Bockmier, Paul Thaddeus
Washington State University Libraries
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
New Holland Library
Pullman, WA 99164-5610 USA
9 containers. (4.25 linear feet of shelf space.)
Paul T. Bockmier was the scion of a prosperous pioneer family of Whitman County. He was born in a log cabin on the banks of the Palouse River on September 15, 1891, the oldest child of Sarah Farnam Bockmier and Paul Thaddeus Bockmier, Sr. His surviving brothers and sisters were Ralph, Carl, Waneta, Lettie and Charles. During his youth he worked with his father on local business interests, including a mining company. He acquired a basic knowledge of business at the same time. He was also an inventor and developed a type of drinking fountain. In 1918, he became an employee of The Washington Water Power Company. Throughout his long life (he died in Garfield in 1977), he was an avid collector of regional historical paraphernalia. An amateur historian, a direct result of his sense of pioneer heritage, he gained access to numerous papers, memoirs and photographs relevant to historical development of the Palouse. Many of these were directly related to his own family history, particularly his mother's family, the Perry-Ross Family. Bockmier began his association with the Washington Water Power Company (WWP) as an employee in 1918. During his long career, he rose to District Manager in Garfield and retired from that position in 1956. His Washington Water Power material provides insight into the coming of electricity to the Palouse and the role it has played in the development of the area. Bockmier and his wife, Lou Ella, were active in a number of social and service organizations. One of the most important of these was the Whitman County Tuberculosis Association. In his role as historian, Bockmier compiled histories both of this organization and the Washington Water Power Company. He employed many of the materials he had collected to do so.