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Early Settlers in Walla Walla

"The Mayor’s Message"

by Shaun Reeser

Source: Washington Statesman April 19, 1862, page 2, column 1

Subject: Mayor Whitman’s general policies for the city of Walla Walla

Synopsis: The editors cheerfully describe Mayor Whitman’s inaugural message to the City Council. The mayor calls for a fire department, permanent bridges, and strong education. Whitman clearly sees the early years of administration as important for the future of the city.


The Mayor’s Message

The message of Mayor Whitman, which we publish to-day [sic], is an able document, well worthy the careful perusal of every reader. His honor sets forth in a comprehensive view the leading wants of the city, and recommends the action necessary to give at once vitality and permanence to the organization, and impart thrift and energy to its growth. He dwells with great propriety upon the importance of the first year’s legislation to the future welfare of the city, and premises that it will form an important era in its progress and advancement. We trust this suggestion will have its proper weight in governing the legislation of the present Board of Commissioners, inasmuch as a solid superstructure is essentially necessary to the present and future successful administration of the affairs of the city.

Passing over the recommendations of the Mayor regarding the right of the city to land designated in the present boundary, and those also regarding the finances, his honor touches a popular chord when he calls special attention of the Council to the necessity of establishing a public school system. This is a most beneficent clause in the charter which authorizes the raising of a fund to be used specifically for the establishment and maintenance of free schools. We presume none in our midst will question the propriety of an early movement in this direction – certainly none will who in their boyhood days were sharers in the benefits arising through these popular institutions of learning. It is to be hoped that the recommendations of the Mayor may be heartily seconded by the Council, to the end that the movement may be speedily inaugurated. In this age of progression it certainly becomes every community to secure to the rising generation at least as good educational advantages as our fathers provided in days gone by. The community that would not cheerfully do this much, would be recreant to its highest interest.

The Mayor recommends to the Council the propriety of extending encouragement to the fire department of the city. This should be one of the first subjects of their attention, and should invoke their aid from time to time in nourishing and strengthening the organization, until it shall become in every way an efficient department. A most commendable degree of enterprise has been manifested thus far on the part of the members to sustain and give permanence to their organization. Let the Council aid in perfecting and perpetuating it, and thereby secure to the city a means of preventing conflagrations.

The Mayor calls the attention of the Council to the fact that the streams at the upper and lower end of the city need bridging, the creek cleaning out, etc. These are matters that should be attended to; and now that we have an organization, the people of this city will not longer wait for the County Commissioners to build the bridges. We trust the Council will take the matter in hand, and in its proper turn give it such attention as them may deem expedient.

The Mayor closes his message – which does honor alike to himself and the city – by assuring the Council that he will most cordially join his efforts with theirs in securing the adoptions of those measures which will most effectually contribute to the progress and advancement of the city.

Transcribed by Shaun Reeser