William James Culver and an Unlikely Restaurant Connection

WHC 1994.056.0023

Receipt for meals for prisoners made out to W.J. Culver. WHC Collections 1994.056.0023.

by Sue Masse and Kylie Pine

In pulling together materials for our exhibit about Salem Restaurant History, we came across this receipt (WHC 1994.056.0023) for services made out to W.J. Culver.  Knowing from other tax receipts and sources that a W.J. Culver had served as Marion County Sheriff, we found this quite intriguing.  As it turns out, this receipt is proof of a long-running practice in Salem of local restaurants providing daily meals to prisoners at both the City Jail (located in the old City Hall at the SW corner of Chemeketa and High Streets) and the County Jail (located in the Marion County Court House on the NW corner of State and High Streets).

Volunteer Sue Masse put together this quick sketch of Culver’s life to help verify the document:

In 1900, William J. Culver, 33, is living with his widowed mother, Louise. He is a prospector who has been out of work for 5 month in the previous year. Interestingly enough, his next door neighbor, John Stapleton, is a guard at the prison shop.[1]

William was born in Feb 1867, in Oregon, to William B. and Louise (Glover) Culver. He had two siblings, Lovenia and Frank. His father died 14 Sep 1890 in Salem. In 1910, he is living with a wife, Stella C., and Stella’s mother, brother and sister-in-law. He and Stella have been married for six years, and have no children. He lists his occupation as “Surveyor.”[2]

In 1920, he is going by James W. Culver, and is still living with Stella and Stella’s mother. He lists his occupation as “C. Engineer—surveying.”[3]

In 1905 William is listed as “Sheriff Marion County Court House res Court House” but by 1909 is listed as “deputy Surveyor Court House.”[4] [5]

William died 20 August 1929 (death cert 627, Marion County).

[1]1900 US Census, Prospect Precinct, Marion County, Oregon, enumeration district 127, Sheet 2B, p. 48 (stamped on 2A), dwelling 36, family 37, Louise Culver household; Ancestry.com (http://www,search.ancesttry.com : accessed 19 Mar 2015); citing NARA film T623, roll 1348 and FHL film 1241349.

[2]1910 US Census, 1925 State Street, Salem (Ward 6), Marion County, Oregon, enumeration district 226, Sheet 11B, p. 101 (stamped on 11A), dwelling 264, family 276, William Culver household; Ancestry.com (http://www,search.ancesttry.com : accessed 19 Mar 2015); citing NARA film T624, roll 1284 and FHL film 1375297.

[3]1910 US Census, 185 S 19th Street, Salem (Ward 3), Marion County, Oregon, enumeration district 473, Sheet 2A, p. 48 (stamped), dwelling 34, family 36, James W. Culver household; Ancestry.com (http://www,search.ancesttry.com : accessed 19 Mar 2015); citing NARA film T625, roll 1498 and FHL film 1375297.

[4]R. L. Polk & Co., “Salem City and Marion County Directory, 1905,” p. 64

[5]R. L. Polk & Co., “Salem City and Marion County Directory, 1909–10,” p. 66

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About whclarc

We are devoted to providing information fresh from the Archives, Library and Collections of the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon. We specialize in the history of Marion County and the greater Salem area.
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One Response to William James Culver and an Unlikely Restaurant Connection

  1. Don Upjohn says:

    Thanks. Great material.
    Don Upjohn

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