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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
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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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John Conrad's obituary notes:
Colorful Lives 1970, part 2

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


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.

      These notes were prepared by John Conrad from 1949-73 to be read in condensed form at the picnic itself and for publication with collected photographs in the Puget Sound Mail newspaper, which is now out of print. [See Conrad's biography at this Journal site.] 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.
(Conway-Fir Ferry)
The Conway-Fir ferry, looking west. Arty Hupy photo. Also see Sterling section.

      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 is from the Skagit Valley Genealogical Society Index to Funeral Home Records, a most valuable aid [see web link: for how to obtain it]. 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.

    Any time, any amount, please help build our travel and research fund for what promises to be a very busy 2010, traveling to mine resources from California to Washington and maybe beyond. Depth of research determined by the level of aid from readers. Thank you.
LaConner, the Flats, Pleasant Ridge, Swinomish reservation
      William "Will" Jennings, 88 [died in 1970, born in Skagit county], who served as our president in 1940, had been one of the most faithful members in attendance at annual meets, coming up the last few years from the Masonic home at Zenith. He was the son of Isaac and Margaret Jennings and was born on the old family place in 1881, where his parents settled in 1871 after one year on Whidbey Island, having come west from New Jersey. Mrs. Jennings was the first white woman to live in the flats area north of LaConner. A brother to her grandfather was Sam Crockett, who owned land on Whidbey Island where Fort Casey later stood. Lake Crockett near the ferry dock was named for him.
      Will graduated from LaConner High School in 1899 in a class of only four members, three of whom were members of the O'Loughlin family. He farmed the old home place for many years till his retirement in 1958. His wife, the former Cora Seabury, LaConner school teacher, preceded him in death in 1965. Will was a very active citizen, serving at times as chairman of Skagit Diking and Drainage District #12, president of the school board, two-term president of his high school alumni association, member of Garfield Lodge F.&A.M., where he served as treasurer for 45 consecutive years. He took a deep interest in pioneer and historical records, and had in his possession the old original school records of the old pioneer Calhoun School near his home, later called Jennings School, organized May 1878, operating until about 1925. This well preserved book and other relics were treasured by Will and he planned they should eventually be stored in the museum. The old Jennings farm, until sold several years ago, was one of the three oldest homesteads in continuous family operation and ownership in the county at the time.
      Just five days after Will Jennings's death, his neighbor Arthur Downey died at age 83 in 1970 [born in Washington]. Art was born at the old family home on Swinomish channel in 1886, the son of Peter and Christina Downey. Peter came to what was then Whatcom county in 1874 from Sweden via San Francisco and Seattle, where he heard of LaConner flats. He promptly took up a homestead of 160 acres on what is now the north part of the George Peth farm and in 1880 he married Christina Johanson, also a Swedish immigrant, when both were 32 years old. Pete started working for J.O. Rudene at Pleasant Ridge, who was renting the John Cornelius farm. That same year, Rudene — who was a bachelor [and a fellow Swede], moved to the Puget Mill Co. ranch on Swinomish slough and Pete moved along as a hired man. In 1882, Rudene married the widow of Cornelius and moved back to Pleasant Ridge to also operate her farm. In 1885, Pete and another hired man, Charles Conrad, were given the opportunity to rent the big 400-acre Swinomish Ranch and divided the place, Pete taking over the south half. Around 1900, Pete was able to buy a share in the ranch company, sharing ownership with millionaire Cyrus Walker [of Pope & Talbot and Puget Mill Co.] and Will Walker, who had business holdings in Port Gamble and San Francisco. Pete was acquired other tracts of farm land around the county and retained his home at the old place until his death in 1922. Son Will then took over operation and bought out interests of the Walker brothers. Will died in 1945 and the ranch — then 640 acres, was sold in 1954 to the Borchard family from California and today is owned by an investment company.
      Arthur Downey moved to his longtime farm home on the Best road near McLean road shortly after his father's death and operated the large farm until retiring several years ago to a new home on Dunbar road near Mount Vernon. He was a 1905 graduate of LaConner High School and was a member of the old LaConner town band some 50-60 years ago. He was also a standby baseball player on the old Grovedale ball team; he and Jennings were last living players of the old team.
      Sam Houck, 92 [died in 1969, born in Pennsylvania], LaConner, who died on Dec. 3, 1969, was a veteran boat builder out by the Hole-in-the-Wall [near the southern entrance to the Swinomish slough] for many years, specializing in fishing boats for open waters such as Alaska. From 1907-10 he and Fred Bryn built from two to four boats each winter outside Hole-in-the-Wall on Ika Island. The writer recalls that his father, a Swinomish slough farmer in 1909, the year of Seattle's Alaska-Yukon Expedition, bought a launch made by Fred and Sam and they fitted it with a cabin for pleasure trips around Puget Sound, including that first Seattle fair. It was a very well built boat, as was every boat the two craftsmen constructed. We kept it some ten years. Art Griggs and Sam started a machine shop together in 1911 and ran it for 12 years until Sam went to Seattle. He came back to his beloved Hole-in-the-Wall in 1930. Art Griggs lives now in a rest home in his home town of Everett.
      Miss Nellie Carter, 77, passed on in Seattle last Nov. 19. Nellie was born in LaConner, the daughter of F. Leroy and Georgia Carter. The parents came to LaConner in 1883 when Judge James Power was editor of the Puget Sound Mail and Mr. Carter worked at times helping to get out the paper. Returning to Iowa the same year, the Carters never forgot the LaConner area and its people. In 1887 they returned to LaConner permanently and made a deal to buy the Mail from the owners R.O. Welts and Henry McBride (later governor of Washington state). Carter originally took in June Henderson from Colorado as a partner but he bought her out and remained as publisher for 38 years, retiring in 1925. As town boosters, the Carters plugged for improvements such as a bridge across the channel, pushed for more mills, never gave up on the need for an oatmeal factory, and worked hard for extending the interurban railway to LaConner. Georgia Carter was a social leader in town and her musical talents were a big asset to her church and other town gatherings; her voice was heard at many funerals. Leroy Carter was elected memorialist of the Pioneer Association in 1934 and served 14 years, retiring in 1948 when his daughter Nellie nominated your present memorialist. Nellie assisted him the last few years and she showed much of her parents' talents in her musical career and teaching. She was also a news reporter for various newspapers. Nellie moved to Seattle in 1960 to be near her brother George and family; George died in Sweden in 1968 while touring Europe.
      Cecil Flagg's father, Arthur Flagg, started a drug store in the early days in the thriving [temperance] town of Avon. [Cecil died in 1969 at age 63 and was born in Washington state.] He decided after several years of operation to acquire a arm and moved to the Jennings district on McLean road before Cecil was born in 1906. Cecil's mother was Rose Dunlap Flagg, daughter of the Isaac Dunlaps, pioneers of 1877. They came West by mule-led wagon train first in 1863, but while in Oregon he decided to go to California for a few years. Arriving at LaConner in 1877 they bought the old [Samuel] Calhoun place [which was on the highest spot on the flats west of Pleasant Ridge], across the Sullivan slough from Mike Sullivan's farm. Those two farms were the oldest on Swinomish flats. [Sullivan's Slough empties into the south end of Swinomish slough right near the Skagit Bay].
      The death of [John] Jay Lamphiear, 85 [born in 1969, born in Washington state], reminds us of this familiar LaConner family around the turn of the century. The three brothers — Jay, Warren and Wayne, together with their father, were strong, willing workers on construction projects when modern tools were not available. Many farm structures were built by them, including granaries for farmers' produce, mostly oats. One such granary built by the Lamphiears still stands today on the Ed Good ranch on Dry slough, but it is now more than two miles from any navigable water slough. That slough is dammed off at both ends and the dikes around were leveled off by bulldozer. A son of Warren — Hilton Lamphiear, is a retired federal penitentiary guard living in Falls Church, Virginia. He says he remembers well when that granary was built more than sixty years ago. Cars were still not used much, so workmen usually stayed at the owner's farm during jobs further away. Hilton recalls well staying with dad on that particular job. The granary building is today still sound, showing good, solid material and workmanship, in contrast to today's speeded-up construction.
      The death down in Arcadia, California, of Mrs. Stella Bristow Osberg, 91, brings to mind two old families of early LaConner on both sides of Swinomish slough. she was a daughter of Edward and Sarah Bristow and was born in 1878 while her father was employed as blacksmith at the Tule river Indian reservation in California (below Klamath Falls, Oregon); he was later the head farmer there. After various jobs there he was sent in 1891 to take charge of the Swinomish reservation across Swinomish slough from early day LaConner. The reservation had a larger population at that time, with an Agency Headquarters near where the old bridge landing was later located. A grade school with teachers quarters was located south of the present church and some graduates of the school went on to high school at Chemawa, Oregon, near Salem. The Bristows were furnished a home near the headquarters and were just a few minutes by rowboat from good stores in LaConner. All transactions between natives and white citizens were subject to review by the agent and Bristow found the work quite a responsibility but he loved the post. He bought a two-acre plat in LaConner and a house and lot. Some old timers still around can remember when the retiring agent left the service for good in 1908 and moved to his own home on the side of the hill at the corner of Second and Washington streets east of the new post office. The retired agent, a handy Andy man, unwittingly built a monument for himself when he built a retaining wall of granite blocks to hold up his front yard and the solid job can still be seen intact today. Mr. Bristow was a Civil War veteran, belonged to the G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic] and he and his family were devout Methodists.
      Stella married Emil Osberg, a native of Swinomish flats. His parents, the Andrew Osbergs, live two miles north on Swinomish slough and their place is now called the Gardner farm, succeeding Gaches farm. The Osbergs were very progressive farm folks, developed their farm to a high state of cultivation, and the fine home they built around the turn of the century is still in use. The Osbergs sold their farm some 65 years ago for the highest price to that date in the history of Skagit county. The buyers were the Hulbert family from Iowa and Mrs. [no first name given] Gaches was a daughter. The Osbergs moved on to Seattle and Los Angeles; the last member of the family of five children died just a few years ago. One daughter; Evelyn Conway , was a real estate dealer in Mount Vernon with her husband and they promoted Conway's Addition in north Mount Vernon, north of Division. That block of buildings was then called the Pay Streak block, now the parking area near the Carnation plant and was named for the amusement street at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in Seattle in 1909. The Conways moved on to Coos Bay, Oregon, then to Los Angeles where both were going strong in business in their 80s. Evelyn had a love in her heart for the old Osberg home on the slough, and a photo of the lovely panoramic view of the LaConner flats, which was taken from Reservation hill hung in her realty office in Los Angeles. It showed the old Osberg home in the forefront, Mount Baker in the distance, and the timber line reaching down to the Jennings place where the old saltwater marshland extended inland. Emil's brother Alfred lost an arm in his youth but learned to be a first class farm-machinery assembler with the big Polson Implement Co. in Seattle after starting with them in LaConner. Their sister Minnie was a leading instructor of voice in Seattle most of her life, while sister Rose was a teacher in Honolulu for many years. Emil Osberg was an electrician and ran the light plant in LaConner for years when steam was the motive power, a byproduct from the local sawmill. Emil and Stella moved to Los Angeles and later retired to the foothill city of Arcadia. This family was no relation to the Shelter Bay Osbergs.
      Leo Richardson, 66, although spending much of his later years in Texas government service, often timed his vacations to coincide with our annual Pioneer Picnics. Last year he came up from Forth Worth just before his retirement. His parents were Robert and Minnie Richardson of LaConner, who owned a farm just north of present the LaConner Marina. [That land is now] partly owned by the Port of Skagit County, with an old house still on place. The Richardsons lived in a home at the corner of North Third and Center street, where Bob, father of Leo, operated an early day livery stable and also farmed his land nearby. The home was later occupied for many years by Kenneth and Margaret Leamer, who was Bob's daughter. It is now the home of Phil Bell. A sidewalk still remains that led out to the old livery stable, now torn down. Bob died in 1937 and Minnie died in 1942. She was the daughter of William Siegfried, early day settlers and relatives of Mrs. Louisa A. Conner.
      Chester Nelson, 83 [died in 1970, born in Skagit county], missed attending our annual gathering last year due to illness. At the previous meeting in 1968, he was elected vice president of the organization and he was due to be named in 1969 to the presidency but felt unable to accept the honor. Chet regretted passing up the office as his family had been so recognized before, his father, Charles A. Nelson, serving in 1928 and his wife, Inda Nelson, serving as the only woman president of the organization in 1943, she is today a patient in a Mount Vernon convalescent home. Chet's father, Charles Nelson, was born in Sweden and at the age of 9 he came to America with his widowed mother and her four other children. After 13 years in Iowa they came west to Pleasant Ridge in 1882, and young Charles still assumed responsibility for his mother and family and took up farming. Charles was one of the most level headed and practical men to live in Skagit county and his advice and judgement was sought by scores of his friends. As road supervisor in olden days, laying out and grading pioneer roads with a minimum of engineering but with a maximum of value, all was taken for granted under his supervision. When the Skagit river threatened soggy dikes in flood stages, if Charley Nelson was out with his sand bag patrol, the situation could be considered under control. His presence on a committee was an assurance of getting action; for example, he spearheaded the drive for the erection of our Pioneer Monument in January 1936 after the drive had dragged on for 11 years. By May the $2,500 cost had been raised. Dedication was held at the "Y" in LaConner on Pioneer Picnic Day of Aug. 6, 1936, with Ina Nelson as chairman of the dedication committee. Charley served on various school boards, was life member of Rexville Grange, life member of Garfield Lodge #41, and was one of the original commissioners of Skagit Public Utility District until his death in 1948. Chet was also a successful farmer and was an original commissioner of Pleasant Ridge Cemetery District until this year.
      Another name in Swinomish flats history is brought to mine by the death of Hazel Jenne McGehee, 75. She was the last living child of a family of six of Fred and Mary Jenne. Fred and Mary came from Germany in 1876 and settled on Whidbey island and in 1884 came on to the vicinity of Whitney and located on 180 acres of raw land just one mile south of the old Whitney Station corner on the LaConner road. Father Fred, while a comparatively young man of 48, died in 1902 while working in his home garden. Hazel's cousin Frank Jenne, a Coupeville native who is now deceased, made quite a name as a teacher and banker in Mount Vernon. He was Speaker of the Day at our 1953 Pioneer meeting and recalled his enjoyable early day trips to LaConner on the steamer Fairhaven and was so thrilled at riding over the gravel roads on the flats to a fine welcome at the Fred Jenne home at Whitney. [Ed. note: another member of the Jenne family, William Jenne, was the father of the first triplets in Skagit county in 1892 when he and his wife lived in LaConner. Four years later they moved to Lulu Island at the mouth of the Fraser river in British Columbia. The only triplet to later live in Skagit county was Leephe, who married H.A. Nelson and lived in Mount Vernon as late as 1942.]
      Missing from our picnic today for the first time in many years is Charles Wolf, 79 [died in 1969, born in South Dakota], who passed on just six weeks after last year's meet. He was son of George and Mary Wolf who came from South Dakota when Charlie was a young boy and settled in the Harmony district [southwest of Mount Vernon near the dike]. His mother was a daughter of Ingval and Mary Fredlund who also moved here in 1890; all their eight children eventually located in Skagit county, some with families. The Fredlunds had been successful dairy farmers in the Midwest, liked our valley and soon acquired a dairy farm here. One son, Jules Fredlund, uncle of Charles, was educated at the University of Wisconsin in dairy science, then operated a creamery back in that state until 1903, when he sold out and came West to organize the Mount Vernon Creamery Co., with E.S. Phipps as president and Robert Fredlund, brother of Jules, as vice president. Jules was manager and secretary for the many years of its successful operation. [According to the book, Skagit Settlers, George Wolf built a small building at Harmony in 1910 for an English language Methodist Sunday School.]
      Mrs. Naomi Denton, Bremerton, was a granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Valentine. Sam Valentine came to LaConner in 1882, settling on Pleasant Ridge, and he worked as a tinsmith for the old Polson Hardware for many years. Her grandmother [Sam's wife], was born Martha Grant in Indiana, and her father was a cousin of General [and later President] U.S. Grant.

Anacortes, Fidalgo Island, March's Point, Whitney areas
(Sailing Ship at Anacortes)
This photo from the Sabella collection shows a sailing ship docked at an early Anacortes port, waiting for codfish to be transferred to a cannery. We are looking for a good, footnoted research-paper into the fisheries and canneries of those early days, or excerpts from an applicable doctoral or master's thesis.

      The death of Nora Hastie, 92 [died in 1969, born in Texas], in Anacortes brings to mind two old pioneer families of early day Skagit county. She was born Nora Grace See in Waco, Texas, in 1877, daughter of John and Nellie Grace See. The father served four years as a captain of a Missouri cavalry company in the Civil War. His civilian trade was brick making and building. He was very civic minded, eventually becoming county commissioner of McClellan county and was also Grand Master of the Texas state I.O.O.F. In 1888 the family, with three children, moved to Tacoma, where the excitement of "railroad boom" was on and Anacortes was contesting Tacoma for the terminal site of the new rail line. Capt. See proceeded on to Anacortes where he resumed his occupation of brickwork. Only one old brick building there today still survives in use — the new Wilson hotel, now called the Cove Hotel. Other large jobs were the junior high school and the old Anacortes Hotel, which stood empty for so many years. Mrs. See and children followed him to Anacortes in 1889 and they lived in a large tent for some time due to shortage of homes, his brick plant was located below 35th street near the present veneer plant [Ed. note: where would that have been?]. The energetic army veteran organized a G.A.R. branch in Anacortes, became state commander, delegate to numerous conventions as far away as Chicago. Also, in civic affairs he served as mayor, city councilman and as state legislator. After his wife's death he received an appointment as head of the Old Soldier's State Home at Retsil. [See the extended notes for more details about Nora See and the family of Thomas P. Hastie, who crossed the plains by covered wagon in 1850, before Washington territory was split off from Oregon territory. That section is being totally updted this year.]
      Curtis Wilbur Allen [see 2006 correction below], 75 [died 1969], who died at Sedro-Woolley, was a son of Charles and Ellen Allen. The father came to Edison in 1880, then to Bay View and in 1893 he moved his family to north Swinomish slough to operate the county ferry there, which was pulled across by hand-pulled power cable. Charlie stayed with the county job, which paid $40 per month, and in turn he stayed on to operate the three succeeding bridges built there. The first bridge was wooden, of lighter construction, and the writer recalls that it had quite a tall overstructure and was destroyed by a high wind some 65 years ago. Then a lighter steel bridge [was constructed] and as heavier vehicles came into use the present Washington State Highway bridge was built; Charlie was its first operator. After 47 years of faithful duty in charge of traveler crossings over the busy saltwater channel, Charlie ironically met his death on this present bridge in 1940. He was returning from his home for duty and as he crossed the roadway in the center of the bridge to climb up steel stairs he was struck by a hit-and-run driver and instantly killed. The driver of the car was never found.
      The Allens lived a short walking distance east from the Swinomish Channel crossing and bridge and raised a large family of 11 children, including our subject Curtis, who was born there in the humble roadside home. They were highly respected by the neighborhood. Charles was an old member of the Anacortes Masonic Lodge. This writer humbly suggests to the highway department that the new bridge now already under construction, with piers for an overhead crossing of eventual six lanes, should most fittingly be named "Charles S. Allen Bridge" in honor of this faithful 81-year-old bridge tender who devoted 47 years of his life to the water crossing and eventually lost his life in the last performance of his duty on it.
      We received a most interesting and poignant correction from a reader in February 2006. Lisa Colburn explained:

      I read with interest the obituary of my Grandfather Curtis Allan on your website "John Conrad's obituary notes: Colorful Lives 1970, part 2" I would like you to please make note of the proper spelling of his last name as it was a matter of pride and some consternation to him and our family when people got it wrong. One of his son's did in fact change the spelling during WWII when the army refused to acknowledge that it could be spelled any differently than Allen and my Grandfather was not pleased.
      I also note that Mr. Conrad made mention that the "hit and run" driver that killed my Great-Grandfather Charles was not found. As is the case with history, many things get uncovered with time. The drivers name was revealed to my mother after that person had died. She was a woman with two children who certainly would have gone to prison. She was driving drunk. I don't know how many people knew at the time or if my grandparents knew and kept it quiet, I'm not sure but the woman certainly was known to our family.

      A husband and wife both passed within eight days of each other [in 1970], George McClelland Benjamin [born in Minnesota], 83, and wife Jessie Belle Benjamin, 79 [born in Pennsylvania, both of Summit Park. Both were 50-year members of Summit Park Grange and also of the Summit Park Union Church. George was evidently named after the famous Civil War General George McClelland, who died in 1885, same year that George Benjamin was born. [Ed. note: although the year coincidence is interesting, if George's middle name was McClelland, that is different from General McClellan's spelling, so maybe McClelland was a family name.]
      Brief notes:. Over in Anacortes, Mrs. Adelaide Van Buren, 90 [died in 1970, born in Minnesota], was the widow of an old time first district county commissioner, Edgar Van Buren, who died in 1949. Mrs. Margaret Burford, 76 [died in 1969, born in Washington state], was daughter of a longtime county officer, William Whitney, who served for many years in the 1920s and 30s as Treasurer and Assessor.

Burlington, Bay View, Padilla and northwest Skagit county
      Two sisters from an old time family, the Woodburns, are listed among our departed — Mrs. Elsie German, 71[died in 1969, born in Skagit county], Anacortes, and Mrs. Ida Rodgers, 79, Sumas. Both were daughters of William and Christina Woodburn, who came to Skagit county in 1884; the father came first with a brother, Robert Woodburn. They were both born in Ireland, of Scottish parents, William and Mary Montgomery Woodburn. The family emigrated from Ireland to Canada in about 1879 and the father and his two sons followed the woods near Lake Huron for the next few years and also ran a lumber business there. The sons came out West in 1884 and the father stayed behind, later moving to New York state. Robert and William first came to Padilla area near Bay View. Robert's first job in Skagit county was as a farm hand for R.E. Whitney, a big part of the work being dike construction and maintenance along Padilla Bay with its relentless tides of salt water. [See the extended notes #6 for more details about the Woodburn family and the families of three cousins who dammed and diked and drained the area around Whitney — R.E. Whitney, A.G. Tillinghast and E.A. Sisson.]
      Sverre Omdahl, [died in 1970 at age 61, born in Skagit county] of Allen died on New Year's Day. Sverre was a son of Nels Omdahl, one of the early Scandinavian settlers on the Skagit river delta. Sverre was educated to be a school teacher and taught at Sedro-Woolley, but his first loves were politics and farming. He was a Washington state representative from this district. Later, under Governor Langlie, he served as Washington Director of Agriculture. In 1949 he was Speaker of the Day at our Pioneer Association meeting here. He was still interested in farming and took an active part in his Allen farm operations.
      Second oldest in age on our Memorial list is Joseph P. McKay, 97 [died in 1970, born in Canada], of Burlington. Joe came to Burlington in 1902 to establish a shingle mill, then later started the McKay Furniture Co., a leading furnishing house of the Burlington-Edison area for so many years. He was a very active man, loved to walk down to his store. Even in his advanced years and retirement he could be seen downtown, stirring about, a few months before his passing.
      An early day lumber mill in the Fredonia area is brought to mind in the death of Mrs. Frankie McCay [died in 1969 at age 68, born in Skagit county] of Burlington. She was the daughter of Walter and Georgia Gorton, who lived on the southern edge of Bay View Hill near their pioneer mill, which adjoined the railroad at a stop called Fox's Spur in earlier days and where Jessup's general merchandise store made the place a trading stop. Much good timber was available on the hill and new settler farmers were all good customers for lumber.
      Mrs. Delia Erickson, 75 [died in 1970, born in Washington], Burlington, was daughter of another early day Burlington family, Altamont and Isabelle Rowley. The Rowleys were cousins of the Gorton family above, coming to Burlington from Iowa before railroads came through [the county]. In 1891, Alt Rowley operated his hotel on Fairhaven Avenue, the Rowley House, and showed faith in the brand new town by erecting nearby a new two-story building to be used as a billiard parlor. He exemplified the grit of so many old timers. He lost an entire leg as a young man, but determined to make his own way, adding various other jobs. In summers he fished on Swinomish slough near LaConner and raised a large family despite his handicap.
      Ralph Conn, 74, passed on in a veterans hospital in Oregon, having served in the U.S. Navy during World War I on a mine-layer ship, one of nine that helped bottle up the German fleet in the North Sea, one of the most dangerous pieces of work in that war [Conrad was also a veteran of that war]. Ralph was born on Samish flats near Edison. His father, Fletcher W. Conn, one of a family of 11 children, homesteaded there in 1876, farmed for many years, raised a family of 12 children and once served as Skagit County Commissioner in 1891-92. Ralph's mother, Ida Conn, was a daughter of the old Frank Gilkey family. There were nine boys in the large Conn family and one of the highlights at family picnics was a baseball game with one team fielded by the Conn brothers. One such game was in June 1924 at Birch Bay and Ida was photographed proudly with her sons. One boy, C.R. "Tip" Conn, served as Skagit county Sheriff in the 1920s and '30s.
      Mrs. Clara Stowe [died in 1970 at 70, born in Skagit county] of Burlington was the daughter of John X. and Amanda Johnson of the Harmony district southwest of Mount Vernon. The Johnson farm was located a mile south of the old Harmony School corner. Clara was born there just 12 days before the turn of the new century on Dec. 20, 1899. Harmony was an uninviting area full of stumps and logging debris but the good soil was encouraging to the ambitious settlers. The Johnsons gradually cleared the land and made it more productive every year, a demonstration of what old timers could accomplish by thrift and industry when offered an opportunity in this new land.
      Victor Cressey, 86 [died in 1969, born in Pennsylvania], of Burlington, was a son of William Henry Harrison Cressey and his wife, Rachel. His father was a Civil War veteran from Pennsylvania and his mother was a member of the prominent Walton family, one of whom was the Speaker of the House of the Pennsylvania state legislature. Victor came to Skagit county as a child with his parents in 1889. They arrived in Anacortes by boat from Seattle; future Superior Court Judge George Joiner came on the same boat. The father's first job was unloading railroad steel for the Anacortes-Burlington [Seattle and Northern railroad] line just then being built. At its completion, the Cresseys moved via the railroad to Burlington where they bought the farm they occupied for so many years. William Cressey helped clear the townsite and also helped promote and build the beautiful Burlington Park.
      Miss Alice Peacock, 80, of Burlington, was another old timer of the railroad town. She came as a small child with her parents about the time [in 1889-90] of the completion of the rail lines that crossed in that central village of Skagit county. She taught school for 41 years — much of that time in Seattle schools, but maintained her home at Burlington. The road to the old home east of town is today known as Peacock Lane.
      James Bridgeman, 75 [died in 1969, born in Skagit county], was son of George and Sarah Bridgeman, old landmarks of Burlington, who arrived in the little logging and shingle mill town before the [Seattle & Northern] railroad came in 1890. The crossroads created [by the north-south Great Northern tracks in 1891] was a natural location for a trading center and a post office and more mills and stores soon followed. The Bridgemans farmed northeast of town and when the new Interurban [electrified railway] was built [in 1912] to Sedro-Woolley, the Bridgeman road [now Peacock Lane had one more railroad crossing. George failed one day to hear the approaching electric train and lost his life in the horse and buggy crash. Sarah, 96, died four years ago.
      The Ovenell family again has a place on our memorial in the passing of Bertha Kuhl, 78 [died in 1969, born in Washington state], Bay View, her brother James was on last year's roll. Their father, Nels Ovenell, was born on Whidbey Island of pioneer parents in 1861. The grandparents came from the East Coast by boat, the grandmother coming around Cape Horn in 1853 when only 15 years old. Her trip from Connecticut to Whidbey took six months and ten days.
      Brief notes. Charles Gilkey, 85, Seattle, was a son of Mr. and Mrs. William Gilkey. The father was a partner in the Gilkey and Parker Logging Co., which operated a logging camp with oxen at Allen, dumping logs there into the Samish river in the 1880s. Mrs. Barbara Knutzen, 82, former Burlington resident, died on Aug. 1, 1969. She the widow of Ed Knutzen, a member of the old J.H. Knutzen family who came to Skagit county in 1891 when Ed was nine years old. A nephew of the Knutzens on our roll was Ralph Knutzen [died in 1970, born in Skagit county] in Olympia, son of Ed's brother George.
      Miss Nadine Risbell, a retired teacher, died in Seattle. Her father, Al Risbell, is well remembered as a former Skagit county sheriff from more than 60 years ago. Her mother was Mrs. Louise McKenna Risbell, a daughter of early day Bay View settlers, Mrs. and Mrs. William Mckenna. As a young man, William was in the mercantile business in California and in 1874 was elected Humboldt County Clerk and Auditor. In 1880 he was drawn up here by the Ruby Creek gold strike and opened the second store in Mount Vernon. He then moved to Bay View, opened a store and later became postmaster. In 1884-86 he was elected to two terms as county assessor. Mrs. Risbell later became Mrs. Sam Ball.

Return to Part One.

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