Surely Goodness

American Revolution exhibit open at Schmidt House -- with a big a surprise for a local descendant

Exhibit runs until Wednesday 


How would you feel if you walked into a national exhibition and saw your own great-grandfather’s image and life narrative as part of the story? I would be absolutely shocked!

That is exactly what happened to Stuart Halson and Stephen Pahre on April 11, 2024, when they viewed a traveling exhibit making its way around the country. And they saw it right here in Tumwater at the historic Schmidt House.  

The exhibit, The American Revolution Experience, explores the lives of ordinary people who were affected by the events of the American Revolutionary War. Yes, it is an exhibit of ordinary people, but there were 231,000 soldiers in the Continental Army, which does not include all the civilians who provided food, supplies, medical care, and other civilian support. Only 23 people are highlighted in the exhibit. Again, what are the odds? 

Don't delay!

The event ends on April 17! There is a great diversity of experience and a high quality of story-telling with attention to detail and concern for accuracy. I encourage you to see the exhibit while it is still here.  See it on Saturday, Sunday (kids’ day), and Wednesday (each day 10 AM - 4 p.m.) at Schmidt House (see map). For more information call the Schmidt House office on 360-890-2299 or contact this writer as I coordinated the event. 

Who was Stephen Tainter 

Stephen Tainter was barely 16 years old when he joined his first patriot militia unit. Instead of a gun, Stephen carried a drum. During the American Revolution, some young patriots who were not yet old enough to enlist as regular soldiers instead served as musicians.

Stephen and his fellow drummers performed vital services in camp and on the battlefield. The beat of Stephen's drum kept soldiers in synch as they marched. Stephen beat out a cadence to rise soldiers for the day, gather for meals, and end the day's work.

Importantly, Stephen helped translate commanding officers' orders on the battlefield. His loud drumbeats carried over long distances and above the noise of battle. He joined his first unit, Sparhawk's regiment, just in time to spend the winter of 1776-1777 with the Continental Army in New Jersey.

Tainter served in the war for eight years by the time he was 24 years old. After the war, he worked 30 years as a physician and had a family that has, obviously, survived to this date! To read about his adventures, click here.  

About a couple of his descendants 

Steve Pahre is a Pharmacist and got his degree at WSU. Stuart Halson, his uncle, received a Business BA from the Foster School at the University of Washington and a JD Law degree from Gonzaga.  Stuart is retired now, but practiced in Centralia and served in both the State House of Representatives and State Senate.

He also served ten years on the Centralia College Board of Trustees and is currently a trustee and the treasurer of the ALL Foundation of Washington State that manages the endowments for the Archives, Library and Legacy Programs through the Secretary of State's office. Stuart’s wife, Kathy, is a retired Special Education Teacher with almost 40 years in the Centralia School District focused on Pre-School Special Ed and Autism. She received both her BA and Masters from Western Washington University. 

Here’s how they are related, words from Stuart, “Stephen was my fifth Great Grandfather... his son Stephen Gorham Tainter was my fourth... Gor, as he was called, had a daughter Julia Catherine (Tainter) Nickerson my third Great Grandmother and Julia's daughter Lois (Nickerson) Kellogg my Great Great Grandmother.  Her daughter Jessie (Kellogg) McPherson my Great Grandmother.. her son Herbert McPherson was my Grandfather whom I knew... and his daughter Estella was my mother. That's just the relevant line.  Gor married Anna Hurd, whose father, Lewis Hurd, was the Sergeant serving in Lafayette's Light Infantry at Yorktown and who was part of the 200 Americans who took Redoubt #10 under Hamilton. Herbert's wife Blanche Woolley my Grandmother... her line goes back to Nathaniel Wooley of Concord."

The other people featured in the exhibit are young/old, Patriots/Loyalists, black/white/Native American, born in North America or Europe, free/enslaved.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here