Skagit River Journal
(Howard Stumpranch) Howard Royal and his family's Birdsview Stump Ranch
of History & Folklore
(bullet) This page originated in our Free Pages (bullet) Covering from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Washington counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish.

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(bullet) Site founded Sept. 1, 2000. Passed 5 million page views, 2011; passed 800 stories in 2012 — Mailing: (bullet) Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284 where Mortimer Cook started a town & named it Bug
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Welcome to the NW Washington History Detectives
Next meetup April 14, 2012, old Bug/Sedro

(Cook Store)
      Mortimer Cook's general store and post office in old Sedro, ca. 1888, Mortimer 5th from left. And his clerk, and future druggist, Albert E. Holland, 3rd from the right, in front of the doors. The photographer stood on Cook's wharf for sternwheelers. His home is upslope to the left, where the Rotary rock theater stands today at Riverfront Park. His daughter Nina is riding her horse.

Why did Mortimer Cook name our town, Bug?
Answer coming April 14
      That is the question that most people ask when Noel V. Bourasaw presents his Skagit River Journal history shows. And at 1:30 p.m. on April 14 in downtown Sedro-Woolley, he will present the full story and explanation of that name plus how and why Mortimer Cook soon changed the name again to Sedro in 1885.
      Bourasaw will read a chapter from his book in progress, "Humbug!" — Mortimer Cook, which tells the Cook saga from Ohio to Texas to Mexico to the California '49er gold diggings to Whatcom to the Fraser and Thompson rivers of British Columbia and then to Topeka, Kansas, where he amassed his first small fortune. That was only through 1870. Then he became the first banker and then mayor of Santa Barbara, California, then bought the acreage on the north shore of the Skagit river that became Bug/Sedro and is now Riverfront Park. You can read historical background before the meeting by consulting
      The April 14 meeting is hosted by the NW Washington History Detectives and is open to the public; they encourage attendance by schoolchildren. Guests will gather at 826 Metcalf Street, the alley entrance to the west for Speedee Tax Service. Weather permitting, the group will drive down to the Park at about 3 p.m., where Bourasaw will lead a walkabout of the whole town of Bug/Sedro. For instance, the Rotary theater stands almost exactly on the footprint of the Cook family home.
      RSVP is not needed, but the organizers request that you email to if you plan to bring guests, for planning purposes. Guests are encouraged to bring photos, scrapbooks, documents or books to show to others. The author will be available for questions in both segments of the show. Other regional authors will attend and bring their books.

Former events and organization of this Meet-up group
    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.

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.

Dec. 8, 2011: early history of Sedro and upriver
      History show Dec. 8, 2011 at Sedro-Woolley Senior Center. You can view several recent rare historical discoveries about Sedro-Woolley at 12:30 p.m. at the Sedro-Woolley Senior Center, 715 Pacific street, next to the library. The public is welcome. Noel V. Bourasaw, editor of the online history website,, will show documents and photographs of very early Skagit County, Sedro-Woolley and upriver Skagit. He will also preview the book in progress, "Humbug!" — Mortimer Cook, about the founder of Bug and old Sedro near the Skagit river. He urges people to bring old photos, documents and books to show; someone can possibly help identify them.
      This was organized as a NW Washington History Detectives event but it is open to the public. If you have questions, go to our Meet-up webpage (, where you can learn more details and join the group. You, too, can be a detective. Join with us for meeting/walkabout and see if it is up your alley.

      We are inviting all NW Washington History Detectives, and prospective detectives, to join us for a walkabout on July 23. Half of the woodframe buildings of old Woolley were wiped out by the Great Fire of 1911. The NW Washington History Detectives will stage a walkabout on the centennial anniversary, July 23, 2011, to visit the path of the fire and the brick buildings that were erected in the six months after the fire.
      We will also visit the original core of the old company town of Woolley. Join us for a brief overview at 2 p.m. and the walkabout at 3 p.m., followed by a question and answer session at 4 p.m. for those who want to stay afterwards.
      The entrance to the meet-up is actually on the alley side, west of the Speedee Tax Service, at 826 Metcalf Street. You are not required to send us a confirmed RSVP, but if you have time to send one, that would help with planning for the event. Just press the email button at the upper right corner of any page.

Bow History Project Picnic July 30, 2011
      The next event this summer is sponsored by the Bow History Project, which the Journal helped kick off in 2006. The Sixth annual Bow Picnic and History Show is scheduled for 12-4 p.m., July 30, 2011.
      The Project sponsors the picnic but the History Detectives joins with them in promoting it because detectives have enjoyed the prior picnics. The location is the Bow Community Church, which is right by the Bow Hill Road as it winds through town between Bow Hill and Chuckanut Drive.
      Bow was founded by William J. Brown, who was born in the Bow district of London on Oct. 15, 1850. After sailing in the Queen's Navy for many years, Brown worked his way to Utsalady on Camano Island. The site of Bow was originally also the site of the Howard and Butler shingle and sawmill in the early 1890s. When the Great Northern decided to tear out the northern section of the tracks for the old Fairhaven & Southern railroad in 1902 between Fairhaven and Jarman Prairie, the company chose an alternate route on a diagonal between Belleville and Chuckanut and following the coastline into Fairhaven. That is when Brown established the town of Bow and built the depot, which was open until the early 1950s.
      You can read more about Bow at the portal site. You are not required to send us a confirmed RSVP, but if you have time to send one, that would help with planning for the event. Email Dan Miller at

Detectives introduced by Noel V. Bourasaw, Skagit River Journal
      Fellow history-lover Dan Royal introduced me to Meet-ups two years ago when we attended the KCTS History Café in Seattle. We were so impressed with the concept and possibilities that we launched the Northwest Washington History Detectives, which will be based in Sedro-Woolley, but will go on the road wherever the interest is.
      You can learn more about the group by visiting this website, There you will learn the goals of the group and how to join and meet with fellow history-lovers and detectives. Here are the goals of the group.
      History authors attended our first meet-up two years ago and they continue to visit , showing their books and signing them if you want to purchase. And, weather permitting, on our own sponsored meet-ups we have a walkabout to the nearby historic sites.
      At various shows we have presented for schools, community centers and groups over the past 19 years all over Washington, people who have attended have asked if we could meet on a regular basis to share historical information we have all discovered and review and discuss books about history, especially about Washington state and the Pacific Northwest.
      We would like to restore the kinds of meetings that groups like the Territorial Daughters of Washington and others. We especially want to encourage people of all ages to share family scrapbooks and photos that have historical interest. We would not expect "experts," but rather would encourage those who love history, regardless of your knowledge level.
      There will be no tests, nor will you be judged. There would be no hierarchy, no officers planned, just meet-ups and sharing. I have a location in Sedro-Woolley that can accommodate up to 40 people. And I can envision meet-ups in other cities as folks show interest, including hikes to the Cascades and field trips to Seattle, the Islands, Olympia, etc.
      During the good-weather months, I can see having hikes and tours of historic locations as the feature of the meet-up, including the streams and rivers of the Northwest, fisheries, hatcheries, ghost-towns, etc.
      We will work with other Northwest authors and researchers, such as Dan Royal and his website, and invite them to meet with us and share their discoveries and plans for future books, articles and meetings. There would be a small donation of $2-3 per meet-up to pay for refreshments and administrative costs.
      I'd like to do this for selfish reasons, because half of the ideas for the Skagit River Journal website come from history-lovers who share the kernel of an idea or a discovery and we pursue it from there. And we have many guest-writers. This kind of group could produce many more of them. In return, the meet-up members would learn first about new discoveries, about new books on the subject and about other outlets for your interests. This will be a place where writers can test-drive ideas with fellow history detectives.
      Please email us at ( if you have questions, or go to our Meet-up webpage (, where you can learn more details and join the group. You, too, can be a detective. [Link repaired December 2011]

Story posted on Jan. 4, 2009, updated Dec. 26, 2011
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(bullet) We are advertising for sale by readers, two fine historical books. The first is Theodore Winthrop's The Canoe and the Saddle, NY, American Publishers (c. Ticknor & Fields, 1862), a second edition, published circa 1890. And the four-volume set of The History of Washington by Lancaster Pollard and Lloyd Spencer, 1937. Please inquire by email if you want more details or want to make an offer. Also inquire about other offerings or if you request a specific book.
(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 & duvet 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, 88 years.
(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
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