Skagit River Journal
of History & Folklore
(bullet) Covering from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Washington counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish, focusing on Sedro-Woolley and Skagit Valley.

(bullet) An evolving history dedicated to committing random acts of historical kindness (bullet) The home pages remain free of any charge. Subscriber archives available through Issue #60 free, with a two-part story Noel left us for Issue #61.


Skagit County Historical Society

The Wheels of Commerce...What would transportation in Skagit County be without our filling station? There was a time of the full service, service stations... link up in Feb.

(Click to the Skagit County website for Skagit County Historical Society)

link to museum webpage


Skagit River Journal  is published and directed by Skagit County Historical Society and it's Publication Committee. Publication Chair: John Kamb Jr., Editor & Webmaster: Dan Royal, Publication Committee Members: Dan Royal, John Kamb
Contributions and submissions of your pioneer and early individuals, families, towns, obituaries, stories and photos of Skagit County related items can be sent  by email
or to the address listed here:
Skagit River Journal c/o  Skagit County Historical Society
PO Box 818, 501 S. 4th St., La Conner, WA 98257 360-466-3365
Dan Royal 360-826-6141
Hours: Tuesday thru Sunday 11 AM to 5 PM
The Museum is located  at the top of the hill in La Conner.
Skagit River Journal © 2016 by Skagit County Historical Society. All rights reserved.

(bullet) Site founded Sept. 1, 2000. Passed 7.5 million page views, November 2014; passed 800 stories in 2013 —  (bullet) Noel V. Bourasaw, 1944-2015, Founder (bullet) Sedro-Woolley, Washington,— where Mortimer Cook started a town & named it Bug

 Skagit River Journal & Noel V. Bourasaw were honored with 2014 Heritage Award from Skagit County Historical Society

(Click to send email)
or Search site
We're back, Feb. 2017
Navigation and
search buttons

Calendar of Events
Need some research done?
Pioneer Biographies
Portals, subjects & areas to explore: Below
Northwest history

Research Resources in Skagit County and surrounding counties
Enter a name or subject in our search box
(Ray Writins Book Reprint 2016)


"The late Ray Jordan was arguably the best historian of Sedro-Woolley. His book, Yarns of the Skagit Country "Ray's Writin's"  (Sedro-Woolley: self-published, 1974), was the most thorough collection of stories about the merged towns and their pioneers and the surrounding area." 
Noel V. Bourasaw

The long awaited reprint of Ray Jordan's "Yarns of the Skagit Country, Ray's Writin's" has been available and for sale  as of August 4, 2016 at  the Museum bookstore. Link to Ray Jordan web page for an introduction.


R.I.P. Noel V. Bourasaw 1944-2015

Calendar of Events
Calendar of Events webpage
“Washington Remembers World War II
The Skagit Home Front”
February 10 through June 25
Opening Reception February 9 from 6 to 8 PM
 La Conner – Featured exhibit on loan from the Washington State Secretary of State’s Office. “Washington Remembers World War II” is a collection of stories that take you around the globe to crucial battles on foreign soil, to German concentration camps and to the American home front where defense plant workers contributed to the war effort. The exhibit features large compelling photographs, personal stories and fascinating war facts.  “The Skagit Home Front” presents the stories of Skagitonians who served, and those who stayed and kept care of the Home Front.
 Join us Thursday evening, February 9 at 6 PM for an opening reception.
The Museum is located at 501 S. 4th Street, at the top of the hill in La Conner. Admission: Adults $5, Seniors $4, Families $10. For more information call 360.466.3365 or visit

Please send us calendar items for any history-related or community events in your area scheduled for the rest of 2016.

We're back! February 2017
  • (links)Please let us know of any broken links you find on this website and where you found them, which is just as important to know.  Updating and fixing links will be an ongoing process but will be helpful to all  you researchers out there making use of this website. Email us here or below.

  • We will always welcome your suggestions on making Skagit River Journal a better website, especially making it more navigable. The fastest way to find your subject of interest  will be to use the Search Engine at the bottom of the page.

  • If a subject or a person is not found on this website, let us know. It is possible we have something on file or we can direct you to a person or an institution in the county who may have the answer for you.

Pioneer Biographies:

(Silas Butler)

      Silas Moore Butler



In The News Locally

Recent and archival sites posted

Early photo of Skagit City School class


These days, Skagit City School and a road of the same name are all that remain of  "Skagit's Lost Communities", Skagit City. (link to Skagit Valley Herald article)  Find out "Where was Skagit City?"

(bullet) The obituary and the life story of Norm Lisherness, Sedro-Woolley's beloved police chief, during Loggerodeo of 1967.
(bullet) If you have any photos, articles or documents about Northern State's long history, please email Judy Torfin, who has begun a museum on the NSH premises to honor the history of the institution and its employees.
(bullet) See this photo feature with nearly two dozen photos of Gilbert Landre's cabin/hotel, built in the 1892 era, which still stands near Cascade Pass.
(bullet) Read the story behind the Plumeria Bay bedding company in Birdsview, our latest sponsor
(bullet) The two most humorous stories of our 800. Otto Klement's tale of his Lyman trading post, in 1881, and the mixture of liquor and the good ole boys and the pig. And Frank Wilkeson's 1890 New York Times column about the two rapscallion hobos of old Sedro, who took the Swedes for a ride.

(bullet) And see our special new portal section of links about Mortimer Cook's original towns of Bug and Sedro and the very early days of the little village that was located where Riverfront Park stands today.
    (bullet) Important: This is our Free Home Page. If you are currently subscribed and looking for the full Contents Links for our Subscribers Magazine, check the current-issue link in your email or email us for it. Also note: some stories still have a stumpranchonline prefix because we originally partnered with Dan Royal's family website and we have not finished moving them.
(bullet) How to Navigate the Journal. Or use one or all of these routes below:

Follow these links below to portal sections
of the areas and subjects that interest you:

Here is the first page that started it all, 'From Bug to the Bughouse' for the Journal in 2000, page one, updated, an introduction to the upper valley history, from Sterling to the Cascades. Click on the underscored Sedro-Woolley link above for an interactive map showing the location of Skagit County at the far northwest corner of Washington and the United States.
(Dance on stump)
(bullet) Bug through Sedro-Woolley (bullet)Reader  questions answered
(bullet) Early timeline (bullet) Founders Mortimer CookP.A. Woolley4 British bachelors.

Areas surrounding Sedro-Woolley in all four directions
(bullet) includes: Prairies, Duke's Hill, Northern State Hospital, Sterling, Skiyou, South of Skagit; Clearlake, Biglake, McMurray
Upper Skagit River: Utopia to Cascades
(bullet) includes: north of Skagit from Utopia to the dams and Cascades, Sauk River-Illabot Creek area, and the creeks of Skagit's south shore
West Skagit County: Hwy 99 to Sound
(bullet) includes: Mount Vernon to Belfast, west to Fidalgo, south to LaConner/Fir Island/Conway, north to Burlington, Blanchard, Edison, Alger & Samish
(Steam donkey in woods)
Logging Section
(bullet) includes: mills, donkey engines, equipment and logging railroads
(bullet) Washington & other counties
Whatcom, the mother county 'til 1883
County, home of early Skagit pioneers
The trains of the Northwest
(bullet) includes: Fairhaven & Southern; Seattle & Northern; Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern
(bullet) Northern Pacific, Great Northern, Puget Sound & Baker River, and more . . . Interurban

(Covered wagon women)
Frontier Women
(bullet) includes: Territorial Daughters, and biographies of and by pioneer women
Food & Wine . . . Prohibition, liquor . . . Very short stories in Odds and Ends Portal
(Whidbey Museum)

Lost Cities of Skagit

Skagit County Resources for your Research
(Railroad trestle)
Skagit County stories that are countywide, that involve more than one town or more than one family and town or that do not fit in any other county portal . . . Transcribed County Histories . . . Stories about the Skagit River     Floods history
(Von Pressentin home)
Bios, Obituaries of men, women, family pioneers and descendants . . . Memories  of Skagitonians, pioneer descendants and otherwise...Ray Jordan Yarns  stories . . . 
(Covered wagon women)

Museums, Genealogy, Researchers, Historical Associations, Fraternities

Regional Museums

(Whidbey Museum)
Suggested reading and Libraries
(bullet) Library: Recommended reading, bibliography
(bullet) Transcriptions old newspapers

Issue 60 posted
Noel's last subscriber edition posted free
There will no longer be a subscriber area.  Stay Tuned.

Getting lost trying to navigate or find stories on our site?
Read how to sort through our 800-plus stories.
Return to the new-domain home page
Links for portals to subjects and towns
Newest photo features
Search entire site
Looking for something special on our site? Enter name, town or subject, then press "Find" Search this site powered by FreeFind

    Did you find what you were seeking? We have helped many people find individual names or places, email if you have any difficulty.

    Tip: Put quotation marks around a specific name or item of two words or more, and then experiment with different combinations of the words without quote marks. We are currently researching some of the names most recently searched for — check the list here. Maybe you have searched for one of them?


(bullet) See this Journal Timeline website of local, state, national, international events for years of the pioneer period.
(bullet) Did you enjoy these stories and histories? The process continues as we compile and collaborate on research about Northwest history. Can you help? Remember; we welcome correction, criticism and additions to the record.
(bullet) Please report any broken links or files that do not open and we will send you the correct link. With more than 800 features, we depend on your report. Thank you.

If you would like to make a donation to contribute to the works of this website or any of the works of Skagit County Historical Society and Museum. We thank you up front. While in your PayPal account, consider specifying if you would like your donation restricted to a specific area of interest: General Funds, Skagit River Journal, Skagit City School, Facilities, Publication Committee, any upcoming Exhibit. Just add those instructions in the box provided by PayPal.

Please sign our guestbook so our readers will know where you found out about us, or share something you know about the Skagit River or your memories or those of your family. Share your reactions or suggestions or comment on our Journal. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit our site.

Currently looking for a new guestbook!

View My Guestbook
Sign My Guestbook
Email us at:
(Click to send email)
Mail copies/documents to Street address: Skagit River Journal c/o Skagit County Historical Society, PO Box 818, 501 S.4th St., La Conner, WA. 98257