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The following article was taken from:  Prosser, William Farrand, "A HISTORY OF THE PUGET SOUND COUNTRY", Volume II, The Lewis Publishing Company, New York, 1903, pp529 - 531.

 

HISTORY OF THE PUGET SOUND COUNTRY.                                    

Frederick Meyer.                                               

       Frederick Meyer, farmer, capitalist, and old settler of Lakeview, Wash-
ington, was born in Westphalia, Germany, in 1825, and is a son of Henry and
Mena (Passe) Meyer, who were natives of the same place and died there.
The father was a miller and millwright, and the son learned that trade.
       In 1845 Mr. Meyer came to the United States, locating in New Jersey,
where he obtained a position in a mill at Uniontown.   He could not speck
English when he arrived, but soon picked it up.  Very soon after his arrival
in Uniontown he started out on a very stormy morning to take his washing
to a laundress, and lost his way.  He finally reached the railroad track and
started in a direction he thought would lead him back to Uniontown, but in-
stead it took him to Jersey City.  He then decided to cross to New York,
and having heard a good deal about the Mexican war he enlisted in a volun-
teer regiment in that city under Major Raines and was sent to Mexico.  There
he was a soldier for eighteen months under General Scott.  At the close of
the Mexican war he returned  to New York, and having conceived a liking
for army life, he enlisted as a soldier in the United States regular army, First
Artillery.   With his battalion he was ordered to Washington territory under
Captain Hill, and they made the long trip around South America in the
Steamer Massachusetts, passing through the strait and on up the western
coast.  San Francisco was not then in existence, nor had Portland dawned
upon the horizon of commercial life.  They entered the Columbia river after
a trying delay of seven days, working their way over the bar at the mouth
of that river, and landed at Vancouver, Washington territory, in the latter
part of 1848, and, as far as known, that early landing renders our subject
the oldest living settler of Washington.
       After a few weeks at Vancouver, Mr. Meyer, with a detachment of
soldiers, came up to the bay where Steilacoom, one of the oldest towns in
Washington, has since been built. Here he helped to build Fort Steilacoom
and raised the United States flag over it. This fort occupied the present
site of the state insane asylum. He also, with Mr. Balch, another noted old-
timer, built the first house in the town of Steilacoom. During the Indian
wars in this vicinity the fort became well known, and General Grant spent
several weeks there.
       After three or four years in the army stations at Fort Steilacoom, Mr.
Meyer decided to resign and engage in farming.  He accordingly took up
a donation claim at Clover creek , several miles east, and which now lies about
the center of Pierce county as since organized.  This farm he now owns, al-
though he has left the vicinity, not having lived there since 1878.  He moved
from there to his present fine farm at the head of Lake Steilacoom, two miles
west of the town of Lakeview, which is his postoffice.  After moving to this
locality he became interested in a flour mill at Steilacoom owned by Thomas
M. Chambers, and he operated the mill for Mr. Chambers, and then rented it
and conducted it for himself.  He also laid out the town of Custer at his
place at the head of Lake Steilacoom.  Then came hard times, which
prevented the development of the town at that time, and he has never taken
the matter up since.  In fact he has been practically retired for several years,
and lives quietly and pleasantly at his beautiful home.  This has been the
family residence for twenty-five years.  He has large real estate interests
in Pierce county, including city lots in Tacoma and has always been suc-
cessful, prosperous man since he became fairly started in life.  He recalls
many interesting adventures and tales of those early days which are great
value, and should be collected by some historical society.  For several years
he served as justice of the peace, and is a Democrat in politics.
       Mr. Meyer was happily married to Aggnette Chambers, widow of Thomas
M. Chambers , referred to as connected with our subject in milling operations.
Mr. Chambers was one of the old settlers of Steilacoom and very highly es-
teemed.  He had located originally, however, in Thurston county, arriving
there in 1845, but moved to Steilacoom later when the fort was built, and
erected  a sawmill, one of the first in the Puget Sound county.  Mr. and Mrs.
Chambers came here from Oregon.

 

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