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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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Introduction to Ray Jordan transcriptions
and Chapter Three Yarns

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

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

Chapter Three, transcription
Ray Jordan, Yarns, 1974
    Any time, any amount, please help build our travel and research fund for what promises to be a very busy 2010-11, 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.
      Chuck Rings's father sewing patiently in his tailor shop, an expert craftsman. "Flossie" Potter and his hula dances. Uncle Joe Grace, a courtly gentleman and Confederate veteran, who in his 70's worked every day at the big lumber mill nearby.
      Charlie Cully, who with six children in the party, traveled all the way from Indiana to Sedro-Woolley in a covered wagon pulled by a mule team. It took six months and the phenomenal sum of $85 to make the trip, a record in more ways than one. The old Cully home for years stood on North Borseth Street, the same house that the Lafe Jordans moved into 1901 (after coming from Kansas) only at a different location, later moved by Cullys to Borseth. The Dennis Hinchen home stood opposite across Borseth from the Cullys. When the town marshal never carried a gun, but often had it to use his fists. The old Grays Harbor Hotel north of the tracks on Metcalf.
      The Keystone Hotel and Bar, east across the tracks from the N.P. station. Once while watching the train come in, I saw a gentleman who had perhaps imbibed too many raisins, lean so far out of a window on the second floor of the hotel that he lost his balance and kept right on coming. He made one complete inside loop and landed contract side down on the board walk, got up and walked off weaving slightly. Chan Ingham trying to keep the mud shoveled off the plank crossings on Metcalf Street in winter. Mott's Drug Store. The Holland Drug Store in 1902. The Douglass Drug Store, west across Metcalf from the Wixson Hotel, with scholarly Mr. Douglass behind the counter
      Warming up behind the big wood heater in Jim Gray's saloon one frosty morning while Dad talked over a job with somebody, staring bug-eyed at the large paintings of beautiful ladies who seemed rather scantily clad for such a cold day. Watching in fascination as an elderly gentleman afflicted with D.T.'s crawled over the board walk in front of the Vendome Bar with a club in hand killing snakes where there weren't any.

      Homer Shrewsbury, enthusiastic town booster and promoter of different enterprises in Sedro-Woolley. Bill, Art, and "Red" Coventry and the Coventry Pool Room. Lewis Kirkby, company flag bearer in the Union Army during the War Between the States. The Kienses, who homesteaded near Sedro-Woolley, an industrious clan. The Dreyers, who waded plenty of mud developing a homestead about one mile west of Sedro-Woolley on the Cook Road. Joe and Charlie Lederle as young men, always in there pitching. Jim Blackburn, a skookum lad and a square shooter who could tie almost any tough in knots if the occasion called for it. Eddie Adams, as a young blade, full of Hibernian wit. The numerous small shingle mills around and shingle weavers with bloody hands, minus a finger or two, hurrying to the doctor.
      When the loggers and shingle weavers were often feuding. The weavers wore bell-bottom pants when they dolled up, and loggers wore just the opposite. If life grew dull 50 years ago, just call a logger a shingle weaver, or vice versa, and the air would be full of knuckles, all coming your way.
      The hitching posts along Metcalf Street. The huge fir stump reputed to be 16 feet across of post card fame (the one with several couples dancing on it). I can't remember the exact location as I was only about six years of age the last time I saw it and things have changed a lot since. lt seems to me that it stood a short distance south of the old Utopia river road just east of town. Who knows for sure?
      When Dad [Lafe Jordan] drove the night stage from Sedro-Woolley to Mount Vernon on the old river road. One dark night after a flood, he piled the whole outfit into a hole that the Skagit River had washed out, but managed to get the passengers and horses out with no casualties.

      Tommy Thompson, pioneer ranger for the Forest Service, tough as whipcord and full of practical jokes, habitat, the Rockport and Marblemount area. Train crews who had the passenger run from Sedro-Woolley to Rockport, stopping the train to hunt grouse or pick blackberries when passing through likely places. Mr. Ragsdale, editor of the Mr. Ragsdale, editor of the Courier, or the Times, or was it the Courier-Times? Hiking out the Fairhaven & Southern [F&S] Grade Road to the wilds of Thomas Creek (once known as Tinkham Creek) on fishing trips with father. The creek ran through virgin timber north of the road then, a beautiful stream loaded with trout. Bert Smith, teamster-about-town, who loved horses. Charlie Pressentin, a familiar figure to me for the last 50 years, a durable type of man with a practical head, a plumber's plumber, and still going strong (in l955). The road over Duke's Hill when it was a green tunnel running through the tall and uncut and lined with the healthiest salmonberry bushes on record. We used to pick loads of berries there.
      When stores were open nearly all the time and displayed such articles as button shoes, button hooks, mustache cups, skirts reaching to the floor, hair nets, hairpins, hatpins, knee pants for boys and derby hats for men. Also, crackers, dried fruits, beans, rice and numerous other edibles in open barrels, buggy whips and blacksnakes.
      Frank Bradsbury [actually Bradsberry], early day logger and legislator. Charlie Wicker, real estate operator, who helped many new settlers find homes. Charlie never left you in doubt about his political beliefs. Have you seen the new book, This Was Logging? If you haven't you have missed something good. It is full of Darius Kinsey's fine photographs of logging from ox teams to skidders, and scenes and faces familiar to many of us. It gave me a severe case of nostalgia.

Chapter Three

(Union Mercantile)
      The Union Mercantile became Woolley's first department store, after it was launched in 1903, at the northwest corner of Metcalf and Ferry streets. This was its dry goods section.

Rings the Tailor
      We who are long in the tooth remember the Rings name in connection with the Union Oil service station, which was located across from the Dairy Queen on State Street at the northeast corner of Murdock Street. In the 1950s and '60s, back when "full service" was reality, he and his associates, including the late Tommy Oakes, used to attach a bright-orange Union ball to the aerials of our automobiles. His father was K.W. Rings, the tailor. The first reference we found to the father is from the 1913 Dun-Bradstreet ratings report. [Return]

Cully family
      We who grew up here many years ago remember John and Ivah Cully, of Borseth Street; John's family came from Ottawa County, Kansas, the cradle of many early Sedro and Woolley pioneers. John's parents joined his maternal uncle Lewis Kirkby in Roche Harbor, as they worked at the famous lime kilns there in 1889 and then moved to old Sedro later that year. As John recalled family stories about Sedro was then, "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." Although severely disabled, John drove a school bus here for many years. He was born back in Oklahoma in 1895, the "Indian Territory" back then, after his parents moved back there for a short period. When John was five, his father, Charles Cully, brought the extended family back to the newly merged town of Sedro-Woolley by mule-powered covered wagon, in the spring of 1900. Read Jordan's transcription of John's life story. [Return]

Lafe Jordan
      Lafe (1864-1920) was Ray Jordan's father. After moving his family from Kansas to Sedro-Woolley in 1901, he worked to help clear and drain the Mortimer Cook ranch, worked in the woods around Belfast and then became a teamster, driving various wagons in Skagit County. [Return]

Dennis Hinchen
      Dennis (1844-1906) was born in Quebec in 1844 and moved with two siblings (brother Daniel and sister Abigail Mary Hinchen Riley) and his parents to Woolley in the 1890s. In the 1900 Federal Census, Dennis listed his profession as miner and street builder. Dennis's son, Sam Hinchen, was town marshal of Sedro-Woolley in 1899. Roger please check. [Return]

Grays Harbor Hotel
      The Grays Harbor opened in the 1890s as a room-and-board lodging for railroad crews from the three railroads that crossed in a triangle just north of old Woolley. According to the 1913 Polk Directory, the owner of Grays Harbor Lodging was Mrs. Julia Kelly. During the Washington prohibition years of 1916-33, it also served as a "blind pig" or speakeasy in the evenings, where men could gather for bootleg whiskey and a "throw" with ladies of the evening. The hotel stood just steps away from the most famous of Sedro-Woolley brothels, the Fern Rooms, which stood just east of the Grays Harbor, near the southwest corner of Metcalf Street near Gibson Street.
Old Landmark is torn down
Dec. 19, 1940, Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times
      One of Sedro-Woolley's oldest landmarks and also one of the greatest eyesores, the old Grays Harbor rooming house on Metcalf street, north of the Great Northern tracks, is being torn down this week. This ancient structure, which was built more than fifty years ago, was at one time a fine hotel and bar, and has had a varied history.
      The old building, finally taken by the country for unpaid taxes, had a charmed life against fires. Time after time a fire has started, sometimes on the roof and often around a chimney, but each time it was extinguished before much damage was caused. The building, from all appearances a fire trap for the past twenty years, just would not burn. It will not be long before the ancient structure is removed, to the rejoicing of residents in the district.


Keystone Bar and Hotel
      The Keystone Hotel was erected at the southeast corner of Eastern and Northern Avenues, circa 1890. It was a large, two-story wood-frame building with a substantial balcony overlooking the original triangle where three rail lines crossed in 1890. It may have been the first hotel in town. Over the next decade it became known as a house of iniquity by the prohibition forces led by Dr. Charles C. Harbaugh. You can read about the scandal from the point of view of the prohibitionists in an undated flyer from the very early 1890s at this Journal transcription. The late Jean Austin donated it along with other documents and the Woolley family bible to the Sedro-Woolley Museum, one of its most important collections. The building was razed in 1945. It stood where the Ace Hardware store is located today.[Return]

Joe Mott's drug store
      Joseph F. Mott Jr. graduated from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 1897, at about the same time that his father chose to move west and establish a pharmacy in Seattle, which was coming out of the nationwide Depression on the strength of gold from Alaska. After he worked three years as a pharmacist in Mexico, Missouri, he came west in April 1900 and opened a drug store in the Donnelly Building in the newly merged town of Sedro-Woolley, at the southeast corner of Metcalf and Ferry streets. His building also housed jeweler Horace Condy, who moved here from Kentucky that summer.
      Joe's friend Paul Rhodius followed from St. Louis in December 1901 and began managing the Woolley store for the Motts; their careers would be intertwined for the next decade and a half. In July 1911 the great downtown fire burned the woodframe Donnelly building to the ground and Mott and Rhodius reopened in December at the northern end of the new brick Swastika Building. They made headlines upon opening for the state-of-the-art wood and glass interior and soda fountain that their neighbor Homer H. Shrewsbury designed from his Shrewsbury Manufacturing.
      When the First National Bank was robbed in October 1914, north across the street in the Wixson Hotel, Mott managed to duck just in time inside the building when bullets came whizzing past. Rhodius had bought an interest in the Mott store in the intervening years, but he left the partnership earlier in January that year and bought out druggist Frank Douglass, whose store stood west across the street from the Wixson. In 1915 Mott sold his store and spent full time in Seattle overseeing two of the Mott family's drugstores. Rhodius bought out that corner location in 1920 and established Paul's Corner Drugs there until 1923. [Return]

Frank Douglass Drug Store
      Frank Douglass (1857-1927) set up shop in old Woolley in 1890, at the time that Albert E. Holland and A.A. Tozer had the only drug store down at old Sedro. He was a native of Wisconsin, the middle child of three. Frank clerked at a drug store at age 16 and learned pharmacy by self-study. In 1878 he and friend bought a drug store in Oberlin, Kansas, where in 1884 he married Minnie Ormsby, whose father was killed in Iowa in 1866 while the Fremont County sheriff.
      In 1890 Frank and his brother-in-law Norris Ormsby decided to move their families to the new state of Washington. They stopped briefly in North Yakima and then rode the Northern Pacific to Tacoma, where they learned of the new town of Woolley. He was one of the first businessmen to open a shop on Northern Avenue, near the three railroad lines that crossed and the new union depot that town founder Philip A. Woolley built. Frank recalled years later that he and Ormsby walked through stumps to buy lumber for the store at Woolley's Mill and then carried it on their backs to the construction site. They worked together until 1892 when they split up and Ormsby formed a dray business. Ormsby became the first temporary mayor when Sedro and Woolley merged in 1898.
      Douglass moved his business in December 1903 around the corner to Metcalf Street where he built a new brick building, the first brick structure in Woolley. Soon afterwards he invested in the new Sedro-Woolley Iron Works on Puget Street, but in 1908 he sold his shares to David G. McIntyre, who would soon boom Skagit Steel. He retired as a druggist in 1914 and sold his business to Paul Rhodius, the leading druggist of the next generation. His son William O. Douglass continued in the drugstore business here; his son Frank H. Douglass became a doctor in Seattle and his daughter Clara married postman William Rivord. Minnie Douglass's sister married Sedro businessman and gold prospector B.D. Vandeveer. [Return]

Vendome Hotel, Frank Bergeron
      The original Hotel Royal, at the southeast corner of Ferry Street and Eastern Avenue, was Woolley's first hotel designed for those who could afford it. It was built in 1897 by Charles Villeneuve Sr., who had already been in business in the county for 23 years. A Montreal native, he settled in 1873 where Conway would soon rise. Even though he had located along a rail line there in the western part of the county, not enough population was there to support a classy hotel, so Woolley was hot, with nearly 1,500 people and three rail lines. But five years later the hotel had not yet lured enough guests from the Keystone and the Osterman. So he sold the hotel to Frank Bergeron and built a hotel a block west, across the Northern Pacific tracks, called the St. Charles (nice, huh?).
      In stepped Frank Bergeron, another of the most colorful of early Woolley characters. He changed the name to the Vendome, which many old-timers still remembered in our interviews. Although Villeneuve may have started the restaurant, Bergeron became known for it, as the Keystone was known for its saloon. The late Howard Miller recalled that when he was a boy in the 1920s he loved the berry pies at the Vendome, which he could smell down the street.
      Soon he took on Gust Linquist and Jesse E. Johnson as key employees and John M. Rickard as a partner, maybe selling part of the property to him. Frank had first appeared in Clear Lake with his brother, a barber, in the mid-1890s. Clear Lake historian Deanna Ammons found his magnolia saloon to be a hot place at the tail end of the nationwide Depression, and then his Clear Lake Social Club. He assured his pals that he would continue them after buying the hotel, the deal for which closed in September 1903. In a Skagit County Times two months later two months later we found an announcement of "Miss C. Bergeron will open her Parisian Dressmaking Parlor in the front corner room of the Donnelly Block on the 10th." That is all we know about his wife. Frank maintained such a presence in Clear Lake that when his brother skipped town to San Francisco, Frank bought his barber shop at a sheriff's sale and Alva McKay continued as the main barber. The Vendome burned to the ground in 1927 and the lots apparently stayed vacant for 12 years. Finally, in May 1939, a Gilmore Red Lion gas station opened in the nucleus of the building still standing there. Two decades later it was known as Cargill & Lisherness. Neither Bergeron nor his wife is buried here so we know little of their later years. [Return]

(Shrewsbury and Monkey)
      Homer H. Shrewsbury was a mill man and retailer in the lakes area south of the river, as well as Woolley. But he may well have been known much better for his sense of humor. He owned a ranch near Thornwood, north of Woolley, and he stocked it with fish and game, unhunted, as well as more exotic animals from various continents. In this photo, he performs with his pet monkey in front of Shrewsbury's hardware store, which stood on the spot of the later Liberty Café.

Homer H. Shrewsbury
      Sedro-Woolley residents were shocked and saddened in September 1921 to learn that two of the town's most famous and beloved pioneers died in the same week. Homer H. Shrewsbury (1870-1921) and Wallace B. Pigg. Shrewsbury died here of a heart attack and Pigg died while attending a ceremony for the Peace Arch at the Canadian border.
      We know little about Shrewsbury's genealogy, except that he was born in Minnesota in 1870 and moved at age two with his family to Cloverdale, California. We do know that he first appeared in our Skagit County record in Anacortes in 1893, where he started the Anacortes Sash & Door Co., which burned one year later. He arrived in Woolley in 1895 as the bookkeeper for the Davison & Millett Mill, located a mile north of Woolley. He soon joined with partner W.G. McLain at Big Lake, south of the Skagit River, to establish a sawmill that they sold to the Parker brothers and the Day Lumber Co.
      Meanwhile he and McLain bought out the Davison & Millett partnership and continued logging north of Woolley until 1904 when Homer bought out his partner.
      He expanded his Shrewsbury Mill Co. in the lots east of the Fairhaven & Southern tracks, which ran on a diagonal past the 2011 site of the Bank of America. In 1907 he left the mill behind and launched a contracting business in Woolley while soon reviving his early sash and door factory. In conjunction with that factory he opened in the Donnelly Building a hardware and supply business for both contractors and residents who were building homes during that boom period.
      Back in 1896, he married Catherine Zula. Bovey, who came to the old town by the river in 1889 along with her mother, Tamson Bovey, and worked at the various family hotels. Their marriage was marked by wall-to-wall fun and frivolity. They established a ranch south of the present Samish School and between the two prairies north of Woolley. There they propagated a menagerie of animals for their children's amusement, including a monkey and other exotic animals that were soon on view at Shrewsbury's hardware store. The family's sense of good humor was extended to the next generation with the birth of daughter Ruth in 1903. Inheriting the love of dancing and music from her parents, she married Jac Running, the Woolley bandmaster who once marched with John Philip Souza and owned a grocery store north of the Seattle & Northern Railroad tracks. [Return]

Coventry Pool Room
      The Coventry Pool Room was located in the southern half of the building into which Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop moved in 2010, on the eastern side of the 800 block of Metcalf Street. Once again, we are indebted to researcher Roger Peterson, who has been recording news items for years about Sedro-Woolley, based on reading archival copies of the Courier-Times newspaper and other sources. Bill Coventry and his brother, Lucien "Red" Coventry owned the pool hall, often an euphemism for bootlegging during Washington's Prohibition period, 1916-25. They ran a confectionery and sold cigars there and a small barber shop was wedged in facing the street. From sketchy records, Peterson determined that the brothers died in 1928 (Red) and 1930 (Bill) and that after Repeal of Prohibition, two other men moved the business to State Street and opened a tavern that eventually evolved into the Old Timers tavern of today. The late Sonny Jordan recalled that a mural covered part of the south wall of the pool hall, and Dave Drummond recalls that the mural was still there when he and his father, Greer Drummond, moved their hardware store into the building in 1986, replacing the old McClintock Drugs. [Return]

Lewis Kirkby (1838-1933)
      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. (See the full profile here.) [Return]

Henry H. and Alma Dreyer
      The Dreyers settled on a quarter section east of Henry Holtcamp in the 1880s west of where the town of Woolley rose. Their land streteched from where the Food Pavillion market is today west and north to the Cook Road. We plan a more substantial profile of the family in the near future; meanwhile, see this site. [Return]

Lederle family
      A German immigrant, Joseph F. Lederle Sr. brought his young family to the Utopia district east of Sedro-Woolley in the summer of 1889. He and his wife, Anna, eventually had 13 children and Charles W. Lederle was the fourth. His father moved his cobbler's shop to the west side of Metcalf (where Holland Drugs later stood until 2010). Charles took over the shop when his father died in 1912. The Lederle family maintained a shoe store there for nearly six decades. Their legacy is the Lederle Building, on the eastern side of the 800 block of Metcalf Street, which R&E Engineering completely restored in June 2007. [Return]

James Blackburn-Eddie Adams
      James A. "Jimmy" Blackburn (1869-1933) was best known for being a partner and later sole owner of the B&A Buffet Saloon and later "pool and card room" in Sedro-Woolley. He and Eddie O. Adams opened their saloon at the southwest corner of State and Metcalf streets in 1898, according to an advertisement in 1953. Adams was a Clear Lake logger who set a world's record for shingle production before the turn of the century. Ben D. Vandeveer erected the B&A building (as Van's Place) and then made a series of successful trips to the gold fields of the Klondike. James's son Ikey took over the business when it was still restricted by Prohibition and he then converted it to a beer-and-wine tavern upon Repeal. He owned the business until it closed in the 1970s and the building was razed in order to erect Island Savings & Loan. In 1997 the late Wim Raby recalled that when he crawled under the building to attach a water line, he discovered that it was built right above a very large cedar stump that had not been removed.
      Blackburn's family owned land near where the United General Hospital was built west of Sedro-Woolley in 1964. The family west of the Blackburn property was headed by Alonzo Salathial Collins, the namesake of Collins Road. After the family arrived here in 1890, Collins cleared off the recently logged land and he and several of his children worked at the Mitchell Mill on Collins Road. That is where James met Susan Collins; they later married in an unknown year. [Return]

Couples dancing on stump (with photo)
      Actually Ray was confusing the photo with another in the four iconic stump-with-people photos in our collection. This photo is the one he meant. The Utopia Road (Hoehn Road) photo, with all the folks standing or on horses within the stump, can be seen here, from the Van Fleet homestead.
(Dancers on Stump)
      The photo with the dancers on the stump has been misidentified and misplaced, in Sedro and several places in the Northwest. We discovered where it was actually photographed when we read Elizabeth Duncan's wonderful biography of her schoolteacher mother, Skagit Schoolma'am (Lowell, WA, 1990). Her mother was Claribel (Rathbone) Dahlen, a member of a family who moved in the 1890s to Fidalgo City from Dwight, Kansas. After teaching for a year in Fidalgo City, at the southern tip of Fidalgo Island, she bravely accepted a teaching position in what was then wilderness, the Saxon-Wickersham area at the border of Skagit and Whatcom counties. She married Herbert Dahlen, a son of the mill family at Doran Spur.
      We were quite pleased when we arrived at page 85, near the end of the book and saw a sketch that appears to be based on the above photo. We read Mrs. Dahlen's description of the wedding scene in Fidalgo City: "The house was decked with blossoms from the apple trees and lilacs from the dooryard by this time. We all posed for a picture: dancing on a huge cedar stump." Thus we are reasonably sure that we have finally discovered the place of the stump and the reason couples were dancing upon it. Elsewhere in the Journal you will find our photo feature with many stumps that impressed the settlers and made their way to plenty of postcards in the early days. [Return]

George B. Ragsdale (1866-1937)
      The answer to Ray's question is that Ragsdale was editor and partner of the Skagit County Times for a decade and then he became postmaster of Sedro-Woolley. He was a fixture here for more than three decades. We know little of his life before he arrived in Sedro-Woolley in about 1905 except that his family was very English; their ancestors lived in Ragsdale, England. Wallace H. Pilcher, originally from Kansas, had been the Times publisher since 1902, when he relieved Seneca G. Ketchum, who died a year later. Ragsdale apparently became Pilcher's partner that year. Then the March 22, 1906, Times issue stated that Ragsdale "recently secured control" of the Times although J.B. Stowers was the editor on the masthead. A 1949 Courier-Times commemorative issue noted that John B. Stowers died here in 1920 after editing the Times for 13 years, from 1907 onwards. Frank Evans bought the Skagit County Courier on Jan. 31, 1918. After Stowers died, Evans bought the Times from the Stowers estate, and then merged both papers on May 20, 1920, to launch the Courier-Times brand, which still exists in name only in 2011. The Evans family owned the Courier-Times for six decades.
      The Times of May 30, 1907, reported that Ragsdale was on the city council. The next record we have is the 1913-14 Polk Directory, which notes that the Times was published by Ragsdale & Stowers and was still in the building that Ketchum originally secured at the southeast corner of State and Third streets. A year later he helped organize the Commercial Club, the forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce. When the club incorporated On April 16, 1914, Ragsdale was on the original board. He was very active in the Fourth of July parade and festivities that year, the first such celebration on a large scale. A rodeo was also organized that year.
      In March 1915 Ragsdale succeeded Hi Hammer as postmaster, as a Woodrow Wilson patronage appointment. Ragsdale's son, Finis, a 1916 graduate of Sedro-Woolley High School, apprenticed as pressman at the Times. Three years later Finis joined the U.S. Army but he returned in 1919 and resumed his job. He also became one of the leaders of the local post of the American Legion, which had just been formed that spring. Ragsdale senior stayed in Sedro-Woolley and died here in 1937. [Return]

Thomas/Tinkham Creek
      The creek is named for a family who may have been related my marriage to one of Woolley's early mayors, William Murdock. Joe Murdock moved here sometime later than William, whom we find logging at Sterling and upriver in the 1880s; so far we cannot establish the relation between them. Joe married Martha Jane "Jenny" Osborne, the daughter of a family who lived northwest of Woolley near Thomas Creek and she was a widow. Her first husband was Cicero Thomas, a native of North Carolina and the namesake of the creek. In 1900 she owned 15 acres next to John Kellerher, the namesake of Kellerher Road. W.W. Tinkham was an attorney in Mount Vernon, dating back to 1884, so the creek could have been named later for him or it could have been an alternate name early on. [Return]

Bert Smith
      All we know about Herbert B. Smith is that he was born in 1891 and died and was buried in Sedro-Woolley in 1934. [Return]

Charlie Pressentin (1885-1960)
      Charlie was the son of famed Birdsview pioneers, Karl and Wilhelmina von Pressentin, who settled upriver in 1878. They are the most-featured family in the Journal, with almost 20 photo features, including several stories about Charlie. He and his brother Otto were famous for their plumbing shop, which was located at the north dead-end of Third Street in Sedro-Woolley. Old-timers remembered seeing Charlie riding his bicycle to deliver a hot-water heater, carrying the heater strapped to his back. See the Pressentin Portal Section for links to all the family stories. [Return]

Frank Bradsberry (1860-1921), often misspelled Bradsbury
      We plan to feature a profile of Frank in the near future. He was quite a character hereabouts and was involved in several logging and real estate operations. A Missouri native, he arrived at Sterling in March 1884 where he worked in the logging camp of Sterling founder Jesse B. Ball. On March 30, 1890, Frank married Marinda Kelley, a daughter of a family who emigrated to Puget Sound from Ireland in 1865. According to the Illustrated History of Skagit & Snohomish Counties (1906) the Bradsberry Logging Company owned 4,000 acres of timberland. He was elected to the state legislature for two two-year terms from District 51, serving from 1907-11. We know from other research that he was closely affiliated with the C.E. Bingham bank of Sedro-Woolley. In Bradsberry's latter years, the bank took over the company after it failed and Laurence LaPlant managed the bank's real estate operations in connection with the timberland. [Return]

Charles J. Wicker
      Charles J. Wicker homesteaded in the Skiyou area, north of the Skagit and next to the Van Fleets, in 1884 after moving here from Chillicothe, Iowa, in January of that year. That town in south-central Iowa was laid out in 1849 by his father, A.J. Wicker in 1849. Wicker put his family experience in real estate to good use from 1901 onwards as a partner with Harry Devin in Skagit Realty on Metcalf street, which lasted in business until 1998. His father was Chillicothe's first postmaster and Charles erected a building on the western side of the 800 block of Metcalf Street for a post office that served Sedro-Woolley until 1939. You can search for several stories about the Wicker family throughout the Journal — (see this introduction). Re: politics. Wicker was a staunch Democrat. His partner Devin was a staunch Republican, but they made a great team for nearly 40 years. Wicker was the subject of an unusual story in 1940. He came out here from Iowa ten years later than Charles Conrad did, and Wicker worked on Conrad's farm briefly soon after his arrival. And even though they both lived in Skagit County for the next 56 years, they did not cross paths again until 1940. [Return]

Ralph Andrews and This Was Logging (Seattle: Superior Publishing, 1954)
      In 1953 Ralph Andrews, an author with the Superior Publishing Co. of Seattle, received permission to publish copies of the Darius Kinsey's logging photos in This Was Logging!, which led to the most-read series of more than a dozen famous logging books in several printings. After World War II, Andrews met aerial photographer Jesse Ebert, the owner of Aerolist Photographers and a small photo studio in West Seattle. Ebert had purchased in 1945 most of Kinsey's surviving photos and negatives from Kinsey's widow, Tabitha. Read more about Andrews in this Journal Kinsey Portal feature. [Return]

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