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Mercer Maid Links

Peri's Genealogy Page
A little information about Peri, her family and her genealogy research
Mercer's Maids
A biographical and historical sketch of 11 young ladies that traveled from Massachusetts to Washington Territory in 1864
The Voyage West
Details about the voyage of the Mercer Maids from Massachusetts to Washington Territory

Question or comments - email me

Asa Mercer's letter to the New York Times


The following is an extract of a communication Mr. Asa S. Mercer wrote to the New York Times to explain why he was taking women to Washington Territory.

"In accordance with you request and to satisfy many inquiring minds, I make a statement of the reasons why I have spent so much time and money in the endeavor to introduce a female immigration into Washington Territory." "There are many very interesting families in the country but the mass of the population is made up of young men from the Eastern States, who had been well reared and liberally educated. But on arriving at the age of man hood they saw the avenues of trade and successful business forever closed to them; being energetic and ambitious, resolved not to plod on in the beaten path, but to go forth to the Great West, and there carve out a fortune and a home for themselves." "Churches and school houses there are, but the great elevating, refining, and moralizing element - true women - are wanting. Not that the ladies of Washington Territory are less pure or high minded than those of any other land, but the limited number of them leave the good work greater than they can perform." "I am determined to do all in my power to aid in the development of the material of the resources of the territory and the establishment of right principles in society." I appeal to high-minded women to go into the West to aid in throwing around those who have gone before the restraints of well-regulated society; to cultivate the higher and purer facilities of man by casting about him those refining influences that true women always carry with them; to build up happy homes, and let true sunlight shine round the hearthstone. It is simply a matter of duty on the part of Eastern woman to go to the West, where their presence and influence are so much needed." Those who accompany me must not expect to occupy a flower garden, or to live upon sweet perfume, but must calculate that they are going into the vineyard to labor, and that their labor will be rewarded." "Hoping that this rough sketch may answer to satisfy those who would know my motive, I am very truly, your obedient servant. "