Milton and Freewater started out as two cities. In the 1950’s they merged and became Milton-Freewater. The area is rich in history. Some of the area’s historical moments will be appearing here. If you have stories, photos or items to share that would be of interest for this site, please contact the Frazier Farmstead Museum.
W.S. Frazier settled on land which later became the Milton town site, buying, in 1868, a land claim Thomas Eldridge had taken up four years before. The next year William McCoy located on the river immediately below Frazier. In 1872 Frazier laid out a town site and gave a man named Woodward one and a half acres of land on which to start a hotel. He also sold 15 acres and water rights to John Miller for $125.00.
On this property Miller started a mill, completed in 1873. The same year Frazier had put up a barn to serve travelers, by that time quite numerous. The hotel built by Woodward was later utilized in the building of Ulysses Jarred’s home. Jarred had settled in the county in 1860. In 1873 residential construction really began with M. V. Worthington setting the pace.
In the same year a petition for a post office was generally signed and to suggest a name was apparently not much of an effort. Historians say “Milton” was selected by common consent. The following year Mr. Koontz opened a store and blacksmith shop, a school building was erected and Milton was on its way to a rather enviable record of conservative social life, liberally given to spiritual affairs and sobriety, high standard of education and, all in all, a community of homes and home people.
Freewater’s history is both shorter and spicier than that of Milton. In the 1880’s, those who were opposed to the prohibition of sales of alcoholic beverages moved outside of Milton’s corporate limits, led by a miller who owned water rights on a nearby stream. Buyers of lots in the new town site received as a bonus free water privileges. There, liquor was sold at “Gallon Houses,” so called because federal permits allowed liquor to be sold only in gallon lots.
In 1889, Freewater was platted as the town of New Walla Walla. A new plat was filed under the name of Freewater on October 6, 1890.