Captain George Vancouver Julia Butler Hansen Carlos Bulosan Ernestine Anderson Kurt Cobain Bill Gates & Paul Allen Home
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6819 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search

Features

Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Clara McCarty becomes first person to graduate from the Territorial University (of Washington) in June 1876.

HistoryLink.org Essay 222 : Printer-Friendly Format

In June 1876, Clara McCarty (1858-1929) is the first person to graduate from the Territorial University (of Washington) in Seattle. McCarty becomes a teacher and the first superintendent of schools in Pierce County.

Clara McCarty's mother,  Ruth Kincaid, arrived in Washington by wagon through Naches Pass and settled with her family in Sumner. She was 17 and acted as mother to her younger siblings. It is not known when her mother died. Clara's father, Jonathan C. McCarty, arrived in the West in 1854. Ruth and Jonathan were married in 1855. In 1858 they fled to Fort Steilacoom during an Indian disturbance, and Clara McCarty was born at Fort Steilacoom.

She grew up on the family farm near the Stuck River until the age of 12. At that time the family moved to Seattle so that the children could get a good education. Jonathan McCarty became a shopkeeper.

After three years of preparatory work, Clara McCarty entered the Territorial University. She began in a class of 17 students, but she was the only one to finish. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington in June 1876. In later years she told a reporter:

"The tuition was $30 a year and books were shipped from around the Horn from the east. Even in the '70s about 20 students a year worked their way through. Typewriters and fountain pens were unknown and even notebooks and pen and ink were scarce. Nearly all writing was done with pencil on foolscap paper" (Ryan).

Historian Clarence Bagley lists a Miss McCarty as one of two teachers at South School in September 1876. The South school was one of the three public schools in Seattle. This was undoubtedly Clara McCarty.

McCarty then went to Oakland, California, and did post-graduate work at the University of California. She later taught in the Puyallup Valley and in Tacoma. In 1880 she was elected superintendent of schools in Pierce County. She supervised the schools in Tacoma, Orting, Sumner, and Puyallup.

In 1880 McCarty married John H. Wilt (ca. 1852-1907). They had one daughter, Clara May. After her husband's death McCarty continued to be active in civic life. She served as YMCA secretary and was active in church and historical society work.

A University of Washington student dormitory, McCarty Hall, is named after her.

Sources:
Thomas Prosch, "A Chronological History of Seattle from 1850 to 1897" (typescript, dated 1900-1901, Special Collections, University of Washington Library), 241; University of Washington Alumni Association, Three-Quarters of a Century at Washington (Seattle: University of Washington Alumni Association, 1941), 9; The Seattle Times, January 31, 1929; Clarence Bagley, History of Seattle Vol. 1 (Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1916), 166; Charles M. Gates, The First Century at the University of Washington, 1861-1961 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1961), 36. Also see the McCarty family listed as Seattle residents in 1870 U.S. Census and 1871 Territorial Census for King County, Washington Territory ed. by Marjorie Rhodes (Seattle: Marjorie Rhodes, 1993), 30; Amy M. Ryan, "U.W.'s First Graduate Had Exemplary Life," The Seattle Times, Magazine, December 31, 1961, p. 11.
This essay was expanded and its date corrected on February 4, 2010, and the date of the school superintendent election was corrected on November 1, 2012.


Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Education | Firsts | Women's History |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You




Clara McCarty (1858-1929)



 
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org