Biography of Hon. Clanrick Crosby

HON. CLANRICK CROSBY. – This gentleman, of whom an excellent portrait appears in our work, was born in East Brewster, Massachusetts, January 6 1838. He is a son of Captain Clanrick and Phoebe H. (Fessenden) Crosby. In 1849 he came with his parents via Cape Horn on board the brig Grecian, of which his father was captain and part owner. The father was a sea-faring man until his arrival in San Francisco in the above year. After a short stay there, he brought his vessel to Portland, and there selling her quit the sea.

The family remained in Portland, Oregon, during the spring and summer of 1850, while Mr. Crosby, Sr., went to Milton, Oregon, where the family joined him during the summer, excepting the son Clanrick, who was attending school at Tualatin Academy at Forest Grove, then in its incipiency.

In the fall of 1850, the father went to Puget Sound and purchased the famous water-power and mill property at Tumwater, Washington Territory (then Oregon), the family following him in the spring of 1851. Here the Captain resided until his death. When Clanrick had attained his majority, he learned the trade of wagon and carriage maker, which business he followed for five years. He then found employment in his father’s store for one year. Then, embarking in the manufacture of buckets, he introduced the first pail made by machinery in Washington Territory. After this he became a member of the firm of Leonard, Crosby & Cooper, and engaged in the manufacture of sashes and doors in Tumwater; but in six months he sold out and undertook a sawmilling enterprise near Black river, which he continued for two years.

Then, seeking a new location, he came to the now flourishing town of Centralia, Lewis county, Washington, which had then just been laid out. It was owned by a colored man who rejoiced in the great name of the “Father of his Country,” and was situated on the line of the Northern Pacific Railroad, midway between Kalama on the Columbia river and Tacoma on Puget Sound. At that time there was but one house in the town, owned and occupied by Mr. Isaac Wingard; and it served the quadruple purpose of dwelling, hotel, store and postoffice. Mr. Crosby, perceiving the natural advantages of the place, proceeded to erect a store on the right-of-way of the railroad. Although not owner of the townsite, he may be regarded as the founder of the place. In 1874 he purchased his present store property, where he is now actively engaged in business, and owns considerable town, farm and mill property.

In 1884 Mr. Crosby was elected to the territorial legislature on the Republican ticket. Prior to this, while living in Tumwater, he held the office of county commissioner of Thurston county for one term. Mr. Crosby is a strong advocate of temperance, and has been a lifelong Republican. As his portrait indicates, he is a strong and intelligent man, whose influence would be felt in any community.

He was married in Tumwater December 23, 1863, to Martha Ward, a native of Illinois. They have had four children, – Ella M., Carrie E. (deceased), Fannie and Walter E.

The enterprise and success of Mr. Crosby, a worthy son of the famous old pioneer, who was surpassed by no one in establishing the commerce of Oregon and Washington Territory, show that the sons of the founders of the Northwest are able to take their fathers’ places. Such instances are encouraging to those interested in the development of our great section; for they prove that the high endeavors which actuated the builders of our states still move those left to complete and adorn them.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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