compiled by Columbian staff in 1989

Overheated partisan politics of the late 19th century can be thanked for the presence of one of the first legislators elected in Clark County after Washington achieved statehood in 1889.

He was Amos F. Shaw, who already had enjoyed a colorful political career elsewhere before deciding to make Vancouver his home.

Born in New Hampshire in 1839, Shaw moved to South Dakota in 1860 and was elected to the territorial legislature there. When the Civil War started, Shaw joined the Union Army and served three years in the calvary. He then returned to South dakota as warden of the state penitentiary, a post he held for two years.

Unfortunately, Shaw was a Republican. When Democrat Grover Cleveland was elected president, Shaw was fired as "an offensive partisan," meaning he was a member of the wrong party.

He returned to Vancouver in July 1887 as senior member of Shaw Brothers, prune growers and packers, and two years later, at age 50, was elected a member of the first state Legislature.

Return to profiles