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Skagit River Journal

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John Conrad's obituary notes:
Colorful Lives 1970 Pioneer Picnic, part 1

Prepared for the August 1970 Skagit County Historical Association Pioneer Picnic
including pioneers and their descendants who passed away from August 1969 to August 1970

Overview:
(Bessie Luton)
Bessie Benston Luton

      These files are derived from notes that John Conrad compiled annually from 1949-73 and then read in condensed form at the picnic itself and published with collected photographs in the Puget Sound Mail newspaper, which is no longer published. [See Conrad's biography at: this Journal website.] The Mail published a special Pioneer Edition annually for the August picnic. Many can be viewed on microfilm at the Suzallo Library at the University of Washington, but many burned in various LaConner fires. If you have copies of any of them, please email us. We would like to read the issues and include the pioneer profiles that were included each year with the lists. This section will eventually have more than a thousand names of pioneers and descendants. We would appreciate it if you would pass it along to friends and family who are genealogists so that they can consider subscribing and eventually read Conrad's notes of all 25 years when he served as memorialist. Thank you.
      These are Conrad's handwritten notes, which we have transcribed and only lightly edited for clarity and spelling before being coded into web language. The list is organized by general area of the county. The names of those who passed away from the picnic of August 1969 to that of August 1970 are in bold. Information in [ ] is for clarification, correction or research of the individuals, towns or families that has been conducted by the Skagit River Journal. Some of the latter information in brackets is from the Skagit Valley Genealogical Society Index to Funeral Home Records, a most valuable aid. [See this web link for how to obtain it]. If we post burial information, you can assume the person died in 1970 unless we specifically state 1969 inside the brackets. Blue underlined links indicate stories about the pioneers elsewhere in our webpages. One of the most valuable aspects of Conrad's research is that he includes Indian families who were here at the time of the pioneers and emphasizes their impact on the county. We would appreciate it if you would pass it along to friends and family who are genealogists so that they can consider subscribing and eventually read Conrad's notes of all 25 years when he served as memorialist. Thank you.


Highlights of this year's list:
      Details of old Skagit river ferries; profile of Bessie Luton, who carried on as marshal after the murder of her husband, Ed Luton, marshal of Hamilton; profile of William Munks, early settler on Fidalgo Island; J.J. Conner and the early Hamilton coal mines; the Theiler family of Ehrlich; Nora See Hastie and the Thomas P. Hastie family; the old Pay Streak block north of Division street in Mount Vernon; William and Robert Woodburn and his neighbors, the cousins — R.E. Whitney, and his cousins, A.G. Tillinghast and E.A. Sisson, who cleared the land and diked around Swinomish bridge and Whitney; Skagit river ferries.

Sedro-Woolley area including Sterling,
Prairie and north, and the Lakes area south of the Skagit

      Mrs. Charlotte Gampp, 96, passed away in San Diego and was one of the oldest on our roll. She and her husband operated a combined newsstand, confectionery store and lunchroom in Sedro-Woolley for many years until 1948.
      Carl O. Lingman, 96, third oldest resident of the county on our Memorial Roll, came to the Hoogdal district, north of Sedro-Woolley, from [the Ytterhogdal region of] Sweden, along with many of the residents of that small Swedish community south of Warner's Prairie.
      Nels Iver Peterson, [74, born in Michigan], who died suddenly on July 4, spent 37 years of his active life as a rural mail carrier on both the Bow route and later a Sedro-Woolley route.


Sterling area departed

This story was moved to the present, new domain on Jan. 3, 2010. We hope that any readers will contact us if they have additional information on these pioneer families (or any others). We will be updating it soon and would appreciate scans of photos or copies of documents. We never ask for your originals.

      Next door to Gampp's [in downtown Woolley] was the millinery store of Flossie Hustead, whose death occurred several years ago. Her nephew, Charles Randolph Hustead, 60 [Died 1970 in Oakland, California, born in Illinois]. His younger days were spent in the Sterling area. [See the extended profile of the Husteads at this Journal website.]
      Another Sterling boy, schoolmate of the Husteads above, Ernest I. Sandnes, 62, Bellingham, has also answered the last call. He was son of Ole and Britt Sandnes, who came from Norway around the turn of the century. One of Ole's first jobs in the county as ferry operator for many years at Fir, across from Conway, where the present bridge displaced it in 1914 and soon will be replaced in turn by a new, modern structure. The Fir ferry was one of the hardest such jobs on Skagit river and was the highest paid one. Fir island was a large farming community and to reach the railroad at Conway, most crossed over at Fir. When the river ran strong, the current pushed the ferry across easily, but on low water or on high tides from the salt water, slack water required a "slave labor" job of poling or pulling the craft across by light steel cable. There was usually room for two teams and wagons. For his wearisome seven days a week, Ole Sandnes received the less than substantial sum of $75 per month.
      Skagit river ferries: At the upper end of Fir island was the Skagit City ferry where ferry traffic was lighter and mostly served Mount Vernon-bound horse rigs, [no first name] Larson, the ferry operator, received $50 per month. Way upriver at Birdsview the pay was only $20 per month. But no wages were inflated. County commissioner Alfred Polson in the second district received $87.35 per month; Henry Thompson in third district, $120.40; E.A. Sisson, first district, $67.89. There were 12 ferries across the Skagit river [at various times]. The last ferry was discontinued several years ago when the new Rockport bridge opened. That old ferry is now a relic in the new county park below the park. Ole moved from Fir to Sterling in 1911 and spent the rest of his days on the family farm there.
      Mrs. Caroline Chatterton [died at age 52 in 1969 in Sedro-Woolley where she was born], was a daughter of Charles and Jesse Pressentin. Her father was [a son of Karl von Pressentin, a German immigrant, who homesteaded on the south side of the Skagit from Birdsview in 1877] and Chuck was a popular plumber in Sedro-Woolley for [decades] until his death several years ago. He was a friend of the common people and kept his charges reasonable. He often delivered plumbing supplies on his bicycle, even at times with a hot water tank strapped on his back.


Clear Lake and Big Lake area departed
      Mrs. Dora Hart Young [died at 73 in Sedro-Woolley where she was born] was a daughter of Joseph and Louisa [Anderson] Hart. Joseph homesteaded at [the future site of] Sedro in 1878, coming up from Seattle with David Batey, an old friend from England, and later joined by William Dunlop and William Woods. The old hart homestead, located [from the old Third street bridge to Clear Lake] on the south to where the Goodyear-Nelson Mill now stands on the north, was one of the oldest in family ownership for many years. Two U.S. presidents, Chester Arthur and Benjamin Harrison, signed the original [homestead patent] to the property. Dora was a charter member of Territorial Daughters chapter. [See the story of pioneer Joseph Hart at this Journal website]
      Born in the heavily timbered county at Ehrlich near Big Lake was Lena Bean, 83, of Burlington. Her parents, Joseph and Anna Theiler, came to Puget Sound in 1885, and to LaConner in 1886. That same year, the ambitious couple took up a homestead on stump land between McMurray and Big Lake. It was an isolated region in the five years before the coming of the Seattle Lake Shore & Eastern railway (later the Northern Pacific railway). [See this Journal website for more details about Lena Bean and the Theiler family, early settlers at Ehrlich, near Big Lake.]


Upper Skagit river area from Skiyou to the Cascades
and the south-river area east of Clear Lake
      Bessie Daphne Luton, 84, of Hamilton, was born as Bessie Benston in a little farm cabin near Conway, Iowa, while a snow storm was sweeping over the countryside of the wide open Midwest corn country on Jan. 11, 1886. Her folks were humble farm people and had no inducement to offer their children. The oldest daughter, Olive, left home at an early age for the West and Bessie yearned to follow her. When she was 20 years old she married Edward Luton and a year later, in 1907, they were able to come to Seattle, then on to Sedro-Woolley and soon to Hamilton where she has lived since. Mr. Luton was shot and killed in 1929 while on duty as Hamilton Marshal, six months before their youngest child was born. [See these Journal extended notes for more details about Bessie Luton's life and the marriage of her sister Olive to William Munks, first settler at what we now call March's Point.]
      George Duffy, [died 1970] 64, of Sterling, was a son of Morris and Charlotte Duffy and was born at Lyman where his father served as road supervisor in that area for years. A county road up there today is named in his father's honor. George's mother, Charlotte Jarvis Duffy, was a charter member of the Sedro-Woolley Territorial Daughters.
      Mrs. Maria Anderson Strom, [died at 91 in 1969, born in Sweden], of the Utopia area east of Sedro-Woolley, also lost a loved one who fell in the line of duty. Her son, Carl Strom, Sedro-Woolley night marshal, was shot and killed on [April 15,] 1933 after the robbery of the Bingham Bank. [He was honored in 2000 with a Washington state medal of honor and was featured in Rae Anna Victor's book, Century of Honor.
      Another old upriver resident from Maude Hamilton, [died at 96 in 1969, born in North Carolina], of Burlington. She lived at Hamilton from 1904-55, having married Motz Hamilton, himself a son of the founder of the town, William Hamilton, who settled there in 1877. Motz, also a Hamilton native, was brother of Maurice Hamilton, 90, also on our Memorial Roll.
      Maurice Hamilton, 90, of Sedro-Woolley, was born in Hamilton, son of William Hamilton, the founder of the town that bears his name. William filed on the townsite in 1877 and built a general merchandise store [and post office and hotel] there in 1884 on strength of the coal mine boom. The town never began growth until 1889 when the railroad began building to there in 1891. In the [1906 Illustrated History, Maurice is credited with operation of a confectionery store in Hamilton.
      Miss Genevieve Moran, 73, died a tragic death in Seattle on March 20 when fire destroyed the Hotel Ozark, where she had an apartment. She and several other tenants lost their lives. Genevieve was born at [old Sauk City], upriver on the Skagit in 1896, the daughter of William and Mary Moran, who lived on the south side of the river. They later moved to the [north side, where the new town of Sauk formed around a shingle mill and the Great Northern train depot]. She went to the old Sauk school, worked later in the Concrete telephone office and moved to Seattle 25 years ago.
      William J.S. Gordon, 99 [died in 1969], of Mount Vernon, was the oldest deceased member on our rolls. He was born on a sugar plantation down in British Guiana, South America, on July 14, 1870, and was just a few weeks shy of being 100. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John S. Gordon; his father was a descendant of Scotland's Gordon clan. [See the Journal extended notes file for more details about Gordon's life and James J. Conner — cousin of the founders of LaConner, and his promotion, with Gordon, of the Hamilton coal mines.].


Mount Vernon, Avon and southwest Skagit county
Mount Vernon and Avon area departed
      Two sisters of an old family passed on during the past year, Mrs. Mable Downs Norris, 80, of Mount Vernon, and Mrs. Agnes Downs Horn, 76, of Snee-Oosh, both daughters of John and Leona Downs. Their father [John Downs] came to Skagit county with his parents, Dr. Horace P. and Sylvia Downs, in 1878, when John, an only child, was 13 years old. [Ed. note: we believe that the spelling of the family name was Moore, without the "S." See the Journal extended notes website for more details about the Downs girls' family and their paternal grandfather, Dr. Horace P. Downs, early official of Skagit county.]
      Another departed old timer whose life work was as a tow boat operator on the Skagit and Snohomish rivers was Capt. Forrest Elwell, 90, who passed on at Everett. He was more than a real pioneer; his grandmother was a sister of chief Seattle. He made his home in Mount Vernon many years where he skippered the river tugboat, Black Prince, well known to so many in delta areas and in Mount Vernon. Later he built the Ora Elwell. The boats took tows of logs from upriver to rafting areas on the lower Skagit, Skagit Bay and some on to Everett, and some of his boats also were in towing service on Snohomish river. In his later years he was skipper on the Black Ball Ferries from which he retired in 1954. There he was captain on the ferry Quillayute on the Anacortes-San Juan run. In 1933 he was asked to serve for two terms as a member of the state planning commission as the Skagit authority on flood control, bank erosion and soil erosion. The Everett Yacht Club took over the Black Prince as headquarters on its retirement and today a banquet room there is named for the old boat, with a model of it occupying a place of honor in the foyer.
      The Pay Streak block, north of Division street in Mount Vernon, is noted below in the LaConner section regarding the Osberg family. Another pioneer from that block, facing Division street, is brought to mind with the death of] Altha Fox Whitehead, 81, who most recently lived in Oak Harbor. She came to Skagit county as a girl of 17 with her parents, William Robert and Mary Alice Fox, who moved west from Kansas with several other children. Soon after their arrival in 1906, with one or two of his boys as helpers, Fox set up the old Fox Barber Shop on the Pay Streak block, which was a collection of small businesses. The business stayed there until wreckers cleared the ground for a new [unnamed] grocery chain store 20 years ago; that area is now being razed again for a parking lot. Old Bill Fox fell in love with the Skagit county and never regretted leaving the prairie states with his family. On retiring in 1929 he bought a pioneer home in LaConner, which was built by John Swanson. Swanson came West in the 1870s from the little community of Olsburg near Manhattan, Kansas, and settled on land below Fir Island. Swanson died in 1929 and William Fox purchased his home at an estate sale at the Skagit county courthouse. Ironically, the land Swanson left in Kansas in the 1870s has now been covered by the huge Tuttle Creek Reservoir Lake, a government project and the largest body of water in Kansas. The LaConner home was in turn owned by A.B. Church, Don Brooks and now by Darrell McCormick.
      Barbara Hull Gates [died in 1969, age 76, born in Indiana] was the widow of Clarence Gates, who was son of the first settler in Mount Vernon [proper], Jasper Gates, who homesteaded the downtown area in 1870. Jasper's cabin stood where the National Bank of Commerce now stands on First street. Barbara and her husband spent most of their lives in the Milltown area.
      Mrs. Amanda Lindbloom of Mount Vernon, born on Lopez Island [died in 1969], came to Anacortes as a child, later to Mount Vernon, where Mr. Lindbloom was operator of a large feed business for years. A son of theirs served as mayor of Mount Vernon a couple of terms. Amanda was a civic minded citizen, serving for 40 years on her local election precinct board, even the year previous to her death.
      Jack Pulliam was the son of Lawrence Fletcher Pulliam and Anne Estelle Pulliam, who came to Mount Vernon 68 years ago. The father was a skilled carpenter and built many homes, a large part of them near his home on the west side of the river. He liked to mention it and was proud that he built most of the homes on Baker street there. Mr. Pulliam was also employed for 28 years in the old pioneer furniture store of J.B. Laughlin. Son Jack Pulliam, our subject, spent many of his later years in Seattle. He loved to meet people and got an excellent chance when he was employed at the big statewide Washington Athletic Club as head bellhop for 20 years. He followed the painting trade in Mount Vernon.
      Mrs. Minette Johnson Geeson, 79 [died in 1970, born in Kansas], of Summit Park, passed away on April 4. She was a member of the old N.B. Johnson family. The father was better known as the head of Mount Vernon's largest grocery firm, of his name, for so many years. N.B. Johnson came from Sweden in 1880 to Kansas where he was plagued by drought and crop failure, then came West to locate at Skagit City in 1891 on a farm of 25 acres. bad luck continued to dog him. In an accident on his farm while clearing land, he broke both his legs and was confined to his home for 22 weeks. yet he was determined to see his land cleared. Unable to walk, he had his sons carry him out on a chair and from his seat he grubbed roots and brush. It was not until another year that he was able to get around with crutches and four full years before he was fully recovered, but in the meantime his three sons cleared the whole place with his help. This hard working, close knit group of father and older sons — John, Simon and Fred, moved upriver to Mount Vernon in 1904. There they started their successful grocery business, the well known N.B. Johnson and Sons Co., building a large store building in later years at the southwest corner of First and Pine streets. That building is now occupied downstairs by Hugo Helmer Co. Upstairs was known as the Medical Building and the doctors' offices are converted to apartments. Daughter Minette, known to all as "Min," was an active member of Summit Park Grange. A younger son of N.B. and wife, the late Art Johnson, is well remembered as a long time real estate dealer who promoted the Riverside district north of downtown Mount Vernon and is succeeded today by his sons, Elliott and Keith.
      Roy C. Moen, Olympia, was one of three brothers, all with banking experience, who came to Skagit county early in the century, after they were raised on a Minnesota farm. G.O. Moen, Carl Moen and Roy all rose to positions of manger in different financial firms and all are now deceased.
      Fred P. Julyan, 58 of Mount Vernon [died 1970] was a grandson of William and Rosetta Singer, a familiar family name on LaConner flats 80 years ago. Grandfather Will came to the flats in 1889 to join his brother Herman Singer who had homesteaded some 15 years earlier on the place later sold to Isaac Jennings. Herman's claim was just north of the Jennings home place north of McLean road. The old home remained on the land for many years after the sale and was called the "Singer place." Jennings had homesteaded on his claim in 1871 and added the Singer property several years later. Fred Julyan's mother, Rosie Singer Julyan was born there in the old home in 1892 and when she was a small child the folks rented a farm in Beaver marsh for four years, then bought their home farm at Avon to remain the rest of their lives. The old Will Singer family had 13 children besides Rosie. Two other daughters remembered are Mrs. Leila Walker up at McRae near Sedro-Woolley and Mrs. Martha Gunther at Ridgeway. A son, Paul Singer, was well remembered as a Mount Vernon transfer man some 40 years ago.
      The death of Edward Massar, 75 of Mount Vernon [died in 1969, born in South Dakota] reminds us of his father, John Massar, who came to Skagit county early in the century from South Dakota. He started a string of lumber yards in several valley towns of the county and at his death they were sold to Columbia Valley Lumber Co., now J.W. Copeland yards.
      Emanual Alm, 79 [died 1970, born in Nebraska], started a plumbing business in Mount Vernon and built it up in 27 years to a large sheet metal shop. He retired in 1944 and then joined 1st Federal Savings & Loan, as appraiser for 16 years, and then was director and vice president of Land Title Co. for 15 years.
      Joseph Fortin, 64 [died in 1970, born in Skagit county], lived his entire life in the county and was a successful berry farmer in the Riverside area. Joe was also a dedicated member of the Riverside Grange and met his death in the Grange hall there while he was conferring degrees to members.


Southwest Skagit county and Fir Island
      Mrs. Cora Hayton Polson, 89 [died in 1969, born in Skagit county], was the last member of the pioneer Thomas Hayton family of eight children. Her father, a Civil War veteran, brought his family to Skagit county in 1876 and developed a large tract of saltwater marsh at the mouth of Dry Slough into a productive farm. It was eleven years before the place could be reached by wagon over the muddy trails. The elder Hayton was a public spirited man and could be called a founder of Washington state, having been a representative at the constitutional convention in 1889. Of six Hayton boys, brother Will served three terms in the state legislature from 1927-33 and was mayor of Mount Vernon in 1913-14; and James Hayton was an active member for years on various dike and drainage committees and served on the county board of commissioners for many years.
      Cora's husband, Alfred Polson, was on our last year's memorial roll at age 98. Alfred was a successful farmer and businessman. Besides his early interest in diking and drainage, he served two terms as county commissioner, during which he promoted the first bridge across the south fork of the Skagit at Fir — built in 1914, and now about to be replaced. Later he was chairman of the Mount Vernon High School board and was also postmaster of Mount Vernon. He was president of our pioneer association in 1931 and competed with Joshua Green for age honors, being just eight months younger. Alfred would have been 100 this last June; Joshua turned 100 last October. Cora and Alfred were a fixture at our picnics for years and were last photographed together by the daily paper in 1968. The Polsons often brought old-fashioned full table dinners along from home to the annual picnics.
      Will Olson, 86 [died in 1970], was born on Brown Slough, west of Fir, in 1884, the son of Peter and Lena Olson. His father came to Skagit county in 1873, looking for an opportunity in this new land after spending two years on railroad work in Iowa, following his arrival from Sweden. In 1875 he was able to contract to buy 160 acres of very uninviting mudflats that needed dikes, drainage and protection from stormy Skagit Bay's tides. Peter, an able bodied, energetic young Swedish immigrant, set to work to build up a future farm for himself. Five years later he saw the fruits of his labor beginning to show in stronger dikes and better ditches, so he was encouraged to take on a helpmate. Lena Johnson, a dressmaker in Seattle who was also from Sweden, became his bride in 1880. This ambitious young couple persevered despite setbacks of freshets [floods] and frequent breaks in pioneer dikes and were happy in their early crude home. Only the industry, thrift and God-fearing spirit of such folks as the Peter Olsons could have carried them through the next 21 years when 11 children came to bless their home. Despite added costs of living, the Olsons made improvements and added to their land holdings until they eventually owned 300 acres. Will, our subject, was third in this large family. He followed in his father's footsteps and took up farming on the old home place and married Gina Sande of Conway. Upon the tragic death of Gina's brother at Conway in 1921, Will's family moved to the Sande farm there.
      Jim McConkey, 75 [died in 1970], who probably had one of the longest terms of service with English Camp has been called on. He was brakeman for many years, dumping logs at the old English Boom Dump near Milltown. Later, the company known then as Puget Sound Timber, ceased operations there. Then Jim closed out his long career as brakeman on the Scott Paper Co. Puget Sound & Baker River" train from Hamilton to Similk Bay log dump, until trucks took over to Everett just a few years ago. Jim was raised within earshot of the English headquarters on Conway hill and his mother was cook in the company mess hall for many years while Jim grew up. His sister Mamie married Floyd Holman, longtime brakeman on an English train there. Jim lived to see every rail in the woods pulled out.
      A member of the old Jim Lane family, Mrs. Rose Lane Santmyer, passed on in Seattle. Her parents, James and Lyza Lane, came to Skagit county in the 1890s, first living on the old Stackpole farm on Fir Island, later called the Ostrander place. They moved to the James Gaches farm on Beaver Marsh, where after a few years they had the misfortune to have the house burn, forcing them to move into the granary while their new home was built. The Waikle place on McLean road was their next home for four or five years. Then they moved to Matsqui, B.C., where Lane bought 160 acres of Fraser river soil for $27 per acre, ideal land for grain and pasture. But Lane again yearned for the U.S.A. and sold his Canadian holdings to a Toronto buyer who offered him $150 per acre. He then returned to the Beaver marsh area again, renting the Sam Peck farm. The owners were known as "Uncle Sam" Peck and his wife, Jennie. Sam was a brother of Harris Peck who later operated an undertaking business in LaConner.
      Across the road, on the Jim Dunlap farm, was Miles Fulk, an 1874 pioneer, whose brother was one of the first homesteaders in the Lake Campbell area on Fidalgo Island. Miles built up one of the county's best dairy herds there. When the Skagit river overflowed at Avon in 1909 and filled the entire valley with deep floodwater, the Fulk and Lane houses were in the lowest area. The surprising surge of the flood caught all of Fulk's cattle in the barn and his entire herd was drowned. Rescue boats pushed up to the doors of the two neighboring homes to help evacuate the stranded folks, but Fulk's drowned cattle were all floated out later to the county road to be hauled away. Fulk sold all his farm machinery the next spring to end his farming days while Lane rented the Charles Tollber place across the old North Fork bridge. This same farm was later occupied by the George Moore family and was later ravaged by a severe dike break, covering the entire place with sand and debris and washing out the narrow North Fork Bridge. Mrs. Amy Caldwell Moore, 86 [died in 1970, born in Oregon], was on this year's Memorial Roll; her husband, George Moore, died in 1951. Jim Lane's last home in Skagit county was where the Skagit Feed Co. store stands in West Mount Vernon, an acre tract. Jim had a sudden stroke one day. Young Ray Ropes and John Martin came running from their nearby service station and carried the old pioneer to his home, where he died in a short time. Mrs. Lane died about five years later.


English Logging Co. alumni
      One of the best known departed from the old English Camp near Conway was Gunder Kvande, 81, of Freeborn [Ed. note: we have not been able to place the Freeborn district; can a reader help?]. He was a woods foreman for many years and one of most highly respected employees of company in his days. On the same day of Kvande's death, Oscar Vike, 71 — another old English employee from his younger years, died down in Vernonia, Oregon. He was employed the last 30 years down there, but got his start in the woods in English Camp. He was raised, as a boy, just a mile away. In last year's Memorial Roll, we listed Mike Rindall, 71, of Conway, a longtime English Logging Co. railroad section foreman. This year his son, Arne Rindall, 48 [died 1970, born in Norway], an oil truck driver, not a logger, has been called.
      Harry Parker, 69 [died in 1970, born in Skagit county], Mount Vernon, operated a Skagit river tow boat, together with his father, J.N. Parker, for many years, bringing rafts of logs from upriver to booming grounds downriver at saltwater. His mother came West with her parents, the M. McLeans, in 1882 from Grand Manan island, which lay off the coast of Maine. A large number of early Skagit county settlers dame from that area. When they landed in LaConner by boat from Seattle in territorial days, the town and surrounding area was still in Whatcom county. [Ed. note: we do not know the relation to George McLean of the McLean road. We believe that his mother was Helen Parker, who died in 1967 and was the widow of Ivan Parker. That area, including the coast of Maine and New Brunswick, was the original home of many key early day settlers, including Samuel S. Tingley of Mount Vernon and later of Day Creek, and Amasa "Pegleg" Everett, the first settler at the Baker river.]
      Down in Olympia, Don C. Harmon died at age 75, after serving many years as manager for Puget Sound Freight Lines at Olympia and serving as deputy assessor for Thurston county after retirement. He was born at Mount Vernon in 1893, the son of Charles and Olive Harmon; his father was once Skagit County Sheriff. Don's brother, Ray C. Harmon, [died in 1969, born in Washington state] died at Marysville at age 81.
      The last member of a prominent South Fork family, Oscar Lee, [also known as Otto?, died in 1970] is listed on our departed list. Oscar was the son of Ole and Anna Lee who came to Skagit county in 1876 and purchased land two miles north of Conway on River road. The Lees were a very thrifty and industrious family and within a few years they had cleared the land of remaining stumps and debris and had 240 acres of the valley's finest farming land, reaching from the river to the present [I-5] freeway. To this they added other tracts. One in particular was a wooded area on old Hwy. 99, frequently called Lee's Grove, mostly alder trees, which still stretches over to the new Interstate #5. In days some 50 years ago, community events and picnics were occasionally held there. The predominantly Swedish community of Cedardale had church gatherings and Midsummer's Day get-togethers, while the Lees, natives of Norway, provided space at times for observing Norwegian Independence Day on May 17. Most of those, however, were held at Conway.
      The Lee children attended school at the old Skagit City School across the river from Lee's home. Oscar's brother Pete died eight years ago and sister Nellie passed on seven years ago. Oscar moved some 40 years ago up to the Ferndale area, where he leased a large tract of Lummi Indian Reservations delta land near the Nooksack river. That land has been managed by he and family since then. He had partially moved back to his old home a couple of years ago. Just three weeks ago, Oscar's son-in-law Don Brunner, who had moved down with his family to the old farm, lost his life near the homestead by electrocution while preparing an irrigation pump.
      Brief notes. Victor Berringer, 79, of South Avon, was butter maker for Darigold for many years and the firm received many of the state's highest ratings for butter in his days on the job. He often appeared on the Pioneer Picnic program with trumpet solos. Mrs. Mildred Mckee Martin, 84 [died in 1970, born in Illinois], [from] an old landmark farm around Avon for three quarters of a century, is today on our roll of departed. She and her husband Steve ran the Avon Grocery Store for many years. Mrs. Venetia Mason Navarre, died in Seattle. She was born in Mount Vernon, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Mason. Two Skagit county veterans of the old Co. F, 161st Infantry are on the roll. Major George V. Finley, 76 of San Jose, California [died in 1970, born in Missouri], was the son of Mr. and Mrs. G.H. Finley of Mount Vernon. He enlisted in the local National Guard unit in 1916 and following World War I, he re-enlisted and then served through World War II. During his long service he rose from private to major. George made his home the last 19 years in San Jose. Another Co. F. veteran was Walter Crawford, 80 of Avon [died in 1969, born in Missouri]. Another old Skagit City native daughter was Mrs. Adina Anderson Taylor, 76 of Sedro-Woolley [died in 1970, born in Washington state], who was born at the old river trading post.


Continue on to 1970 notes, part 2.

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Story posted on Sept. 1, 2002, last updated Jan. 3, 2005, moved to this domain Jan. 4, 2010
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Our new weekly column, Puget Sound Mail (but don't call it a blog)
debuted on Aug. 9, 2009. Check it out.
(bullet) See this Journal Timeline website of local, state, national, international events for years of the pioneer period.
(bullet) Did you enjoy this story? Remember, as with all our features, this story is a draft and will evolve as we discover more information and photos. This process continues until we eventually compile a book about Northwest history. Can you help?
(bullet) Remember; we welcome correction & criticism.
(bullet) Please report any broken links or files that do not open and we will send you the correct link. With more than 700 features, we depend on your report. Thank you.
(bullet) Read about how you can order CDs that include our photo features from the first five years of our Subscribers Edition. Perfect for gifts.

You can click the donation button to contribute to the rising costs of this site. You can also subscribe to our optional Subscribers-Paid Journal magazine online, which has entered its ninth year with exclusive stories, in-depth research and photos that are shared with our subscribers first. You can go here to read the preview edition to see examples of our in-depth research or read how and why to subscribe.

You can read the history websites about our prime sponsors
Would you like information about how to join them in advertising?

(bullet) Our newest sponsor: Cygnus Gallery, 109 Commercial St., half-block uphill from Main Street, LaConner. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 5 p.m., featuring new monthly shows with many artists, many local. Across the street from Maple Hall, 1886 Bank Building and Marcus Anderson's 1969 historic cabin. Their website will be up in early 2010.
(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
(bullet) Joy's Sedro-Woolley Bakery-Cafe at 823 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley.
(bullet) Check out Sedro-Woolley First section for links to all stories and reasons to shop here first
or make this your destination on your visit or vacation.
(bullet) Are you looking to buy or sell a historic property, business or residence?
We may be able to assist. Email us for details.

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