If there’s any decent place in this world, I’m Going to find it!George Washington, Founder of Centralia, Born August 15, 1817.
George Washington, a young African American man from Missouri, said this phrase before platting Centralia (formerly known as Centerville) in Lewis County, Washington. George Washington, the son of a black slave and a white woman of English descent, George crossed the continent on the Oregon Trail and settled where the Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers converge.
In these highly charged and political times, we must embrace our past and look at the people, like George Washington, who forever changed our community and destiny for the better. It is in our shared history and appreciation for trailblazers, visionaries, and humanitarians, like George, that we find common ground to communicate, cooperate, and endeavor to solve problems together. George, and his wife Mary Jane, left a legacy from which we continue to learn. Happy Birthday, George, and thank you!Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Councilmember and candidate for the State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District.
According to HistoryLink.org:
On January 8, 1875, George Washington (1817-1905) and his wife Mary Jane file the plat that establishes the town of Centerville, soon to be renamed Centralia, in Lewis County in Southwest Washington. George Washington, a pioneer from Virginia, is the son of an African American slave and a woman of English descent. For the next 30 years, he is a leading citizen, promoter, and benefactor of the town he founds.
From the Book “Centralia: the First Fifty Years” (Pg. 213):
When the first plat of the new town, just four blocks square, was finished, George Washington and his wife, Mary Jane, took the roll of paper and drove over tot he new county seat at Saundersville, later Chehalis, to the two-story courthouse on State Street. Before John West, the auditor, and his wife, Dora, as witness, on January 8, 1875, they filed their intention to lay out a new town. It read: This town of Centerville, Iys in the North Easte Corner of Section Eight, Township 14, Range two West. I have agreed to sell lots to any person for ten dollars per lot that want them to enny actual settlers. The Streets and Alleys are as follows, West Front Street 68 feet wide, East Front Street 66 feet wide. All the rest of the Streets are sixty feet wide, Three Alleys Twelve feet wide. Said Streets and Allays are hereby dedicated as highways for Public use.Read more from the book, “Centralia: the First Fifty Years,” and about the founding of the city of Centralia here.