(Shingle Bolt Sledge)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
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Covers from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish & BC. An evolving history dedicated to committing random acts of historical kindness
Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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Puget Sound Mail,* September-October 2011

      "That was why I had got into my car and headed west, because when you don't like it where you are you always go west. We have always gone west." — Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men, 1949, Pulitzer Prize.
(AYP log exhibit)
From the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific centennial website:http://www.ayp100.org/.
See our notes about the centennial celebration of 2009.



Journal for September-October 2011
Chapter 15
By Journal Publisher Noel V. Bourasaw

Last updated Sept. 28, 2011 . . .

Previous monthly posts from May 2011

Previous monthly posts from April 2011

Previous monthly posts from March 2011

Previous monthly posts from 2010

Previous monthly posts from 2009


Let us now praise famous men . . . of Illabot creek
War of the Worlds in Concrete, 1938
via the Herald

Silver King James Wardner fools the world with his Black Cats Fur company

Eugenia Clinchard, child star of silent movies, in Woolley, 1911
Alice Hamilton's memories of her father and the settlement of Hamilton
Frank Evans (Courier-Times), Syd McIntyre Sr. and the 1915 UW Grads who were Skagit movers and shakers

Utopia quilt: from the Buchanan family
Skiyou Gothic: Dahlias, corn & a Cookie!
More stories coming this weekend

Let us now praise famous men . . . of Illabot creek
    Henry [Martin] carved two oxen yokes in front of the fire in the evenings. In the fall of '95, he loaded the two oxen yokes into a canoe and went down on high water to LaConner. He knew that the steamboat captain was probably the only one in the community who would have cash. The captain bought the oxen yokes for the sum of $1 apiece. The father spent 35 cents in town and made the arduous return journey, paddling upstream to where Rockport is located today. When he came into the house with a $1.65, that was the only cash money the family saw for two years. — Ralph Munro.
(Old guys)
From left to right, on the porch of the Tom Porter cabin: Dick Harris, Tim O'Connor, Ted Porter, Dan O'Connor.

      "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," suggested James Agee back in 1941 and we plan to do so this month. We got the idea on a road trip. I had the opportunity to assemble the descendants of one of the most interesting upriver areas, Illabot Creek and the watershed near the junction of the Skagit and Sauk rivers. They are: Dick Harris, Dan and Tim O'Connor and Ted Porter, direct descendants of three families who experienced the frontier lifestyle of the creek area, including challenges of relative isolation continued up through the 1950s. Those families lived south of the Skagit river in the foothills of the North Cascades along with the O'Briens, Jack Durand and of course Henry and Katherine Martin.
      Back in 1889, Henry Martin arrived from Minnesota only to see the largest town on Puget Sound in ashes. Seattle had burned the day before and men were combing through the debris. He high-tailed it up to Skagit county on the next sternwheeler, but was surprised to find that almost all the fine, fertile land with river frontage was already claimed. He was told in Mount Vernon about an area about 40 miles upriver that had good prospects and he set out to claim it. He later told listeners how he had to cross seven creeks or rivers to arrive at his future home and each time he encountered a body of water a friendly Indian eventually showed up and advised him on the best place to ford, sometimes carried him across on a canoe, and each asked for a sitcum buck, which usually meant a 50-cent silver piece.
      Henry and Katherine Martin raised four lovely daughters on a homestead that elicited a shudder upon his wife's first view of it. The canoe ride up to it was hair-raising enough but then she saw their land and it was hard to tell which was soil and which was just a temporary sandbar, deposited by the whipping, thrashing, bucking Skagit in those days before the dams tamed it somewhat. As their son, Fred, noted, it was incumbent upon Henry to built Katherine something fine and upstanding up on a bench, where she could look out the window and see Sauk Mountain in the morning. He did just that. And he raised sons, one of whom became Washington State Senator Fred Martin Sr., who was eventually known even farther and wider than his father.
      The pull quote above is recounted by former Secretary of State Ralph Munro, a story that Fred told him many years ago.Speaking of famous men, Ralph is an old friend of nearly 50 years. We are fellow alumni of Western Washington State College, where we were both ASB presidents two years apart — from somewhat differing points of view, and my reign was the result of a joke. But Ralph made good and then some, as Washington's Secretary of State for three terms, where he brought to life Washington's Regional Archives. The one is Bellingham is a gold mine for us all. And he works as hard out of office, especially in relation to some environmental projects, for which he has donated both time and land.

(Harris
Dick Harris points out the panels that honor his brother and his father and provide a summary of the importance of the exhibits, for visitors at the park.

      That pull quote is from Ralph's address at the 1981 conference, The Great Depression and its 50-Year Shadow. It was both a public forum and a meeting of scholars, authors and townsfolk, many of the latter having personal memories of the Depression of the 1930s. Organized by Phyllis W. Bultmann and James W. Scott, the meeting netted papers and speeches by the historian we all still learn from, Murray Morgan; a whole host of Western's history profs, including James Hitchman, Keith A. Murray, Manfred C. Vernon; and Ralph presented a different perspective. He spoke from his research of Gov. John McGraw, back in the Depression of the 1890s. That 1981 meeting followed Roland DeLorme earlier conference on Man, Time and a River, again on the Skagit, in 1977, and other similar meetings. My point in all this is that I want to propose to Western and publishers that we convene again, 30 years later, and once again address a time of economic turmoil, as in 1981, 1932 and 1893. Is there anyone else reading this who might want to help plan or assist in such a conference?
      The grand result of that series of conferences three decades ago was that James W. Scott gathered all the history resources together into the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, which also doubled as a publisher and then became the nucleus of the Northwestern Historical Regional Archives in Munro's plan. And they hired James Moore, my contemporary at the old Western Washington State College, to plan, staff, store and open the records of the northwestern counties, and complement it all with documents and photos, and, as they say, they were off to the races.


Back on the road again

Musical Interlude?
Did someone ask for an appropriate musical interlude for this story? How could one go wrong with Willie Nelson and On the Road Again? But if you're really old and crusty, I bet you'll dance the jig to the video of Sawyer Brown's rendition of that fine trucker song, Six Days on the Road and I'm Gonna Make it Home Tonight. Don't you go away now.

      Back to our old-guys Illabot trip, Dan and Tim O'Connor were along because he is a descendant of Katherine Martin's family; she inveigled to have members of her family join her on land where it rained every day for months on end in the fall and winter, and Dan descends from her brother. Ted, who is a fellow Sedro-Woolley alumnus, 1960, represents the first permanent settler in the Illabot creek area, Tom Porter, who staked a claim circa 1880 with his fellow frontiersman from Pennsylvania (and future brother-in-law), Bob Kerr. Tom's cabin is the nucleus of the Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport, which well could be called Harris Park. Alvin Harris, father of Dick and the late Jim Harris, bought the cabin and the Harris family lived in it for many years from 1946 onwards, still without running water and electricity when they moved in. And then Alvin moved the cabin across the river with the help of volunteers so that today youngsters can see an authentic log cabin crafted without any nails. Dick wrote about his father and how the Illabot land pulled on him in his book of poems, Reimagine, Poems: 1993-2009, in which you will read many of Dick's impressions and portraits of that wild river land.
      We had a grand time that day in early September following the old trails and fence lines, ferreting out where the various families lived and touring the site where the Martin homestead just barely still stands, after being deserted decades ago. As one wag put it a decade ago, the termites gutted that beautiful farmhouse and today it only stands because the grand-kid termites are holding hands underneath it.
      But besides praising those regionally famous men, I take this opportunity to praise with full-throated cheer a more recent man who has become famous, we all agreed that day, for reviving the printed word in the upriver Skagit area. It has been three decades since Chuck Dwelley left very big shoes under his desk at the Concrete Herald . A few years ago, a relatively young man, Jason Miller, came to Concrete and solicited our subscriptions and help and in returned he promised to bring the Concrete Herald back to life. He followed through and has produced a monthly incarnation of the Herald that has been informing and amusing upriver residents now for more than two years. We will publish much more about the Illabot families in future issues of our magazine, but here we praise the September 2011 issue of the Herald , which is headed by a story that takes us back in time 73 years, to when the tiny town of Concrete joined the melee that is sometimes called "the madness of crowds." Do you remember the stories about this incident below?


Let us now praise famous men . . .
75 years later

War of the worlds
Documentary to revisit radio broadcast
that helped put Concrete on the map

From Jason Miller's world-famous Concrete Herald
      There's a monument on the former site of a farmhouse in Grover's Mill, N.J. It reads, in part,
      On the evening of Oct. 30 1938, Orson Welles and the Mercury Thetre presented a dramatization of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. . . . For a brief time as many as one million people throughout the country believed that Martians had invaded the earth, beginning with Grover's Mill, N.J.
      Some of those people lived in Concrete, and they did not take the news very well. The Nov. 3, 1938, issue of the Concrete Herald told of some east county citizens' reactions in graphic detail.
      "Sheer terror, as real and as compelling as ever experienced in any war-torn city visited the homes of many in Concrete Sunday evening," wrote then-editor Charles M. Dwelley, " . . . the experience was just as real as if the frightened people had met the d4eath they expected."
      The War of the Worlds story and its impact on Concrete and the rest of the country is the subject of a planned film by Bellingham documentary filmmaker Todd Warger. Warger hopes to complete the documentary by the broadcast's 75th anniversary in October 2013, and is looking for storiea nd information from current and former Concrete resicents to help him tell the tale. Warger is especially interested in talking with anyone who might have witnessed the raction in concrete during the original broadcast.
      "Our film documentary on what happened to Concrete in 1938 will certainly recreated the chaos that occurred there. But in no circumstance will it mock the town or the people taken in by the broadcast. I want to concentrate on the fear that captured the town and how that was possible," said Warger, who is teaming with visual effects artist Langley West and cameraman and film editor David Lowrance of Family History Video to produce the film.
      I hope that today we can look back at that moment in time and understand that life was simpler, harder and that the world held a lot of reasons to be fearful. That radio was influential and more powerful than we know today. I seriously hope that the citizens of Concrete will not mind us reminding people what happened there," said Warger.

      Can you help? Todd Warger is seeking stories, photographs, journal entries, movie clips, etc. about Concrete's reaction to the War of the Worlds broadcast, especially from those who may have witnessed the event. Contact him at toddwarger@yahoo.com or (360) 223-1597.
      I hope one of you can rustle through your family collection and see if you can find anything about this subject. Should be great fun. We are working with these folks to ferret out information and next month we will share with you, along with Mr. Warger, what we have found.
      So come back, y'all. And meantime, look for this wonderful 2009 book, Waging The War of the Worlds: A History of the 1938 Radio Broadcast and Resulting Panic, by John Gosling. You can order it direct from the publisher: mcfarlandpub.com or call (800) 253-2187 . . . 247 pages, softcover, 34 photos, appendix, notes, filmography, bibliography, index, plus original radio script by Howard Koch and keep track of new discoveries at the website of the fantastic researcher on this subject Feliks Banel. And Valerie Stafford, shouldn't this be the theme of the 2013 Ghost Walk — the 75th anniversary. Betcha we can all join together to help Concrete make the national news again. We did it with Edward R. Murrow's 100th birthday in Blanchard in 2008, so why not let's do it again?


Silver King James Wardner fools the world with his Black Cats Fur company
      From Issue 56 of our optional Subscribers-paid magazine online:
      [Wardner autobiography, 1900]: Then [circa 1891] I started my cat ranch. Much has been said and much has been written about my celebrated cat ranch, located on an island about six miles from Fairhaven, Washington. So many bright writers have been there, and have seen my novel experiment and speculation, that I will let them tell the story themselves. I must, however, remark that, although the product did not equal my anticipation, I cannot blame Mr. Samuel Weller, of Cincinnati, who was my sole manager and purveyor to the cats.
      "This gentleman was a cat man, and his father was a cat man before him. " If he finally erred in judgment it was from excessive zeal, and I forgive him. Now, as all my visitors like my cats, had tales, let us listen a bit.


From the New York Tribune:
Black Cats for Profit

      A new industry is always interesting. And it is especially attractive if it shows great possibilities and hints of perhaps becoming a source of national wealth. there comes at this time from the new State of Washington a report of such an industry. We refer to the black-cat ranch just established at Fairhaven by the Consolidated Black Cat Company, Limited.
      We trust that our readers will understand that the organization of this company is a fact. Mr. James F. Wardner, of Fairhaven, is president. The names of the other officers are not given in the San Francisco dispatch which brings the intelligence, but the plan and the object of the company are quite fully explained. The company has bought an island in Puget Sound, and is already taking steps to secure all of the black cats in the neighborhood.
      Several carloads will be shipped from San Francisco next week. The cats will all be placed on the island and shelter provided for them. An island is selected in preference to the mainland, that the cats may be kept separate from others and the pure black cat propagated. Men will be employed to take care of the cats and to feed them regularly three times a day. They will live mostly on fish caught in the surrounding waters, so the expense of keeping them will be small. . . .

      To read this story and the hilarious Wardner/Fairhaven/Cats series, it is from our current subscribers edition. Have you subscribed yet? We need a hundred more subscriptions to pay for our extensive research trip, planned for June 2012, to prepare for our book in progress: "Humbug!" — Mortimer Cook. We are touring and photographing the '49er gold fields and Santa Barbara, where Mortimer owned general stores and a bank and where he was mayor before founding Bug/Sedro in 1885. See a sample of the current issue here, with details of how to subscribe, or just click the Donate button on any webpage and make a donation or subscribe, $20/1 year . . . $35 2 years . . . $45 3 years. Thanks for your support.

Eugenia Clinchard, child star of silent movies, in Woolley, 1911
      From Issue 57 of our optional Subscribers-paid magazine online, we introduce you to Eugenia Clinchard, child star at age six, of the Broncho Billy western short subjects, at Essanay Studios, the year before they hired Charlie Chaplin. And her visit to Sedro-Woolley to meet her kin:
      The word got around the upriver district of the Skagit river quickly in the fall of 1911. It was time to take out the horse and buggy and head into Sedro-Woolley. Eugenia Margaret Clinchard came to town to visit her family who lived here. The draw was that she was a child star, at age six, in the relatively new phenomenon of silent movies. Her parents arranged for her to appear at the Princess Theater on Metcalf street, when the theater showed her first two short subjects: A Frontier Doctor and Papa's Letter, which were released together in December that year. . . .
      By the time Eugenia visited her relatives here, she was already a veteran of two movies and she would be cast in nine more in her youthful career. Her parents brought her to meet most of the family at one time. Fred Clinchard was one of eleven siblings born to Elise (Balbach) Clinchard, who hosted the 1911 reunion in Sedro-Woolley. She was a widow; her husband, Jacob Francois Clinchard, died Jan. 5, 1906, in Omaha, Nebraska, where many of the Clinchards lived for quite a while. Brandon has not discovered why members of the family moved to Sedro-Woolley. She did learn during her genealogical research that principals of the family were major investors in various railroads.
      Here in Sedro-Woolley, two of Fred's siblings never married and lived with their mother: Amelia Caroline Clinchard and Edward William Clinchard. Earl Harold Clinchard, youngest of the 11 children, also lived in Sedro Woolley and he married Lillian Baehner on in 1910 in Everett. Two of Fred's other sisters lived here. Adrienne Hermine (Clinchard) was married to Louis Philipoteaux and sister Constance Eugenia Clinchard was married to William Rausch. Finally, another of his brothers, George Alfred Clinchard, lived in Concrete and was married to Zena Augusta Kaster.
      We discovered that Edward Clinchard advanced beyond the home-and-work tinkerer stage and actually obtained two patents while working as a foundryman for Sedro-Woolley Iron Works, the forerunner of Skagit Steel. His first patent in 1912 was for a dental appliance holder and his second a year later was for a washboard, which was featured in the American Artisan magazine.
      During the construction period, Eugenia was cast in another Essanay short, The Sheriff's Inheritance. Her big break, however, came in the 1913 production of Broncho Billy and the Sheriff's Kid. The plot had Billy in hiding after a jailbreak when he discovered the sheriff's daughter, Eugenia, unconscious after a fall and he returns her to her mother. Eugenia impressed Anderson so much that she soon appeared in four more movies in the Billy series in 1913: The Influence of Broncho Billy, Broncho Billy and the Rustler's Child, The Crazy Prospector, and Broncho Billy's Christmas Deed.
      In 1914 Eugenia appeared in her final movies: Broncho Billy, the Vagabond, and Broncho Billy's Christmas Spirit. Brandon discovered that Eugenia's exit from the movies was not due to being dropped as an actor, but because a runaway coach on the set almost ran her over. Fred Clinchard decided that the movie sets were too dangerous for a child and he insisted that she only act on the stage from then on. . . .
      "He was the first movie star," said Dale Carpenter, producer of a 1990 Broncho Billy documentary. "When you passed by the nickelodeon and saw a Broncho Billy film, you put a nickel in. He wasn't by any means a great actor, and not a better story teller than anyone else, but he was one of the first people to realize that movies could succeed by creating a character that people were drawn to. . . .

      To read this whole story, it is from our current subscribers edition. Have you subscribed yet? We need a hundred more subscriptions to pay for our extensive research trip, planned for June 2012, to prepare for our book in progress: "Humbug!" — Mortimer Cook . We are touring and photographing the '49er gold fields and Santa Barbara, where Mortimer owned general stores and a bank and where he was mayor before founding Bug/Sedro in 1885. See a sample of the current issue here, with details of how to subscribe, or just click the Donate button on any webpage and make a donation or subscribe, $20/1 year . . . $35 2 years . . . $45 3 years. Thanks for your support.

Alice Hamilton's memories of her father and the settlement of Hamilton
    Any time, any amount, please help build our travel and research fund for what promises to be a very busy 2011, traveling to mine resources from California to Washington and maybe beyond. Depth of research determined by the level of aid from readers. Because of our recent illness, our research fund is completely bare. See many examples of how you can aid our project and help us continue for another ten years. And subscriptions to our optional Subscribers Online Magazine (launched 2000) by donation too. Thank you.


(Plumeria)
We recently visited our newest sponsor, Plumeria Bay, which is based in Birdsview, just a short walk away from the Royal family's famous Stumpranch, and is your source for the finest down bedding. See our Journal feature on this local business and learn more details and how to order items at their website.

      From Issue 57 of our optional Subscribers-paid magazine online, we transcribed two old Ray Jordan features about Hamilton, one about Alice Hamilton, daughter of founder William Hamilton, and their settling here; and the other about how coal was first discovered and how affordable transportation was attempted. Remember, coal was always consistently more important in the frontier days to the Northwest economy than gold.
      William Hamilton, wife and two children, Ashford and Motz, moved from Kansas to Washington Territory via San Francisco, thence north by boat. They first settled in LaConner where Alice was born. Mr. Hamilton had been in the Civil War and had powder burns on his face as a result.
      In June of 1877, when Alice was five months old, the family moved to what was later the town of Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton filed on the land and the town was named for him.
      He built their first house some distance back from the river. He wasn't satisfied there so moved to within about a mile of the river, but not liking it there either, he moved the family to the river, where he built a house of sawed lumber. The other two had been built of split of cedar. In 1884 he put in a general merchandise store, building a large two-story house.
      The only traffic up and down the valley was by boat or canoe on the river, except for a crude trail along the river bank. Everyone tried to make Hamilton's place by nightfall, so it became a regular stopping place. As many as 35 or 40 people a day stopped for board and room.

      To read this whole story, it is from our current subscribers edition. Have you subscribed yet? We need a hundred more subscriptions to pay for our extensive research trip, planned for June 2012, to prepare for our book in progress: "Humbug!" — Mortimer Cook . We are touring and photographing the '49er gold fields and Santa Barbara, where Mortimer owned general stores and a bank and where he was mayor before founding Bug/Sedro in 1885. See a sample of the current issue here, with details of how to subscribe, or just click the Donate button on any webpage and make a donation or subscribe, $20/1 year . . . $35 2 years . . . $45 3 years. Thanks for your support.

Frank Evans (Courier-Times), Syd McIntyre Sr. and the 1915 UW Grads who were Skagit movers and shakers
      From Issue 57 of our optional Subscribers-paid magazine online, we report on the University of Washington Class of 1915 and the super-wattage that shone from the Skagit county students, Syd McIntyre, who would take over Skagit Steel & Iron Works from his father; Frank Evans, who would three years later buy the Courier in Sedro-Woolley and start a 50-year publishing dynasty; Art Ward, who became a state judge around his practice in Sedro-Woolley; and Herman Anderson, of Mount Vernon, who was a founding director of the Historical Society in 1959.
      Shortly after graduation from the University, he began work at the Everett Herald, which then had an active staff of two reporters. On Nov. 5, 1916, in his first week there, the massacre of the IWW demonstrators occurred at the Everett docks. Within just the next two years, the ambitious young reporter began looking afield for a weekly newspaper opportunity.
      Evans bought the Skagit County Courier in Sedro-Woolley in January 1918 when he was just 24 years old, born on March 26, 1893. I had the pleasure of working as an apprentice for Evans back in 1957 when I was 13. He was also a close friend of my father's. He often told the story of how he arrived in town on Jan. 26, 1916, to take over the newspaper and was preparing to write his introductory editorial when he heard a thunderous crash: the wreck of the Great Northern and Northern Pacific trains that occurred just north of the depot on Eastern Avenue. The story of the deaths of six passengers, including County Commissioner Henry Thompson was the lead story in the first issue he published. In 1919 he bought the former Munro Shoe Store in the 800 block of Metcalf street, which was the location of the Courier-Times for 50 years until the office was moved to south Mount Vernon after the paper merged with the Skagit Valley Herald.
      Two years later, after the death of Skagit County Times publisher John B. Stowers, on Jan. 11, 1920, Evans made an offer to Stowers' widow to buy the Times, and he spent the next four months lining up advertising pledges from Sedro-Woolley retailers and advertisers for a merged new newspaper. They eagerly signed up for the concept, which would eliminate or lessen the redundant ads, and by May he had enough to convince him that the purchase and merger could be profitable. The first issue of the merged Courier-Times appeared on May 20, 1920, with the lead story of the suicide of Lyman businessman Garfield Minkler. That was the beginning of his nearly six decades at the helm of the paper.

      To read this whole story, it is from our current subscribers edition. Have you subscribed yet? We need a hundred more subscriptions to pay for our extensive research trip, planned for June 2012, to prepare for our book in progress: "Humbug!" — Mortimer Cook . We are touring and photographing the '49er gold fields and Santa Barbara, where Mortimer owned general stores and a bank and where he was mayor before founding Bug/Sedro in 1885. See a sample of the current issue here, with details of how to subscribe, or just click the Donate button on any webpage and make a donation or subscribe, $20/1 year . . . $35 2 years . . . $45 3 years. Thanks for your support.


(Poppy Quilt)

Utopia quilt: from the Buchanan family
      We never cease to be impressed with the research and accessible history that Margaret Robe Summitt provides in her online Sounder magazine. In this particular issue that we quote from below, she caught her eye with her tremendous research into the families of the Utopia district, five miles east of Sedro, where I grew up. And it is about quilts and my mommy taught me to love quilts and honor the people who create them. I have six myself. Here is just a taste from Margaret's story of the Utopia Quilt:

The Poppy Appliqué Quilt from Utopia
Using Quilts in Genealogical Research
by Margaret Robe Summitt

      Representatives from the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum visited the Mukilteo Lighthouse Quilters guild last June with a challenge to do the genealogy of a quilt in their collection. I took up the challenge and was shown the quilt when I visited the museum. This was a large (84" x 90") friendship quilt from the 1930s which was donated to the museum in 2006. It was signed by sixteen pioneer women from the Skiyou and Utopia communities in Skagit County. According to its donor, these quilters frequently met in the Utopia grange hall to quilt and reminisce about old times in the Skagit valley. [Journal ed. note: maybe the old Skiyou school? What we later called the Skiyou or Skitopia Grange when I was a child. At the south end of the Harrison road at Skiyou Slough.] This was the last quilt that the group made. The donor's aunt, named Junia Phay Buchanan, was one of this group.
      The Museum displayed the quilt at the Woolley Fibers Quilt Show in June 2010 to get some information from local people who may have remembered the ladies who signed their names. The little bits of information collected were helpful yet tantalizing. The museum staff copied multiple pages from the 1930 U. S. Federal Census for Skagit County, drawing some of the families more into focus. They also copied biographies of pioneer families from the Skagit River Journal online. This site is edited by Noel V. Bourasaw, who was born in Utopia and has collected an amazing amount of local history: . The seventeen women (including Junia Buchanan) associated with the making of the quilt. . . .

      Some quick notes. Junia Buchanan was the neighbor of Junia Cannon out there where the river gets really wild with countless finger-like sloughs over the years and has eaten up a lot of the north bank, especially. Junia Cannon Palmer was like a second mother to me at times, the mother of my friend Ben and wife of Lloyd Palmer Jr., the longtime Jech and Berglund repairman for all types of Fords and such. We lost her much too soon, in the 1980s. She was indeed a Utopia girl, who grew up within a mile of my house near the Skagit and told me stories often about the Buchanans and Cannons and their nearby neighbors, the Stroms, from Norway, and William Bouck, who was briefly nominated, then passed up, for vice president of the U.S. in 1924 on the Communist Party ticket. The Cannon family moved here from eastern Washington sometime in the late Teen years, at the invitation of Junia Buchanan, the wife of Oscar Buchanan. Utopia was a wild place but made gentler by its quilts. Bill Newberg remembered them well, too. Go to the link above for the full list of women quilters and their genealogy, or we will be expanding on that list over this winter for a Utopia roundup. Are you from Utopia? Can you help us?

Skiyou Gothic: Dahlias, corn & a Cookie!
(Cookie and Dean) Click on the photo to read about Skiyou farmers and their dahlias and corn — and a Cookie! And the strange story of a 19th-century Skiyou hotel and a body turned to stone.
      It is not often that we get the opportunity to feature our best friends and cute couples on the site, but one arose this week. Cookson "Cookie" Beecher and Dean Harrington live near a historical oddity that we discovered many years ago and have never had the right place to feature it. Their dahlia gardens are planted next to the Hess location. You may remember Cookie's name from the time that she edited the Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, arguably the best editor in its history. And Dean is the fix-it man that many call when haying season is current. The historical importance of such may be found by reading this brief article from 1885:
      "At the mouth of Skiyou slough, C.F. Hess has made a clearing and built a comfortable hotel. The still stretch of river, the forest stretching up the side of Little mountain, and the higher ranges in the distance, make a beautiful view. It is just the place for a week's fishing or a summer's rest from overwork. There are no liquors sold and nothing to annoy the most delicate nerves. Those going up the river will do well to stop here. Crossing the slough at his ferry will save two good miles. . . ." [Read the whole story and get the big picture here.]



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      Can you share copies of documents or photos or scans that will help illustrate any of these stories above? Do you have documents or photos about other families or buildings or towns or events that can become the basis of other stories? If you have copies, you can mail them to the address at the top of the page, or you can attach copies or scans to an email. Click the button at the top. Thanks very much for your help.



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      2009: We have attempted to find who the current owner of the Puget Sound Mail name is. The newspaper went out of publication in 1983 and it has never been published again as a newspaper. Years ago we found a few quick-printed pages under that logo but we have not found anything in years. We are assuming that the name is in public domain, but if someone owns it, please contact us. We employ the name to honor the longest continuously published weekly newspaper in Washington state and territory. When it went out of publication in 1982, it was also still the earliest of the territorial newspaper to still publish as a weekly. James Power launched it in 1873 in Whatcom as the Bellingham Bay Mail and changed it to its present name in 1879 when he moved the paper down to LaConner, where it stayed for 103 years, under fine editors such as F. Leroy Carter, Pat O'Leary and especially Dick Fallis, who passed away in early 2011. He was justifiably proud of his years at the Mail's helm. We will feature an extensive history of the paper and its publishers in Issues 55-56 of the optional Journal online subscribers magazine. [Update 2011: The owner of the Puget Sound Mail contacted us and authorized us to use it as the name for this column. He is Christian Knight and has his own Puget Sound Mail website.]

    Chapter 14, May 2011

Gorge, Wine Country and Roslyn Tour
More items coming

Columbia Gorge, Wine Country and Roslyn Tour
(The Whoop)
Ada Whitmore, Val Hanchett and Lawrence Whitmore in front of cases of memories at the inimitable Whoop-n-Holler Museum, south of Bickleton and north of the Columbia River Gorge. Do not miss it.

      My friend in the eternal search for the sublime, Val Hanchett, led me off on a road trip to the Columbia Gorge last week. We started our odyssey at the Hood River Hotel, my favorite inn on the river. We booked a corner suite overlooking the water and saw a wind-sailor in flight, getting ready for the summer. We enjoyed a fine dinner at the Sixth Street Bistro, which I would suggest to any traveler, as I would the Ground Coffee Shop and Bakery the next morning, a half block from the hotel.
      The next day, we saw the Rodin sculptures and the peacocks at Maryhill Museum, enjoyed a scrumptious buffalo lunch at Chateau MJ and Erik near Centerville and then wound up where all good boys and girls should visit, the Whoop-n-Holler Museum, south of Bickleton. My only regret is that we did not allow time for Pork Tenderloin and Scallops at the Glass Onion restaurant in the small country town of Goldendale.
      We featured the Whoop two years ago. You can read our initial review here. Ada and Lawrence Whitmore have been collecting and storing both documents, genealogical records and memorabilia, plus a huge barn full of vintage autos, for the past few decades. They are 80-ish now and love to teach about what pioneer life was like. It is my personal Mecca that I hope to visit on any pilgrimage to the Columbia. Be careful or you will leave your heart in Ada Whitmore's parlor or beside one of their original Edison phonographs, which still have a few dozen of their own wax cylinders.

(Hood River Hotel)
Hood River Hotel suite

      Over the next two days, we toured wine country and Hanford, and enjoyed the hospitality of Mike Wallace, a friend of nearly 50 years and the owner of Hinzerling Winery of Prosser. He is truly a veteran of the Washington wine explosion of the early 1980s when we were associated in the Washington Wine Institute; his Late Harvest Gewurztraminer still sets the standard for dessert wines 30 years later. After a soupy, rainy morning we followed the river canyons north up to Vantage where we marveled again over the view south to the main bridge over the river and beyond.

(Davidson Building)
Most people aware of Washington state history are familiar with the Great Fire of June 1889 that leveled the village of Seattle. But that was not the only city in the state that burned that year: add Spokane Falls and Ellensburg to the list. Earlier that year, attorney (later judge) J. B. Davidson commissioned the building and Architect J. B. Randall and builder William Ames were erecting it when the fire burned much of the rest of the town. As this very informative site notes, a three-foot Phoenix caps the pediment on the south façade and a phoenix mural has recently been painted on the west side. The Phoenix became the center point of the city as the pioneers rebuilt after the fire. Just one block west is the Palace Hotel, which has been extensively remodeled in recent years, featuring beautiful wood paneling and a fine restored ceiling. And the wait staff and bartender were very helpful as well as being a sight for sore eyes, as we emerged from the desert and coulees.

(Dick and Jane's Spot)
We attended the grand opening of Dick & Jane's Spot, in Ellensburg, back in 1984 and have never forgotten it. Their displays indoor and out are their take on art and more than 40 fellow artists have shared eclectic work. Those who memorized the Dick and Jane books as primary-grade students will likely most enjoy the visit.

We headed west to the Cascades
      About 30 years have passed since the last time I stayed in Ellensburg. Like many small towns on the eastern slope of the Cascades, some business is moving out towards the I-90 Freeway, but the old downtown is nicely preserved. We loved the Palace Hotel and I was knocked out by the restored 1889 Davidson Building. The Holiday Inn Express was an exceptionally nice hotel there.
      Our last stop on the tour was in Roslyn, which is my favorite old coal town, whether it was the site for Northern Exposure exterior shots or not. In fact, the town in the very old coal days will be prominently portrayed in the diary of Pietro Jacobino, who settled first in Roslyn and then in Hamilton, and that was before the boom of the early 1890s. Browsing around and being "noticers," in the Samuel Clemens sense, we discovered the new Café Cicely just down the street from the Brick Tavern. Over mochas and delicious home-made chocolate pastries, Lori Clemente, one of the new owners, gave us an overview of the town's developments over the last decade since we last visited. She is also a friend to homeless critters, we discovered, as she introduced us to ARRF, the pet-rescue program, of which she is president. Lots of good karma in those mochas. And a really good reason to take the Roslyn exit from I-90. Our visit followed their grand-opening weekend and we wish for many more to follow.
      We will add more notes and another photo tour of the Whoop-n-Holler next week. Val, thanks for the memories.


(Cicely's Roslyn)
The owners outside Café Cicely in Roslyn, l. to r.: Michelle Crone, Lori Clemente, Stacy Reddy, Pat Reddy. They'll get your endorphins lining up for a great new day.


Journal for April 2011
    Chapter 13

Skagit Valley Genealogical Society hosts weekly beginners classes
Ball House felled by the wind in 1996 1900 Catholic Rectory now on Burmaster Road
Woolley editor tried to put
Sedro-Woolley on the map, 1899
The real story of The Duke of Duke's Hill Centennials and anniversaries all over Sedro-Woolley in 2011
Johnny Jacobin overcame great odds in Sedro-Woolley Comments welcome
Disclaimer re: column name
NW Washington History Detectives invite you to Dan Harris Days Fairhaven, April 30-May 1

Skagit Valley Genealogical Society hosts weekly beginners classes
      On April 4, Skagit Valley Genealogical Society begins a Monday begins a weekly series on how to research your family history, classes will be repeated April 11, 18, 25, 12:30-3:30, Mount Vernon Senior Activity Center, 1401 Cleveland St., MV. $35. Phone (360) 770-0741 for details and how to register. This is a terrific way to get started.

1900 Catholic Rectory now a house on Burmaster Road

(Catholic Rectory today)
The old 1900 Catholic Rectory today as a house on Burmaster Road.

      We get 20-30 reader questions and discoveries a month, most of which make their way into our stories or updates, although some do not pan out. This is one of the most spectacular that we received last year from Cindy Pierce, the Youth Education & Data Information Coordinator for Skagit Conservation District in Mount Vernon.
      I finally found a picture of my house thanks to your site. It used to sit at 807 Puget Street. It was the old rectory for the church next to it. It now sits at 26802 Burmaster Road. It was moved by logging truck in 1977. I thought you might want to add that. Sure wish that old church was still around.
      That would have been Rex Howell's old moving company, if we remember correctly. When I was growing up here, we kids scrambled to go wherever the Howells were moving houses, with those old spring jacks and accoutrements. We can now supply more information, after researching old Sedro and Woolley newspapers.
      Skagit County Times, Jan. 26, 1899: Catholic Church clearing site for new church, E. side of Puget St., north of State. March 5, 1899: Catholics Plan 150 seats, will build when weather improves. April 6, 1899: Calico Ball Grand Ball Friday eve in the Bowery, proceeds go to funds for the Catholic church bldg. Tickets include supper at Hotel Royal $1. Feb. 22, 1900: Catholic church, A.W. Fox, contractor on new church. Not yet completed.
      Issues from that spring and summer are not available, but we feel safe in inferring that the church was completed that year, and we think that the rectory was completed near the same time, to the north of the church. Sometime later, a recreation hall was built to the south. Cindy thought the church was located where the Soroptomists' Walnut Tree shop stands now on Puget Street, but it was actually on the site of the auto repair shop that is located a block south. In 1910 the Catholics built their new church on Ferry Street and the Lutherans moved into the old church and rectory. Here below is a postcard that shows the church and rectory not longer after its construction 111 years ago. Our only remaining question for old-timers reading this is: do you remember what happened to the church building itself? Was it also moved in 1977 or was it razed?


(Catholic Rectory circa 1900)
The historic Catholic Rectory circa 1900, from a colorized postcard from the collection of Mike Aiken.


Wind fells the Ball House in 1996
Skagit River Journal research
(Ball House 1990s)
Circa early 1990s

      First, we answer the question of many readers: when did the Ball House near Whitney blow down? The answer is 1996. Like many of you, we wonder, where have those 14 years gone? It seems like the house was always there until yesterday.
      When you walk into the first room of displays at the Skagit County Historical Museum in LaConner, you find the spectacular wooden scale model of the Ball House that the late Ken Atterberry created in 1987. Along with Howard Royal's model of his mother's Stump Ranch, it is the most accurate representation of days gone by. Tiny pieces of wood are glued together to show the most-photographed county building ever.
      There are many reasons why it was photographed so often. For one, it was for generations the haunted house to visit on Halloween. But more than anything I think it was that place that everyone loved, the ugly duckling that became beautiful as rain and wind tore it apart. The editor remembers photographing it from different angles and seeing new examples of how the elements blew again and again but the house would not fall. When you looked closely, you noticed how the house was cantilevered front to back in order to support the signature copula that seemed to hang in midair. It would have made a perfect set for Peter Pan.
      Several readers have emailed with questions about the house and we present below a series of photos from over the years and three stories about it. We hope that descendants of John Ball will write to us and furnish family memories of that proud old house. And other readers may have photos or articles about it in their family scrapbooks. We hope they will share. Read the full story here, shared from our optional Subscribers Edition.


Woolley editor tried to put
Sedro-Woolley on the map, 1899
      We met Greg Nesteroff, of Nelson, B.C., almost ten years ago when we were researching the life of the wildest and woolliest of pioneer Northwest newspaper editors, Seneca G. Ketchum. Back then, our file on Ketchum was pretty thin, but with the help of Greg and a few other sources — Canadian and U.S., we compiled our two-part profile, which has become one of best-read stories. We literally could not have done this without Greg.
      Ketchum was the descendant of religious leaders and key business owners in New York state and Ontario, but his acorn fell far from that tree. He moved west as a relatively young man, possibly because he was forced to, after learning the rudimentary skills of newspaper work. He landed in British Columbia and soon became known in the 1880s as a "tramp editor," a journalist whose relationship with the bottle was as tight as his relationship with newspapering, and one who often arrived in a small town via railroad, often falling out or jumping from a box car, holding his bindle full of all his meager worldly possessions. He spent most of the next decade in Nelson, or the surrounding area, and made quite a name for himself, for both good and bad reasons. Along the way, he became known as a poet and at one time, he was actually appointed police chief in Nelson.
      He then rode the rails over the border and continued his trade in Tacoma, Olympia and Spokane, where he became best known for his "borrowed" and expanded poem, Wandering Willie Waterhouse from Walla Walla, Wash. Then, in 1898, he rode into Woolley, and edited the venerable old Skagit County Times here, leading the march towards merger of the towns in December 1898. He died in 1903, from a severe attack of John Barleycorn, at age 39. Since we posted Ketchum's profile five years ago, Greg has continued to find more than a dozen obscure references to Ketchum, on both sides of the border, and we will use them all in an update to the profile later this year. Here is his latest discovery and it is a doozy:


Seneca Ketchum's new Capital Boom
He would move the state legislature to Sedro-Woolley
Spokane Daily Chronicle, Feb. 20, 1899
      Seneca Ketchum has a capital boom that is all his own. When Seneca used to set type in Spokane he was regarded as a man of modest ambition, but now that he has become the distinguished editor of the Skagit County Times at Sedro-Woolley, Seneca has developed into an independent capital boomer. He was in Seattle one day last week and there made public his new boom.
      "When I've talked about Sedro-Woolley," said Mr. Ketchum, "the fellows down here have always said 'Why don't your town get on the map' and such discouraging things. Well, we're on the map all right and have been for many moons, but never until last week did the citizens of Sedro-Woolley think of trying to change the map. We've started to do it, and there is no telling what will come of it.
      "We have a representative from Skagit county, Joseph H. Parker, who has pleased his constituents right along until last week. In an unguarded moment Mr. parker introduced a bill to move the capital of the state from Olympia to Tacoma.
      "Then it was that the people of Sedro-Woolley showed to the people of the state that not only had they an eye on the gun that is loaded, but likewise had as long a reach for the pie counter as Tacoma or any other town. On Wednesday evening last the Twin City Business League of Sedro-Woolley met and after discussing Representative Parker and his bill, set him a telegram saying, among other things:
      "'The Twin City Business League of Sedro-Woolley, of which you are an honored member, not with astonishment, not to say chagrin, that you have so far forgotten your allegiance to this organization and your bounden duty to advance the upbuilding of this town to advocate whose interests it was projected, as to introduce a bill to move the state capital to any other town but Sedro-Woolley. Please amend the bill immediately.'
      "Up to the present time Mr. Parker has not replied," continued Mr. Ketchucsh [sic], "but the Skagit county people feel assured that being first in the field the capital, when moved, will come our way."


Centennials and anniversaries all over Sedro-Woolley in 2011
      Several special anniversaries are on the horizon:
(bullet) 90th anniversary of both Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop, still going strong in Sedro-Woolley, and the launch of the Volunteer Fire Department
(bullet) The centennial anniversary of The Great Woolley Fire of 1911 (announcement coming)
(bullet) The centennial anniversary of the first Model-Ts on sale here, via Livermore Ford Agency, 1911. We have met with the mayor about how we can incorporate those centennials into the Loggerodeo parade and events this year. We are following up with a proposal to the Loggerodeo committee. Especially honoring the fire department.
(bullet) The centennial anniversary of the opening of Sedro-Woolley High School.


The real story of the Duke of Duke's Hill
      The legendary Duke was strangely of little interest to me when I was growing up here. I heard about that "crazy German" and that he was eccentric, but paid him little attention other than that. I am a baby boomer, now 66, so contrast that with men who grew up here a generation before me and you get a different story. They remember him well, often as well as they remember their sports or military heroes from the time. They may not have known him in the flesh — he died more than 25 years before their frolics at the lake in the late 1930s and the '40s — but his legend blended with their imagination. The legends and myths that grew up around the Duke and Bottomless Lake, his sylvan glade . . . in the middle of a dark wood . . . with crazy antics day and night . . . why, such a tale was a built-in escape hatch for a teenage boy.
      When I returned to live in Sedro-Woolley, in 1992, 30 years after graduating from high school here, I realized very soon that the Duke occupied the highest rank of local "characters," and that he and his life were rich ore to be mined, especially if actual sources could be found to back up the legends. Our quest for newspaper mention of his Dukeness in newspapers from those days a century ago has largely been a bust so far. But with the help of author Ray Jordan, a handful of newspaper stories and a few small hints along the way, we have put together what we think is the most accurate profile possible, and if our portrayal is accurate, the details we know show why he fascinated so many folks hereabouts, both while still alive and after his death in 1907.
      The most important thing for you to keep in mind: the Duke was a foreigner and an eccentric and that lifestyle was almost always suspect and condemned by the citizens here. Even when such an unusual person was not feared or suspect, he was sometimes ridiculed, as in that "crazy German." When his contemporaries combined eccentricity with foreigner and possible royalty, well, they were off to the races in legend-land, and many variations of tall tales and conjecture and apocryphal, imagined scenarios could well have resulted. See the full Journal story with many more details and his obituary, shared from our optional Subscribers Edition.


Johnny Jacobin overcame great odds in Sedro-Woolley
(Frog Boy)
Johnny Jacobin

      "Come on, step up and see the Frog Boy!" barked my father. "See that tiny little man on the inside. He eats fire, plays the ukulele, threads a needle — all without hands or arms. See him jump! All on the inside. Get your tickets now!"
      What I remember most about my Uncle John was his deformity. In 1912, well before the days of thalidomide, John was born to parents Frank and Ada Jacobin, my grandparents. He had one brother, Joe — my father — who was three years older. It was never spoken in the family what caused John to be different. But he was quite different. (Years after his death it was rumored that he was a result of a botched abortion.)
      John had no hands, only shortened arm stubs that ended at the elbows. His legs were permanently bent in such a fashion that you might assume sitting cross-legged or attempting the Lotus position in Yoga. However, John's Lotus was permanent. Both legs were bent at the knees. Walking or sitting, John's posterior stayed close to the ground. In this position, his total height was less than 30 inches. He did have feet. On one leg he had three toes; the other he had two. Moving the bones inside the large toe readily revealed two separate bones inside which were merged together or "webbed." Thus his carnival nickname of "The Frog Boy."



(Piano Race)
      Dirty Dan Harris, aka Jim Rich, center, poses with a race team before the Dirty Dan Piano Race up Harris Avenue during Dirty Dan Days 2006. See the link for the schedule for this year's events and the race schedule and details for teams in the story links below.

NW Washington History Detectives invite you to Dan Harris Days Fairhaven, April 30-May 1
      We are inviting all NW Washington History Detectives, and prospective detectives, to join us as we chow down and participate in events for the 9th Annual Dirty Dan Harris Days & Seafood Festival, in Fairhaven (now South Bellinghm), on April 30-May 1, celebrating the founding of Fairhaven. We are not a sponsor of the event and there is no fee for Detectives and their guests. We just want to alert you to a spectacular event that kicks off our year of such events of interest to the group. For more details and information, you can check these links:
      http://Fairhaven.com.
      The Journal's page on Dirty Day Days.
      And the Journal's exclusive section on Dirty Dan Harris and the founding of Fairhaven 126 years ago.
      For more details, telephone Doug Borneman at (360) 733-2682. How to find the event: Take the exit north of Burlington for Chuckanut Drive and enjoy this scenic journey along the bay to Fairhaven, or take Exit 250 from I-5



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Your Comments Welcome
      We encourage your additions, comments, criticism or corrections. For now, please use our communal comments section by clicking the button to the left. Please note the date of the column and/or the headline of the subject on which you are commenting, just to help us keep them straight.
      Can you share copies of documents or photos or scans that will help illustrate any of these stories above? Do you have documents or photos about other families or buildings or towns or events that can become the basis of other stories? If you have copies, you can mail them to the address at the top of the page, or you can attach copies or scans to an email. Click the button at the top. Thanks very much for your help.



*Disclaimer
      2009: We have attempted to find who the current owner of the Puget Sound Mail name is. The newspaper went out of publication in 1983 and it has never been published again as a newspaper. Years ago we found a few quick-printed pages under that logo but we have not found anything in years. We are assuming that the name is in public domain, but if someone owns it, please contact us. We employ the name to honor the longest continuously published weekly newspaper in Washington state and territory. When it went out of publication in 1982, it was also still the earliest of the territorial newspaper to still publish as a weekly. James Power launched it in 1873 in Whatcom as the Bellingham Bay Mail and changed it to its present name in 1879 when he moved the paper down to LaConner, where it stayed for 103 years, under fine editors such as F. Leroy Carter, Pat O'Leary and especially Dick Fallis, who passed away in early 2011. He was justifiably proud of his years at the Mail's helm. We will feature an extensive history of the paper and its publishers in Issues 55-56 of the optional Journal online subscribers magazine. [Update 2011: The owner of the Puget Sound Mail contacted us and authorized us to use it as the name for this column. He is Christian Knight and has his own Puget Sound Mail website.]

Journal for March 2011

    Chapter 12

Prairie church razed 1958 Gallery Cygnus: New photography show, March 2011 Woolley editor tried to put
Sedro-Woolley on the map, 1899

Ray Jordan's 1974
Yarns book transcribed here
More features coming Skagit Valley Genealogical Society hosts weekly beginners classes

Skagit Valley Genealogical Society hosts weekly beginners classes
      On April 4, Skagit Valley Genealogical Society begins a Monday begins a weekly series on how to research your family history, classes will be repeated April 11, 18, 25, 12:30-3:30, Mount Vernon Senior Activity Center, 1401 Cleveland St., MV. $35. Phone (360) 770-0741 for details and how to register. This is a terrific way to get started.

    Any time, any amount, please help build our travel and research fund for what promises to be a very busy 2010-11, traveling to mine resources from California to Washington and maybe beyond. Depth of research determined by the level of aid from readers. Because of our recent illness, our research fund is completely bare. See many examples of how you can aid our project and help us continue for another ten years. And subscriptions to our optional Subscribers Online Magazine (launched 2000) by donation too. Thank you.
      We requested a copy of a 1958 Courier-Times page from the state librarian because we were looking for another story about Prairie, a town that was still semi-populated four miles north back when I was in high school during that year. But, as often happens, another story popped off the page and we transcribed it below for you:
By Mrs. Raymond Hoyt, Courier-Times, Aug. 25, 1958
      The little Prairie church is no more. The lumber salvaged from it is being used as siding for a building at the Kenneth Fitzgerald farm and Fitzgerald J.B. Mumford are busy clearing up the debris at the original site.
      Two bids, one for $20 from a wrecking company owned by Don McIntyre and partner at Clear Lake and one of $25 submitted by Fitzgerald and Mumford, were the only ones received in response to a recent advertisement placed in the Courier-Times. The highest bid took it.
      The ten high-backed benches in the church were donated to a new Baptist church now being completed at Nooksack.The song books are being used int he Prairie Sunday school now being held at the Samish grange hall.
      Bud Johnston, only grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Alex Johnston, who devoted so many years to keeping the Sunday school classes active, was given the old church bell as a keepsake. Money from the sale of the chruch has been turned over to Superintendent Larson for use in the work of the present classes. Some of the his money will perhaps be used in buying a bible and other prizes for a membership contest in the Sunday school.

      We hope that a reader will recall the church and its exact location. Although we visited the Prairie district nearly every week back then, while visiting the Ernst families and the Vlahovich family, we cannot remember where the Samish Grange Hall was, either, so we hope a reader can fill us in about that too.

Ray Jordan's 1974 Yarns book
      While recuperating over the past year, we failed to post current issues of the optional Subscribers Edition magazine. But whenever we felt up to it, we transcribed dozens of newspaper stories and several chapters of books that we plan to share with subscribers over the next few months. We have extended all current paid subscribers a full year and we hope to make up for the missed editions by publishing a new issue every month, instead of every other month, until we are caught up. Later this month we will post both issues 53 and 54. Issue 53 will contain transcriptions of all five introductory chapters of Ray Jordan's excellent 1974 book, Yarns, which is second only to the 1906 Illustrated History as an important source of our local history.
      We decided to completely annotate those first five chapters with extensive endnotes because so many readers have written asking questions about the more obscure names and businesses that are not familiar to many of us. That took us several months, part-time, while we were regaining our strength. So we share in the new issue more than a hundred annotations and links, many of which include mini-biographies that took days or weeks to research an verify. This will represent the most complete record of many Sedro-Woolley-area pioneers that you can find anywhere, including corrections to both the historical record heretofore, as well as corrections to Jordan's text. As you will notice, the annotations are about ten to one in pages so you will find considerable annotation to peruse. Ray wrote those chapters in almost a conversational style, often referring to important pioneers and businesses — in sentence fragments, only occasionally providing details as to their identification. Back in the 1960s and '70s, when he was writing the book and his columns, some old-timers were familiar with the names. But today most names are obscure to people reading the book, thus our extensive annotations. Here is an example of one such endnote:


Fritsch Bros. Hardware
      The Fritsch family is one of the ten most important in early Woolley, both for their four-decade hardware store and one brother's involvement in the birth of Sedro-Woolley Iron Works (later Skagit Steel). The family of Franz (Americanized to Frank) Fritsch emigrated from Germany to New Orleans in 1871 and settled in Texas until the early 1880s when they moved first to Whatcom County and then to Sauk City when that was the entryway to the Monte Cristo mines. Quite a great circle route.
      But they walked into a real mess, as old Sauk City would be for the next decade until it washed away. At that early time, their location seemed like a good idea. Gold-seekers at the Monte Cristo mines in the Snohomish County portion of the North Cascades shipped all their machinery up the Skagit and the Sauk rivers and bought their supplies and staples at Sauk City. But the business district burned to the ground in 1889, and after a series of floods, Frank's sons, Joseph and Frank, moved to Sedro-Woolley and the father moved the rest of his family to Burlington.
      The brothers bought out the original Waltz Hardware of old Sedro. Waltz did well during the rail-building times and he hosted the early masses for the itinerant Catholic priests. By 1892, they either moved the store to Jameson Street, at the boundary of the two Sedro's or Waltz had done so. In 1897 they led another parade of Sedro businesses up to P.A. Woolley's new town a half mile north, possibly building themselves a woodframe store at the northwest corner of Woodworth and Metcalf streets. Meanwhile, the father invested in a sawmill and a general store for at least a decade more.
      A 1902 city directory notes that the brothers also opened a machine shop that catered to logging and railroad concerns that needed metal repairs. That was the beginning of what would evolve into Skagit Steel & Iron Works over the next two decades, all contained in those early years in a back room at the Fritsch store. Frank Fritsch became a partner of John Anderson, the new company's founder, and they soon moved the rapidly growing business to the corner of Puget Street and the railroad tracks. In 1907, the brothers erected a new woodframe building that was destined to be the center of one of the biggest stories in Woolley history, with a firewall between two parts to protect paint in storage in case of fire. That was a wise move but not enough to prepare them for the fire that broke out in their oil shed on July 24, 1911, and wasn't contained until it destroyed two blocks of businesses in the heart of Woolley.
      The brothers quickly rebuilt, this time using brick and steel, and the building reopened in December 1911. The brothers sold their company in 1914 to the firm of Ludwick and Wuest, but in 1923, Ludwick-Wuest moved their hardware and appliance business to a new building where Bus Jungquist/Masonic Building stands today at the northeast corner of State and Metcalf streets. The Fritsch brothers soon moved back into their old building and they alternated as owners of the business and then landlord as the company went through several owners over the next five decades. It was for many years the home of Mt. Baker Hardware. We will profile this amazing family and business later this year.

      If you have not yet subscribed, you can see a sample issue here that will give you the flavor of recent issues. Every subscriber gets access all the way back to Issue One, which we published on Jan. 1, 2001. Details for subscriptions here.

      Moved to April posting above.

(Cygnus Photography)
Gallery Cygnus: New photography show
March-April 2011
      Gallery Cygnus, of LaConner is inviting the public to an artist's reception that will feature portrait photography by Mary Randlett and Cathy Stevens. A survey of Northwest artists over the last 60 years, this show presents photographs of Morris Graves, Guy Anderson, Anne Martin Mc Cool, Clayton James, Barbara Straker James, John Simon and many other artists. The reception is scheduled for Saturday, March 5, from 1-5 p.m. The show runs March 4 through April 23. Gallery Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday-Sunday, weekends only, or by appointment (360) 420-9568. It is about a half block up the hill from the main street, on the north side of the street, cater-cornered from the 1869 Anderson Cabin and the old Bank of LaConner, and across the street from Maple Hall.

Story last updated Sept. 28, 2011 . . . Please report any broken links so we can update them


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(bullet) Remember; we welcome correction & criticism.
(bullet) Please report any broken links or files that do not open and we will send you the correct link. With more than 700 features, we depend on your report. Thank you. And do not give up if you find a link that seems to be closed. Just put the subject in the search box below. The story may have been moved to our new domain. Or just ask us and we will guide you to it.
(bullet) See this Journal Timeline website of local, state, national, international events for years of the pioneer period.
(bullet) Did you enjoy this story? Remember, as with all our features, this story is a draft and will evolve as we discover more information and photos. This process continues until we eventually compile a book about Northwest history. Can you help?
(bullet) Read about how you can order CDs that include our photo features from the first five years of our Subscribers Edition. Perfect for gifts.

You can click the donation button to contribute to the rising costs of this site. See many examples of how you can aid our project and help us continue for another ten years. You can also subscribe to our optional Subscribers-Paid Journal magazine online, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in September 2010, with exclusive stories, in-depth research and photos that are shared with our subscribers first. You can go here to read the preview edition to see examples of our in-depth research or read how and why to subscribe.

You can read the history websites about our prime sponsors
Would you like information about how to join them in advertising?

(bullet) Our newest sponsor, Plumeria Bay, is based in Birdsview, just a short walk away from the Royal family's famous Stumpranch, and is your source for the finest down comforters, pillows, featherbeds andduvet covers and bed linens. Order directly from their website and learn more about this intriguing local business.
(bullet) Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 90 years continually in business.
(bullet) Peace and quiet at the Alpine RV Park, just north of Marblemount on Hwy 20, day, week or month, perfect for hunting or fishing. Park your RV or pitch a tent — for as little as $5 per night — by the Skagit River, just a short drive from Winthrop or Sedro-Woolley. Alpine is doubling in capacity for RVs and camping in 2011.
(bullet) Joy's Sedro-Woolley Bakery-Cafe at 823 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley.
(bullet) Check out Sedro-Woolley First section for links to all stories and reasons to shop here first
or make this your destination on your visit or vacation.
(bullet) Are you looking to buy or sell a historic property, business or residence?
We may be able to assist. Email us for details.

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