided off and transferred the present 130 X 300′ parcel to Edward Olson. The first evidence in the city directory of an owner living here was 1907. Since Edward W. Olson purchased this property on March 8, 1906 (there was no 1906 city directory), and the prior owners are not listed as living on it, it is reasonable to assume that Edward W. Olson built this house in 1906.
Bennett, Robert A., Walla Walla Portrait of a Western Town 1804-1899, Pioneer Press, Walla Walla, 1980.
Bennett, Robert A., Walla Walla A Town Built to be a City 1900-1919, Pioneer Press, Walla Walla, 1982.
Gilbert, Frank T.; Historic Sketches of Walla Walla, Whitman and Garfield Counties, Washington Territory, and Umatilla County, Oregon, 1882.
History of the Pacific Northwest: Oregon and Washington; Portland Or., 1889
Lyman, Professor W.D., An Illustrated History of Walla Walla County 1901.
Walla Walla City Directories: 1880-present (various publishers–not all years).
Whitman College Archives.Mary E. Meeker ; Walla Walla 2020 Research Service PO Box 1222, Walla Walla WA 99362 June, 2007