Janet Kanter-Purcell remembers seeing Meeker Mansion for the first time in August of 1966.
As Ezra Meeker’s great-great-granddaughter, she has memories of her mother and grandmother always talking about the family’s former mansion in Puyallup. During the summer of 1966, Kanter-Purcell and her family stopped by the mansion while on a family vacation to the area from Southern California.
Since her visit in ‘66, Kanter-Purcell has always enjoyed making visits to the mansion, something her and her husband Duncan do annually. Their most recent pilgrimage to the mansion, on May 28, was extra special.
According to family lore, a loveseat purchased by Meeker in the 1800s in London, which he had shipped around the Horn of Africa to Washington, was in need of a new home.
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Larry Templeton, a decedent of Meeker and Kanter-Purcell’s third cousin, recalls the loveseat being at his grandparents’ home in Albany, Oregon in about 1945.
“At that time, they told me that it had belonged to Ezra Meeker, whom they both knew fairly well,” he said. “When my Templeton grandparents died, the loveseat was shipped to my parents’ home in Sun City, Arizona, where it sat for another several decades.”
The loveseat was refinished by his mother, and Templeton hung on to the loveseat for a few more years at his home north of San Francisco. When the time came for Templeton to downsize, he contacted the mansion to find a home for the bench.
The mansion put Templeton in touch with Kanter-Purcell, a long lost cousin. Kanter-Purcell then made the trek from her home in Camino, California to Templeton’s, in Santa Rosa, California, to pick up the loveseat.
I was so honored to deliver the loveseat. Instead of using a shipping company, we drove it up (to Puyallup). It really meant something to my husband and I.
Janet Kanter-Purcell, great-great-grandaughter of Ezra Meeker
“I was so honored to deliver the loveseat,” she said. “Instead of using a shipping company, we drove it up (to Puyallup). It really meant something to my husband and I.”
Kanter-Purcell and her family try to do everything they can to support Meeker Mansion and the Puyallup Historical Society.
“I love every member of the historical society,” she said. “They’re so friendly that it’s like an extended family to me. They are the most fun, and creative and ambitious people. They have so many ideas going all the time. I enjoy every minute of (being involved).”
Bob Minnich, president of the Meeker Mansion and Puyallup Historical Society, says the loveseat is currently on display in the upstairs parlor of the mansion.
The mansion doesn’t have too much of Meeker’s furniture, as once Ezra and Eliza died, the home was left to their eldest daughter, and the furniture was divided equally amongst the five children. This meant all of the original furniture in the home has been scattered amongst decedents of the Meekers, but the pieces have slowly made their way back to the mansion over time.