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Skagit River Journal

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Introduction to Ray Jordan transcriptions
and Chapter One, Part Two of Yarns

(Ray Jordan)
Find below: Introduction to all our
Ray Jordan transcriptions

Chapter 1, Part 2 . . . Endnotes/Annotations
And at links . . . Chapter 1, Part 1 . . . Chapter 2, Part 1
Chapter 2, Part 2 . . . Chapter 3
Chapter 4 . . . Chapter 5

Introduction to Ray Jordan transcriptions
By Noel V. Bourasaw, re: Ray Jordan, Yarns, 1974
      Many readers have asked questions about the more obscure references and relatively unknown pioneer names in the first five chapters of Ray Jordan's book, Yarns of the Skagit Country, written from the 1960s onwards, self-published in 1974 and very rare. Back in the period of 1960-75 when he wrote these chapters, at least the old-timers in town knew who most of the people were whom he referenced. But now, 35 years later, the names and businesses from pioneer Sedro and Woolley are largely obscure and unknown.
      We are enthused to learn this week that the Skagit County Historical Museum in LaConner is still planning to reprint the book in the near future. After talking to Jordan's widow a decade ago, we decided to honor her request to publicize widely his stories and columns. So we have built over the last ten years a special Jordan Portal section and these transcriptions mark 36 of his chapters from the book and his columns in the Skagit Valley Herald. As a boy Jordan arrived in old Woolley in 1901, by train from Kansas, with his father Lafe Jordan; we have never read about his mother. Among his first-hand experiences with pioneers were the times as a boy when he slept on top of dynamite boxes at the ranch at the western end of modern Cook Road, where David Donnelly, the butcher and Mortimer Cook's successor at the ranch, was paying to have it cleared, drained and tiled to control the water table, with the help of Jordan's father, and they were also addressing the fires underground in the ancient peat bog.
      We wanted to completely annotate these first five chapters because so many readers have written asking questions about the more obscure names and businesses that are not familiar to many of us. So we share more than a hundred annotations and links. As you will notice, the annotations are about ten to one in pages so you will find considerable annotation to peruse. We will soon also publish some of Jordan's unpublished manuscripts, courtesy of the late Fred Slipper. These first five chapters are unedited for grammar or spelling, with only a few punctuation marks inserted. Ray's notes in the actual transcription portions are in parentheses ( ) and our annotations are indicated in brackets [ ] with short notes and links to endnotes and Journal profiles. Endnotes will be indicated at the end of each chapter, and will often include complete mini-biographies of pioneers and their businesses. We hope that readers may be able to add definitions of some items and background on families of pioneers. Again we thank the ace researcher of Sedro-Woolley, Roger Peterson, who supplemented our search and pointed out discrepancies as well as other documents and photos. Please note: the source most often posted, Illustrated History of Skagit & Snohomish Counties, published 1906 and still the bible for local historians, is often referred to as 1906 History.

(Ferry Street)
      Ferry Street, circa 1913, looking east from the Northern Pacific tracks, when Ferry Street was Hotel Row in town. Frank Bergeron's Vendome is at the far right. From far left are the Pioneer Hotel and the Forest House Hotel. In the center back, the Osterman House Hotel had burned in September 1909 and was replaced by the brick Wixson Hotel, which is now the Gateway, still standing.

Chapter One, Part Two, transcription
Ray Jordan, Yarns, 1974
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      Jasper Holman, also a town marshal, and his embarrassment the time he arrested the Indian lady for supposed drunkenness who surprised him by giving birth to a fine set of twins in her jail cell that night, It has been said that she named one, Jasper, and the other, Holman [one version of this humorous story, with just one of the set of names].
(Dr. Harbaugh)
Dr. Harbaugh, in World War I

      Dr. Brooks, a doctor's doctor, who was so patient with the foibles of mankind. Doctors Frazee, [Menzo B.] Mattice, and Harbaugh who did their share for people in the early days. Jasper Sanders, a mechanic's mechanic, who had a bicycle shop first, and when automobiles came into use, worked in one of the earlier, if not the first of the garages. The Sanders twins and their magic acts. Genial Ed Sanders, another crack mechanic and good fellow.
      A big, square, two-story house that stood out in No Man's Land south of town. The girls who lived there wore the finest of clothes. Men of the Forest celebrating on Saturday nights and some of them keeping it up for a week. Del Hayes, a solid citizen, when he was in the cigar making business. Len Livermore and Dale Tresner, harness shop proprietors. The little kerosene lamp that burned nightly in the window of the C.E. Bingham Bank for forty years or more. Sam Malotte, Lafe Jordan, Jack Palmeteer, and other teamsters sitting proudly in the driver's seat behind their well-groomed horse teams, hauling anything that needed moving. The dwarf from the Buster Brown Shoe Company who used to visit town and throw pennies and nickels into the dusty streets for kids to scramble over. Business had advertising stunts even then.

Chapter One, Part Two
Jasper Holman
      Jasper "Jap" Holman was a very important early Woolley policeman and fireman. The record on him is thin but we know that he first appeared in a January 1899 Skagit County Times as a bartender for the Klondike Saloon of McMurray. This and the Klondike in Woolley were named for the source of the gold that lifted Washington out of a nationwide Depression. The news was about his leaving the job, however, because he had just been appointed city marshal of Mount Vernon.
      By 1903 he had established himself in Woolley soon after the merger with Sedro. On April 2 that year the Skagit County Times (Sedro-Woolley) reported that "The new addition to the city jail is now completed. It is large enough for one more cell and a bedroom for Night Marshal Holman." The city hall/fire hall/jail was at that time all contained in a two-story woodframe building that stood where the alley is now, west of the Bingham Bank building. It had a tower where the hoses were hung out in the air to dry. We so much want photos of that building. Can you help?
      The first volunteer fire brigade was organized, also in 1903, by Jasper Holman, who was also fire marshal. The equipment consisted mainly of horse-drawn water pumpers and man-drawn hose reels. Up until the 1921 organization of an official volunteer department by Chief William Ropes most fires were fought with the handcarts. About that time he was also praised in a bombastic underground flyer, The Truth, which attacked Mayor (and banker) Charles E. Bingham as favoring the den of iniquity, the Keystone Hotel and Saloon. The Den was located across the street from the Woolley railroad depot where, the flyer alleged, "Lewd men and women have full license in naked debauches. . . . Young Girls allowed rooms in the place." Dr. Charles C. Harbaugh's Prohibition forces lauded Holman under the headline, "Marshall Holman kicks the Dirty Gang Into The Street." Two years later the Polk City Directory listed Holman as the night policeman, reporting to town marshal James C. Munro.
      In an old November 1911 Skagit County Times newspaper, we learned that bandits held up Jimmie Blackburn's saloon at the corner of Metcalf and State [later called the B&A] just four months after the Great Woolley Fire of that summer. The bandits forced Jimmie's partner Eddie Adams to throw up his hands. A gun battle ensued and a posse of Marshal Jasper Holman, Ford dealer Len Livermore, realtor Charlie Wicker, miner B. D. Vanderveer, and realtor Harry Devin chased down the miscreants. Both were captured and one was wounded.
      Three years later, on Oct. 17, 1914, Marshal Charles Villeneuve Jr. and his deputy Jasper Holman led the local challenge to the robbers of the First National Bank, a famous crime reenacted annually now by the Sedro-Woolley Museum at Founders Days, the second weekend of September. We have not found any genealogical information on Holman or burial records but we hope a reader can help. [Return]

Dr. Benjamin F. Brooks
      As profiled in the 1917 book, Washington: West of the Cascades. Vol. III, by Herbert Hunt, and Floyd C. Kaylor (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co.), Brooks was born in Salem, Oregon, on July 1, 1877, the son of John and Martha (Harper) Brooks. John was a pioneer of Oregon, having come to the northwest over the Eureka trail via California. Benjamin also had a doctor sibling: Dr. Frank M. Brooks was nine years older and practiced in Washington and Oregon, with his most significant work and research in Portland.
      Benjamin graduated with honors from the University of Oregon's Medical School in 1901. His first private practice opened soon afterwards in Sedro-Woolley and then in 1908 he moved his operations to Alaska's gold country for six years. He then came back here and practiced locally for the rest of his career. In 1907 he married Anna Mullen in Sedro-Woolley. She was a daughter of William Mullen, a logger and owner of the gentleman's club in Woolley, the Capital Bar, at the present Holland Drugs location. Brooks died here in Skagit County in 1939; Anna died in 1936. Do not confuse him for the original Methodist minister in the area, starting in 1884, even before Woolley had a Methodist church building, Rev. B.F. Brooks. [Return]

(Frazee Hospital)
      This was Frazee Hospital, as illustrated in the December 1908 issue of Honore Wilhem's The Coast magazine.

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. (See the full profile here.) [Return]

Dr. Menzo B. Mattice
      Menzo B. Mattice was born on April 2, 1855, in Albany, New York. He received an education degree back there and taught for three years before attending Albany Medical College, graduating in 1881. After receiving his medical degree there he practiced in Brookings, South Dakota, for ten years before arriving in Sedro-Woolley in 1891. Up until that time, Dr. Georgianna Batey — the wife of the first British pioneer here from 1878, was the only physician in residence between Sedro and Snohomish except for a couple in western Skagit County. That year he also established the first hospital here, St. Elizabeth's, which was housed in the former Hotel Sedro, at the corner of Township and Fidalgo in the early 1890s, which was originally built for F&S construction workers. It was also the first county hospital in Skagit.
      In addition to his GP practice here, he was for more than a decade the company physician for Seattle Lake Shore & Eastern/Northern Pacific Railway and the Cokedale Mine. He rode company speeder cars to visit his rural customers. He served as the third mayor of Sedro in 1896 and was on the first city council of the merged towns after 1898. He moved to Anacortes in 1911, where he opened a joint practice with his son, and was the main investor in the Citizen's State Bank, with William Odlin, also a former Sedro resident, as manager. After the bank plummeted downward, Mattice returned here in 1915 and resumed his practice until he retired in 1921. The family was rocked again a few years later when one of their sons died at a party, reportedly as a result of suicide but he could have been accidentally killed.
      Back in 1883 he married Fannie Plocker, who earned a teaching certificate at the State Normal School and then taught for eight years before marrying Dr. Mattice in Brookings. In Sedro they lived on fashionable Talcott Street, between banker C.E. Bingham and capitalist Junius B. Alexander. Menzo died in 1929 at the age of 74 and Fannie died in 1936 in Bellingham. [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. (See the complete profile here.) [Return]

Sanders family
      This is the earliest of the Missouri families to arrive here that we know of. Jasper L. Sanders and his wife, Mary Frances "Fanny," and their son, Edward M. Sanders, first arrived in Sedro in 1890 or 1891 after moving from Webb, Missouri. We know their approximate arrival because Jasper was a Republican precinct officer who helped promote Philip A. Woolley as mayor on the Union Party Ticket in the convention at Woolley in December 1891. The Sanderses had twin boys, Chester "Chet" and Charles on April 6, 1895.
      Jasper, Ed and Chet were involved with the earliest bicycle and auto companies in town. In the late 1890s Jasper established the Sedro Bicycle shop next door to the Standard Grocery, where Lemley mortuary is located today on Third Street. After the turn of the century Sanders sold controlling interest to M.H. Heath and then Warren W. Bagley and Jasper stayed on as manager. By 1913 Bagley transformed the firm into Skagit Auto Co., with Jasper still as manager, and Chet was listed as chauffeur.
      In that same period Ed Sanders joined a man named Nelson and formed Sanders & Nelson Garage in a building that Harry Bean provided near the corner of State and Reed Streets. They advertised on-screen at the new Dream Theater with a lantern slide that read: "We can weld anything but [heart in two pieces] broken heart." On April 27, 1910, Ed Sanders married Sibyl Ruth Sanders, whose parents had moved to Sedro from Stanwood in 1891. Jasper, Ed and Chet later worked for the Len Livermore Garage and Ford Agency, which was located from 1915 onwards in the building on the east side of the 800 block of Metcalf Street where the Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop was located until 2010. [Return]

Den of iniquity in No Man's Land
      We do not know exactly what that building was or its exact location. We do know that the main target for accusations about iniquity was the Keystone Hotel, which we surmise was erected in about 1890-91. It stood on part of the present footprint for the hardware store at the southwest corner of Eastern and Northwest avenues. The Union Depot opened across the street sometime in 1890 as the Woolley family built their sawmill/shingle mill a hundred yards west and the Seattle & Northern Railroad arrived for the first time in April of that year and the crews continued right on through building on their way to Hamilton in 1891. The road finally terminated in 1900 in Rockport, which gave that town a boost in its birth in the new century.
      The Keystone was rowdy but also had gent guests who did not leave holes in the fir floors from cork boots. By 1903 it was the target of Prohibitionists, led by Dr. Charles C. Harbaugh, who had married P.A. Woolley's fair daughter Kate. It was so hated that his forces published an underground flyer called Truth that included harsh and vituperative rumors about how the mayor — at that time banker Charles E. Bingham underwrote that den of iniquity and ordered the police to keep their hands off, etc. Researcher Roger Peterson pinned its death in 1945, when Vern Sims and relatives razed it. Other old timers recall how in the 1930s you could see hay flying through the cracks because that was where hay farmers stored their shocks or bales in those Depression days. What a comedown, eh, from 40 years before when it was the place in town where you could view a beautiful girl's knees . . . and sometimes more. [Return]

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. (See the full profile here.) [Return]

(Livermore Ford)
      Livermore Ford, circa 1915, east side of Metcalf Street, 800 block, still standing in 2011

Len Livermore and Dale Tresner
      Livermore and Tresner sold harnesses and installed seats and upholstery for carriages and wagons in Woolley in the first decade of the 20th century. Livermore adapted to sell automobiles as he started selling Model-Ts for Ford in Woolley in 1911. A year later he built the Livermore Apartments in Woolley, the building that still stands at the northwest corner of Metcalf and State streets today. Then, in 1915, he built the Livermore Ford Agency on the east side of the 800 block of Metcalf, the building that later housed Safeway and then Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop from 1958 to 2010. Ford stripped his franchise license in 1923 and Livermore continued selling other autos until he went broke in the early 1930s during the nationwide Depression. Tresner had a popular taxi stand in Sedro-Woolley in the 1940s and '50s. [Return]

C.E. Bingham Bank
      Born on July 30, 1890, Charlie Bingham and his partner, Merritt L. Holbrook, opened their bank in old Sedro by the river, along the east side of the newly finished Fairhaven & Southern tracks and stylish depot. They were from Marengo, Iowa, and for the next ten years a whole passel of folks from there, followed, including the Odlins and LaPlants, whom you might remember. The Iowa contingent in general starting arriving back in 1884. The bank moved by 1992 to new Sedro near the high school site today. Then, after the fire leveled the block that housed his bank and A.E. Holland's drug store, they moved together to Woolley later that year. And that's just the beginning of the Bingham family's domination of the towns for 68 years. See the portal to the four-part section on the Binghams and the banks. Almost everything you want to know about the whole expanded family, blood and business. [Return]

(Bingham Bank)
      Interior of the Bingham Bank, circa 1920s. We would love to know what happened to that fine hammered ceiling and all that lovely marble when the bank was remodeled over the years.

Sam Malotte, Lafe Jordan, Jack Palmeteer
      Brief notes about each.
      Malotte: John Cully recalled, circa 1902: "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 [on Borseth Street in West Sedro-Woolley.
      Jordan: Ray Jordan's father.
      Jack Palmateer: A teamster through and through, as was Lafe Jordan was at times and especially later in life. Longtime Cheri Fish is a descendant of Gladys (Bertrum) Palmateer, who married William Palmeteer as his first wife. William was born in 1883, apparently in Iowa, and Gladys was also born in Iowa. She arrived here with her family in the late 1890s. Cheri thinks William was in Sedro-Woolley by 1907, when she found him on an obituary list. She later married John Hawkins, as his third wife. By the 1930s they lived across the street on Rita from the Northern Pacific railroad water tower.
      Their son, John E. "Jack" Palmateer was Frank J. Hoehn's teamster, or wagon driver, in his livery stable, first on the south side of Ferry Street, later on the north side. He married Nellie Moore, of the Moore Street family. Cheri reminds us too that Gladys's daughter, Laura Palmateer McManus, lived to age 98. [Return]

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Story posted on March 7, 2011
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