Stanwood’s Namesake: Clara J. Stanwood Pearson
Introduction by Karen Prasse
|At the mouth of the Stillaguamish River in the late
1860s and early 1870s, the saloon, logging camp, and mail
stop now known as Stanwood,
Washington was called Centerville. Confusion over the many Centervilles all over the United States and its Territories
(Washington was still a territory at the time) compelled the
Postal Service to ask the local postmaster to select a more unique
name. In 1877, D. O. Pearson and his wife, Clara and young
children had recently arrived to establish a general
merchandise store. D.O. also took over as Postmaster -
he was the 7th in 7 years at this outpost. He submitted his wife’s
maiden name, Stanwood, and it was made official.
Clara Jane Stanwood was born in Lowell Massachusetts and raised by her grandmother because her mother died when she was only 4 years old. Her father left to serve in the Union Army in the Civil War and never returned. She must have formed an attachment to D. O. Pearson and his family because she followed them out to Whidbey Island in 1868 on her own at the age of 19. They married and farmed for seven years until D. O. invested in the mercantile at the mouth of the Stillaguamish River and brought his family there to live.
In 1905 she was honored by
Mary Allen as the "Mother of Stanwood" when
they and others from Stanwood attended an exposition in
Portland, Oregon representing their community and Snohomish
When she died, the Stanwood City Council adopted a resolution recognizing her "life work and best efforts dedicated to the upbuilding of our social conditions and municipal progress..." The following notice of her death in the Stanwood Tidings in 1910 leaves a record of her accomplishments.
|Twelve years after her death, while recognizing D. O Pearson on his 76th birthday, O. B. Iverson noted "Both Pearson and his wife were decided optimists -- saw only the bright side and refused to see the other side and they became either leaders or strong boosters for everything of interest to the community....she was fully his equal....While giving other important duties much of her time, she raised a large family and gave them the best training that brains and mother love could give to qualify them for life in this difficult world." Such recognition of women, though patronizing even for its day, is appreciated.|
|The house D. O. and Clara built in Stanwood about 1890 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and is now a historic house museum operated by the Stanwood Area Historical Society. In 2001 the Stanwood City Council proclaimed March 18th as the town's Clara Stanwood Day. In September 2003 an honorary marker was placed at the D. O. Pearson House in her honor by the Ann Washington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. .|
History of Pacific Northwest: Oregon and Washington...Portland, Oregon / North Pacific History Co., 1889, v. 2 p. 517
An Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties their People, Their Commerce and their Resources... Interstate Publishing Co., 1906., p. 975-6.
"Pioneer Woman Passes Away", Stanwood Tidings, July, 1910;
Iverson, O. B. "Throws Interesting Light on D. O. Pearson's Life." Stanwood Tidings (June 8, 1922): 3
"Council Proceedings, July 18, 1910", Stanwood Tidings July 22, 1910
Other sources include vital records (copies) and files held at the Stanwood Area Historical Society, Stanwood, WA
|© 2007 Stanwood Area Historical Society, Stanwood, WA All Rights Reserved|