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Mason County was organized in 1854 and was originally part of Thurston County. It was first called Sawamish and later changed to Mason after C.W. Mason, the secretary of the first territorial governor. The county is located on the southwestern end of the Hood Canal and Puget Sound, and extends into the Olympic Mountains to the north. Much of the county's early history centered around road building as the early settlers were forced to cut through heavy stands of timber to gain access to trading centers. Today, Mason County's primary economic activity is in the production of wood products and logging.

Bounded by: Jefferson and Kitsap counties (N), Pierce County (E), Thurston County (S), and Grays Harbor County (W).

County Seat: Mt. Olive, now called Oakland, (1854-1888) and Shelton, originally founded as "Sheltonville", (1888 - present).

Chamber(s) of Commerce:

North Mason Chamber of Commerce, Mary E. Theler Center, Highway 3, Belfair, WA 98528. Phone 360-275-4898.

Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce, 230 W Railroad Ave, PO Box 2389, Shelton, WA 98584. Phone 360-426-2021. Fax 360-426-8678.

Courthouse: Building I, 411 N 5th, Shelton, WA 98584. Courthouse hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00pm.

Assessor: PO Box J. Phone 360-427-9670, ext. 492. Fax 360-427-7792. Be patient!

Auditor: PO Box 400. Phone 360-427-9670, ext. 471. Fax 360-427-1753. Monday mornings and Friday afternoons usually very busy - assistance can be limited by current business. Last day of month not recommended.

Clerk: 4th and Alder, PO Box 340. Phone 360-427-9670, ext. 347. Fax 360-427-7266. Research fee $20.00 per hour, $10.00 minimum. Charges for documents: $2.00 for the first page and $1.00 for each additional page. Adoptions are sealed and cannot be opened without court order.

Treasurer: PO Box 429. Phone 360-427-9670, ext. 477. Fax 360-427-7267.

Genealogical Society:

Mason County Genealogical Society, PO Box 1535, Shelton, WA 98544-1535. Membership available. Newly started library of genealogical materials.

Health Department / District:

Mason County Department of Health Services, 303 N 4th, Shelton, WA 98584. Phone 360-427-9670. Fax 360-427-7798.

Historical Society:

Mason County Historical Society, PO Box 1366, Shelton, WA 98584. Membership available. Operates the Mason County Historical Society Museum and an exhibit at the Mason County Fairgrounds.

Libraries - Academic:

Libraries - Public:

Timberland Regional Library, 415 Airdustrial Way SW, Olympia (Thurston County), WA 98501-5799. Phone 360-943-5001. Fax 360-586-6838. [Headquarters only]. The following libraries are part of this system:

Belfair-North Mason Timberland Library, NE 23081 Hwy 3, Box 1239, Belfair, WA 98528-1239. Phone 360-275-3232. Fax 360-275-3232.

Hoodsport Timberland Library, N 64 Lk Cushman Ste 107, PO Box 847, Hoodsport, WA 98548-0847. Phone 360-877-9339. Fax 360-877-9695.

William G. Reed Public Library, 7th & Alder, Shelton, WA 98584-2571. Phone 360-426-3512. Fax 360-426-2959.

Libraries - Special:

Mason County Law Library, County Courthouse, Shelton, WA 98484. Phone 360-427-9670.

Squaxin Island Tribal Library, SE 70 Squaxin Lane, Shelton, WA 98584. Phone 360-426-9781. Fax 360-426-6577.

Museums and Historical Sites:

Mason County Historical Society Museum, Railroad Ave and 5th St, Shelton, WA 98584. Exhibits of early county history. Collection includes files on early history, families, newspapers, census, probate and death records, and extensive photo display.

State Archive Branch:

Southwest Region (Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Skamania, Thurston and Wahkiakum counties). 1120 Washington St. SE, PO Box 40238, Olympia, WA 98504-0238. Phone 360-753-1684. Fax 360-664-8814. Research Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon and 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

 

SELECTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY

ATLASES, GAZETTEERS, MAPS - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

ATLASES, GAZETTEERS, MAPS - Published sources

Kroll Map Company, inc. Atlas of King, Snohomish, Kitsap and Mason counties, 1926-1927. Kroll Map Co., 1927.

Map of Mason County. 1930. Rev. to June 9, 1937. Washington (State). Dept. of Highways, 1937?.

Maps of Pacific County, Washington Territory, Historic Oysterville & 1860 Map of Tokeland-North Cove area. n.p., n.d.

Metsker, Charles Frederick. Metsker's atlas of Mason County, Washington. Metsker Maps, 1955.

Metsker Maps. Metsker's Mason County atlas. Metsker Maps, 1988

Metsker Maps. Metsker's Mason County atlas. Metsker Maps, 1989.

Metsker's atlas of Mason County, Washington. Metsker Maps, 1969.

Reese, Gary Fuller. Origin of geographic names in Mason County, Washington. Tacoma Public Library, 1980

Roadrunner Maps. Mason County street atlas. Roadrunner Maps, 1995. **other editions available

BIBLES - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

BIBLES - Published sources

BIBLIOGRAPHIES - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

BIBLIOGRAPHIES - Published sources

Chehalis Valley Historical Museum. Union list of periodicals for Chehalis Valley Historical Museum, Mason County Historical Society Museum, McCleary Museum. McCleary Museum, 1992.

BIOGRAPHIES / DIARIES - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

BIOGRAPHIES / DIARIES - Published sources

Schultz, Mildred. Skokomish treasure. T. Wilson, Windows of Heaven, 1984.

BIRTHS - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

Mason County Auditor's office

Delayed registration of births, 1/13/1942-4/3/1943

BIRTHS - Published sources

BUSINESSES & COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

BUSINESSES & COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS - Published sources

CEMETERIES - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

CEMETERIES - Published sources

Cemetery records Shelton, Mason County, Washington. Genealogical Society, 1958.

Smeltzer, Jean Allyn. 1880 United States census of Mason County, Washington Territory. n.p., 1972.

CENSUS - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

CENSUS - Published sources

Ackerman, Dolores Dunn. Census, Washington Territory : Mason County, 1889. Stack Enterprises, 1986.

CHURCHES - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

CHURCHES - Published sources

Porter, Clara. Records of the United Methodist Church in Shelton, Washington, 1886-1931. F.R. Porter, 1993.

CITY / COUNTY DIRECTORIES

Johnson's ... Shelton, Washington, city directory. Johnson Pub. Co., 1972-1974.

Polk's Olympia city and Thurston and Mason Counties directory. R. L. Polk & Co., 1919-1927.

Polk's Olympia city and Thurston and Mason Counties (Washington) directory. R. L. Polk & Co., 1929-1936.

Polk's Shelton (Mason County, Wash.) city directory. R. L. Polk & Co., 1960-1969.

R. L. Polk & Co.'s Olympia city and Thurston and Mason Counties directory. The Company, 1915-1916.

Shelton, Washington, city directory. Johnson Pub. Co., 1977-1990.

Special residential edition of the Shelton, Washington city directory. Johnson Pub. Co., 1977-1981..

CITY / COUNTY HISTORIES - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

Washington State University, Holland Library, Manuscripts, Archives & Special Collections

A brief historical sketch of Mason County, Washington : typescript. n.d. 4 p.

CITY / COUNTY HISTORIES - Published sources

Angle, Grant Colfax. A brief history of Shelton, Washington; a collaboration. n.p., 1940.

Bearden, Jean L. A history of Hoodsport, gateway to the Olympics : Ida's story. Jean L. Bearden, 1987.

Cartwright, Marvin. The logging camp adventures of Marvin and Tommy. M. Cartwright, 1995.

Clayson, Edward. Historical narratives of Puget Sound, Hood's Canal, 1865-1885.[Also titled A History of Seabeck, Washington]. Ye Galleon Press, 1969 **other editions available

Deegan, Harry W. History of Mason county, Washington. Rev. ed. 1971. **other editions available

Fredson, Michael. Log towns : New Market, Arcadia, North Bay, Union City, Kamilche, New Kamilche, Shelton's Point, Shelton, Lilliwaup Falls, Potlatch, Matlock, Bordeaux. n.p., 1993

_______. Oakland to Shelton, the sawdust trail. Mason County Historical Society, 1992. **other edition available

_______. Shelton's boom : the classic years, 1910-1933. Northwest Arts Foundation, 1982.

Hitchcock, Beulah. The island remembers : a history of Harstine Island and its people. Harstine Women's Club, 1979.

Holbrook, Stewart Hall. Green commonwealth: a narrative of the past and a look at the future of one forest products community. Dogwood Press, 1950. **other edition available

James, David A. Big Skookum; a story of 100 logging years in Mason County: 1853-1953. n.p., 1953.

_______. Grisdale, last of the logging camps : a photo story of Simpson camps from 1890 into 1986. Mason County Historical Society, 1986.

Keatts, Robert. Mining on the North Fork Skokomish River. Mason County Historical Society, 1982.

Knowlton, Effie DeForest Boyer. Tales from a Tahuya log. Frontier Pub., 1992.

Labbe, John T. Logging to the salt chuck : over 100 years of railroad logging in Mason County, Washington : pictorial history of Simpson Timber Company associated logging railroad operations including the Arcata & Mad River Railroad. NorthWest Short Line, 1990.

Nelson, Humphrey. The little man and the little oyster. Mason County Historical Society, 1990.

Nelson, Nellie. Brief history of Mason County, Washington. n.p., 1963.

Olsen, Susan C. An illustrated history of Mason County, Washington. Mason County Senior Center, 1978.

Overland, Larry. Early settlement of Lake Cushman. Mason County Historical Society, 1974.

People, land and trees: the story of Simpson Timber Company a century after its 1890 founding in Shelton, Washington. [videorecording]. Ron Sanford and Simpson Public Affairs, 1990?.

Ramsey, Guy Reed. Postmarked Washington: Jefferson Clallam & Mason counties. The Depot, 1978.

Rands, Agnes. Where The Huckleberries Grow. Linden Press, 2000.

Richert, Emma B. Long, long ago in Skokomish Valley. Mason County Historical Society, 1984. **other edition available

Sagerson, Mary. Grapeview, the Detroit of the West: a narrative history of the early years, 1872 to 1923. Mason County Historical Society, 1992.

Shadow of the forest [videorecording]. Produced at The Evergreen State College, 1986.

Shelton & Mason County, Washington. Western Lithograph, 1956?.

Simpson Logging Company. Railroading in Mason County : 1884-1959. n.p., 1959.

Thomas, Berwyn B. Shelton: the first century plus ten. Mason County Historical Society, 1996.

_______. Shelton, Washington : the first century, 1885-1985. Mason County Historical Society, 1985.

Tornow tombstone dedication, 6/8/87. [Matlock, WA history][videorecording]. n.p., 1987.

When loggers climbed trees: Yesterdays in the forests. [Videorecording]. Mason County Historical Society, 1991.

COURT DOCUMENTS - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

Mason County Clerk's office

Civil and criminal court files, 1858-present

COURT DOCUMENTS - Published Sources

DEATHS - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

Mason County Genealogical Society

In progress: card file of McComb Funeral Home records

DEATHS - Published sources

EARLY DESCRIPTIVE OR PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL

Hood's Canal Land and Improvement Co. Union City: its resources and prospects. Morning Leader Printing House, 1890.

Mason County journal. Mason County, Washington. n.p., 1909.

EDUCATION - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

EDUCATION - Published sources

ELECTION / VOTER RECORDS

Mason County Auditor's office

Voter registration books, 1912-1936 (not arranged)
Voter registration records, 1937-1992 (cards)

GENEALOGICAL / HISTORICAL PERIODICALS

LAND / PROPERTY - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

Mason County Assessor's office

Real property assessment rolls, 1952-present

Mason County Auditor's office

Bill of sale record, 2/7/1920-2/15/1943
Chattel mortgages indexes, 2/8/1938-1/13/1966
Deeds, 10/13/1887-2/9/19623
Fee and cash books, 2/2/1893-5/26/1983
General index direct, 5/21/1859-12/27/1985
General index indirect (inverse), 8/30/1856-12/8/1983
Liens, 11/29/1901-11/7/1958
Miscellaneous records, 3/6/1891-12/30/1960
Mortgages, 7/14/1875-2/9/1962
Patent records, 2/24/1890-10/3/1956

LAND / PROPERTY - Published sources

LICENSURE AND PROFESSIONAL RECORDS

Mason County Clerk's office

Drugless and Chiropractic records, 1924-1976

Medical Practitioner licenses (Optometrists, neurologists, dentists, physicians, surgeons, chiropractics, sani-practioner, osteopathy, medicine and medicine surgery), 1895-1937, 1971, 1974, 1976

Medical registry, 1904, 1910-1911, 1913-1914, 1919, 1921, 1924-1927, 1938, 1980-1981

MARRIAGE - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

Mason County Auditor's office

Marriage affidavits, 3/281891-5/11/1925 (film)
Marriage applications, 10/3/1949-1955 (film)
Marriage applications, current year's records in office
Marriage certificates, 6/9/1887-1955 (film)
Marriage Index Book (reverse index), 1936-present

Mason County Clerk's office

Divorce records, late 1800's-present

MARRIAGE - Published sources

MILITARY - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

Mason County Auditor's office

Military discharge records, 1938-1984 (present years in General Index)

MILITARY - Published sources

NATURALIZATION - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

Southwest Archives Branch

Certificates of naturalization, 1890-1927
Citizenship oaths, 1937-1974
Declarations of intention (with applications and proceedings), 1890-1969
Naturalization correspondence, 1908-1938
Naturalization index, 1988-1972

NATURALIZATION - Published sources

NEWSPAPER INDEXES / SPECIAL EDITIONS

Pan-American Exposition supplement to Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington: historical, commercial, industrial. Shorey Book Store, 1970. **other edition available

OTHER - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

OTHER - Published sources

PROBATE - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

Mason County Clerk's office

Probate records, 1858-present

PROBATE - Published sources

TAXES - Personal, governmental, or organizational records

TAXES - Published sources

Overland, Larry. Early settlement of Lake Cushman. Mason County Historical Society, 1974.