Schofield Women

Two Mary Schofields played important roles in Vancouver business, but they were related only through marriage.

The first Mary Schofield — a native of Germany and a Vancouver resident since 1855 — was the wife of Nicholas Schofield, who had operated a general merchandise store starting in the 1860s or earlier. By the 1880s and ’90s, Mary Schofield was in charge of a store at Sixth and Main streets.

In an 1880 ad, Mrs. Schofield claimed the biggest collection of ladies’ cloaks for sale in Clark County. She also sold dry goods, children’s and ladies’ hats, “dress” and “fancy” goods, boots, shoes, groceries and glassware.

In that era, businesses managed by women were unusual unless they were in a specialized field such as millinery, dressmaking, sewing or tailoring.

Nicholas Schofield operated a brickyard at Vancouver in the 1890s; he died in 1897.

Mrs. Schofield, who died in 1902 at the age of 81, left considerable property to her only surviving child, Edward, and several grandchildren.

The other Mary Schofield (her middle name was Elizabeth) was born in San Francisco and married Edward Schofield, who died in 1920.

Mrs. Schofield was active in property management until later years when ill health forced her retirement. She reportedly held the honor of serving as the first female bank director in the state of Washington. Mrs. Schofield died in 1954, leaving a large estate. She was survived by two sons and several grandchildren.

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