Olympia Mayor 1859-1861

Elwood Evans


On January 28, 1859 the Washington State Territorial Legislature adopted Articles of Incorporation for the Town of Olympia, and appointed Elwood Evans to serve on a 5-person interim Town Board until the first Olympia elections were held.

The interim Board convened for its first meeting on February 12, 1859. At that meeting, Evans and fellow Trustee George A. Barnes were appointed as a Committee to draft ByLaws for the Town Board. On February 24, 1859, the committee of Barnes and Evans presented recommended ByLaws to the Town Board, which were unanimously adopted.

On April 14, 1859, Mr. Evans was appointed by the newly elected Board to a vacant position created by the resignation of William Rutledge. At that meeting, Evans was also selected by his fellow Board Trustees to serve as President of the Town Board for 1859.

Elwood Evans Resources

Northwest Illustrations Collection, Washington State University LibrariesA collection of 53 selected illustrations taken from the rare book, History of the Pacific Northwest: Oregon and Washington. Elwood Evans was the main contributor to this series of volumes published in 1889, the same year Washington was granted Statehood.

Excerpts from The Works of Herbert Howe Bancroft,
Volume XXXI, History of Washington, Idaho, and Montana 1845-1889, published in San Francisco by The History Company, 1890.

(Elwood) Evans was born in Philadelphia, December 29, 1828. Wishing to come to the Pacific coast, he was tendered the apointment of deputy clerk to the collector of Puget Sound, and accepted.

Evans sailed from New York, August 14th (1851) in the steamship Prometheus, which connected with the Independence at San Juan de Sur, arriving in San Francisco, September 17th. The ramainder of the voyage to Puget Sound was performed in the brig George Emory, owned by Lafayette Balch of Port Steilacoom, which left October 24th, and arrived off Port Townsend November 10th, where the collector (Simpson P. Moses of Ohio) and his deputy (Evans) were sworn in by Henry C. Wilson, justice of the peace of Lewis county.

He (Evans) returned to Philadelphia in 1852, and came out again in 1853 as private secretary to (Washington Territorial) Governor Stevens. From that time he carefully observed and noted the progress of events, in which he took no insignificant personal interest. By profession a lawyer, he resided at Olympia from 1851 to 1879, when he removed to New Tacoma. He married Elzira Z. Gove of Olympia, formerly of Bath, Maine, on the 1st of January, 1856.

Evans describes, in a journal kept by him at that time, and incorporated in his Historical Notes on Settlement, the appearance of Olympia in the winter of 1851-2. There were "about a dozen one-story frame cabins of primitive architecture, covered with split-cedar siding, well ventilated, but healthy. There were about twice that number of Indian huts a short distance from the custom-house, which was in the second story of Simmons' building, on the first floor of which was his store, with a small room partitioned off for a post-office."