(SLSE Railroad)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition, where 450 of 700 stories originate
The most in-depth, comprehensive site about the Skagit

Covers from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish & BC. An evolving history dedicated to committing random acts of historical kindness
Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

(Click to send email)
Site founded Sept. 1, 2000. We passed 5 million page views on June 6, 2011
The home pages remain free of any charge. We need donations or subscriptions to continue.
Please pass on this website link to your family, relatives, friends and clients.

John Slipper tickles the editor's funnybone

(Eagle Shingle Co.)
      This is John Slipper's Eagle Shingle Co., which was located on the north side of Maple Street in Hamilton, just west of the present cafe. The photo could have been taken in 1902, because his brother Fred Slipper's mercantile store is to the right, or east, where the cafe stands. That building is unpainted, so this photo could have been taken during its construction. Lola and John Slipper are to the right. John Hamilton came to Hamilton first, a few years before his brother Fred Slipper, who was also an English immigrant. Photo courtesy of the late Fred W. Slipper, who died in 2007 at age 90.

Letter to the editor, Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, March 12, 1942
My dear Mr. Evans:
      Herewith check $4 to pay for last year and this. I have no excuse to offer for being in arrears anymore than you did not send me a stamp, and also I was unmindful of the continuing toll of the years, it's hard for me to believe that is now well over four years since I last paid for your paper, this I did through a school boy at Hamilton who was taking subscriptions, Bruce Luton. I paid for one years while staying at my brother's and he came down to the house to thank me, which little gesture I liked so well I paid for still another year. Nice good looking boy.
      I did not receive the week before last Courier, which I am told contained the death notice of Homer Morgan of Happy Valley [Day Creek], gone one hopes to the real Happy Valley. It was this lapse of one week that made my wife suspicious that our sub had played out.
      I located in Hamilton in June 1890. Frank Fritsch started a hardware (as I did in Hamilton) at Sedro same time. Woolley was building his mill, and his was I think the only house in Woolley proper, alter the St. Clair Hotel was put up there, and from then on the town gradually grew at Sedro's expense. A party named Hopp had a paper in Sedro, later came the Skagit County Times as his successor.
      The editor used to ride a pony once in a while to Hamilton, to see his correspondent up there, one PICKINGS, who under another non de plume also wrote for the Mount Vernon Herald at the same time. The wretch gave everybody hell, first in one paper and then in the other, so much so that the Sedro Times [actually Skagit County Times] editor on his trips had an enormous Colt's revolver, with an ivory handle, strapped 'round his middle when he made his upriver trips, evidently thinking his correspondent might get him into trouble.
      That must have been early in the 1890s about the time that Harry Devin got religion, which by the way he lost when he jumped, with a gentleman named Brossard, and one other rascal, my uncle's claim [plus] Bill Quall's claim, and my own homestead on Day Creek. Brother Devin has long been forgiven. Had to do it when he bought a fish from someone, and a chunk of venison from someone else, and handed over to this writer, possibly in exchange for my homestead. His party convinced the land office that those acres of spuds was timber and got away with it.
      Few now remain in your town that I would know, maybe the Honorable William Love, who I am told is taking a preacher's examination so as to get in on tires and retreads now denied those not in holy circles and those with say, a pull. It is hard to convince oneself that its almost 52 years since with others, while waiting to board Johnnie Hamilton's battleship Indiana [sternwheeler] to take us up the river, we measured an enormous cedar stump on the banks of the Skagit at old Sedro, some 15 feet across it, to decide who should buy the drinks for those who occasionally imbibed, and as usual this writer, to use the vernacular of that time, was STUCK. Remembering this many years later we voted for prohibition right after a Mr. Dewey Smith got away with most of nine dozen Blue Ribbon beer we had secreted under our house at Hamilton, never bearing anybody any ill will, we have also forgiven this Mr. Smith, also for our chickens.
      —John H. Slipper

1. Bruce Luton
      Bruce was the son of marshal Ed Luton of Hamilton, and his wife, Bessie, who also became marshal after her husband was mysteriously murdered in 1929 after breaking up an illegal moonshine party in Hamilton. See the first story in a series about the Lutons here. We plan more Luton stories in the future. [Return]

2. Frank Fritsch
      Frank and his namesake father and three of his brothers were key pioneer businessmen in Sauk City, Burlington, Sedro and Woolley. They were German immigrants, arriving in Texas in 1871, and then moving to Washington territory in the late 1880s. They were flooded out and burned out of Sauk City by the early 1890s. Frank and his brothers established their hardware business in old Woolley by 1892 and ten years later, they helped launch in the back of their store the Sedro-Woolley Iron Works, which evolved into Skagit Steel. A storeroom in back of their store was also the source of the fire that leveled much of downtown Woolley in the great fire of July 1911. [Return]

3. George Hopp, Sedro Press
      A native of South Dakota, Hopp followed his brother Thomas to Washington, arriving two years later, in 1890. He and Thomas were both editors in the Brookings, South Dakota. Thomas started the Marysville Globe and then the Bridgeport Standard. George launched the Sedro Press in April 1890 in new Sedro, near where the high school stands today. It was the first paper in the Sedro-Woolley area and it is sort of a phantom because there has been no record of it since 1953, when Skiyou pioneer Ethel Van Fleet Harris showed the inaugural issue to Courier-Times editor Frank Evans. That copy has disappeared and we keep hoping a reader will find one in the family collections.
      Hopp cut a pretty swath here, as he was elected the first mayor of Sedro in March 1891, when residents of both old and new Sedro voted to form a city of the fourth class. He also served as the second postmaster of Sedro, replacing the town's founder Mortimer Cook on Dec. 21, 1891, serving until Sept. 27, 1892, when he was replaced by Harry L. Devin, who left us a full record of all postmasters through 1940. From that point on, we have lost track of George Hopp, but we share a biography of his early years in Washington and in South Dakota elsewhere in Issue 41. [Return]

Links, background reading and sources

Story posted on Dec. 14, 2007 . . . Please report any broken links so we can update them
This article originally appeared in Issue 41 of our Subscribers-paid Journal online magazine

Getting lost trying to navigate or find stories on our site?
Read how to sort through our 700-plus stories.
Return to the new-domain home page
Links for portals to subjects and towns
Newest photo features
Search entire site
Our monthly column, Puget Sound Mail (but don't call it a blog)
debuted on Aug. 9, 2009. Check it out.
(bullet) See this Journal Timeline website of local, state, national, international events for years of the pioneer period.
(bullet) Did you enjoy this story? Remember, as with all our features, this story is a draft and will evolve as we discover more information and photos. This process continues until we eventually compile a book about Northwest history. Can you help?
(bullet) Remember; we welcome correction & criticism.
(bullet) Please report any broken links or files that do not open and we will send you the correct link. With more than 700 features, we depend on your report. Thank you.
(bullet) Read about how you can order CDs that include our photo features from the first five years of our Subscribers Edition. Perfect for gifts.

You can click the donation button to contribute to the rising costs of this site. See many examples of how you can aid our project and help us continue for another ten years. You can also subscribe to our optional Subscribers-Paid Journal magazine online, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in September 2010, with exclusive stories, in-depth research and photos that are shared with our subscribers first. You can go here to read the preview edition to see examples of our in-depth research or read how and why to subscribe.

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

(bullet) Our newest sponsor, Plumeria Bay, is based in Birdsview, just a short walk away from the Royal family's famous Stumpranch, and is your source for the finest down comforters, pillows, featherbeds andduvet covers and bed linens. Order directly from their website and learn more about this intriguing local business.
(bullet) Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 90 years continually in business.
(bullet) Peace and quiet at the Alpine RV Park, just north of Marblemount on Hwy 20, day, week or month, perfect for hunting or fishing. Park your RV or pitch a tent — for as little as $5 per night — by the Skagit River, just a short drive from Winthrop or Sedro-Woolley. Alpine is doubling in capacity for RVs and camping in 2011.
(bullet) Joy's Sedro-Woolley Bakery-Cafe at 823 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley.
(bullet) Check out Sedro-Woolley First section for links to all stories and reasons to shop here first
or make this your destination on your visit or vacation.
(bullet) Are you looking to buy or sell a historic property, business or residence?
We may be able to assist. Email us for details.

Looking for something special on our site? Enter name, town or subject, then press "Find" Search this site powered by FreeFind
    Did you find what you were seeking? We have helped many people find individual names or places, so email if you have any difficulty.
    Tip: Put quotation marks around a specific name or item of two words or more, and then experiment with different combinations of the words without quote marks. We are currently researching some of the names most recently searched for — check the list here. Maybe you have searched for one of them?
Please sign our guestbook so our readers will know where you found out about us, or share something you know about the Skagit River or your memories or those of your family. Share your reactions or suggestions or comment on our Journal. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit our site.

View My Guestbook
Sign My Guestbook
Email us at: skagitriverjournal@gmail.com
(Click to send email)
Mail copies/documents to Street address: Skagit River Journal, 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, WA, 98284.