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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition
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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Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties,
Chapter 1: Period of settlement
From Part II, Skagit County Section

(LaConner waterfront)
      This undated drawing of the LaConner waterfront from the Skagit County Historical Society Museum in LaConner shows a view looking east-northeast across the Swinomish flats, the first area on the future mainland Skagit county to be settled.
      We who research the history of Skagit county and the Pacific Northwest are most fortunate to have the 1906 Illustrated History book, as a source book. It was published by the Interstate Company of Chicago, which produced similar books for counties all over the country. The back half included biographies which were paid for by pioneer families, which underwrote the costs of production. The front half, however, was written by journalists who were familiar with the area and went into the field to interview living pioneers and research the surviving copies of frontier newspapers. In this case, one of the writers was the young Harry Averill, who wrote for local papers and, after a stint in California, came home to edit the Mount Vernon Herald. We have surveyed subscribers to determine what they most want to read and many requested transcripts from this book, which is very rare and difficult to access outside of libraries and collections.

Transcribed from Illustrated History, 1906 — fully annotated with linked Journal endnotes

      We are grateful to the Skagit Valley Genealogical Society, a fine organization that incurred great expense to reproduce this book in a limited edition, a copy of which is available for reading in almost every library in the county. This is the first of several chapters that we have transcribed by hand and share first with our subscribers in gratitude for your support.
      Part one includes: Memories of early settlers; Earliest Fidalgo Island settlers; Ship Harbor attracts Governor Stevens and family; Anna Curtis Bowman buys future-Anacortes site; Guemes Island and copper discovery; early exploration of Skagit mainland, 1855; First permanent settlers on mainland of future Skagit county; The Swinomish Indians and reservation; Michael Sullivan and Sam Calhoun; Swinomish/LaConner settlement.
      Part two includes: Birdsview: von Pressentin, Minkler and Kemmerich, and early upriver settlers; Future Sedro and other early upriver settlers; Courts of Whatcom county (pre-Skagit county); Northern Pacific relinquishes government land; Sternwheelers and early landings.

      The first dawn of settlement on the shores of Puget sound has already had brief description in these pages — the agricultural operations of the Hudson's Bay Company, the coming of Michael T. Simmons, the founding of Olympia, Steilacoom, Seattle, Port Townsend and Bellingham, the settlement on Whidby island. Forces at work to produce the complete Americanization and subjugation of the sound were, we have seen, first retarded and then promoted in their operation by the discovery of gold in California in 1848. Ten years later they were given fresh impetus by the discovery of gold on Fraser river, and in 1861 they were again retarded by the outbreak of the Civil War.
      It was after the Fraser river excitement began its influence and before the inception of fratricidal strife that the first permanent settler commenced the task of home-building in what is now the county of Skagit. In a land where the sound of the locomotive's whistle had never yet been heard, where roads of any kind were not in existence and where waterways were practically the only means of travel, it is not surprising that an island should be chosen as the site of this early settlement. Furthermore, on Fidalgo was one very potent attraction to those who would follow husbandry in a densely timbered country. At the head of Fidalgo bay was a fern-covered prairie of considerable area, a prairie which it is said had been a favorite camping-ground with the Indian tribes for unknown ages. It had early attracted the attention of roving white men from San Juan county and other settlements on the sound.

Charles W. Beales's memories
      Charles W. Beale tells us that in the winter of 1858-59, he, with Horace Martin and William McFarland, hunted all over Guemes island, where were abundance of deer and other game, as well as thousands of wolves, and that in the spring of 1859, he, together with his cousin, Robert Beale, Charles Pearson, John Hughes, ___ Brown, and Lieutenant Robert H. Davis nephew of the celebrated president of the Southern Confederacy), visited this fern prairie on a hunting expedition.
      Pleased with its appearance, they decided to establish permanent headquarters there. Lieutenant Davis squatted on what is now the Munks place; Charles W. Beale took land adjoining him on the north and all united in the task of erecting a cabin on the imaginary boundary line between the two claims, which cabin was occupied by all for a time. Soon, however, a relative of Davis came from the South and took the dissolute young lieutenant home. Davis gave up his wild ways, reentered the army and in the Civil War won distinction for bravery and efficiency as a soldier in the Southern cause. His place was taken by William Bonner, of Utsalady, who sold his rights in December 1859 to William Munks, the consideration being sixty dollars and a silver watch.
      Mr. Munks's residence on the island continued until his death [in 1898], although he was absent considerable during the early years, working wherever he could find employment. It is said that Mr. Munks always claimed to he the first permanent settler and that he was very proud of the title, sometimes applied to him, of "King of Fidalgo Island." His claim as to priority of settlement is, however, disputed.
      Late in 1859 a man named Josiah Larry [actually Leary] came to the island and squatted on the place afterward known as the Compton farm. Having put up a cabin of shakes, he departed, expecting to return. In the meantime, however, Enoch Compton arrived and thinking that [Leary] had abandoned his claim took the place and established a permanent residence upon it. [Leary] returned two or three years later, found his place occupied and quietly retired, settling some time afterward on the mainland at the mouth of what is still known as Joe [Leary's] slough, which forms the southern boundary of the Samish flats.
      Mr. Beale states that Munks and Compton came together to the island and that the schooner General Harney brought their cattle from Whatcom. Mr. Compton has always claimed that he settled on Fidalgo island at a much earlier date than 1859, but that circumstances prevented his first settlement from proving permanent. He says that, in 1853, he and one John Carr (or Carey) located on what was later the home of the Munks family; that they built a cabin in a grove and occupied it together, one claiming the land to the north of the cabin, the other that to the south. Mr. Compton raised a crop of potatoes on his land, then he and Mr. Carr went to Whatcom to work and Carr died there.
      The disaffection of the Indians at this time, which finally crystallized into the war of 1855-56, made it unsafe for whites to dwell upon Fidalgo island, so Mr. Compton did not return as he had intended, but remained near Whatcom until the outbreak of hostilities, when he volunteered for service against the Indians. He was one of the men who were engaged in the boundary survey and it is said that he met Mr. Munks while on that work.
      But to return to Charles W. Beale. It will be remembered that he took, in the spring of 1859, a claim adjoining that which eventually became the Munks place. He states that he remained with his claim until 1863, then placed it in charge of his cousin, Robert, and went north. Returning after a stay of five years in the British possessions, he found that Robert Beale had become hard pressed for funds and had sold the place to George Cagey for seventy-five dollars. The subsequent history of Robert Beale may be summarized as follows: after disposing of his cousin's rights, he purchased from a man named Joseph Little, for the paltry consideration of five dressed deer skins worth about two dollars and a half each, a squatter's title to another tract of land, and held it until 1869. He then sold to Robert Becker for six hundred dollars and went to California for his health. Returning later to Puget sound, he was killed in combat with a huge bear, which succumbed to the wounds inflicted by his knife.
      Charles W. Beale located across the bay from the main settlement, and the land which he then took is still occupied by him. He is authority for the statement that in 1868, the smoke from great forest fires throughout the country became so dense that navigators could not see a boat length ahead, and that birds, suffocated by the thick, black smoke-clouds of the upper air, frequently fell onto the decks of vessels and into the water, dead. From July 16th to September 3d, there was not a drop of rain, and then came another dry spell lasting till October 22d. Crops did not ripen that year because of excessive smoke in the atmosphere. The summers during those early years were usually characterized by dense smoke, but as civilization has advanced on the sound more and more care has been taken to prevent great fires in the forest, and now the smoke seldom becomes thick enough, even during the driest summers, to cause serious inconvenience.

Earliest Fidalgo Island settlers
      To make a complete roll of the early settlers of Fidalgo, Guemes and the other islands of Skagit county would be next to impossible, but among the earliest were William Munks, Enoch Compton, Charles W. and Robert K. Beale, of whom mention has already been made; H.A. March, credited with arrival in 1863; James Cavanaugh, Shadrach and Richard Wooten, H. C. Barkhousen, George Ensley and George Cagey, all coming between that year and 1867. At that time James Matthews and H.P. O'Bryant were living on Guemes island, opposite the site of Anacortes.
      A little later, perhaps about 1869, came William Allard, who settled near the Wooten brothers just south of the present Anacortes; Eldridge Sibley, on the site of the Nelson school, Samuel McCarty and James Lathrow. One arrival of the later sixties was John T. Griffin, who settled at the head of the bay. His wife, Mrs. Almina Richards Griffin, has the distinction of being the first white woman to locate on Fidalgo island. According to Carrie M. White, she "was a bright, enterprising woman of marked character and was born and educated in New England."
      "Leaving all her relations," continues Miss White, "she started from Boston for California during the gold excitement in that state. On the ship in which she rounded the Horn she met in its first mate her future husband. Mr. John Griffin. After life on California gold-fields Mr. Griffin came in 1864 to Whatcom, where his wife followed him in about two months, to take charge of the district school which had been presided over by Mr. Edward Eldridge. Mrs. Griffin was the first woman to teach in Whatcom county and had charge of this school for about two years. When she came to Fidalgo, the men welcomed her as the first white woman on this island by making a 'bee' and clearing some land for her and hers." It must not be supposed that the men who preceded the Griffin family to the island were all celibates. On the contrary, most of them were married, but to Indian women. The scarcity of white women on Puget sound during the early days resulted in many alliances of white men with the dusky aboriginal maidens.
      Other arrivals of the late sixties or early seventies were William Deutsch, Henry Havekost, William Gray, Oliver Lynch, Henry L. Seebert, Walker, Orlando Graham, who took a claim on the north end of the island near Ship Harbor in 1873, William R. Griffin, Dr. W.Y. Deere, G. W. Crandall, S.B. and C. Best, Captain George B. Hill, Hazard Stevens, son of Washington's first territorial governor], William H. Woodard, Henry J. White, George H. Thomas, John Langley, Thomas Sharp [actually Sharpe], Mathias Anstinsen, Frank Thorp. John Schultz, Albert L. and Frank Graham, Marcus Christianson, J. C. Glover, and no doubt others. Some of these, especially Hazard Stevens, Captain Hill and William R. Griffin, were attracted to the island by its prospect of being the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
      Miss White states that when she arrived in November, 1873, she found only eight white women, namely, Mesdames H. A. March, G. N. Crandall, Robert Becker, S.B. Best, A.R. Griffin, Jennie Howard, Oliver Lynch and Ada Lynch Church. The settlers of this period on the east side of Guemes island whose names can be recalled were Edward and Horace J. Ames, William Hill, William Brunton and Amos Johnson. Mrs. Willfong became the island's pioneer white woman about 1872.

(Fidalgo Bay Road)
Before the road was widened, paved, and named Marine Drive, it was called Fidalgo Bay Rd. Here you can see the close proximity of the road to the water. Chris Anderson writes, "At times when the road would wash out, drivers would have to go around, out through Lake Campbell to Sharpe's Corner to get in and out of town. When the new highway went in about 1960, it was built about 100 feet above this road. The Anacortes High School band played at the highway dedication, first at Sharpe's Corner and then bused back into town to play there." Photo courtesy of Claudia Lowman.

William Munks a leader in the area
      The occupation of these early pioneers was farming mostly. From a diary kept by William Munks, to which the compiler was kindly given access, it appears that in the summer of 1863 he raised oats, corn and wheat, as well as onions, potatoes and other vegetables, also that he made considerable butter and set out apple, cherry and other fruit trees. Mr. Munks also notes having assisted some of his neighbors in getting ready to raise crops.
      Even before the dawn of the year 1870, some farm machinery was in use on Fidalgo island, though it was probably of a primitive kind. Mr. Munks had a mowing machine in the spring of 1869 and on the 8th of September following he bought a thresher — a very small, one horse-power concern. In the year 1870, Mr. Munks entered in his diary this item:
      "August 29 — Bought stuff at Whatcom." The significance of the entry is not very clear, but it is the opinion of some that the "stuff" purchased was stock for the establishment of the first store on the island. .At any rate Mr. Munks did have a store about this time in a board house, situated at the lower edge of his place. He is likewise to be credited with having served as Fidalgo island's first postmaster. His appointment was received January 21, 1871: he gave bonds the 8th of the ensuing February and was handed the mail key April 5th. The first mail was brought to the island by the steamer Mary Woodruff, which is thought to have made her first trip February 25, 1868. .Another steamer which visited Fidalgo bay at regular intervals was the Ruby.
      Progress on Fidalgo island during the early seventies appears to have been quite rapid. Its lands were surveyed about 1871, giving the old pioneers who had long held their property by squatter's right a chance to secure a more satisfactory title, and encouraging others to come. Long before this, the agricultural possibilities of these lands had been fully demonstrated. Excellent crops of grain, hay and potatoes were being raised annually and orchards were in full bearing. It is claimed that at the territorial fairs, exhibitions from the island carried off more premiums than those from any other portion of the territory.
      Practically all the government land was taken by 1873, the inhabitants were enjoying semi-weekly communication by steamer with the outside world, while in their own settlement they had two stores, two blacksmith shops, a wheelwright's shop, a post office and a good public school.

Ship Harbor attracts Governor Stevens and family
      At a very early date certain facts and considerations which have exerted a powerful influence in the later history of the island began to make them selves felt. The superior excellence of Ship harbor had been known perhaps even before the United States vessel, Massachusetts, began making it her headquarters — a circumstance which is said to have given it its name. It did not escape the notice of the able and energetic Governor Isaac I. Stevens, who had been a staunch advocate of the northern route for the proposed railroad to the Pacific. In the interest of this great enterprise he examined carefully all the harbors of the sound and despatched numerous exploring expeditions to the various passes through the-mountains, "going over the whole ground with a zeal and thoroughness, a degree of enthusiasm and pride in the performance of his great work which for all time have marked Stevens the first hero of the territory." The result of this investigation was the choice by Stevens of Fidalgo island as the proper terminus and Ward's pass, at the head of the south fork of the Skagit river, as the most desirable gateway to the Pacific.

Anna Curtis Bowman buys future-Anacortes site
      The railway company did adopt that route (as may be learned from the records of the interior department) and adhered thereto until financial difficulties in the early seventies all but ruined it, compelling concessions to the Oregon congressmen in order to save its land grant. Quite extensive land holdings along the shore of Ship harbor were secured by Hazard Stevens, son of the governor, as attorney for interests in close touch with the railway company, and the Anacortes farm was secured for his mother, the governor's widow. It remained the property of the Stevens family until 1877, when the clouds became so thick over the Northern Pacific Railway project that it seemed the road would never be completed: then it was sold to Mrs. .Anna (Curtis) Bowman, "the lady of Ship harbor," who was the first white woman to settle permanently on that part of the island. She built a wharf and store on her newly acquired property. In 1879, through the influence of Frances Fuller Victor, a post office was established there to which the maiden name of Mrs. Bowman, slightly corrupted in the interest of euphony, was applied, and thus the city of Anacortes had its inception.

Guemes Island and copper discovery
      The settlement of Guemes island, just across the channel from the north end of Fidalgo, began a little later than that of its larger neighbor. About 1866, Humphrey P. O'Bryant located on the island, purchasing his claim for forty dollars of a French trapper, who, it is supposed, was the first settler. James Matthews, owner of the adjoining claim, was the only other white man there at the time. About 1871 came John J. Edens, a farmer and logger, Amos Johnson and John and Solomon Schriver, in 1872 and 1873, and later Ames, Hill and Brunton before mentioned.
      In 1876 a copper prospect was discovered, which gave quite an impetus to Guemes island, causing the eyes of the surrounding settlements to turn in that direction. In the winter of 1877, six experienced quartz miners worked on it for a time, and it is said that specimens of the ore taken to Portland by a mining man named C.L. Walters gave forty-five dollars in copper, eleven dollars in gold and nine dollars in silver. On O'Bryant's claim, opposite Anacortes, between two hundred and two hundred and fifty feet of tunnel were driven, but the mines never did become producers; nevertheless, the effect on the settlement of this island was felt.
      In 1878, there were more than thirty people on its thirty square miles of territory, most of them in comfortable homes. They had a precinct organization, and connection with the outer world once a week by the staunch little mail steamer Despatch. In 1889, twenty-eight votes were cast in Guemes precinct, twenty-two of which were Republican, the remainder Democratic.
      One of the settlers who came to Guemes island about 1878 was not of the industrious and desirable type, to which practically all the others belonged. He may have been industrious enough, but in a bad cause. This was Larry Kelly, "King of Smug glers." one of the most notorious characters that ever lived on Puget sound, the principal in many a thrilling adventure, many a battle of wits with custom-house officers. He lived for years in a little cabin on the southwest corner of the island, plying his nefarious vocation. He is now in the toils, having been arrested recently in Seattle for smuggling.

(Splash logging)
      John G. Kamb Jr. found this terrific photo of unknown vintage that shows how loggers in the earliest days of settlement of the river valleys used the splash method to float logs down canals to the river.

Early exploration of Skagit mainland, 1855
      Although the beginning of permanent settlement on the mainland was not till after the first pioneers had established themselves on Fidalgo island, the magnificent valley of the Skagit did not escape notice entirely, while the country to the north and the south was settling up. Indeed there is very good authority for the statement that an at-tempt was made to appropriate a portion of it as early as 1855. The would-be settlers were a party from Island county, consisting of Winfield Ebey, a brother of the well-known Colonel Isaac N. Ebey, George Beam and wife, Walter Crockett and Mrs. Mary Wright, a sister of Colonel Ebey, who afterward became Mrs. Urban Bozarth. All were newcomers to the sound except Crockett.
      They were looking for a suitable location to run cattle and horses and thought they had found such a place on the north fork just above the spot where the bridge now spans that stream. Thomas P. Hastie, who was well acquainted with them on Whidby island, says the site of their settlement is known beyond dispute, as a large cedar tree, which is still standing, at one time bore the names or initials of the party. Claims were staked out and preparations begun for the erection of cabins. There is no doubt of the intention of these people to form a permanent settlement, but the execution of their designs was cut short by the Indian difficulties which culminated in the war of 1855-56. The ladies returned to Coupeville in haste after only one night's stay in the valley, being thoroughly frightened by the unfriendly demonstrations of the Indians.
      No doubt the Skagit river received many visits from prospectors during the Fraser river excite-ment. In an old copy of the Northern Light [from Whatcom] we find the following notice of one of these gold-hunting expeditions. The date of the paper is July 17, 1858:

      Major J.J. Van Bokkelen, who called upon us Wednesday, informs us that the day before he left Port Townsend, A.S. Buffington, J.K. Tukey and others, old settlers of this territory, returned from the valley of Skagit river. They stated that in the first twelve miles of the river they met with obstructions consisting of three rafts, after passing which they prospected the bars, and invariably found gold. When the party reached the forks of the river they went up the northern branch to Mount Baker and fell in with several Indian camps. Mr. Hastie says he remembers this party. While they found gold widely distributed, it was not in paying quantities.

First permanent settlers on mainland of future Skagit county
      It is not easy to determine who was the first to establish a permanent settlement on the mainland of Skagit county. The honor is generally supposed to belong either to Samuel Calhoun or Michael J. Sullivan, but there are those who think that both these men may have been antedated by others. Mr. Calhoun, now a resident of Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick, has very kindly taken great pains to write out for the compilers an account of his settlement and pioneer experiences.
      He says that while working as a shipwright at Utsalady, he was seized with a desire to find out what was across the bay in the gap he saw between the hills so, in the spring of 1863, he hired an Indian to go with him on an exploring expedition. The Indian had been dubbed Sam Gallon on account of his having once stolen a gallon of whiskey and swallowed the same in an incredibly short time. They crossed the bay and ascended Sullivan slough, following the right-hand branch, to the vicinity of Pleasant Ridge, where, in a beautiful red cedar grove, they encamped for the night. Next morning Mr. Calhoun sent the Indian with his canoe to the mouth of the north fork [of the Skagit River], while he himself climbed a tall tree on Pleasant Ridge and took a view of the surroundings.
      "I was fairly delighted with the prospect," he writes. "I thought it the most beautiful sight that I had ever beheld. 'Here,' I said to myself, 'is a country within range of my vision that will support a million people. Here is my home where I shall spend the remainder of my life.'" He then made his way to the mouth of the river, wading tule swamps and creeks, found his Indian, returned to Utsalady and began preparations for settlement. The country appealed to Mr. Calhoun as it would to few others from the fact that he was familiar as a boy with marshland [in his native New Brunswick] and had seen considerable diking done. He failed not to note the apparent richness of the soil, the protection from surf which the islands afforded, the numerous sloughs and creeks offering facilities for water transportation. All in all lie considered those Swinomish tide lands the best body of tide marsh he had ever seen.
      As the site for his home, Mr. Calhoun chose an old Indian encampment close to Sullivan slough, but above the reach of the tides. His claim is now the home of Isaac Dunlap. He was fortunate in finding an excellent garden spot of about three-quarters of an acre, in which he planted potatoes and garden seeds brought from Utsalady. That fall he had all the vegetables he could use and some to give away. After planting the garden, he went to Utsalady to work for three or four weeks and it was upon his return from this trip that he first met Michael J. Sullivan. Mr. Sullivan had settled on a place nearby. He might easily have been there when Calhoun first came and escaped notice, for had he been a smuggler and hiding away from custom-house officers he would have been comparatively safe in the secluded retreat he then occupied. Mr. Sullivan has himself been interviewed regarding the time of his settlement, but lie is not now very good at remembering dates.
      In bringing lumber from Utsalady to build a house, Mr. Calhoun came near being shipwrecked, but notwithstanding the fact that his Indian companion became paralyzed with fear and could render no assistance, he managed by heroic exertions to get his boat, his lumber and his Indian safely to shore. Before the close of 1863, he had built a house for himself and assisted Mr. Sullivan to fix up his. The following spring the work of diking began. Calhoun and Sullivan together diked sixty acres on the latter's claim and Mr. Calhoun was engaged in enclosing a forty-acre tract on his own land when the season closed. The white men in the other neighborhoods of the sound were very much inclined to ridicule these efforts to make a farm on mudflats, where the tides overflowed, but when the first immense crops were harvested they saw their error.

The Swinomish Indians and reservation
      At the time this settlement was made the Swinomish Indians were in rather bad repute among the whites. It was said that a year or two before a surveyor named Hunt, while on his way from Penn's Cove, Island county, to Whatcom, was killed by them, they fearing he might work some evil incantation upon them with his instruments. They were also credited with having killed an old and somewhat insane man who had built a cabin close to the banks of the Swinomish slough, and stories were rife of persons who were known to have attempted a passage of the slough and were never heard of after. But notwithstanding all these reports, the two settlers were not molested by Indians, though their old chief came to Calhoun after his house was built and wanted to know what he was going to do there. When informed, he said:
      "You must be a fool. Don't you know that in winter, when the big winds come, the water will be two or three feet high all over the ground?" Mr. Calhoun said he knew it, but that he intended to throw up the earth higher than that and keep out the water. The chief then asked if he did not know the land belonged to the Indians. "No," said Calhoun, 'according to the idea of the Bostons the Indians' land is on the reservation." The chief replied that that was the Bostons' Cultus wa-wa (bad talk in Chinook jargon) and that he could drive out the white men or kill them if he chose. "That is true," replied Calhoun, "but if you should the soldiers would come with fire-ships and kill many of you." The Indian admitted that such would be the probable result. He accepted Mr. Calhoun's proffered hand and the friendship there begun was never broken.
      It was long before the Swinomish flats began to settle up with all degree of rapidity. Notwithstanding Mr. Calhoun's glowing picture of them, they were to most people a dreary waste. Miss Linda Jennings writes:

      Perhaps few pioneers in the history of our country ever attempted to build homes in a more uninviting region. The people of the older settlements of the sound knew of this stretch of marsh and many of them had seen it, but they thought it absurd to try to reclaim such a desolate tide-swept waste. At high tide, the Indians paddled their canoes wherever they wished over what are now tile finest farms in Washington. The marsh was ramified by countless sloughs, big and little, many of them long since filled and cultivated over. In the summer, tule, cattail and coarse salt grass flourished and it was the home of many thousands of wild fowls amid muskrats, an ideal hunting ground for Indians. Before anyone located here, the settlers of Fidalgo island used to visit the Swinomish in summer and cut the wild grass for hay. The first settlers were the objects of much ridicule from their friends in the neighboring settlements. When we consider the great dikes that must be built around their claims we can understand why it seemed an almost impossible task.
      For the first few years, Messrs. Sullivan and Calhoun were the only white settlers in their neighborhood. The next permanent settlers, Mrs. Calhoun says, were John Cornelius, Robert White and James Harrison.

(Hole in the Wall, LaConner)
      Hole in the wall at LaConner. Mike Aiken, descendant of the upriver Minklers, found this postcard with a view looking north from Skagit Bay through the narrow passage leading north through the Swinomish Slough. It was a tricky bottleneck for schooners to sail through but shallow-draft sternwheelers navigated it well. The little fishing cabin to the right is probably the one owned by a Mr. Bryn, who fished there for a couple of decades. The little island by the Hole was the home of John P. McGlinn, who arrived in 1872 as Indian Agent at Lummi with jurisdiction over Swinomish Reservation. When President Grover Cleveland was inaugurated, McGlinn lost his political patronage and in 1877, he moved to LaConner and owned the McGlinn/Maryland House hotel. He moved his family to the Hole-in-the-Wall island for three years.

Did two other men predate Calhoun and Sullivan?
      At an early date, two men named Rollins and McCann, natives of New Brunswick, too what afterward became the Dodge place, in Dodge valley, near the mouth of the north fork of the Skagit. They are said to have diked in a few acres between the site of the present residence on the place and George Aden's. Thomas P. Hastie says them bought cattle of him on Whidbey island as early as 1869 and gives it as his firm conviction that they antedated both Calhoun and Sullivan in settlement in Skagit county. Shortly after 1869, they disposed of their land to E.T. Dodge and turned their attention to logging, McCann on Camano island and Rollins in Humboldt county, California. Notwithstanding all the difficulties, the Swinomish country began to settle up quite rapidly in the late 1860s and early '70s, when the feasibility of diking it and its immense fertility began to be demonstrated.

Swinomish/LaConner settlement
      The first trading post on the Swinomish flats was established in May 1867, upon the site of the present city of LaConner by Alonzo Low, now a resident of Snohomish. Low and Woodbury Sinclair [his brother-in-law] engaged in the mercantile business at Snohomish City in 1864 and opened the Swinomish branch as stated, with Low in charge. The enterprise failed, however, and was abandoned fourteen months after its establishment. Low gave the building to a mulatto named Clark, who lived with an Indian woman, in consideration of Clark moving the goods, and a yoke of oxen (taken by Low in payment of a debt) back to Snohomish. This was accomplished by boat.
      Thomas Hayes is the next Swinomish trader of whom we have record. The exact time of his appearance is not known, but it must have been very shortly after Low abandoned the region in the summer of 1868. It was during this time that the Swinomish post office was established. When John S. Conner came, succeeding Hayes, this post office was either abandoned and the LaConner post office created, or the name was changed to LaConner.
      Laurin L. Andrews, at present cashier of the Bank of La Conner, tells us that when he first visited the place in the fall of 1870, he found at what is now La Conner, J.S. Conner and family, keeping a store and post office in their residence building which stood on the spot now occupied by the Gaches brick block; Archibald Seigfried and family [Louisa's brother], conducting a boarding house in a building on the site of the Corner saloon; J.J. Conner, a cousin of John, operating a little trading vessel, the True Blue, with headquarters at the village; back on the flats, Michael Sullivan. Samuel Calhoun, Edwin T. Dodge and family, Robert White and family, near Sullivan; Harvey Wallace at Pleasant Ridge; James Williamson in the same locality; John Cornelius and family at Pleasant Ridge; James Harrison, on what is now the Armstrong place, and on the reservation, Dr. W.Y. Deere, government farmer in charge of the Swinomish tribe. Deere was not a physician. His title was given him on account of this having at one time served as a hospital steward.


Whidby or Whidbey?
      Although Capt. George Vancouver originally named the island in favor of his sailing master, Joseph Whidbey, many people spelled the name Whidby from the 1860s to the 1950s. Many people attributed that spelling to the maps drawn by U.S. Navy Commander Charles Wilkes in the 1840s. Researcher Theresa Trebon, who has taken the time to study original sources of island history, notes that the "spelling was used by both the first white settlers [Ebeys] in their letters and diaries, and it was also the spelling of choice by many newspapers including Olympia's Pioneer and Democrat and the Port Townsend papers as well." Many other newspapers and some island residents also preferred that spelling and Whidbey did not gain acceptance until the 1950s and '60s. [Return]

First settler in what became Skagit County
      By all accounts, the first settler in Whatcom County, as well as the southern half that became Skagit County, was William "Blanket Bill" Jarman. For some reason, the writers of this 1906 Illustrated History (hereafter the 1906 Book) dismissed evidence of his very early settlement altogether. You can read our exclusive Journal profile of Jarman, which includes links to the other Jarman stories in that portal section. Jarman will be addressed below, later in the chapter. Although claims by Jarman about having settled in Whatcom County in 1848 are apparently apocryphal, evidence exists that he did settle in the Samish Island/Samish River area in the 1852-53, when that region was still part of Whatcom, thus predating the settlers at either Fidalgo Island or Whatcom. [Return]

Charles W. Beale
      We have on file the memory of Fidalgo-pioneer descendant Carrie White described Beale in her famous but unpublished manuscript, Fidalgo Island Before The Boom, which she delivered at the Anacortes Historical Club on Sept. 13, 1898, two months before William Munks died: "Mr. Charles Beale states that he came first to Fidalgo in March 1859 on a hunting expedition in company with his cousin Robert K. Beale, Robert H. Davis, a nephew of Jefferson Davis, John Hughes, Charles Pearson and [no first name] Brown." She recounted that Beale volunteered that year to supplement Capt. Pickett's force on San Juan Island during the outbreak of the "Pig War" on San Juan Island. While he was gone, Robert became hard up and sold their squatters' rights for $75. Beale stayed on at Fidalgo and became an active farmer, famous for his "Beale's Peach" variety that grew here against all advice. The land near his original patch attracted other later permanent settlers, including John and Almina (Richards) Griffin, Hiram A. [usually referred to as "H.A."] March and John Fravel, among others. We will post the 1898 address in an upcoming issue of the Subscribers Journal magazine. [Return]

Robert Hugh Davis
      Candace Wellman, a volunteer researcher at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies in Bellingham, has researched both Davis and his Indian wife, Caroline (often referred to as Tol-stola), for many years. She has conducted considerable research both locally with various descendants of pioneers, and down South with descendants of and researchers of the Davis family. Although Robert was a nephew of Jefferson Davis, she dismisses the "dissolute" and "wild ways" rumors and contends that the real story is much more interesting. She plans to compile her own book on the subject in the near future and we will alert you to it. Meanwhile, we do know that Davis did return to Mississippi to volunteer for the Confederate forces, married a woman named Katherine Auter, and died of an unknown cause at age 40 in December 1865. His son, Samuel, by Caroline, died as a deck hand in the explosion of the sternwheeler Josephine at Port Susan (near Stanwood) in January 1883. [Return]

(William and Armind Munks)
William Munks and his first wife, Arminda

William Munks
      Munks's activities after settling on Fidalgo Island are covered in detail in the 1906 Book but we have also spent some time researching his life before and away from here, in preparation for a profile we plan to publish later in 2009. We have a copy of the 1890 magazine, Anacortes Illustrated, which notes that he came west from Ohio and "In 1849 Mr. Munks went to the far West, hunted and trapped for a time on the western slope of the Rockies, visited Oregon and then went to the placer mines of North Carolina, remaining until 1855, during which time he took part in two Indian wars. In 1855 he returned to Oregon and entered the service under Joel Palmer of the Indian Department. After making a successful trading and prospecting trip to the headwaters of the Columbia through a hostile Indian country. [This timeline is at variance with other Munks profiles.] Mr. Munks came to Puget Sound and served one season on the United States Boundary Commission, locating the boundary between Washington Territory and British Columbia and at the breaking out of the Frazer gold excitement, established a trading post at Fort Vale and embarked in mining." That latter work was in 1858 and was a turning point in his life.
      John F. Conrad's obituary notes for the 1961 Pioneer Picnic included an interesting detail we have not read anywhere else. William's son, Gerald L. Munks, died that year. He told Conrad a family story that William paddled a canoe to Fidalgo Bay in 1848, where he squatted temporarily on a piece of prairie land. That year seems way too early in the Munks timeline here, but we are still checking.
      Munks marked many "firsts" for settlers in the area of what is now called March's Point and the oil refinery, east across Fidalgo Bay from present Anacortes. He brought the first cattle, seventeen head, to the island, aboard a sloop from Whatcom. He also brought the first wagon and planted fruit trees and a grape vine, and some of these plants still yield an excellent crop of fruit. They were planted in 1863. In 1870, Mr. Munks, a veteran of the Mexican War, was appointed postmaster. Prior to this time the nearest post office was at Whatcom, later renamed Bellingham in 1903.
      He built a wharf and store in 1873. A little later (still unknown date) he married Arminda Van Valkenburg, the daughter of a neighbor. Three sons were born, then twins, and it was during the birth of the twins that necessary medical aid could not be obtained in time from LaConner, and the mother and one of the babies died. The other twin lived six months, again on an unknown date. We have not yet determined exactly when his first wife, Minnie, died. But we do know that he married Olive Benston on Aug. 23, 1888, in Seattle. We also know the date of his death — Nov. 19, 1898 — because upriver pioneer Otto Pressentin was boarding with the Munks family while teaching at the nearby schoolhouse on the Munks property. At the time of his death, he owned up to 800 acres in the area. Olive had a hard time getting by as the nation pulled out of that decade's Depression, but she held onto a good chunk of land and died on June 17, 1935 in a car wreck. We will share much more in the future when we move his profile to its own page, but in the meantime, see this 1908 profile of Fidalgo, including Munks, and more results from Journal research. [Return]

Josiah or Joe Leary
      A native of Ohio, Leary apparently pronounced his name in such a way that it was misspelled Larry in this and another source. In the 1860s, Leary relocated permanently to the slough, north of Bayview, that still carries his name. He certainly appears to be the first permanent settler at that location, which marks the southern border of the Samish River delta district, but he dropped out of sight. We hope a family member reads this story and responds. [Return]

Early Fidalgo settlers
      You can read capsule profiles of many of these early Fidalgo settlers at this Journal transcription of a 1908 description of Fidalgo Island in the Oct. 10, 1908, Bow Advocate newspaper: [Return]

Carrie White
      Carrie was the daughter of Henry James White, who brought his family, including his wife and four sons to the Northwest in 1872. Leaving party of his family in Seattle, he initially pre-empted a claim on Guemes Island but then purchased a 134-acre claim from George Ensley at the head of Fidalgo Bay. Much of the claim was covered with water at high tide until he and his older sons diked in the bay and reclaimed about 70 acres of good marsh land that today makes up most of the golf course south of Hwy 20.
      Carrie and her brothers spent much of their childhood on the water since canoes and sternwheelers were the only reliable transportation and dense forests blanketed the area. Henry became a probate judge and in 1883 he moved the family to what became White's Addition to Anacortes, east of R Street. Carrie May showed so much intellectual promise that her parents sent her to the University of Washington, where she graduated in 1878. She returned to Fidalgo Island as the best educated and most sophisticated young woman in the area and became her father's clerk. Luckily for us, she also began keeping a diary in 1882.
      In the summer of 1884, she formed the Women's Christian Temperance Union on Fidalgo Island, which would be her base of operations for the next two decades. She also gained fame for her gardening and her work with the Chautauqua Society. Much of our earliest history of the island comes via her extended address that was presented to the Historical Club of Anacortes on Sept. 13, 1898. She died on Sept. 30, 1904. On Sept. 13, 1906, the Fidalgo WCTU erected a drinking fountain in her honor as the first local-chapter president and the third state president. It has been moved to the grounds of the Anacortes Carnegie Museum and has been extensively restored. [Return]

Dusky aboriginal maidens
      This is just one of the patronizing descriptions of Indians that you will find in the 1906 Book and other sources of that time period. Indians were often referred to as Siwash which was a colloquial alteration of the French word for aborigine, Sauvage, which was spoken early on in the evolution of the Chinook Jargon trading language that developed out of Nootka Sound. Even more tedious are the many references to drunken Indians, when people then as now knew full well that dishonest settler merchants purposely exploited the problem even though they knew that Indians were uniquely vulnerable to alcoholism. Dusky maidens was a term employed by writers in such a way that we can almost imagine as we read the examples that the writer was composing with tongue firmly in cheek.
      The most obvious example of that can be read in this Journal transcription of an account about the fight by survivors of settler John Wilbur over his estate. Like many other white settlers who first arrived here when there were a dozen or less eligible white wives, Wilbur took an Indian wife, but later put her aside when a more socially respectable white wife became available. This linked account was written in 1893 by attorney/judge Henry McBride, who would soon become Washington governor, and his writing is full of dusky, indeed. [Return]

Henry Havekost
      Terry Slotemakers's book, The Exploration of Whidbery, Fidalgo and Guemes Islands, reports that Tonjes Havekost came to Fidalgo Island from Germany in 1871. "He was a boat builder and farmer who donated eight acres to Anacortes, now part of Washington Park, where there is a Havekost monument" and a nearby Havekost Road on the western side of Fidalgo Island. [Return]

Orlando Graham
      Orlando Graham arrived in LaConner in 1873 as one of the first permanent mainland settlers and was soon employed by Sam Calhoun at his farm north of town. Graham migrated here from McLeod County, Minnesota, where he settled just before the Civil war, following a move from his native New York. After enlisting in 1861 during the war, he was commissioned and rose to First Lieutenant in the Company B, Nineteenth Regiment, Minnesota State Militia, and served with Gen. William T. Sherman on the march across Georgia to the sea.
      He and Maine native Amasa "Peg-Leg" Everett both moved here from Minnesota at the same time and they discovered coal on Coal Mountain, across the Skagit River from Hamilton, a year later. A year after that, Orlando apparently sold his coal share and went back to Minnesota and fetched his sons, Albert and Frank, his wife Harriet, their daughters, Carrie and Nellie, and their friend Thomas Sharpe to join him on the island. Sharpe was soon joined by his mother, two brothers and a sister. The Grahams opened a nursery west of Ship Harbor, which began to thrive after the Depression of 1893 subsided. Decades later, Albert discovered copper ore on the family land and made a handsome sale to the Anacopper Mine Company, but riches did not follow since the new owner offered shares in 1930, just as another nationwide Depression set in. [Return]

"Dr." D.Y. Deere and other sets of initials
      Deere was a very early businessman in Mount Vernon, opening the first drug store in town on Front Street — under the present revetment — in 1879. As author Tom Robinson notes, for the next couple of decades, Deere walked through a revolving door of government jobs, sometimes the safest bet if you did not want to shoulder the risk of farming on your own in the first years of settlement here. Long before opening his store, he had been a "government farmer" at the Tulalip Indian reservation in Snohomish County. Our first detailed record of Deere appeared in May 1870 when Northern Pacific engineer D.C. Linsley recorded him (as Deree) in a cabin on the Swinomish Slough. By that time, Deere had become the U.S. government's "head farmer" on the Swinomish Reservation. He then either preempted or homesteaded a claim on Fidalgo Island and became the part-time Whatcom County superintendent of schools, in which role he was recorded in the 1906 Book as granting the first teacher's certificate to a Skagit Valley resident, 15-year-old Ida Leamer, in July 1872. We do not know how long that superintendent term lasted, but by 1879, he owned the Mount Vernon drug store, which he possibly sold to Dr. Hyacinth Montborne. He then briefly operated another drug store in LaConner, which represents the end of our record of him. Tracking Deere is difficult because different sources identify him by different initials, W.T., W. Y., etc. We hope a descendant will share more information about him. [Return]

Captain George D. Hill (initial D. not B.)
      According to Terry Slotemaker, of the Anacortes Carnegie Library, George D. (not B) Hill arrived in Ship Harbor (Anacortes) circa 1872. He purchased land along the Guemes Channel waterfront from Gertrude Maude Stevens in 1872 and 1877 and sold land to Amos Bowman in 1877 and 1878. He built his home at the foot of O Avenue. Hill was active in business and politics. [Return]

Hazard Stevens
      General Stevens was the son of the first governor of Washington Territory, Isaac I. Stevens. At age 13, he accompanied his father and assistants on an arduous 3,000-mile trip in 1853 from the East Coast to Olympia in Washington Territory. The governor was quite taken with Fidalgo Island in his terms here from 1853-57. Both father and son were U.S. Army officers in the Civil War. Hazard enlisted after leaving his first year of college at Harvard. On Sept. 1, 1862, both were wounded at the Battle of Chantilly, north of the Bull Run River and Manassas. Isaac, a major general in command of the 79th New York Highlanders, died of his wounds and Hazard was actually wounded twice, but recovered and fought in The Wilderness under Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and went on to capture Fort Huger in Virginia in April 1863, action for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery. He was brevetted to Brigadier General, thus becoming the youngest general in the U.S. Army.
      Theresa Trebon, in her book, First Views, notes that after the war, Hazard assumed the support of his mother and siblings and he and his sister Maude speculated in real estate on Fidalgo, losing heavily in the Financial Panic of 1873, but then investing more, and Amos Bowman bought part of the land. We also know from various biographies that the U.S. government in 1867 appointed Hazard Stevens to be Collector of Internal Revenue for Washington Territory of. After leaving his federal post he read for the law privately under the tutelage of future Secretary of State Elwood Evans and was admitted to the bar in Washington in 1870. He was soon hired as an attorney for Northern Pacific Railroad and later became the president of Olympia Light and Power Company and Olympia Railroad Union. You can read about the ups and downs of his career at this Journal website. At this Journal website and this external site, you can read of the accusation that he aided timber poachers and at this Journal website, you can read of his feats as a mountain climber. He moved back East again and regrouped by setting up a law practice Boston in 1875, near his widowed mother. In 1885 he was elected to the Massachusetts General Court and for the next four decades he returned annually to the family's 320-acre Cloverfields Dairy Farm near Olympia, where he entertained lavishly in a Dutch Colonial house. He also became vice-president of the State Historical Society in Olympia. [Return]

(Sharpe Park)
      This lovely photo of western Fidalgo Island shows part of the undisturbed park land donated by Sharpe descendants. You can read about Sharpe Park & Montgomery-Duban Headlands and see many more photos and a slideshow. The property was donated by Kathleen Sharpe on July 26,1977. As she explained, it is "Dedicated to the memory of my beloved husband, Wallace J. Sharpe, and his father, Thomas J. Sharpe, who were the settlers on this property. It is my desire that for all time this property shall provide a respite for mankind's body and soul to reflect upon the beauty of God's creation."

Thomas Sharpe
      Born in Ireland in 1850, Sharpe emigrated to the U.S. with his family at age three and they slowly moved cross-country, settling in Iowa. He grew up with Albert Graham and moved out to Washington in 1875 with his friend when Albert joined his father, Orlando Graham, on Fidalgo Island. Thomas originally farmed on Whidbey Island but after his father's sudden death in 1879, his mother, Margaret, and his four siblings decided to join him and Thomas and his brothers Will and Robert took claims on the western part of Fidalgo where Sharpe Park is today. He married Mary Carr in 1884.
      The Sharpe brothers soon became the most ambitious road builders in the county. In the first decades of settlement, there was no road off the island. Farmers drove their wagons east from Sharpe's Corner to Swinomish Slough and forded across a sand bar at low tide. The first wooden swing-span bridge was built further north near Whitney Island in 1892 and, five decades later, Thomas's son, Wallace Sharpe, led the Skagit County Commissioners to authorize what is now the Rainbow Bridge south of LaConner. Sharpe's farm was often cited as the most highly cultivated on the island. In her book, First Views, Theresa Trebon wrote, "An 1893 review of the Sharpe property reported . . .

      An old friend who was admiring the orchard so free from stumps and other undesirable growth saw a huge stump right in the center and said to Shame, 'Sharpe, I shouldn't think an energetic man like yourself would allow an unsightly stump like that to remain on his place.' Sharpe's quiet reply, 'If I took out the last big stump, people from the city might think my orchard was originally prairie land.'

Ward's Pass
      This is a real head scratcher and we hope a reader/researcher can help with it. We were puzzled for several years by references to Ward's Pass, but we finally discovered after ten years that it was an alternate name to the proposed railroad route over the North Cascades if the Cascade Pass route was chosen by the Great Northern. We are therefore puzzled by this writer's description of "Ward's pass at the head of the south fork of the Skagit river." [Return]

John J. Edens (1840-1914)
      Edens was a Kentucky native who came to Washington Territory in 1870 and logged on Guemes Island and represented the new Skagit County in the Territorial Legislature. In 1880, he married Isabelle Eldridge, daughter of Whatcom pioneer Edward Eldridge. They moved from Guemes to Bellingham permanently in 1893 and alumni of Western Washington University will remember the old Edens Hall women's dormitory. [Return]

Urban Bozarth
      Often misspelled Urvan, Urban Bozarth was from a Kentucky family and moved on to Missouri, where his first wife died. He and his son and other relatives became early wagon-train emigrants to the new Washington Territory, arriving on Whidbey Island in 1854. While farming there, he married Mary Ebey on Dec. 19, 1858; she was the sister of Col. Isaac Ebey, the famous pioneer who was beheaded in an attack by northern Indians on the island in 1857.
      In 1868, he returned to Missouri to entice the rest of his relatives to move out and join him. They returned west on the new Central Pacific emigrant train. Within a few years of Urban's return to Whidbey Island, several of his relatives moved to the Skagit Valley. Two of his daughters became famous as valley pioneers: Minerva married David E. Kimble, who homesteaded at the lower log jam south of Mount Vernon; and MaryEtta, who married Xavar Bartl, an early pioneer of both Mount Vernon and Clearlake. You can read more about Urban at this Journal website about Jasper Gates and soon we will post a more extensive profile of Urban, himself. [Return]

J.J. Van Bokkelyn
      Jacobus Jan Van Bokkelyn was born in New York in 1816, the son of a Dutch sea captain, and when he was a young man he sailed around the Horn to become a miner in the California gold fields. In April 1851 he mined in the Queen Charlotte Islands and two years later he accompanied Capt. Thomas Coupe to Whidbey Island. After the Indian Wars broke out in 1855, he enlisted in the territorial militia under Col. Isaac N. Ebey and rose to the rank of major.
      He was a key figure in the 1858 Fraser River Gold Rush and headed up the first team to explore by portage and canoe the upper stretch of the Skagit River above the log jams in search of gold. After that he settled in Port Townsend, where he served as probate judge and sheriff for Jefferson county and was on hand at the only hanging in town. He was also the Jefferson county auditor and Port Townsend postmaster. You can read our extensive Journal profile of him at this Journal website. [Return]

Samuel Calhoun and Michael J. Sullivan
      See our exclusive Calhoun-Sullivan feature from Issue 21 for the complete story of these settlers who were the first permanent farmers on the Swinomish and LaConner Flats. [Return]

Swinomish Indians
      That observation was another example of the patronizing attitude of the writer against Indians of the area and it continues throughout the 1906 Book. Do keep in mind, however, that this was the attitude of a majority of the settlers, themselves, and would remain prevalent for decades. Indian children were most often sent to schools far away from their families, where both their culture and language were often beaten out of them. You can read our Journal website about the recent death of Vi Hilbert to learn about how she and a handful of others began reviving the culture, the Lushootseed language and the pride of the Coastal Salish tribes in the mid-20th Century. [Return]

Linda Jennings
      Linda was the daughter of Isaac Jennings who first farmed on Whidbey Island in 1870 and then in 1871 filed a claim in the Ridgeview area where the family home still stands. The Jennings name was attached when a school was located north of LaConner in 1878, even though the official name was Grovedale and neighbors intended for it to be called the Calhoun School. [Return]

Alonzo Low and family
      Low was the son of a key family of settlers from early Seattle who have largely fallen through the cracks of history. On Sept. 25, 1851, his father, John Low, along with David Denny and Lee Terry arrived at the mouth of the Duwamish River in the future King County in a vessel commanded by Capt. Robert C. Fay at the mouth of the Duwamish River in the future King County and after they met with Chief Sealth and other settlers, they moved on to Alki Point, where Low and Terry filed land claims. The actual settlement of Seattle, however, is dated back to Nov. 13, 1851, after Low returned to Portland to fetch Arthur Denny and the families that had come west by covered wagon from Illinois and the Midwest. The Lows moved to the Olympia area and then to Snohomish County, where they finally sank roots. Alonzo Low was a bit of a peripatetic wanderer and you can read other brief details of his life at this Journal website until we prepare our full Low family profile in 2009-10. [Return]

Conner family
      Louisa Ann Conner told historian Edmond S. Meany in 1919 that she ran a millinery store in Olympia after she and her husband, John S. Conner, arrived in Washington Territory in August 1869. John explored the Puget Sound for suitable land and he found their townsite property property, which she said was opposite the Swinomish channel from the reservation. Louisa told Meany that she moved up to join him on New Year's Day, 1870. The book, Chechacos All, states that the town and post officer were called Swinomish until the name was changed to LaConner on March 29, 1870, when John used his wife's initials for the new name. People have been arguing "space or no space" between "La" and "Conner" since that time, and both versions have been used, sometimes in the same medium at the same time. The story that the original spelling was with the space is a myth. We use LaConner consistently, so that the town name can be globally searched throughout our web site.] [Return]

Laurin L. Andrews
      Laurin L. Andrews's family were settlers on the Black river in King county in the early 1860s. After he grew up in Seattle, he then set off on his own, becoming a merchant first, a teacher and then a banker in LaConner, and he served one term in the legislature, in 1877-78, when he helped set up the first court in Whatcom. Andrews first traded from a small store on the Swinomish Reservation on the west side of the slough, competing with the Gaches Brothers and B.L. Martin on the east side. He was elected mayor in 1883 and in 1886, after W.E. Schricker opened the Skagit County Bank in LaConner, Andrews became a partner and the cashier until the bank failed in 1912. He also served one term as Skagit County Sheriff in 1887-88. [Return]

Edwin T. Dodge
      Author Tom Robinson recalls that Doge arrived at Dodge Valley in 1867 from Vancouver Island with his wife, Mary, and two daughters on a chartered steamboat. The valley is on the north side of the North Fork and he bought out the very early farmers, Messrs. Rollins and McCann from New Brunswick. He moved his cattle and household goods not long after the Cornelius family moved to Pleasant Ridge and at about the same time as the Samuel S. Tingley family settled on the north fork, but on the south side. Dodge was a farmer, including some dairy, and an 1879 Puget Sound Mail article indicates that he and neighbors Samuel Calhoun and Michael Sullivan diked in 10,000 acres against the encroachment of salt water. Dodge had died in 1876 and was buried nearby, but his remains were moved to the Pleasant Ridge cemetery when it was founded soon afterwards. His wife lost the farm by foreclosure by the early 1880's; she lived in La Conner until her death a few years after that. [Return]

Continue to Part Two of Chapter 1, Skagit Section

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