Clanrick & Phebe Crosby

It is appropriate that Clanrick Crosby is buried in the Masonic Cemetery here in Tumwater. Even though he was not among the original pioneers who founded New Market in 1845, he was the one who was responsible for giving Tumwater its shape and for fostering its industrial growth.

He was born in Massachusetts in 1814. Unlike so many of the early settlers, he did not cross the Oregon Trail. A member of a seafaring family, he captained a ship that sailed into Portland in the spring of 1850. With him he brought a brother, a sister, their spouses and children, the children of another brother that included Nathaniel Crosby, and his own wife and children. He arrived in the Puget Sound area in April, 1850.

He purchased the rights to the grist and saw mills along the Deschutes River in Tumwater from Michael T. Simmons and took out a Donation Land Claim that included Tumwater's upper, middle and lower falls. By so doing he held the key to Tumwater's economic development. He also devised the initial plat of the City of Tumwater. Although the official plat on record at the Thurston County Auditor's Office is dated 1869, it is apparent from property records that he had platted Tumwater as early as 1857.

Sometime in the 1850s he started a mercantile store. The Crosby Store was an important fixture in Tumwater for years. He sold land to Ira Ward and Smith Hays for their flour and saw mills in 1857, to James Biles for his tannery in 1859, to Franklin B. Kendall for his sash and door factory in 1869 and to William Horton for his pipe factory in 1870. He supervised his own flour and saw mills.

In 1863 he started construction on a grand new flour mill, but did not complete it until 1866. The Crosby Lincoln Flour Mill was a magnificent structure, 40 x 60 feet in size and 5 'li stories high. In photographs of Tumwater, it dominates the landscape. The building burned in 1905, long after it had left the possession of the Crosby family.

Clanrick and Phebe Crosby were married in Boston in 1837. They were blessed with 6 children: Clanrick, Jr., Phebe Louisa, Cecelia, Fannie, William and Walter. When Phebe died in 1871, her obituary stated that, "She will be long remembered for her estimable virtues." When Clanrick died in 1879, his obituary read, "Mr. Crosby was one of the old pioneers of Thurston county, and up to the time of his prostration, he had become so identified with the commercial interests of Olympia and Tumwater that his name was a household word throughout the upper Sound county."

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