September 23: William Farand Prosser (1911)

In his 77-year life, William F. Prosser lived in many places and did many things. When twenty years old, after teaching school and surveying in Pennsylvania, he set out across the plains in the trail of the gold rush, hoping to strengthen a frail physique. When he reached California, in 1854, he was as rugged and hardy as the other prairie schooner voyagers, and he served as an officer in the volunteer company that was raised to fight the hostile Indians of that district. With the outbreak of the Civil War he returned East, and was offered a commission in the regular army by President Lincoln. Passing through the battles of Shiloh, Stone River, Chicamaugua and the siege of Knoxville, the close of the war saw him in command of the cavalry of the District of North Alabama. Once he was taken prisoner and had a narrow escape from death.

Colonel Prosser figured in the stormy scenes of reconstruction in Tennessee, serving in the legislature, and in 1868 he was elected to Congress. While in Washington, he became associated with Epiphany. He is listed as a communicant in the parish records and he was confirmed at the church in 1871. He was later appointed postmaster at Nashville, and was named as commissioner for the state of Tennessee to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. For ten years, partly before and partly after this first big exposition held in America, he acted as an official, and made trips to Europe to study other exhibitions. Prosser was perhaps the first conservator of government timber in the Northwest, having been sent to the Pacific coast in 1879 as special agent of the general land office, with Washington, Oregon and Idaho timber in his charge. He founded the town of Prosser, Washington, which was named for him. Elected auditor of Yakima County, he moved to North Yakima and from there was sent as a delegate to the Washington state constitutional convention in 1889.

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