This story originally aired on January 20, 2018.
“Here Come The Brides” was a short-lived television show from the late 1960s. In the show, 1860s Seattle is faced with losing its lumberjacks to other cities because Seattle doesn’t have enough women, until they import a bunch of marriageable ladies from the East Coast, and hilarity ensues.
Kind of an outlandish premise, right? Except that it really happened. Asa Mercer was president of the University of Washington (at the time they had exactly one student), and he took it on himself find wives for the loggers in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Sue Armitage is a former professor of history at Washington State University. She told us the story of this unusual journey to Washington Territory.