Morton Matthew McCarver

Madison County, Kentucky, USA
Death 17 Apr 1875 (aged 68)
Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, USA
Burial Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, USA
Memorial ID 11174360 · View Source
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On April 1, 1868, promoter Morton Matthew McCarver (1807-1875) arrives at Eureka, on Commencement Bay. Recognizing the location's potential as a terminus for the Northern Pacific Railroad, he will purchase 163 ¾ acres from Job Carr, who had settled there three years earlier. McCarver (and others) will name the townsite Tacoma.
McCarver was a businessman, public official, farmer, and promoter who speculated in real estate in Burlington, Iowa; Sacramento; and near Portland. Despite his boomer activities, he never quite became successful. From Portland, McCarver traveled to Olympia to explore opportunities and there learned about available land on Commencement Bay. When he saw the sheltered bay with its dramatic view of the mountain known in the Salish language as Tacoma, later renamed Mount Rainier, he realized that it was a natural location for a city.
McCarver negotiated to buy most of Job Carr's claim (Carr kept five acres around his cabin) for $600 cash and 100 acres in Oregon. McCarver invited other investors to file claims and buy property there.
McCarver platted a town he called Commencement City. After discussion with Philip Ritz, he hit on Tacoma, the Salish word for the mountain that Europeans renamed Rainier. When McCarver learned that Job Carr's son Anthony had also filed a townsite plat called Tacoma, McCarver called his Tacoma City. These sites and the Northern Pacific's New Tacoma all became Tacoma.

More info (from Jay): General Morton Matthew McCarver, founder of the city of Tacoma, lies buried in a family plot at Old Tacoma Cemetery. Until twenty-five years ago, only a small concrete rectangle bearing the initials "M.M.Mc" marked his final resting place. In 1974, following an effort initiated by Ruth McBride Powers, a former Oregon DAR State Regent and then owner of the old McCarver home at Oregon City, a marble monument was placed to commemorate this pioneer city-builder and restless visionary. The inscription on the monument (punctuation added) reads: "MORTON MATTHEW MCCARVER, GENERAL, IOWA AND OREGON MILITIAS; BORN IN MADISON COUNTY, KENTUCKY, JANUARY 14, 1807, DIED AT TACOMA, WASHINGTON, APRIL 17, 1875; PIONEER AND FOUNDER OF BURLINGTON, IOWA - 1883; LINNTON, OREGON - 1843; TACOMA, WASHINGTON - 1868." ("The Researcher," Vol. 30, Issue 2, Pg 84)

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