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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition, where 450 of 700 stories originate
The most in-depth, comprehensive site about the Skagit

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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Capsule biographies, Sedro-Woolley and area

      Over the next few years, we will add capsule biographies of key families from the Sedro-Woolley, Sedro and Woolley areas. Do you have profiles of your own family or another family from any region of Skagit county? If you do or you have newspaper stories or family research, please mail us a copy or if you have already logged it your computer, email us with the story as an attachment. These capsule biographies will be featured for every area of the county.

William Thompson, Henry Thompson and Richard Thompson
      We think it is possible that Ray actually conflated two Thompsons: Henry Thompson (1852-1918), the county commissioner from Birdsview; and William Thompson, of Sedro-Woolley, also famous for a wreck, but not both in autos, and famous for two bridge. Henry was an Englishman who moved his family to Birdsview and set up a general store in March 1891, after originally moving to the Concrete area in 1889. Originally a cabinet-maker by trade in England, Henry built houses here and small bridge projects. Henry was elected as a county commissioner in 1912 as a Republican and was very popular with his Third District upriver constituents, who often called him "Uncle Henry." He was reelected in 1914. He advocated a new concrete bridge over the Baker River between old Cement City and the new town of Concrete and the contract was signed in 1916.
      As 1918 rolled around, Henry Thompson looked forward to dedicating the new bridge that summer. Down in Sedro-Woolley, Frank Evans, the new publisher of the Skagit County Courier, arrived in town in the week of January 26 to take over the newspaper. He was preparing his first editorial on the evening of January 31 when he felt the building rumble and heard a loud crash nearby the office. Deep fog enveloped the town and the engineer of a southbound Northern Pacific freight train plowed through the rear passenger coach of the westbound Great Northern Rockport train that was standing on the crossing at the famous railroad triangle just a block north of downtown. The collision was so violent that parts of the trains were driven into the depot on Eastern avenue and it was soon evident that six people had been killed, including Henry Thompson. He was identified as a "Birdsview farmer and capable, popular county commissioner." His son Richard Thompson, then 41 and a blacksmith in Grassmere, was soon appointed to fill his father's un-expired term. See.
      William: William Thompson (1862-1914) was a Canadian who built bridges for the Canadian Pacific Railroad crews in Saskatchewan and British Colmbia in the 1880s. He moved south of the border, where he married Louise Graham in Whatcom County in 1892. He had dabbled in investment in old Sedro, apparently as president of a very short-lived bank in 1890, but the Bingham and Holbrook private bank supplanted it by that summer. He began logging near Sterling next, in 1891, possibly in connection with Jesse B. Ball. He also set up a livery stable in Woolley in 1892 next to blacksmiths George Ratchford and James "Joe" McCabe, on the south side of Ferry Street, across the street from the Osterman House Hotel. He sold out the livery to the Frank Hoehn partnership in 1904. He was preparing for a run at the third district county commissioner office, which he won in 1906, and he later served as city mayor and erected the building on Metcalf Street where the Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop moved in 2010. He is best known, however, for the Thompson Bridge.
      Although critics decried the idea of a bridge over the Skagit River from the southern end of Third Street, they were proven to be a minority and the bridge was built, pretty much as David Donnelly, the former butcher and then Republican powerhouse, proposed. The Sedro-Woolley Skagit County Times reported on March 9, 1911, that the Clear Lake bridge contract was let for $56,638 and that it would take place of the one-horse ferry, open up a trade territory; a contractor named Quigg was the winning bidder. It also noted that the original Albert E. Holland ferry crossed the Skagit near the site of the Sedro Box plant, as you can read about in this Journal profile of Holland. The wooden drawbridge was completed and opened on Jan. 21, 1912, and it was dedicated by Sedro-Woolley Mayor William J. Thompson, who fought for it along with Donnelly. Miss Margaret Thompson, his daughter, was bridge queen and she broke a champagne bottle over the end of the draw. Thompson died in a car wreck on Aug. 18, 1914, and afterwards, the bridge to Clear Lake was often called the Thompson Bridge. Various reports note that the bridge was originally so rickety that the speed limit for autos was 12 miles per hour. After reinforcement, motorists could safely travel at 25 mph. When the editor was in school here, we usually slowed down to 25 or less when crossing. We plan a full profile of this most interesting immigrant later this year.

Flossie and Verna Hustead and family
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      Ed. note: This brief story is from the 1970 obituary notes that John Conrad prepared for the annual Skagit county Historical Society August picnic. Conrad prepared the profiles from 1949-73 and we have transcribed them at this portal website.
      The lead story in the Sept. 24, 1953, Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times special issue, which commemorated the centennial of Washington territory, was headed by the fact that Hustead's Millinery on Metcalf street was one of the two oldest stores in town that were operated by their original owners. The other such store was H. Bean Hardware on State street. Of course the oldest pioneer business in town, Holland Drugs, was owned by the third owner in its history.
      In 1953, Hustead's was operated by Flossie Hustead, who had been at the helm for 42 years. Flossie was 74 and unmarried. She and her younger sister Vernie were born in Illinois and grew up in Whatcom county before moving to Sterling, west of Sedro-Woolley, in 1911 to open their millinery store. It probably began in a temporary location on the east side of Metcalf street but soon moved across the street to 814 on the west side, which is now the north half of Glenn Allen Jewelers. They shared that building with Jack Ames, a barber since the earliest days of old Woolley town, whose shop was at 816 Metcalf. He went to the Klondike in 1898 and continued traveling there after the turn of the century for his own particular gold: furs, which he marketed out of the back half of the building.
      An advertisement in the Oct. 20, 1949, Courier-Times features Flossie selling ladies ready-to-wear coats, dresses, suits, hats. Her sister Verna Hustead, born on Dec. 15, 1883, died in Sedro-Woolley, May 16, 1942. From that point until the store closed in 1960, Flossie owned it alone. Flossie was born on May 4, 1879, and died at age 88 on July 15, 1967.
      John Conrad wrote in his 1970 obituary notes:

      Next door to Gampp's [in downtown Woolley] was the millinery store of Flossie Hustead, whose death occurred several years ago. Her nephew, Charles Randolph Hustead, 60 [Died 1970 in Oakland, California, born in Illinois]. His younger days were spent in the Sterling area. Randolph Hustead had a few prominent relatives. An uncle, Daniel Bell, brother of his mother, was U.S. Director of the Budget under President Franklin Roosevelt in his first term of office. Ted Hustead, a Midwest cousin of Randolph's, owns the famous drug store in Wall, South Dakota with the hundreds of billboards on most traveled highways clear across the nation. That advertising built up a tremendous business as tourists anticipated stops for days ahead at the "Wall Drug Store, Wall, South Dakota," almost a shrine! Randolph's folks' old farm at Sterling is now part occupied by the new United General Hospital. A "farm boy" brother has worked himself up to become general manager of Mt. Baker Plywood in Bellingham.
      The unnamed brother was Charles's father, Charles W. Hustead. He apparently moved to Sterling earlier because we looked at the 1910 census for Whatcom county and found Flossie listed, along with her sibling, Vernie A., and their father, but no Charles. Their mother, Frances Ella (Hazelrigg) Hustead was not noted in the census but she apparently survived her husband and lived with the girls at Sterling. Their father is listed as Herancis E., born in Iowa in 1855. For unknown reason, he is listed as Ves P. in his funeral record at Sedro-Woolley. He and Frances married in either Pike county, Illinois, or Muscatine county, Iowa.
      Research about the Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota — near the Badlands, shows that in 1931, Ted and Dorothy Hustead moved to Wall with their 4-year-old son, Bill, and bought out an old pharmacy. Ted was the son of a doctor in Nebraska, but his roots may have extended back to Muscatine county, Iowa, where Herancis Hustead was born. Dorothy had a stroke of genius in 1936. She suggested to her husband that they offer travelers free ice water. They printed up signs and gave them to the visitors, asking them to post them on telephone poles and other venues on their way back to wherever was home. Within a few years, the signs proliferated all over the country, especially in the Western half. I can recall the signs all over the mountain states when I went with my parents on an auto trip in the mid-1950s. The signs eventually reached Europe, too. Ted died in the mid-1990s and by then the store was a tourist trap, selling Buffalo Burgers for $6 and sprawled over 21 rooms of gifts and trinkets, but the store carved out its place in Western marketing lore along with Burma Shave.
      The Sterling Husteads may have had close relatives in the town of Bow. A man by the name of E.E. Heusted became the postmaster of Brownsville in 1902, a stop on the Great Northern rail line north of Burlington that was soon renamed Bow after the railroad station in a district in London that was the hometown of William Brown. The postmaster also spelled his last name, Hustead. Other burials at the Sedro-Woolley Union Cemetery include the sisters' mother, Frances, who was born Iowa in March 5, 1855, and died here on April 30, 1929; father, Ves P., born July 15, 1851, and died on May 5, 1933; Charles W., born in Illinois on May 12, 1882, and died here on Jan. 19, 1930; Halbert Hustead, son of Charles R., death in 1960, and Lorraine Bell Hustead, widow of Charles W., who was born Missouri on Christmas day, 1881, and died here on Oct. 31, 1957.

Dr. Charles M. Frazee
      George T. Frazee and his wife, Chloe, moved to Sedro-Woolley in about 1900 from Mitchell, Iowa, where George was a jeweler. Their contribution to town legacy was when they convinced their son, Charles Morris Frazee, moved here soon afterwards, with an M.D. degree from the University of Chicago. That made him the second early Woolley doctor with a highly respected degree, along with Dr. Charles C. Harbaugh. He soon built a hospital on the north side of Ferry Street, just west of where North Cascade Ford stands in 2011. That hospital, which was cited in the 1903 Polk Directory, supplanted St. Elizabeth's, the first county hospital, at the southwest corner of Township and Fidalgo, which was then owned by the Episcopalian Church.
      The photo is of Frazee's hospital from the December 1908 issue of Honor L. Wilhelm's The Coast Magazine (looking north from Ferry Street). In 1903, Charles married Audra (no maiden name, a trained nurse) and by the 1910 Federal Census they had three children. By the 1920 Federal Census they were separated, with Audra still living here and working as a nurse at the hospital, while Charles had a practice in Portland, Oregon. By 1930, Charles had divorced and remarried to a woman named Estelle, who was also an Iowa native. By 1918, both Sedro-Woolley hospitals had been supplanted by the new Valley Hospital, owned by Dr. J.F. Mills and Nurse Mrs. F. R. Gibboney, and located in the house that still stands at the northeast corner of Ferry and Ball streets. Now owned and restored by the Eric Swedelius family from 1995 to 2011, the large house with a large distinctive rock in the front was originally Dr. Mill's home until the hospital opened there in March 1916.
      Clear Lake Historian Deanna Ammons recently discovered a news article that indicates Frazee and Mills were partners, thus Frazee may have retained interest in the Valley Hospital when he departed for Portland.

Mount Vernon Herald, April 24, 1913
      On Monday of last week the Sedro-Woolley General Hospital Co. was organized in Sedro-Woolley. Its officers are Dr. C. C. Harbaugh, president; Dr. Payne, vice president; Dr. [Charles M.] Frazee, secretary; Dr. J.F. Mills, treasurer. The new company has taken over the hospital business heretofore existing in this city and has filed articles of incorporation at the state capital under the above title. The institution, under its new management, is to be strictly what the title implies--a general hospital, and is equipped and designed for the satisfaction and comfort of patient patrons. At present a Miss Mayher was head nurse. She came lately from service under Mayo Bros., noted surgeons of Rochester, Minn.
      This opens the possibility that the old Sedro Hotel/St. Elizabeth's County Hospital/church/pest house was incorporated into this company in 1913 and ceased operation between then and 1916. This follows logically because, on Dec. 18, 1912, Dr. William Dorsey, the St. Elizabeth's physician and administrator, was killed in a freak accident by riding his bike over a fallen power line. We plan a profile of Doctor Frazee and all these early hospitals later in 1911. Researcher Roger Peterson discovered that until the hospital was moved across the street to Charles Villeneuve's St. Charles Hotel, probably post-Frazee ownership, the surgery was very primitive in the Frazee home/hospital. [Return]

Dr. Charles C. Harbaugh
      Dr. Harbaugh was a Woolley pioneer who was both the most prestigiously educated and trained physician in town and also one of the most controversial and contentious town fathers. And that all happened while he courted and married the daughter of town founder Philip A. Woolley.
      Charles Carlton Harbaugh, known as C.C., was born near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on June 7, 1869, and moved with his family to Tacoma in 1887. At age 18 he earned his teaching certificate and he taught at small country schools. He later received medical degrees from the University of Oregon and then the University of Kansas where he received advanced training. He established his first practice when he arrived in Sedro-Woolley in 1895.
      He received specialty training at some of the most respected hospitals in the country and was certainly the most respected physician in the region, until 60 years later when Dr. Joe Hunter of Sedro-Woolley was elected as president of the American Medical Association. In 1902 Harbaugh took advanced training at New York University and the Polyclinic in New York. He practiced here for nearly 50 years and presided at the birth of nearly 1,500 babies in the district of Sedro-Woolley through upriver. In 1922, he established Mercy Hospital in the ground floor of the St. Charles Hotel along with Dr. Charles Hunter. That replaced the old Frazee Hospital in the same building and under the Mercy management, it became known for its well-equipped operating room and surgical unit until it closed in 1929 after the opening of the new Memorial Hospital on State Street.
      Back on Sept. 17, 1895, he married Kate Ferry Woolley, the daughter of the town founder and after the death of P.A. Woolley in 1912, they moved into the family home that faced Woodworth Street east of Murdock Street. After Kate died in 1927, Dr. Harbaugh remained in the old mansion and practiced there even though a fire burned it partially. In the late 1920s he built an office and study in a structure next door that would be in the parking lot of Countryside Chevrolet in 2011. Old-timers might remember it from 30 years later when Ralph Stendal and family owned it as the Coffee Cup Café (does anyone have a photo of it?) In a 1935 interview with Catherine McClintock of the Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Harbaugh told her that his ancestors had fought in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Dr. Harbaugh served during World War I as chief medical officer at posts in Oklahoma. While serving, he became a very close friend of the future Gov. Philip F. La Follette of Wisconsin, although their politics were not similar, but he told McClintock was homesick and Harbaugh became a father figure for him. Coincidentally, La Follette would nearly a decade later become a key figure in the campaign of Sedro-Woolley's only declared communist wannabe, William Bouck, who ran for vice president . . .
      He made quite an impression in Sedro-Woolley in 1908 when he bought a Mitchell horseless carriage. He was a Mason, Shriner, and an American Legionnaire, and was a Democrat. He initially retired in 1931, but lost much of his life savings when the First National Bank failed here in 1932, so he resumed his practice until 1936. The controversy ensued back during his first decade here when he became the most vociferous crusader in town for prohibition. In 1903 his forces went so far as to publish an underground flyer accusing banker and Mayor Charlie Bingham of being a licentious agent of spirits and unspeakable behavior, along with his henchmen at the den of iniquity, the Keystone Hotel and Saloon, across the street from the railroad depot.
      All of us interested in local history are forever indebted to one of his granddaughters, the late Jean Austin, formerly of Seattle, who bequeathed two treasures in support of our fine Sedro-Woolley museum. She had retained the Woolley family bible, with many important documents inside, including copy of the Truth newsletter mentioned above. That gift to the museum supplied depth to the Woolley family story. And in her will she donated a considerably large sum to the museum. Ironically she told us back in the 1990s that she had never been told of the controversy and actually knew very little about the Woolley town or family story until she heard of the museum opening here. In fact, she had only visited here two or three times as a young girl. She noted that her grandfather and father did not get along well with the Woolley descendants but she did not know why. The only hint we have is that one of Woolley's sons was the partner in a noted saloon that converted to a "pool hall" when official Prohibition began early in Washington state, on Jan. 1, 1916.

Del Hayes and his Cigar Factory
      Since we have failed so far to find genealogical information for Del Hayes, we will just briefly review his business record. He was by all accounts a jolly fellow and a favorite after the turn of the century. One reason is that we first discover that he was a cigar manufacturer. A July 1911 article noted that "Plantio Cigar Factory is in the Donnelly building next to [Ed Dennison's] barber shop [next to the alley]," although we do not know how long he had been here. But a few days later the Great Woolley Fire of 1911 burned the Donnelly woodframe building to the ground in less than an hour. The copy of the complete fire almanac that Al Doorn kindly donated (from the archives of the old Bingham Investment Co.) indicates that his business was only insured for $350 insurance. Researcher Roger Peterson notes that is was located in the 700 block of Metcalf where the Liberty Café occupied from 1929 to 1998, and most recently by Boondocks Restaurant and Bar. And if you like Hegg family story, this was in 1923 the location of Earl "Fuzz" Hegg's Fuzzy Wuzzy Grocery, so named to make fun of the Piggly Wiggly Grocery a block to the south. The Piggly opened in late 1923, which meant that the nationwide chain had expanded about 3,000 miles west from its birthplace in Tennessee seven years prior.
      Then we have an 18-year gap until 1929, during which time he sold his cigar company (or it could have just closed). But in February 1929 the Courier-Times announced that Union Oil planned to build a station here under their nationwide corporate umbrella. They bought the lots at the northeast corner of State and Murdock streets. Del Hayes would be manager. His first teenage employee was a fellow who the folks have lived here 40 years or more will likely remember: Chuck Rings, the son of Karl "Rings the Tailor." And those who grew up here in the '50s and '60s will likely remember the orange Styrofoam balls that Union provided and Chuck's employees and staff, including the late Tommy Oakes, affixed to any radio aerial that came within 50 feet of the place, plus the cars parked at the old Sedro-Woolley Drive-In, south across the street (now Hal's). Chuck also worked hours at Curry Furniture in those early days. In 1947 he bought the station from Del.
      When we interviewed the late Harold Renfro in 1998, five years before he left us at age 98 in 2003, he recalled Del and gave us other facts. "I remember meeting one of the cigar factory partners, Del Hayes, who later built the service station that stood across State street from the present Hal's Drive-In. Del's cigars [Plantio brand] were really something." There were three cigar factories here at one time. His cousin, Charles Renfro, went to work for Hayes. When we triangulate, Renfro's memory could have meant that Del was still producing cigars as late as the mid-'20s when Harold was smoking stogies.
      Finally, when we interviewed the late Pat Brown a few years ago (Fuzz Hegg's daughter) she recalled that Puss Stendal worked for Del in odd shifts through the declining years of the business, starting in 1935 — the year her grandfather, F.A. Hegg died, he worked for the Hegg sons briefly after the Union Mercantile, Puss's longtime employer, failed on Metcalf Street. Then he worked for Del Hayes's station, which by then sported a Red Lion Gas sign. Can't beat personal memories like that. We all still miss your mother, Loren.

Bill Royse and the Royce-Hankin mill
      Cottonwood Bill Royse (often misspelled Royce) was one of the leading mill men in the county. Follow the ridgeline along the rivers and the cottonwoods are ubiquitous. Thus, in October 1902 when the Eugene Excelsior Works & Veneer Co. scouted the original location of Mortimer Cook's Sedro wharf, they were thrilled with the proliferation of the trees that provided the wood source for the shavings then used as packing material, pre-Styrofoam. The Graphic magazine in 1891 noted that the cottonwood trees that grew wild in thick bunches along the upper Skagit River were very large and perfect for excelsior production. Several companies looked at the area but the Depression of 1893-96 dampened the plans. By 1905 the Sedro Veneer & Excelsior Works was listed in the Polk City Directory. By the time that three railroads crossed within 100 yards of each other in Woolley in 1890-91, magazines up and down the coast announced that the twin towns of Sedro and Woolley were seeking an excelsior plant.
      Royse and his original partners, C.O. Peterson and C.D. Lloyd, contracted with the Sedro-Woolley Iron Works that year to produce what was described as a mammoth log jack for the company that would convey up to 8,000 pounds at a time from the mill pond to the mill. They expanded the company in 1908 added barrels to their product list, which included excelsior, berry crates and boxes for shipping dishes. The company name was changed to Sedro Box & Veneer Co. In 1914 the Skagit County Times newspaper in Sedro-Woolley announced that the company bought 28 acres east of the plant, over to about where the Skagit Steelhead Club stands in 2011, to expand their mill pond.
      On Feb. 13, 1918, a fire nearly destroyed the mill, but it was quickly rebuilt. Business was very strong and the newspapers reported that the main products were egg cases, barrel shooks (assembly parts) and veneers. Then in January 1919, the company gained new principal investors and was renamed the Royce-Hankin mill, including a new partner, Delbert Hankin. On Jan. 30, 1919, the Commercial Club of Sedro-Woolley met to discuss support of the new company that would replace the Sedro Box & Veneer Co. For the next seven years the company, located on about 30 acres south and east of the original Sedro townsite by the river, was one of the largest employers in the area.
      Then on July 28, 1926, almost all of the mill and the lumber piled in and around it burned in a roaring fire. The original town of Sedro had long before turned into pasture land and then the town dump and only one old, rusted hydrant was available for the city's volunteer fire department. In addition, firemen working for Harry Osborne discovered that the mill hydrants had smaller size threads so city water pumpers could not hook up to them. Although Hankin announced that the mill would be rebuilt, that did not happen immediately and by the time capital was raised a few years later, the country wide Depression stopped all plans. The loss of the fire was estimated to be $75,000, which was only partially covered by insurance. In the early 1920s, prosperity and bright hopes abounded for the town of Sedro-Woolley, but the loss of the mill, along with the closure that year of the Clear Lake Lumber Co. and the closure of the Cokedale mines a few years earlier, stopped the construction boom well before the stock market crash of October 1929, including dissuading the Masons from adding another story to their Metcalf Street building.

Lewis Kirkby (1838-1933) and the Skagit County Kirkbys
      Lewis Kirkby, a native of England, and his extended family members were among the many from Kansas who moved west and north in the 1880s through the turn of the century and formed the largest contingent of early settlers in Sedro. (See this Journal site for the story of Lewis's importance to our historical record.) We infer from records that during the Civil War Lewis served in the Kansas State Militia, on the Union side, and rode against Quantrill's Raiders. He married Malinda E. Richards back there in February 1861, just three years before they moved to Ottawa County, Kansas, the cradle for other Sedro-Woolley area families, including the Kallochs. We will soon post his diary from the summer of 1864, in which he recorded the brutal battles between Kiowa Indians and settlers there, including his escape across a river, carrying his three-day-old baby daughter, Mary Alice, on his back as he swam.
      He and his relatives somehow survived the attacks and in 1872 he moved his young family to Wells, in Marshall County. According to the memoir of John Cully, his family originally moved from Kansas to the Puget Sound in about 1883 when Lewis Kirkby helped Charles obtain a position with the lime kilns at Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. Why did Kirkby come to the Puget Sound. We will explain the reasons when we profile Isaac S. Kalloch, the amazing mayor of pioneer-town San Francisco, moved many of his family to Sehome, north of the islands that year. In the middle portion of his most controversial career as a defrocked minister, he owned both a hotel and a saloon in Ottawa, Kansas. His son, Isaac M., used to play with the Kirkby kids in Kansas. He was largely the reason why the Kallochs moved north that year; he had just been narrowly acquitting for the murder of the newspaper publisher who tried to assassinate the senior Kalloch during the 1879 mayoral campaign. In addition, Amariah Kalloch III, brother of the former mayor had already chosen a homestead on Duke's Hill north of future Sedro-Woolley, and he would have known the outside-job opportunities around the Sound for Lewis, who showed no desire to be a farmer again.
      Kirkby later led the extended family's move to old Sedro in 1890 but the Cullys soon returned to Kansas. Cully recalled that when his family returned to Woolley in 1897, Uncle Lewis was a fixture in P.A. Woolley's company town. When Lewis first moved into his newly built home on what is now Borseth Street, he donated the lots next to him to Woolley's fledgling Free Methodist Church and he became one of their major benefactors. He and Malinda were also active patrons of the Methodist Episcopal, the new building for which was erected in 1892 in the First Addition to Sedro on what became the corner of Nelson and Fifth streets. The building committee and guiding lights included David Batey, the most famous pioneer of this area (1878 and also a native of England) and Lewis Kirkby.
      Although thoroughly Western in both demeanor and attitude, Lewis was born in 1838 near Nottingham Forest in Newark, Winthorpe, England, which was very similar in geography to Robin Hood's legendary home. In an unknown year he emigrated to the U.S. with his twin brother; they planned to wind up in Texas, but Lewis settled in Kansas, where a family member found his record in Blackjack, Douglas County, dating back to1859. Compared to the fire and terror in Bloody Kansas, however, the Kirkbys led a comparatively sedate life here. Family members recall the stories of how Lewis and Malinda were easy marks for the hobos who traveled the rails during the early depression of the 1890s and into the early 1900s. The hobos would leave a mark in chalk on the fences and later the concrete sidewalk to indicate the houses where people would feed them and the Kirkbys always made that list.
      This is also one of that handful of families who left a substantial mark on Burlington too, like the Fritschs and Hammers of the same time period. Descending through Lewis's youngest son, Adam, another branch provided some of the area's most influential citizens, including a nationally famous football player. Adam married Ida Bayly in 1897 back in Wells, Kansas; she soon became pregnant and when their son Thomas Verne was just a baby his father died. Ida began teaching back in Kansas but beginning when his grandson was still a toddler, Lewis started playing cupid for his daughter-in-law, then a lonely widow. Lewis invited her out for a visit and pointedly introduced her to Silas Butler, the mill man of Edison and Bow as well as being a witty, charming, most-eligible bachelor. They married in December 1904
      After growing up on the vast Butler estate, which contained a mill and a major dairy, Thomas Verne Kirkby in turn married Ellen Marie Johnson in Burlington in 1928 and their third child was Roland Verne Kirkby, born in 1929. After a sensational career as a teenaged football star for Joe Day's championship Skagit County teams of the early 1940s, Roland went on to eventually greater football stardom initially at the University of Washington — including an All-America nomination, but it was his year-ending serious injury that really cemented his fame for overcoming adversity. In 1952 Roland was awarded the Guy Flaherty Inspirational Player award, the first such award nationally and named for Guy Flaherty, the inspirational player of 1904 who hailed from Sedro-Woolley. Burlington's Kirkby Athletic Field was named in Roland's honor.

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Story posted on August 13, 2004; more profiles added March 18, 2011
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(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 by the Skagit River, just a short drive from Winthrop or Sedro-Woolley
(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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