Bow History Project
(Bow downtown)
Bow, WA 98232

Skagit River Journal

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For details about how you can help maintain Bow-area history, call: Dan Miller at (360) 766-6339 or Diz Schimke at (360) 766-6070 or email(right hand arrow)
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Bow History Project 6th Annual History
Project picnic and history show, Community Church,
12-4 p.m., July 30, 2011

(Bow Main Street)
      Bow, circa 1905, looking east down Main Street. The Cleary Brothers General Store, which is the last pioneer business building still standing, is to the right. Photo from postcard, courtesy of John G. Kamb Jr.


Bow was the first crossroads community inland from Edison on the Samish River. It was founded by William Brown, a sawmill owner who named the town for his home railway station in England. Located right by the Great Northern Railroad, it was east of the Chuckanut Drive and the Pacific NW Interurban line. Our NW Washington History Detectives picnic meet-up is staged in conjunction with the Bow Community Association, which preserves the heritage of the village, which is now almost all residential. The hosts are Dan Miller and Diz Schimke, who have worked hard to preserve local history for many years. Schimke descends from the Pocock family, longtime pioneers and residents of the area. The annual picnic is scheduled for noon, July 30, 2011, with the historical meeting following. Please bring photos and documents to show.
      As with all our meetings, we ask that guests bring a potluck dish to share. The meeting will be at the community church, which is also a social center for the area. Nearby is the oldest surviving business building in the area, constructed 110 years ago by the Cleary family as a department store. Guests are advised to take the first exit north of Burlington, to the Chuckanut Drive and take the road east when you see the sign to Bow. Nearby towns are Edison, Allen and Blanchard, and guests can view the beautiful Samish Island. See the link for details of the meet-up and a link where you optionally choose to join the group. Find lodging information and amenities at: http://www.gonorthwest.com/Washington/northwest/Bow/bow.htm. See more Bow links below


      Welcome to the Bow History Project. Bow was founded by William J. Brown, who was born in the Bow district of London on Oct. 15, 1850, the son of William M. Brown and Louisa (Wisbey) Brown. At age 14, William the elder, bought his son a commission on board a man-of-war that sailed from Bow, England. After sailing extensively between ports in the southern and western Pacific Ocean, William's last route took him from Yokohama, Japan, to Victoria, British Columbia in about 1869.
      At the latter point he left service in the Queen's Navy for unknown reasons and worked his way to Utsalady [also spelled Utsaladdy] on Camano Island, where he worked for the Grennan and Cranney Mill. Brown began scouting property on the mainland and around Bow as early as 1869, but he moved first to southern Fidalgo Island and he purchased land at Similk Bay . He stayed there but a short time and in the fall of 1871, he moved to Samish Island, the portal for the earliest settlement of the future county. He probably crossed the narrow body of salt water by canoe and traversed the meandering course of the north fork of the Samish River to the remnants of a Clallam Indian village, where the county's first settler, William "Blanket Bill" Jarman met and married his wife, Alice.
      We know that in 1872, William also married a girl from the village, who was recorded as Jennie Tahati. The former sailor sank down his roots on the north fork of what became known as the Samish River, the waterway that Indians called "Du-wha-chub-ob," and later called Edison Slough by whites in the area. He squatted on unsurveyed government land and eventually combined a homestead preemption claim (filed in 1879, proved up in 1882), a later timber claim and purchase of government land in 1876.

      In 1889, the Fairhaven and Southern railroad ran about five miles east of Brown's property along Friday Creek and through the village of Belfast, where a stage ran to Brown's property across Bow Hill. James J. Hill's Great Northern Railroad bought out the F&S in 1890 and in 1902, Hill decided to change the route of the line, curving northwest from the town of Belleville to Blanchard and Chuckanut Mountain. Brown's property was on the route and thus the town of Bow — named for Brown's home district in London — was born about a half mile north of Brown's home in 1902, clustered across the rails from the depot. RSVPs are not required, but will help us determine a count for planning..
      Also keep in mind that Blanket Bill Jarman, the first permanent white settler in the Northwest, lived near Bow with his Indian wife Alice in the 1850s. His relatives from England are making a trip over here and will appear at a special seminar from 2-5 p.m., Saturday, June 27, at the Burlington Public Library. No reservations are needed and no admission is charged.


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Story posted on May 1, 2008, last updated May 19, 2011 . . . Please report any broken links so we can update them


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