Bryant’s Addition, Lots 21 and 22, Block 4
Title and Occupant History
Washington Territory was created in 1853. In 1884, the new territorial legislature created Walla Walla County, 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, Isaac Stevens, governor of Washington Territory, held a council on the banks of Mill Creek at the present site of Walla Walla with representatives of regional Indian tribes to purchase land from them. The Yakamas, Cayuses and Walla Wallas were dissatisfied with the treaties and the intrusion by whites into their lands before the treaties’ ratification, 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 the treaties were finally ratified and the land was opened for settlement. The transfer of ownership occurred by virtue of a treaty signed on June 9, 1855 in Walla Walla and ratified on March 8, 1859 by President James Buchanan, in which all of the land in the Walla Walla area was acquired from the Cayuse and Walla Walla Indian tribes.
The town of Walla Walla was originally laid out by County Surveyor H. H. Case in 1859, prior to 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 Town site from the U. S. Government that consisted of 80 acres issued on July 20, 1869 by the Vancouver, W. T. District Land Office.
The property at 615 Juniper Street is part of a U.S. Patent on 40 acres granted to Thomas Cantrill on April 1, 1865, as recorded in the Vancouver, W.T. District Land Office. The first entry in the local land records was when this area of town was platted as Bryant’s Addition, filed September 15, 1880. Bryant’s Addition is described on the plat map as the “South ½ of the Northwest ¼ of Section 28, Township 7. N.R. 30 East of the Willamette Meridian and the North ½ of the Southwest ¼ of the Northwest ¼ of the same section.” The boundaries were Howard, Pleasant, Division and what was then called Nursery Street and is now where Chestnut Street is located.
9/24/1883, Quit Claim Deed, Viretta Bryant grantor; John Bryant, grantee, Lots 9-12, 21 and 22, Block 4, $1.
1/30/1889, Warranty Deed, John and Viretta Bryant, grantors; Charles Henry, grantee, Lots 9-12, 21 and 22, Block 4, $1,000.
2/16/1889, Warranty Deed, Charles and Lydia Henry, grantors; John M. Hill, grantee, Lots 21 and 22, Block 4. John M. Hill was treasurer of Blue Mountain Flume Company, and general superintendent of Walla Walla Street Railway Company. No deeds or other legal documents beyond this date involve any additional property than Lots 21 and 22.
3/24/1903, Warranty Deed, John M. and Lucinda H. Hill, grantors; Lauren A. and Mary M. Holman, grantees, $315. No listings in city directories could be found for the Holmans.
11/2/1903, Warranty Deed, Lauren A. and Mary M. Holman, grantors; Glen and Della Holman, grantees, $315. Glen Holman was listed in city directories as a laborer, residing at 616 Balm Street.
11/2/1903, Glen and Della Holman, grantors; Mrs. E. J. Blanchard, Mrs. Sopha Walch, B. F. Engle, J. A. Schock, U. A. Teal, trustees of The Church of the Living God and their successors in office, grantees, $380. Mrs. Blanchard was a farmer’s widow, B. F. Engle was a farmer and Mr. Teal was a driver for Cascade Gas Company.
2/21/1916, Indenture, Mrs. E. J. Blanchard, Mrs. Sophia Welsh and Paul Welsh as trustees of The Church of God, grantors; William Harrah, grantor. $10. William Harrah was a real estate broker.
3/21/1916, Indenture, Mrs. E. J. Blanchard, Lillie Puller (successor to Mrs. Sopha Walch), E. H. Maiden (successor to B. F. Engle), J. A. Schock, Mrs. John Caley (successor to U. A. Teal), trustees of The Church of the Living God, grantors; William Harrah, grantee, $10.
4/18/1916, Indenture, William and Florence Harrah, grantors; John S. Jenson, grantee, $1,000 in gold. Mr. Jenson was listed in city directories as a laborer.
10/16/1919, Warranty Deed, John S. and Ollie Jenson, grantors; R. B. and Jacobine Miller, grantees, $575.
2/23/1920, Lien, D. E. Striplin, claimant vs. R. B. and Mrs. R. B. Miller, owners, for labor and materials for plumbing between 12/10/1919 and 1/1/1920, $88.45.
3/10/1920, Trust Deed, R. B. and Jacobine Miller, grantors; Robert H. Goodwin, Trustee, grantee, for various debts and a mortgage owed by the Millers and the assignment to R. Goodwin of Lots 21 and 22 to cover their debts.
7/31/1920, Trustees Deed, R. H. Goodwin, as Trustee, grantor; Ida J. and John Norfleet Boggan, her son, grantees, $1,250. The 1921-22 City Director lists, in addition to the mother and son Boggans, Drew W. Stockman, Helen L. Boggan, Morene G. Boggan, a teacher, and Gertie Boggan, wife of Norfleet Boggan all residing at 615 Juniper Street.
12/30/1920, Notice of Lien for Special Assessment, N. Boggan, owner, $140 for sidewalk.
9/22/1921, Quit Claim Deed, John Norfleet and Gertie Boggan, grantors; Ida J. and W. J. Boggan, grantees, $1 and other valuable considerations.
1/22/1926, Release of Lien, City of Walla Walla to Lottie C. Sams et al, John N. Boggan, owner, $140.
8/25/1932, Warranty Deed, Ida J. Boggan, a widow, grantor; Morene Boggan Songstad, whose husband is Bert Songstad, $1 and other valuable considerations.
6/26/1935, Notice of Lis Pendens, Gertrude V. Wilson, plaintiff vs. Ida J. Boggan, a widow, Morene and Bert Songstand, defendants, to secure a judgment against Ida J. Boggan for $500 + 8% interest, $260.83 in taxes, and $100 attorney fees, by means of a Sheriff’s sale of Lots 21 and 22.
10/2/1936, Sheriff’s Deed, C. A. Woodward, Sheriff of Walla Walla County, by L. W. Harman, Deputy, grantor; Gertrude V. Wilson, grantee, $1,127.35.
6/17/1947, Affidavit, Walter C. Boggan to The Public, to establish that he and John Norfleet Boggan are the sole survivors and heirs to the late Ida J. and W. J. Boggan.
6/17/1947, Quit Claim Deed, Walter C. Boggan and John Norfleet Boggan, sons and heirs of Ida J. and W. J. Boggan, deceased, grantors; Gertrude V. Wilson, grantee, $1.
12/11/1947, Quit Claim Deed, Clarence E. Wilson, grantor; Gertrude V. Wilson, his wife, grantee, consideration “Love and affection and $1.” Clarence Wilson was a carpenter at the VA Facility. The Wilsons lived at 1160 Ruth Street and never occupied 615 Juniper Street.
(No legal documents exist at Pioneer Title/Columbia Title for the years between 12/11/1947 above and 12/20/1971 below. No transactions were recorded in the General Index books in the County Auditor’s office between those years. No connection between Clarence and Gertrude Wilson, who owned the house in 1947, and Harry and Erma Smith, who sold it in 1971, was evident. Happily, this relationship was established in looking at the old hard-copy file in the County Assessor’s office. Only three transactions had been penciled on this document, but one stood out: “cc [court case] 10/62 Erma Wilson Smith.” Census records had already disclosed that Clarence Wilson died in 1956 and Gertrude Wilson in 1962. In October 1962 the property was transferred to Erma Wilson Smith who most probably was the daughter of Clarence and Gertrude Smith. Neither the Wilsons nor the Smiths ever occupied the house. A random search of reverse listings in city directories from 1937 [when Gertrude Wilson was awarded the property] through 1971 revealed a number of different non-owners residing at 615 Juniper; some years it was listed as vacant. It appears it was used as rental income for its owners over those 34 years.)
12/20/1971, Statutory Warranty Deed, Harry M. and Erma W. Smith, grantors; Dale A. and Sarah Enquist, grantees, $10 and other valuable considerations. Harry Smith had a rural delivery address in the 1971 city directory. The Enquists lived at 555 Juniper Street and did not occupy 615 Juniper Street.
6/8/1973, Statutory Warranty Deed, Dale A. and Sarah Enquist, grantors; Dennis H. and Carol Ann Meyers, grantees, $10 and other valuable considerations.
Construction of Building
The parcel currently defined as 615 Juniper includes two lots. The existing house occupies the east lot, Lot 21; the west lot, Lot 22, is vacant and forms part of the yard. None of the owners prior to 1903 built on the property. On November 2nd of that year, Lauren and Mary Holman deeded the two lots to Glen and Della Holman. The relationship between grantors and grantees is not known. However, it can be surmised that all four were probably associated with The Church of the Living God; on that same day, Glen and Della Holman deeded the property to trustees of The Church of the Living God. What is currently the house at 615 Juniper was built originally as a church building for this religious group, and was constructed on Lot 22. The original 1905 Sanborn Fire Map shows what is identified as “Saints’ Church” on this lot, Lot 21 being vacant. The 1905 Sanborn Fire Map that includes pasted-on updates through 1923 shows a house on Lot 21, Lot 22 being vacant except for a garage at the rear of the property that is labeled 615½. Building permits for Walla Walla do not exist prior to 1907, but from the above-referenced deed made to the church trustees in late 1903 and the fact that the church’s first inclusion in a city directory was in 1905, the building can most likely be dated to 1904.
The 1905 listing in the city directory for The Church of the Living God is included under miscellaneous (non-denominational) churches. Its location was defined as “n s Juniper e Center” (north side of Juniper east of Center). Rev. S. Price McCully was the pastor, with Sunday preaching at 2:30 in the afternoon and Sunday school at 10:30. Prayer meetings were held Wednesday evenings at 7:30. Sterling P. McCully’s name first appears in the 1904 city directory; no occupation is listed, and his residence was at 707 North 10th. The last city directory listing for the church appeared in the 1914 edition. (A census record for 1910 indicates a Sterling P. and Blanch McCully were residing in Guy, WA (Whitman County), a town that apparently no longer exists. As this is a fairly unusual name, there is a reasonable chance that this is indeed the former pastor.)
A very interesting article involving a church member appeared in the Walla Walla Statesman on January 27, 1906 as follows.
Mrs. Berg Declared Insane
Woman Found Surrounded by Followers of New Creed at Her Home Yesterday Evening.
Ill and weak, her mind distorted by the teachings of the strange creed of the saints of the “Church of the Living God,” a new religious sect which has gained a foothold in Walla Walla, Mrs. Mary Berg, a widow and mother of three illy-fed and illy-clad children, was declared insane in the superior court this morning and ordered committed to the hospital for the insane at Medical Lake by Judge Brents.
The three children, fatherless, and now practically motherless, will become charges of the county until some suitable and comfortable home can be found for them that they may be educated and become useful citizens.
Mrs Berg was found at her little home in Hawthorne avenue, in the eastern part of the city, by Sheriff Painter last night, ill and in a sadly demented condition. Surrounding her were J. C. Taylor, an expounder of the strange creed, and several of his followers. Mrs. Berg in her delirium was alternately casting out devils and praying for salvation and her ravings were being responded to by “amens,” and religious quotations by Taylor and several of his followers. Sheriff Painter bundled the woman into a hack and brought her to the county jail, where she spent a comparatively comfortable night. Dr. C. B. Stewart, county health physician, gave her medical attention. This morning when brought into court Mrs. Berg refused to answer questions put to her by the examining board, composed of Dr. Y. C. Blalock and Dr. Stewart. The woman was plainly insane and Judge Brents ordered her committed to the asylum. Taylor, with his strange creed, came in for a round roast, and there was some intimation that he was in a way responsible for the woman being in her present condition and should be prosecuted.
The new sect that Taylor represents is similar to the religious creed of the “Holy Rollers,” who attracted much attention in Oregon a year or so ago. Taylor has interested a number of people in the southeastern part of the city in his new belief and meetings have been held frequently in a tent on South Division street. The meetings are characterized by his followers working themselves up to a frenzy to the detriment of the peace and comfort of neighbors at night.
Just who Taylor was, and whether he was a minister of this church or a layman or perhaps a renegade from the main church who set up a tent revival charade, cannot be established. No listings for him could be found in city directories for the years surrounding this bizarre event involving Mrs. Berg and The Church of the Living God. Rev. McCully’s name only appeared as pastor in the 1905 city directory; ensuing years’ listings did not name a minister. The last listing for the church was in 1914.
The Church of the Living God, in its Walla Walla manifestation, was fairly short-lived. As noted above, John and Ollie Jenson acquired the defunct church and property in 1916. On October 11, 1916, Permit 2272 was issued by the city to John S. Jenson of 615 Juniper Street to “move and remodel building.” Mr. Jenson listed himself as contractor for the project. The former church was moved from the west lot to the east lot and reconfigured as a house. As no photographs exist of the structure when it was a church, it is impossible to determine what was done to reconstitute it as a house, but the overall appearance – a long and relative narrow rectangle with a fore-and-aft single gable – tends to give evidence of its former use. The full-width front porch is a later addition, and the window treatment is of course quite different from the original window placement.
- Whitman Archives
- Sanborn Fire Maps
- U. S. Census Records
- City Directories
- Mountain View Cemetery Records
- Mary Meeker, Lead Researcher