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(S and N Railroad)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition
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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John Cully: Indiana to Sedro-Woolley
by covered wagon in 1900

(John and Ivah Cully)
John and Ivah Cully

      Ed. note 2002: The Ottawa county, Kansas, area where the Cully family began their original journey, was the home of more than one Sedro-Woolley family. In the 1860s and '70s there were three contiguous counties in north-central Kansas where future Sedro settlers lived: Ottawa, Saline and Lincoln. George Green founded the town of Lincoln, Kansas, in 1870. In 1889 his son-in-law, Emerson Hammer, came out to Sedro and clerked for Mortimer Cook at Sterling before a long career as retailer, sawmill owner, state senator and town father. Green and his family followed in about 1891, built stores in Burlington and Woolley, then moved to Clear Lake. He built the first of several shingle mills at the south end of the lake, then Sauk, then Cokedale Junction, and followed that up with the first department store of Woolley, which was called the Union Mercantile. His wife, born Josephine Dart, became a town mother and regaled her friends with the tale of when she was considered the best marksman of Kansas, of either sex. And Green's son-in-law, Dave Parker, moved his family to Clear Lake in 1891, arriving with his wife, children, livestock and furniture in a boxcar of the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern railroad. His grandson, also Dave Parker, can still be found nearly every morning at the grocery store in Clear Lake that his family once operated. Other families from there included Art Thompson's ancestors and those of Eddie Adams, the owner of the Old Timers Tavern, plus Hutchison Farley, who was a hero along with George Green in the Battle of Beecher's Island in Colorado in 1868. In reading documents from that time, we also found that Sedro-Woolley resident Mrs. Clara A. Goodspeed was the daughter of an Indian scout that was in that battle and that her family was from the Lincoln area. We do not know her maiden name, but we know that she was married here to Earl Goodspeed. They died in 1971 and 1959, respectively. We hope that a reader will know more about these families and share more information with us.
      Probably the emigre from Ottawa county who was best known nationally was Isaac S. Kalloch. He was the most famous and infamous mayor of San Francisco, serving from 1879-83; he is buried at Fairhaven, 25 miles to the northwest of here, and the Kalloch road in the Prairie district is named for his relatives. Teacher Glenn Hall at Sedro-Woolley High School was also related to him. But those are all other stories for the future. Our story starts back there where so many of our families originated.

(Steam donkey crew)
(John Cully's schoolbus)
Click on these thumbnails
for full-size photos

Far left: John Cully worked on a steam donkey crew in the woods Can anyone identify the men in this photo?
Center: After arthritis kept him from working in the woods, John drove schoolbus.
Photos and information from John's descendants and relatives, Cheryl Hunt, Joan Sinyard, Wayne Belles and Charles Kirkby.

      Ray Jordan, Ray's Writin's, Yarns of the Skagit Country (undated newspaper column): "A bit of the Old West as seen through the eager eyes of a nine-year-old boy during the last days of the covered wagon.
      "John's father, Charles Cully, started this five-month trip with a wife, six children and a cash balance of $75. He would have made it, too, but illness overtook one of the children at Missoula, Montana, which forced him to send home for $10 more. Average daily expense, including emergencies, 55 cents.
      John says that he went to school only one-half day, and on that day the teacher wasn't there, so please be lenient."

The Charles Cully family joins the Lewis Kirkby family
By John Cully, as transcribed by Ray Jordan
      After a short but sweet courtship, Mother and Dad were married in Ottawa County, Kansas, in the fall of 1879. Mother was just sweet sixteen. [It could have been 1880 when she was 17.]
      They purchased a small farm and Dad went farming for himself. He stayed put until 1881, then decided to sell and go west. Mother's parents (the Lewis Kirkbys) were living at Roche Harbor, Washington (San Juans), so that is where they headed for, arriving there in the fall
      Dad found work in the lime kilns and the family lived there until the fall of 1889, then moved with my grandparents to Sedro-Woolley. My sister Effie was born in Roche Harbor [San Juan Island], Dec. 31, 1888.
      Sedro-Woolley, or [just] Sedro [then], was a very small place situated in the southeastern part of the present town, almost on the banks of the Skagit River. There were a few business houses, hotel, a saloon or two, sawmill and shingle mill, logging camps and a few houses (shacks) built around in the woods with tents stuck up here and there.
      About a mile and a half northwest of Sedro another town was starting to sprout up which they called Woolley. Here, my Dad settled, moving into a small shack with a family of four kids, Pearl, Alvin, Joe and Effie. Their new home was in the northern part of Woolley, known today as Moore Street. It was here that a blessed event took place, so they tell me.
      During a snowstorm, the night of November 25, 1891, the stork visited the Cullys leaving a boy. He was a plump, alert little guy, born with an enormous appetite. They called him John.
      In the fall of 1893, Dad got homesick for Kansas so he loaded Mother and us kids on the train and we headed back. Once more they purchased a small farm and after two years of drought Dad loaded us in a covered wagon and headed for the Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Here he leased land from the Indians. I remember Mother telling me our home was just a small log cabin in the foothills.
      There the stork caught the Cullys again, leaving a boy. It was a bitter cold day, February 6, 1895. Mother had an old Indian woman as midwife for the baby named Clarence, known today as "Jake."
      Dad didn't do too good there, and the Indians were very treacherous, stealing anything they could. Dad had a brother in Indiana and made up his mind to go there, so into the covered wagon again heading for Indiana. I was only four then so don't remember too much about the trip.
      Dad rented a farm out a few miles from Richmond. Jake was just learning to walk and I remember trying to help him. It wasn't long until he could go on his own and we had many happy days there. My older brothers and sisters had a long walk to school for there were no school buses then.
      In 1898 Dad moved into Richmond where he was employed by some manufacturing company at one dollar a day for ten hours work. I started to school there and again there was a long walk. I remember in the winter months when we had snow, Dad would walk ahead of us to break trail.
      On my seventh birthday, that stork came again, dropping a baby girl. Dad told me she was my birthday present. They named her Hazel.
      My oldest sister Pearl was keeping company with a young man, Sam Malotte, who was a professional square dance caller and many were the good times had at our home.

Turn of the century return to Sedro by covered wagon
     : In the spring of 1900, Dad decided to go back to Washington. Sam and Pearl were married by this time and got the itch to go with us, so Sam bought himself a horse and a one-horse wagon, covered it over with canvas, got some cooking utensils and bedding and was ready to go. Dad had the old covered wagon and mules and all he had to do was load up.
      There were Dad, Mother and we six kids. Sister Hazel was just two and one-half years old. Jake was to travel with Sam and Pearl. Sam had taken Jake under his wing, so to speak, and I never knew why, for I was the brighter and better looking boy. Sam was the one that nicknamed him "Jake"
      I shall never forget the morning when we started on our long trek to Sedro-Woolley, Washington. Jake and I were greatly excited, anxious to go. I remember the wagon out back in the alley, also Dad hitching up the mules. It was a lovely morning with the sun shinning brightly. All the neighbors and their kids and their dogs were there
      We drove away with all of us kids trying to look out through the back window of what was to be our home for the next five months. As we passed. through the outskirts of town everyone was out taking a look and. waving.
      After we were away from town a mile or so Dad let us kids get out and walk. Jake and I had a time running ahead of the wagon and romping with a big shepherd. dog that Sam had brought. We stopped at a small creek at noon for a cold lunch. It was Joe and Alvin's job to water and feed the mules.
      We traveled about fifteen miles the first day, camping on another small creek. That night we had our first camp fire. Mother did not have to cook much, just warmed up the food she had prepared and made coffee. We kids had a tent to sleep in while Dad, mother and our baby sister Hazel slept in the wagon.
      The next morning we were up early. Dad built the fire while the boys watered and fed the mules. While Mother was preparing breakfast we kids washed in the creek. After breakfast and the fire [was put] out we were ready to travel. The campfire and sleeping in the tent had been a thrill for Jake and me. Visualize, if you can, a covered wagon drawn by a team of mules, kids running ahead or behind, all barefooted, or a family of eight squatted around a camp fire with coyotes lurking about.

(Covered wagon Sedro-Woolley 1939)
Pioneers Nellie Canavan and Mabel Meins, who moved here with their families while Washington was still a territory, rode the Territorial Daughters covered wagon in the 1939 Fourth of July parade.

      I don't remember much until we came to the Mississippi River. There was no bridge for carriages, so they loaded our wagons in a box car and hauled us across by rail. Dad had heard that they charged by the head, so we kids hid under the blankets, but as it turned out they charged only so much a wagon. Being under the blankets I did not get to see much of the Mississippi.
      After crossing the river, the population grew thinner as we moved westward. Farms were few and far between. In South Dakota we hit the Bad Lands which was a desolate country. The rocks and earth formations were of all shapes and colors; nothing grew there, not even sage brush or jackrabbits, and hotter than Hades. We camped overnight before starting across them. The road had a big bend in it called the Devil's Elbow. After traveling a half day we could look back and see where we had started, and Dad was sure glad when we were across. We carried water in a barrel and two water bags.
      Montana was a lonely country of jack rabbits, coyotes, prairie dogs, sage hens and sage brush. We kids nearly ran ourselves to death trying to catch rabbits and looking for Indian arrowheads. Here we were told to be on the alert for Indians. We kids became afraid to sleep in our tent after Sam lost his dog. In some place we had passed through he got scared of something and took off and we never saw him again. The weather was getting awfully hot, which was hard on the mules and Sam's horse. The latter was not standing the trip too well, so Sam sold his outfit and he and Pearl went the rest of the way by train, taking Jake with them. I missed Jake for we were always together.
      Coming to the Powder river, we had to ford. The government employed a man to pilot wagons across on account of the quicksand. It was a lonely job and the shack he lived in was miles from the nearest neighbor. To pilot us across he rode a pony, fastened his lasso to the end of the wagon tongue and told Dad to not let the wagon stop. So Dad put Joe on one side with a whip to keep his mule going and Alvin on the opposite side to do likewise. I think it was Joe who didn't want to get his pants wet and when he paused to roll them up his mule almost stopped. If he had, we would probably be there yet.
(Powder River Montana)
Scene from Powder River, Montana website

      Montana was a frontier country with farms miles apart and few towns. At nights the coyotes would circle our camp fire and howl. We ate many a jack rabbit and prairie chicken. Mother had a large iron pot that she suspended over the fire by an iron tripod [and in it] she cooked mulligan. We ate lots of it as vegetables were in season and the farmers gave us plenty. You could buy a large loaf of bread for five cents.
      Did you ever cook a flapjack over a fire? If you haven't, try It sometime. Try and visualize with me a bunch of hungry kids standing around a camp fire with a tin plate waiting for his or her flapjack. Their mother is stooped over holding a frying pan full of dough over the fire. Wherever she goes the smoke follows her; her eyes start to water and she wipes them with her free hand. Soon she can't see fire or frying pan; she staggers around wiping her eyes until she can see again. She holds the frying pan over the fire again; about this time the fire pops, bombarding your flapjack with ashes, and to make it more pleasant some kid kicks dirt into the dough.
      I can see Jake and me, a couple of husky barefooted boys awaiting our turn, dressed in overalls worn through at the knees, homemade shirts with the buttons torn off from wrestling, hair clipped short, big straw hats, and tanned as dark as Indians. Jake always had a skinned nose. Every time he fell down he skinned it more. And we had eaten so many jack rabbits that we could almost run like one.

Montana: miles of sagebrush and making friends with an Indian wife
      As we toiled on through Montana the more arid and desolate it became. All one could see was sage brush. Some places we'd have to get out and look for the road and the weather was terribly hot and water scarce. We didn't travel many miles in a day, too hard on the mules. Farms were few, but the people showed great hospitality.
      One evening Dad sent me to a farmhouse to try to buy some bread and the lady wanted us to stay overnight with her. Her husband and some other cowboys were driving a bunch of horses to Billings and would be gone a few days. She was an Indian woman, a cripple who had to crawl on her hands and knees, having been thrown from a horse while a girl, hurting her back. She was a very nice lady. Next morning she gave us lots of vegetables and hay to take with us.
      I remember fording the Yellowstone River, which was not very deep and had no quicksand, also an old fort where we stayed overnight. It was a large stone house, about 100 feet long and not very wide, with a full basement which had a large cook stove in one end where people stayed when there was an Indian uprising. They told us that Buffalo Bill had stayed there overnight on his stage run.
      The weather got so hot that we traveled early and late, resting in midday. Dad always hobbled the mules at night so they could graze, and one morning they were gone. Dad was pretty worried. But we found them about two miles away from camp at a watering place where we had stopped the day before. Everyone was happy as Dad thought that the Indians had stolen them.
      One day there was an eclipse of the sun and it got quite dark. Dad stopped so we could watch it. We were told later that the chickens were fooled and went to roost.
      We encountered many storms in Montana. I shall never forget one terrible windstorm with thunder, lightning and rain which had us all scared. We came to a country schoolhouse and Dad pulled alongside of it to get a windbreak. It blew so hard that Dad was afraid it would blow our wagon over, so he decided to camp for the night.
      He had to tie the wagon down and it was impossible to pitch our tent, so we kids took our beds and crawled into the schoolhouse through a window. Mother and Dad slept in the wagon. No supper that night; too stormy. Sister Effie wrote on the blackboard as to where we were going and where from, while the rest of us kids mixed the kids' books from desk to desk. I am sure there was a surprised schoolmarm next morning.
      As we traveled on, we came to many deserted mining camps, consisting of a few small shacks, a store building and a silent saloon or two. At Boulder there were thousands of big boulders all around the town with the road winding through them. We kids crawled to the top of a few and I guess that is the reason I remember the place.
      Missoula stands out in my memory for we had a little excitement there. It was situated in the foothills of the Rockies on the Missoula River [where] we were camped. We had a nice place with lots of shade trees and green grass and were we glad to get away from the hot prairie and sage brush.
      Sweet corn roasting ears [were] ripe and Mother had purchased a couple dozen. As she was shucking them, sister Hazel was lending a helping hand and nibbled a little too much on the raw corn which made her sick. The doctor took her to the hospital where she stayed for five days. (here is where Dad had to send for the extra $10).
      During that time we all had a rest and I am sure the mules needed one. We kids played around the river and took in the town while Mother caught up with the wash. She even found time to scrub my neck and make me wash my feet.

Following the rails over the Continental Divide
      When Hazel was well enough to travel, Mother decided to go the rest of the way by train as the big bird was on her trail again. The day she left was a big event, but a sad one, for we hated to see her go. I remember waiting for the train to arrive, and after Mother and Hazel were aboard we kids stood looking in the window hollering good-by and waving. We missed her terribly, especially Dad.
(Ivah Cully at their 302 Borseth home)
Ivah Hitchen Cully at the 302 Borseth home where she and husband John lived for several decades

      Early next morning we were on our way again. Crossing the Rockies was rough. At one place we had to travel on the railroad track for several miles straddling one rail. Dad had one boy go ahead and one behind to flag trains if necessary. Lots of places we had to help the mules up the grades, and vice versa getting down into some of the canyons.
      We kids walked all the way over, but we enjoyed it. We forded all creeks and rivers and. saw lots of deer, bear and grouse. The only gun that Dad had was a 22 pistol, so he didn't try to bag any big game. The mountains were beautiful, different from the sagebrush plains, and a lot cooler.
      But when it came to chow-time we missed our mother for Dad had us on a. flapjack diet. He claimed to be an expert cooking them and sure could flip them over in the pan. Never saw him miss a flip. And they sure stuck to your ribs.

Spokane brings good new from both
Mother and a friendly family
      After crossing Idaho we were in Washington and sage brush again. At Spokane, Dad received a letter from Mother saying that she had arrived in Sedro-Woolley okay, which put him in better spirits as he had been kinda cranky for some time.
      We were camped on the outskirts of Spokane one evening when a young cowboy in his 20s (a Mr. Pickel) came riding into our camp. He had a fine horse, bedroll, saddle gun (30-30) and wore a six-shooter which took my eye. He told Dad that he had been working on a cattle ranch up north and was on his way to Seattle, so Dad asked him to travel with us. He proved to be lots of help to Dad.
      On Alvin's 16th birthday we were camped at an old mining camp, two days travel from Spokane. A family that was going to Montana came by and stopped to say hello and Dad invited them to camp overnight with us. They had about six kids, one of whom played a guitar, and that evening we sat around the campfire singing cowboy songs.. I don't think Alvin had a birthday cake, but we had lots of fun. The next morning Dad kinda showed off a little flipping his flapjacks.
      Breakfast over, mules hitched and wagon loaded, we were ready to travel, and after handshakes and goodbyes we headed for Sedro-Woolley. The next few days were the same old thing; heat, sage brush and jack rabbits. Pickel killed lots of prairie chickens, and I believe he was a little better cook than Dad, but Dad had him beat flipping flapjacks.

Crossing the Columbia river
      I remember a little town called Waterville located about ten miles northwest of Wenatchee and a mile or so from the Columbia River. We crossed the Columbia on a ferry, a big event in my young life, for it was the first one I had ever seen.
      I can't forget Wenatchee. Peaches were ripe and they had lots of them, but no market or transportation. The farmers had turned their pigs into the: orchards where the fruit lay thick on the ground. We were told to help ourselves, which we did. Boy, oh boy, we kids really filled up, making ourselves almost sick.
      From Wenatchee we followed the Columbia for a few miles then went southwest over Colokum Pass which was over five thousand feet in elevation. It was thickly covered with timber) reminding me of the Rockys. There were several small creeks and many fine camping places. Wildlife was plentiful and Pickel killed a small deer, the first meat we had had except rabbits or prairie chickens. (Colokum Pass can now be reached over Cook Canyon road, a gravel from Ellensburg to Wenatchee.)
      How well I remember that evening. They gave me a plate with a big piece of venison steak, a big boiled spud (with the bark on) and. a big hunk of bread with gravy to sop it in. I sat down cross-legged on the ground forgetting the knife and fork, just using the ones God gave me. A meal fit for a king. We kids had lots of fun crossing this pass, though we had to walk and help the mules at times on the steep places. And it was chilly at nights. After getting down out of the pass we were in sage brush country again and made camp just a few miles from the little sheep and cattle town of Ellensburg.
      Here we met an old man whom I shall call Charley who was on his way to Seattle with an old horse and a light wagon; I think Dad called it a buckboard. It was haywired together in places and the old gray horse had been around for a long time and had seen his best days. Charley traveled with us almost to Seattle and we kids had a lot of fun riding with him.
      I remember Dad trying to teach the old fellow how to flip his flapjacks. The old boy was a little afraid at first as dough was hard to come by. On his first try he lost about half a flapjack, but before he left us he was pretty good at it. One day Dad got quite a scare thinking that old Charley.. had kidnapped Effie. She had been riding with him that day and somehow he had taken a wrong road. Effie did not get to ride with Charley again.
      The road from Ellensburg followed up the Yakima River and we camped several nights on this stream. Pickel had a few fishhooks and some line and fixed fishing outfits for the two of us, using cut poles and small stones for sinkers. We caught lots of fish, a welcome change in our diet and an exciting experience for me.

Cle Elum to Sedro-Woolley
      The next place on the trail was the little coal-mining town of Cle Elum. I think the mines belonged to the Northern Pacific railway. There was a small sawmill there and lots of pine trees. I remember gathering the pine cones for our camp fire and that they made a hot blaze. We rested over Sunday before tackling the pass.
      Monday morning found us on our way. Charley's old horse and the mules seemed anxious to go. We passed through Easton, a small place with one store and a few houses situated at the base of the Cascade Mountains at the foot of Snoqualmie Pass. It was here that the train put on an extra locomotive to help across the hump.
      Dad was pretty jolly for he had received a letter from Mother at Easton. Before long we were in the mountains going through the big fir trees. We stopped at a small creek for lunch where I fished while Pickel and Effie prepared the food. Dad, Joe and Alvin watered and fed the mules. Charley and his old gray horse were on their own.
      That evening we came to a big lake which I am sure was Lake Keechelus, a lovely place to camp, so Dad said camp. We kids were glad for it had been a hard day hoofing it most of the way. And besides, there was a nice beach here. That night we had a big camp fire as it was quite chilly. We kids were afraid to sleep in our tent because we thought a bear might come snooping around, but Pickel assured us that he would sleep with one eye open, so we crawled into bed and were soon asleep. Next morning I was awakened by a shot. Sure enough, a bear had come lurking about and Pickel had shot to frighten bruin away.
      There was a heavy frost which made my old overalls feel awfully thin. Charley's old horse was quite stiff, but after I had walked him around for awhile he was as good as ever and ready to go. After flapjacks and coffee we were off. We couldn't make many miles in the mountains as the roads were rough and steep and we had to ford all the streams. Pickel, who usually rode ahead, shot many blue grouse which were delicious eating.
      We kids had a great time throwing rocks at the squirrels and grouse. The mountains were beautiful as no trees had been cut except for the road. That night we camped a few miles east of the little town of North Bend, located at the west side of the pass.
      Our camp was on a beautiful little creek where Pickel did some fishing; no trouble to catch fish those days. It had been another tough day so we kids soon hit the hay. Next morning we had fried trout to go with our flapjacks. Charley's old horse was in a bad way again due to the hard-going the day before, but after I had lead him around for awhile to loosen him up and fed and watered the old boy he was in shape to go.
      North Bend was just a very small place with all the scanty population out taking a look as we went through. The next town was Snoqualmie, just a wide place in the road. We stopped at the falls to take a look and have our lunch.
      Early that afternoon we arrived at Fall City, where the road forked, one to Seattle and the other to the North. Here, we said good.-by to Charley as he was bound for Seattle and we were heading for Sedro-Woolley. We hated to part with him for he had been good company. I have often wondered what became of him. That night we camped on a creek a few miles from Monroe.
      Pickel had decided to go on to Sedro-Woolley with us which pleased us kids because he let us ride his horse quite a bit. We made faster time now as the roads were getting better, and Dad was getting anxious. We passed Everett and camped a few miles north of Marysville. We were getting close to our new home now, so Dad told us. There were no more jack rabbits or prairie chickens, but native pheasants and vegetables were plentiful so we were doing ok for food.
      The next overnight stop was a few miles north of the little town of Stanwood which I think was close to a place called Milltown, on the bank of the Skagit River. That evening just before bedtime Dad told us that we would see our mother the next day. We were very happy with the prospect and so was Dad.
      The next morning we were on our way early, as you can guess, all much excited. I believe the mules knew they were on the last lap, but Dad said they seemed to walk awfully slow that day. We arrived in Sedro-Woolley about 3:30 that afternoon, over the old river road which led past the old Batey homestead and where the Goodyear-Nelson Mill sets today, and into Third street at the west end of [Jameson] avenue.

(David Batey house)
      Back when the Cullys entered Sedro-Woolley by covered wagon, the county highway hugged the north shore of the Skagit river. This is the house that David Batey built his wife sometime between 1880-86 at the crook of the highway where it turned west into new Sedro on Jameson avenue. That part of the highway is now called Rhodes road. Batey's house was the first actual house built in the Sedro-Woolley area; it burned to the ground in 1923 but his barn still stands.

      When we were near the main part of town Dad made us kids get into the wagon. (I wonder why). It seemed to me that everyone in town was out looking at us. Granddad (Lewis Kirkby) was waiting for us at [George] Green's [dry goods] store on the corner of Metcalf and Ferry Streets. He was a complete stranger to me as I was only two years of age in 1895 when we left Sedro-Woolley f or Kansas. Granddad was a short, stout Englishman, and very religious. He piloted us to his home on the Cook Road, just outside the city, where he had ten acres of land and a nice two-story house.
      Grandma Kirby saw us coming and ran to meet us, and after a hug and kiss for each we ran into the house to see Mother. To our surprise we found her in bed. Grandmother soon explained that the stork had been there that very morning leaving a baby girl, our new sister Flossie.
      That day, October 2, 1900, will always stand out In my memory. We had been traveling five months to the day and everyone was thankful and happy that we had arrived safe and well. I am sure that God and his angels had watched over us. It was not long until sister Pearl and Jake came, and we were so glad. to see each other that we had to go out and have a wrestle, after which we looked over the ranch.
      The next day was Saturday so Grandma ordered me to take a bath. We used a little old round tub those days set by the cook stove, freezing on one side and burning on the other. Afterward, Grandma went to work on my neck and ears with what she said was a washrag, but I still think she was using a corncob. Then Granddad got his sheep shears and kinda roached my hair to keep Grandma from tying ribbons on it.
      Grandma decided to take Effie, Joe and me to Sunday school the next day, so Granddad and Dad went to town and got me a pair of overalls, shirt, hat, and a pair of shoes. I well remember that Sunday morning. Boy, was I dressed. The shirt, overalls and hat were fine, but those shoes made me interfere. Every step, I kicked skin off my ankles. The kids were all strangers to me, so I didn't enjoy it too much. The worst part was the once-over the girls gave me, but I couldn't blame them. Jake and I spent the next few days looking the town over. Sedro-Woolley was not very large then; a few stores, a few saloons, hotel, restaurant and livery stable, a few boards walks on the main streets, no paving or lights, and surrounded with virgin timber.
      In 1902, Dad purchased the property on Waldron and Borseth Streets [near the later Skagit Steel property], and that is where the family grew up, and close to which I have made my home ever since.
      How well I remember the Hinchen family who lived across the street. They had a little pigtailed girl named Iva whom I have never forgotten. She won't let me, for I married her, and she has been my loyal partner for forty-five years, come June.
      I have been afflicted with arthritis for many years and have been confined to a wheel chair for the past two years, but have many things to be thankful for. God has been good to me and my loved ones, f or which I am truly thankful.
      I hope you have enjoyed reading this.
      Truly yours, John Cully, 302 Borseth Street

      Epilogue: John Cully passed away in Sedro-Woolley on Feb. 25, 1962. His father, Charles, died here on Aug. 8, 1906. Charles's widow, Mary Alice Kirkby Cully Hollen, died here on Dec. 10, 1948, after marrying John Hollen, who also preceded her in death, in 1940. Her obituary. Mary Alice's father, Lewis [spelled Louis incorrectly on his death certificate] Kirkby, died here on March 9, 1933. He was a British immigrant and led a very exciting life on the Kansas frontier before moving here. We will profile his family's lives in a future issue. His wife, Melinda, also died here in 1926. One of John Cully's brothers, Joseph E. Cully, experienced a tragedy with young family in 1920 when two babies died in a house fire. His first wife, Rosy, was injured badly in the fire and died in 1928. If you would like more genealogical information about the Cully and Kirkby families or want to communicate with the descendants, just email us.

      Update June 9, 2002: Some readers may be appalled at the attitude towards Indians in the story. We present the story verbatim because we want readers to know what settlers thought and felt about the world around them and why they emigrated across the county. At the time of this story, there was still conflict between settlers and the Indians whose lands were being appropriated. Some people condemn settlers for their feelings and their role in settling on those lands. Others condemn that condemnation as being revisionist and politically correct. We take no side in that argument. We grew up with Indians and we understand their plight and their argument. We also grew up with people whose families who took the brunt of the wrath of Indians. If anyone was at fault during those turbulent years, it was the government agent and the land developer who urged settlers to inhabit land that was disputed. You will notice in Cully's story that events along the way altered John Cully's feelings about Indians. But we do not doubt for a minute his sincerity in what he expressed about his family's hardship and why they moved here after conflicts with Indians back home.

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Story posted on Dec. 21, 2002, last updated Feb. 16, 2009
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