Skagit River Journal
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Three charter members of Daughters
of Pioneers in Washington eulogized in 1967

By Noel V. Bourasaw, Skagit River Journal, ©2005
(Kate Maloy)
Kate Maloy, from the 1959 Seattle Times article

      We were saddened when Alcina Harwood told us in the winter of 2005 that the Territorial Daughters of Washington is considering going dormant. One year short of their 70th anniversary, their annual meetings are attended by a mere handful of members. If you or a member of your family is a descendant of a Skagit valley pioneer who moved here before Washington was granted statehood on Nov. 11, 1889, we urge you to read the links below for information about how you can apply for membership in the surviving Chapter II of this wonderful organization. They need new members to carry on their tradition.
      Meanwhile, we share with you three eulogies of women who were charter members of a prior organization that went dormant before the Territorial Daughters, Chapter 1. The Daughters of Pioneers (DPW), Skagit Chapter No. 11, was organized in November 1911. The DPW accepted members who could document that they were a "lineal descendant of a Pioneer who was a resident of the Washington Territory before Nov., 1889." The statewide organization was launched in 1911 as the Native Daughters of the Pioneers in Washington, but they dropped the "Native" in 1922. In 1937, the group incorporated and the Seattle group was designated as Chapter No. 1. The statewide organization is still active in conjunction with the parent group, the Pioneer Association of the State of Washington, which was launched with both men and women in 1883. We have been unable to determine when the Skagit county chapter last met, but chapters in other counties still meet, including an active chapter on Whidbey island. The group's mission is to "perpetuate the memory and spirit of the Pioneers of Washington; to identify, protect, preserve, and make known historical spots, documents, relics, records, and incidents and to promote historical research; to encourage and promote historical research in relation to pioneer days; to encourage the preservation and beautification of our natural resources; to celebrate historical and patriotic events relating to the state of Washington."
      The first historical group in the valley was the Skagit County Pioneer Association, which formed exactly two decades before at a picnic in a meadow near Skagit City on June 6, 1891, and was open to both men and women. The bylaws stated that the object of the organization was "the preservation of data incident to the early settlement of Skagit county," and that it limited membership to "all persons who were residents of Skagit county prior to and including the year 1975, and continued such residents for a period of at least one year, and all persons who located claims in said county prior to or at any time during said year upon which they have since resided for a period of not less than a year." On that day, 56 charter members joined.
      That early organization turned out to be much too restrictive after the rapid growth of settlement from 1884 on, so it was replaced by the Skagit County Pioneer Association, where pioneers met at the Opera House in Bowery Square in old Woolley on Aug. 6, 1904, and then adjourned to have a picnic near where pioneer Joseph Hart staked his claim on the north shore of the Skagit river. It was only fitting that David Batey, who arrived with Hart the same summer day in 1878, was elected as the first chairman. Like the earlier group, those pioneers also set their annual meeting in the first week of August, and they still meet the first Thursday of each August in Pioneer Park at LaConner. In 1904, dozens of charter members signed up and they recorded the town where they first settled and the year they first moved to the territory. At the picnics today, anyone who wants to help maintain our history can sign up with a $2 donation. This century-old group is not to be confused with the Skagit County Historical Society, which was launched in 1958 and which built the Historical Museum in LaConner in 1967.
      John Flood Conrad profiled these three Daughters of Pioneers women in 1967 as part of his Colorful Lives collection of eulogies in the old Puget Sound Mail newspaper of LaConner. He was the memorialist and historian of the Pioneers for 25 years from 1949-73, and until an auto demolished it in 1965, he used to own a service station on the Sedro-Woolley-Burlington highway where he interviewed every descendant of pioneers as he filled their tank with gas. You can read about him and his immigrant father at this Journal website and you will find there several links to yearly summaries that he wrote about the deaths of pioneers and their descendants. Dick Fallis now holds that position for the Pioneers.

John F. Conrad obituary notes 1967
Kate Dwelley Maloy 1871-1967

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      This year's Memorial Roll contains the names of three Charter Members of the Daughters of Pioneers, Skagit Chapter No. 11, which was organized in November 1911. The oldest in years of residence and a charter President of the D. of P. was native-born Kate Maloy, 95, who was the second white child born in the then Whatcom County. Her birth was on November 22, 1871. She was the daughter of Joseph F. and Angeline Dwelley who settled on a claim where Mount Vernon now stands in 1870.
      [JournalEd. note: Joseph Franklin Dwelley (1839-1933) was one of the few early pioneers to actually record his memoirs and experiences in a book. You will soon find his Autobiography, with an epilogue by his equally famous grandson, Charles M. Dwelley, serialized in our optional Subscribers-paid online magazine, now in its 12th year.
      It includes his childhood memories from his native Maine and New Hampshire and his Civil War memories of when he was a second lieutenant at Gettysburg in 1863 — "From the top of Round Top, I saw Pickett's famous charge in the afternoon of the third day from the brow of the top." He moved to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in 1859, where he entered U.S. military service and then married Angeline E. Wells in 1865. In 1867 his friend J.H. Cleaves convinced him to travel West; Cleaves had already traveled to the Puget sound country. After a three-year detour in Minnesota, Dwelley and Cleaves boarded the railroad at Omaha, and took a ship north from San Francisco, arriving on Whidbey Island in early 1870. In the spring of that year, he and Jasper Gates rowed from Whidbey to the Skagit river and staked claims where Mount Vernon would form in 1877; another island pioneer, David E. Kimble staked a claim to the south of them. Once their claims were filed in Olympia, Joseph sent money to his wife to join him and they settled on the mainland over the next two years. We plan to profile the Dwelley family in depth in a future issue and we hope that readers and descendants of the family will write and share their memories with us.]
      The family moved to LaConner in 1875 to open a furniture store. Mr. Dwelley served as Justice of the Peace for 50 years; was three times Mayor and served as Postmaster under presidents Cleveland and Harrison. He was the last surviving member of the G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic] Post in LaConner, was a charter member of the local A.O.U.W. [Association of United Woodmen] lodge and after 51 years was the last surviving member. He died at age 94, 34 years ago.
      Kate was married to Patrick H. Maloy in 1887; he arrived here that same year when the state was [still] Washington territory. [Patrick, an Illinois native, died in 1934 at age 71.] To their union were born 19 children, of which 14 still survive. None of us old-time school pupils who attended Jennings and LaConner schools can recall a yar that some Maloy child was not enrolled. Kate contended that her big family was really not a problem, the older ones were taught to help at home with household chores, even helping feed the large threshing crews of those days.
      A brother of Kate's, Charles Dwelley, was a former president of our Pioneer Association. He died in 1964. [Joseph's grandson, Charles M. Dwelley, went to Concrete as a young man in 1929, just before the stock market crash, to take over a nearly bankrupt Concrete Herald newspaper, and published it with his wife, Helen, until 1970, when he sold it to Robert and June Fader.]

Lily Reay's granddad Edmund Carr came to Seattle in 1854
Had Ballard claim, one of first regents at the University

      Another charter member of Daughters of Pioneers was Lillie May Reay, 88, who had lived in Skagit county 68 years, having been born Lillie May Anderson in Seattle on April 19, 1878, in a home at Second and Pine. Her grandfather, Edmund Carr, a native of Maine, came to Seattle in 1854 by way of the Isthmus of Panama. He took up a claim on Salmon Bay, Ballard, was a volunteer in the Indian War and in 1857 was probate judge in Port Townsend. He was a member of the first board of regents of University of Washington and King County School Superintendent 1861-75; he died in 1886.
      Mrs. Carr's mother (Lillie May's great-grandmother) Mrs. Elizabeth Holgate, a widow, also also came to Seattle with her five children. Her husband, John, first came there in 1850; he was the first white man to enter Elliott Bay in a canoe and filed a claim, staking it in Georgetown area.
      [JournalEd. note: at that point, the story is incorrect. John Holgate was Elizabeth's son, not her husband. Holgate may or may not have been the first white man to enter the bay in a canoe, but subsequent research by www. has indicated that he did not file a claim. He stayed here only briefly and then returned to the Midwest to seek a wife. Historians Edmond Meany and Murray Morgan have both incorrectly identified him as the "first settler of Seattle," possibly based on family legend. We know for sure that he did not stake a claim under the Donation Land Claims Act, because he came to the bay in the summer of 1850 and the Act did not take effect until September 27 that year. With communications being very slow at that time — pre-telegraph, usually by foot or boat, he probably did not even know about the act. Conrad's information about Edmund Carr, however, was accurate. He left his claim near future Ballard during the Indian Wars of 1855-56 and then married afterwards.
      We were puzzled about which of Elizabeth Holgate's daughters Edmund Carr married because none of the pioneer histories recorded her name, but then we found the answer in an obscure file in the Mount Vernon library. In a manuscript called Biography notes on Pioneers of Puget Sound, Marjorie Rhodes notes that his wife was Olivia Holgate, who died Sept. 16, 1881. . Her sister Abigail married another key Seattle pioneer Edward Hanford in Iowa, and they came together by covered wagon to Seattle in 1853.. Edmund died in November 1886, and his obituary of Nov. 17, 1886 states that he also came to Seattle in 1853, with his brother John, who later moved to Santa Ana, California. Edmund was born in Bucksport, Maine, a small seaport town on the Atlantic Ocean, on May 5, 1824.]
      The Edmund Carrs had either five or six children and four survived to adulthood; the oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was Lillie May's mother; she married Matthew Anderson in 1877. Anderson was a sailor of the Seven Seas [who sailed] around the Horn to San Francisco and was in Alaska at time of purchase 100 years ago ["Seward's Folly," from Russia, 1867]. He established a furniture factory and store on First avenue and later went into a boat business. One of his last jobs, the steamer Virginia V, which was used as a passenger vessel to Tacoma, is still in use today as an excursion boat around Seattle Harbor and through Ballard Locks to the lakes.
      Lillie May was 11 years old at the time of the big Seattle fire in June 1889 and remembered hearing the alarm and watching the town burn. After grade school — and no high school — she went to Seattle University, a Baptist school, and here she met her future husband, George Reay. After a couple of years drop out she attended Ellensburg Normal School [now Central Washington State University] for two years where she worked for board and room. After graduation Lillie May taught three lower grades in Seattle at $35 per month, while board and room cost her $12 per month.
      On Christmas Day 1898 she married George Reay and in spring they took up a new home at Avon in Skagit county where George continued his work as a buyer of cattle and produce for Frye & Co. In the fall of 1902 they moved to the Sam Peck place in Beaver Marsh, this place later owned by William Burger. They ran a few milk cows and sold cream to "Creamery" Larson's plant at Rexville and used the skim milk to feed hogs in their home feed lot. In 1904 George and Lillie May bought their last farm near present Evergreen Corner on McLean road and it was while here that George was elected and served as 2nd District County Commissioner [1922-28] and his name is today inscribed on the granite cornerstone of the courthouse erected in 1923-24. George was [earlier] elected county sheriff [1920-22]. He died in June 1954.

Mame Hammack born on South fork
of Skagit in 1878
Dad's first vote was for Lincoln, settled in 1869

      Third in years of residence in the county was Mame Hammack, 88, also a charter member of the Daughters of Pioneers, Skagit Chapter. She was born on the South fork of the Skagit on Oct. 7, 1878, the daughter of Magnus and Mathilda Anderson. Her father, born in Norway in 1836, sailed at an early age as a ship's carpenter and several years later left his Norwegian freighter at Panama (in the days before the canal) the Isthmus and took passage on a schooner to San Francisco. He signed as a carpenter on a U.S. transport for the duration of the Civil War (1861-65).
      Being eligible to vote as a U.S. citizen in 1864 he cast his first ballot for Abraham Lincoln for a second term as U.S. President. A few years after the War's end he landed at Port Townsend in 1868, proceeding to Port Blakely where a large wooden shipyard attracted him. Here he heard of the rich land along the Skagit river to be had. He went up, arriving on July 16, 1869, and took up a claim on the North fork at the south end of Pleasant [Ridge] and built a log cabin above high water.
      A fellow carpenter from Blakely, Charles Tolber, a Finn, followed him, and also a Swede from Iowa, C.J. Chilberg, settled on Beaver Marsh with a cabin on the Ridge two miles north of Magnus's, these were the first three Scandinavian settlers in Skagit county. Chilberg returned to the little town of Chillicothe in Iowa in 1871 to bring out his wife and family to the new home. Mame Hammack's mother, Mathilda, who was born in Sweden in 1839, came alone to Iowa in 1868, being a friend of Chilberg's, and a couple of years later followed them West in 1873. Stopping a their new home, she soon met the bachelor Magnus Anderson and they were married that same year. They moved to the South fork in 1878 to a new farm they had purchased and Mame was the first child born in the new home.
      Mame received her schooling in the pioneer Skagit City School and a few years later she was married to her former school teacher, Will Hammack, in 1900. They lived in Skagit City, Mount Vernon and Conway areas and Will died in 1940, a few years after his retirement. The old original log cabin of her father, Magnus, was moved in to Pioneer Park, LaConner, in 1950, where it is an historical relic [the cabin is now in LaConner beside city hall].
      [JournalEd. note: noting a matter of literary style, we use the same spelling of the town that the late John Conrad and Dick Fallis use — LaConner, without the space between A and C. The argument about this spelling has continued since the early days of the town; it has been spelled both ways at different periods. The same is true of Mount Vernon, our preferred spelling, instead of Mt., and Sedro-Woolley, with the hyphen, as opposed to without it. We use these spellings throughout the website for consistency. You can also see the introduction of our major continuing genealogy series: the profile of the late John Conrad, memorialist of the Skagit County Historical Society from 1949-73, who wrote these obituary notes for the annual Pioneer Picnic, staged annually on the first Thursday in August. And the story of his father, Charles, an orphaned Swedish immigrant who farmed near Pleasant Ridge. The notes were in handwritten form, courtesy of Maurice Erickson, his nephew. Shared from the separate Subscribers Edition.. See links there to individual years.]

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