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The Death of Eliza (Gale) Daniels

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Eliza Bell Gale was born on September 3, 1865 in Oregon and was the daughter of John E. Gale and Mary Jane Loveland. Her father was born in Illinois and her mother was born in Missouri. They had followed the Oregon Trail to the northwest in 1853.

The family was living in Olympia, Washington Territory, in 1870. Eliza married William Daniels, a lumberman and homesteader, on November 21, 1881. They lived in Mason County in 1885, possibly in present day Elma, Washington, where William owned at least 360 acres (two square miles) of land.

William and Eliza are known to have had a daughter, Mary C. Daniels, who was born in 1883 or 1884, and a son, Percy H. Daniels, born December 5, 1885. Sadly, Eliza died just two months after Percy was born, in February of 1886. Her tombstone gives her death date as February 13th, which was a Saturday. Her obituary, however, printed in the Washington Standard on Friday, February 26, 1886, states that she died "Wednesday morning", which would have been February 24th or February 17th. UPDATE: The Masonic Memorial Park's website confirms Eliza's internment was Monday, February 15, 1886. Therefore, it appears the date on her tombstone is correct.

According to her obituary, she lived in Skookum Bay, but died at Columbia House in Olympia. A photo of Columbia House, which just so happened to have been taken the same year she died there, is shown below. Could that be William standing on the porch? Could those be the nurses who helped care for Eliza? We may never know. Eliza's funeral was also held in the same place. The source claims it was a boarding house, but since Eliza lived at Skookum Bay, it seems safe to say it was a sort of hospital of the day. It could very well have been the birthplace of her son, Percy, too.

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