Masquerade Ball held in Seattle's Pavilion attended by 300 on February 23, 1874.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 8/09/1999
  • Essay 1611
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On February 23, 1874 at 8 p.m., the citizens of Seattle put on a Masquerade Ball at the Pavilion, with an attendance of some 300 including about 50 couples in costume and about 200 spectators. "'The affair' proved to be the most successful one of the kind in this city." (All quotes are from The Weekly Intelligencer, February 28, 1874.)

Yesler's Habit

Mr. R. Griffin, the first to arrive, came dressed as an "Old Forty-niner" and was the evening's greeter. He "sustained his character to perfection, and welcomed each masker's arrival in the 'hail fellow' style of earlier days on this coast." Henry Yesler also arrived early and served as one of the floor managers of the evening's events. Yesler had a habit, which was to play a part later that evening, of always whittling on a stick. For the evening's festivities he left his jack-knife at home.

The masqueraders started arriving and by 10 p.m. the Pavilion was crowded. The spectators, crowded on the platform, had a good view of the masqueraders. "The Organ Grinder and his Monkey" (John Levy & J. H. Carney) "attracted much attention." Miss Bessie Terry, about 11 years old, came as "An Old Lady" and sustained her character so well that she was awarded a gold neck chain for lady's first prize.

"[T]he chief attraction of the evening, and who was greeted with shouts of laughter on his entering the hall, was Mr. A. W. Piper, who represented the character of H. L. Yesler." Mr. Piper appeared with jack-knife in hand whittling a piece of pine with "Tacoma" marked on it, and at a distance it was difficult to tell which was the original." [The Northern Pacific Railroad had chosen Tacoma over Seattle for its terminus a few months earlier, to the disgust of Seattleites.] By some hocus pocus, Mr. Piper secured Mr. Yesler's every-day suit of clothes, his hat and his jack-knife; and when he entered the room, Mr. Yesler (who was acting floor manager,) was completely nonplussed. Doubtless with a view that no mistakes might be committed by any of his lady friends, the latter gentleman took the precaution to append to his back a placard, on which were these words: 'This is the original H. L. Yesler; the other cuss is a fraud!' Mr. Piper, of course, was awarded the gold pen and holder for the gentleman's best sustained character."

Professor Wood provided "excellent" music and the "calling" by Mr. Luranger "pleased all present." "The party did not break up until a late hour, and even then the merry crowd seemed loath to depart."

Following is a partial list of the masqueraders. The number of maskers made it almost an impossibility to secure all the names and characters assumed, but the annexed list comprises the principal ones:

Ladies Costumes

  • Miss Baldwin -- Ghost
  • Miss Baldwin -- Turkish Girl
  • Miss Blanchard -- Queen of Chess
  • Mrs. Carney -- School Girl
  • Miss Louisa Coombs -- Seattle Post Office
  • Miss Crossen -- Starlight
  • Miss Downs -- Fancy Dress
  • Miss DuBois -- Spanish Lady
  • Mrs. H. G. Farnham --- The Bride
  • Mrs. E. G. Farnham -- Court Lady
  • Mrs. G. W. Hall -- Fancy Dress
  • Miss L. Hanson -- Red Riding Hood
  • Mrs. A. Hill -- Diana the Huntress
  • Miss Horton (of Olympia) -- Page
  • Mrs. Ingalls (of Kalama) -- Spanish Girl
  • Miss Jamieson -- Flower Girl
  • Mrs. Levi -- Fancy Dress
  • Mrs. Lyon -- Folly
  • Miss Patterson (of Olympia) -- Tambourine Girl
  • Misses Prothero -- Night and Starlight
  • Miss S. Rickards -- Fireman
  • Miss Roper -- Shepherdess
  • Mrs. Silverman (of Kalama) -- Nan, the Good-for-Nothing
  • Miss Mary Smith -- Highland Lassie
  • Miss Bessie Terry -- An Old Lady
  • Miss Nelly Terry -- Winter
  • Miss Theobalds -- Big Bonnet
  • Mrs. Wheeler -- Canadian Squaw
  • Mrs. Woodward -- Court Lady
  • Mrs. Yesler -- Flag of the Union

Gents Costumes

  • Austin Bell --Turnip
  • Capt. Belmont -- Fool of the Family
  • John Blanchard -- (see D. T. Wheeler)
  • R. Bonny [Bonney] Schneider -- U. S. Mule Driver
  • B. Brown -- Harlequin
  • E. H. Brown -- Father Time, running on Jamieson's time
  • J. H. Carney -- (see John Levy)
  • Wm. Fife -- He Mermaid
  • J. [Jacob] Frauenthal -- Battery Doctor
  • Dr. Grasse -- Turk
  • R. Griffin -- Old '49 Miner
  • G. [George] W. Hall -- Wild Man of the Woods
  • F. [Frank] Hertzell -- Cavilier [sic]
  • N. Hilton -- Gentleman
  • John Jamieson [John L. Jamieson] -- King Stork
  • Matt. A. Kelly -- Gnome
  • Kribbs (of Tacoma) -- Big Head
  • Levi -- Coal Miner
  • John Levy & J. H. Carney -- Organ Grinder and Monkey
  • J. M. Lyon -- Swell
  • W. Meydenbauer -- Innocence Abroad
  • Z. C. Miles -- Mon O' War's Man
  • J. F. Morrill -- Fancy Dress
  • Thos. Orcutt -- Minister [or Swell]
  • Chas. Pagden -- The Sun, Moon, and Stars
  • C. C. Perkins -- Jack of Hearts
  • A. W. Piper -- H. L. Yesler
  • Master F. Pontius [Frank A. Pontius] -- Chinaman [sic]
  • L. [Leonard L.] Reinig -- Exquisite Swell
  • Wm. Rickards -- Shoe-black
  • H. W. Rowland -- Reporter
  • George Sidney -- Priest
  • A. [Al] Smith -- Capt. Jinks
  • L. [Lew] Smith -- Naval Officer
  • W. Wallace [or Wallis] -- Zouave
  • D. T. Wheeler and John Blanchard -- Ku-Klux Klan
  • Wm. Wright -- Darkey
  • Fred. Young -- Harlequin
  • Horace Young -- Uncle Sam


The Weekly Intelligencer, (Seattle) February 21, 1874, p. 3; February 28, 1874, p. 3; Puget Sound Dispatch, (Seattle), February 26, 1874, p. 3.

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