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(S and N Railroad)

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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George W. Hopp, pioneer editor of
Dakota Territory, Washington & Sedro,
and his publisher brothers

(Hopp in legislature)
George W. Hopp in the Washington State Legislature, 1903

In which the reader will learn the history of several Dakota towns; the connection with writer
Laura Ingalls Wilder; the history of Marysville, Bridgeport and Camas, Washington; how murder
led to an important opportunity for George, and the many newspapers of an amazing trio of brothers
By Noel V. Bourasaw, Skagit River Journal of History & Folklore, ©2008

      The first newspaper in Sedro-Woolley was neither the Courier nor the Times but instead the Sedro Press, which was launched by Publisher George W. Hopp on April 18, 1890. The paper lasted only five years until the plant burned sometime in 1895 and no one has seen an issue for at least four decades. Hopp was a mover and shaker in Sedro, as witnessed by his election as the first mayor in 1891 and his appointment as postmaster on Dec. 21, 1891, to replace the town founder, Mortimer Cook.
      When we started researching about Hopp nearly 15 years ago, that was all we really knew about him. In more recent years, some very kind researchers have posted information or contacted us after reading our original story about him and we have discovered that he left quite a mark on Washington state. He came from a family of three publisher brothers who grew up in Iowa and then published newspapers in Dakota Territory, and then moved to Washington, starting in 1888. Along the way, they would cross the path of the Ingalls family, whom most of you know from the Little House series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

      John Frederick Hopp emigrated from Bavaria, in southern Germany, to the U.S. in 1840 and in 1853 he married Sarah Ganby, a Pennsylvania native who was ten years younger, after he settled in that state. In February 1854, they had their first child, whom they named George Washington Hopp. In 1855 the young family moved to Iowa, where the population swelled to 192,214 in 1850. That was a nearly 350 percent increase from the decade of 1840, as an influx of settlers came to farm and mine lead and zinc. John F. Hopp was one of the farmers
      Admitted to the Union as the 29th state in 1846, Iowa began as a small chunk at the far eastern border of the land called the Louisiana Purchase, which Thomas Jefferson negotiated with France in 1803. Iowa Territory was formed in 1838 from land west of the Mississippi River and east of the Missouri River, which included Iowa, the Dakotas and part of Minnesota.
      Before the Black Hawk War of 1832, that region was respected as Indian land, but when the war ended, the Iowa Territory was ceded to the U.S. and settlers flooded in during the 1940s. Iowa means "sleepy ones," a word from the Ioway tribe of Indians, part of the Sioux nation.
      John and Sarah worked a farm in Clayton County in the far northeastern part of the state. The parents lived in that area until their deaths, most of the time near Strawberry Point in Sperry Township, 15 miles south of Elkader, the county seat, and west of Dubuque and east of Waterloo. They soon had two more boys, John, born in January 1856, and Jacob, born in 1858, and then another boy, Henry, born in 1861. Sometime in 1862, John enlisted in Co. F., 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry, originally commanded by Col. Ulysses S. Grant, and served through the duration of the Civil War. During the war, a fifth son, Thomas P. Hopp, was born at home on Jan. 20, 1863. The last Hopp child, Mary, was born ten years later.
      Soon after his father returned to the farm, George left home at age 12 in 1866 to become a "printer's devil" at an unknown newspaper in Iowa. That was the beginning of his 62-year-long newspaper career. By 1874, he established the Corning Union. Located in Adams County, in the southwest corner of Iowa, Corning was the birthplace of Johnny Carson. George crossed paths there for the first time with J. O'B Scobey, who would be George's friend across three states and who become a partner 20 years later in another newspaper. Although federal surveyors mapped that part of the state in 1857, the area was uninhabited by white settlers until 1869 except by Icarians, a French utopian movement founded by Etienne Cabet. Although George did not own the paper long, the Union survived under that name until at least 1896, when the Corning Free Press was launched in town. The Free Press absorbed the Union and now prints as the Adams County Free Press.

(Homestead Cabin)
(Harvey Dunn)
      South Dakota native Harvey Dunn (1884-1952) is generally considered to be one of the Dakota region's most famous artists. He grew up near De Smet on a pioneer farm just west of where Laura Ingalls taught school. Nancy Cleaveland notes that Laura's younger sister Grace married Dunn's uncle, Nathan Dow. Dunn learned painting techniques in 1901-02 from Professor Ada Caldwell at the South Dakota Agricultural College (SDSU) at Brookings, where George W. Hopp served on the first board of trustees. Caldwell encouraged him to attend the Chicago Institute of Art to further his art education. Known for his pioneer landscapes and portraits and his portrayal of strong women, he attended the first public exhibit of his prairie paintings in De Smet in 1950 and at the end of the exhibit, Dunn signed the paintings over to the state of South Dakota. His paintings are showing their age and restorers are carefully cleaning and repairing them. SDSU's art gallery is hosting an exhibit called "Feminine Images" from May 6, 2008, to Feb. 15, 2009, where you can see paintings like the above "The Prairie is my Garden," Dunn's best known work. Courtesy of the South Dakota Art Museum website, where you can read all about Dunn and see several of his paintings.

George moves to Dakota Territory
      To the north, after financier Jay Cooke financially backed the Northern Pacific (NP) Railroad in 1870, the NP track layers began building west from Duluth, Minnesota, across that state and then further west past the border of the Dakota Territory, which was formed in 1861. The NP crossed what is now North Dakota and headed on westwards. Meanwhile, in the portion of the Territory that is now South Dakota, Brookings County formed north of Minnehaha County, on the eastern border with Minnesota, north of Sioux Falls and due west of Minneapolis.
      Crews of the Winona & St. Peter (W&SP) Railroad laid tracks west across Minnesota towards Brookings County starting in the winter of several blizzards, 1872-73, as part of the Chicago & North Western (C&NW) complex. By 1879 they were deciding where to cross the border with what is now South Dakota. George W. Hopp had moved to the county in the late 1870s and he joined other visionary settlers who bet that tracks would cross through Fountain City. On Feb. 20, 1879, George published the first issue of Brookings County Press there with a partner, C.A. Kelsey. The county was named for Wilmot Wood Brookings, an official with the Western Town Company, which boomed towns along several C&NW rail routes.
      Those who bet on coming depots in Fountain City and nearby Medary picked the wrong horse, however, because the C&NW decided to compromise and run between them in a new town named for Brookings, who by 1879 was superintendent of the Winona & St. Peter project to build the line from the Dakota border west to the Missouri River. Hopp and Kelsey and a few others donated land in Section 26 of the township for depot and track purposes. By Aug. 7, 1879, Kelsey wrote his swan song editorial and George was the sole editor.
      On September 30, the track laying crews moved into Dakota Territory, progressing about a mile a day. In October, W. H. Shortley moved his blacksmith shop north four miles on log rollers from Medary — organized as the first town of the county in 1857. Hopp also moved his newspaper to the townsite and on October 18 he published the first issue there. Hopp, W. G. Lockhart and George H. Hand formed a building committee and sealed the deal with C&NW by donating eighty acres of land and $1,200 in cash from various residents. From 1870 to 1880, the population of Dakota Territory exploded dramatically from 11,776 to 98,268, an increase of 734.5 percent and it would rise again by 250 percent by 1890. In March 1880, Hopp wrote that "Settlers are coming in all around so fast we cannot keep track of them." Fountain City is now a district east of South Dakota State University (SDSU) and Frank Crisler, our South Dakota correspondent, reports that the town of Fountain was wiped out by a tornado a year after George moved, an early example of his good timing.
      The editor of the Elkader Journal at the county seat soon wrote: "A very tasty little sheet is the Brookings County Press, editorially and mechanically, showing that Geo. W. Hopp's hand has lost none of its cunning, and his brain none of its vivacity. . . . They have a well-furnished office, for job, book and newspaper work, and no one is better qualified to perform said work than our old friend George."
      George soon sank down roots and became a leader of the Republican Party, both locally and statewide, including attending as a delegate at the Territorial conventions of 1880 and 1888 and the Republican National Convention in Chicago in June 1884. He was the first postmaster and served in the office through 1886. He published the Press until sometime in 1889-1890, when he left for Washington, the new 42nd state. In 1882, George married Edith McBride, the daughter of Robert McBride. John O'B. Scobey had moved to Brookings about the same time that George did and married Myrtle Elizabeth Walker in November 1880. Hopp and Scobey both joined the Brookings Masonic Lodge No. 24 AF&AM in 1881 and on April 30, 1885, George helped organize Dauntless No. 13 Lodge, Knights of Pythias, in Brookings. George preempted 160 acres near Brookings in 1881 and in 1883 he was appointed director of the proposed Brookings Agricultural College, which eventually evolved into SDSU. In 1885 the first college building was erected on a site about three quarters of a mile north from the railroad depot and the first commencement occurred that year. C.A. Kelsey was a physician and taught at the college as well as having a practice in Brookings and he was very active in the Republican Party.

Hopp brothers leave their mark on Dakota Territory
(Homestead cabin)
We found Nancy Cleaveland's Pioneer Girl website late in our research and she provided very valuable insight into Dakota Territory life as well as Laura Ingalls Wilder. The photo above is from her blog where she often provides the fine points of homesteading. Like her, we have wondered, when we tour recreated pioneer cabins, how they are often built with high ceilings and roomy interiors. Her photo is of the real McCoy, maintained on the Parker Homestead State Park in Montana. Imagine how whole families lived in cabins like these during the extreme weather of both summer and winter.

      All of George's younger brothers followed his lead and moved to Dakota Territory from 1879 through the 1880s. In the 1870 federal census of Clayton County, Iowa, all four of them were living at John and Sarah's farm and attending school. By the time of the 1880 census, only Henry Hopp, then 19, was left on the farm, helping his father farm after John F. Hopp experienced heart trouble at age 59. Younger brother Thomas P. Hopp, then 16, farmed nearby in Sperry Township on the farm of A.T. and Mary C. Lawrence. Brother John Hopp, then 24, boarded with M.L. and Cynthia C. Blake and farmed with them in Volga City, 13 miles north of Strawberry Point, near Elkader.
      When the 1880 census was enumerated in June, George W. Hopp was boarding with Thomas and Elsie Thompson in Brookings. At that point, the only brother then living in Dakota Territory was Jacob W. Hopp, then 22, who was living in De Smet, 41 miles west in Kingsbury County. He was a printer and single, boarding with the Fuller brothers, who owned a hardware store in town. The brothers remained an important part of his life during that decade. Charleton S.G. Fuller and his brother Gerald C.R. Fuller were New York natives. Charleton arrived in Brookings with the flood of 1879 settlers and formed a hardware partnership with A.J. Dox of Chicago and in 1880 Charleton opened a branch in De Smet in anticipation of the railroad. The partners parted company and Gerald came out to De Smet to join him. Jacob apparently joined George's company first, becoming the first printer at Fountain City and Brookings for the Press.
      Besides farming, brother Thomas P. Hopp completed his schooling, unlike George, and then attended Upper Iowa University, a private school established in 1857 in nearby Fayette. He learned both the creamery and printer's trade along the way, talents he would draw on in the future. He moved to Dakota Territory in 1881, according to his 1904 biography in An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country of Washington state. That same biography claims that in Dakota Territory, Thomas "established four papers, all of which are thriving to-day and among them may be mentioned the Medicine Valley Times." That latter paper was published in Blunt, population 370 in 2000 and not much bigger in the 1880s when it was located at the far western end of the C&NW tracks in Hughes County, 168 miles west of Brookings
      Thomas apparently launched the Times on Feb. 15, 1883, according to records compiled by, which profile all the territorial and state newspapers. In a 1937 History of Hughes County, early settler Henry Hoffman recalled, "Almost before the boom struck Blunt, a newspaper was started in March. It was known as the Medicine Valley Times and the first proprietors were A. C. Lanish and Thos. P. Hopp. It was published in the Westover & Houtz's land office, a room 14 feet square. The paper changed hands four times in as many weeks, the present proprietor taking possession May 21." Settled in 1882, the town was named for John E. Blunt, chief engineer of the C&NW when the station was established. The Times did not last long; the Blunt Weekly Advocate survived in town and was absorbed by the weekly Capital-Journal in nearby Pierre in 1914.
      Thomas's more important newspaper, the only other one in Dakota Territory that we could definitely connect with him, was the Arlington Sun, which he co-founded with Elbert W. Smith in 1885 halfway between Brookings and De Smet. Smith was a lawyer who moved his young family in a covered wagon from Wisconsin to nearby Oakwood in 1877. Smith opened a law office in town in 1885 at the same time that he and Thomas P. Hopp launched the Sun in April 1885. While not an instant profit-maker, it did replace the Nordland Gazette, which was older. Thomas moved on after an undetermined time and Smith sold the paper within a year, but bought it back in 1891. His son, Harold S. Smith, who was 16 months old when the Smiths arrived in the covered wagon, became the publisher in 1895.
      In another of the many connections to Washington and Skagit County, the Smiths moved briefly to Washington in 1890-91 and in 1904, Harold moved here permanently. He published the Sunnyside Times in eastern Washington sometime around 1910, then the Charleston American (now West Bremerton) from about 1917 until the mid-1920s. Charleston Historian Russ Warren discovered that Smith also owned an auto dealership there. Then Smith published the Puget Sound Mail in LaConner from 1926-35. We plan to profile Harold in an upcoming issue, with other editors of the Mail, but we are especially indebted to Bruce B. Satra of Vernal, Utah. He is a nephew of Harold and Olive May Clinganschmidt, whom Harold returned to South Dakota to marry in 1904. Through him we discovered Harold's connection to the Sunnyside Times. Does that mean that a Smith joined another Hopp brother — this time George, in another publishing venture in 1910, as indicated in the 1910 Federal Census? Stay tuned.
      The next Hopp brother to settle in Dakota Territory was Henry Hopp, who proved up on a preemption claim in Kingsbury County on Dec. 15, 1883. John was the next brother to follow up on George's lead; he preempted 160 acres in Brookings County sometime by 1889. Even though Henry preempted land in Dakota, the 1885 Territorial Census in Iowa showed that he still farmed with the parents in Iowa. Neither John nor Henry ever worked in printing as far as we know. John moved to Washington when George did and settled near the Olympia Brewery in Tumwater. Henry lived in the Midwest until the early 1920s when he moved to San Diego, but he came back sometime in the 1920s and he died in Musselshell, Montana, in 1936.

Jacob Hopp, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little Town on the Prairie
(Jacob W. Hopp)
This photo of Jacob probably dates from the period after he moved to Washington in 1890. Photo courtesy of Nancy Cleaveland and The Depot Museum in De Smet, South Dakota.

      Jacob W. Hopp is the Hopp brother who has been read about the most of all the brothers, however, because of his connection with the Ingalls family. As Donald Zochert wrote in his book, Laura: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder [1977, Harper Collins}, "Jake Hopp and George Matthews rode into town [De Smet, Dakota T.] on April Fool's Day [1880] with a wagon load of printing equipment, the Fuller brothers had their hardware store up." R.N. Bunn wrote in Railroad Opened The Way For Settlement Of The Dakotas: "Townsites were platted, sold and built ahead of the arrival of track layers, and De Smet was a busy little place in late March, 1880, when the writer first visited it, even before track laying had started west from Volga, and when the construction train first whistled for the place, about May 1st, stores had been built and stocked and were doing business with land seekers and settlers coming on to land located previously." The newspaper would be the Kingsbury County News, which debuted on April 15, 1880, and De Smet became the county seat.
      De Smet is in Kingsbury County, 41 miles west of Brookings and was named for Father Pierre De Smet, a 19th century Jesuit missionary. Mathews (spelled Matthews and even both ways in some records) was John O'B. Scobey's partner in Brookings. During the fall of 1879, Charles Ingalls moved his family 110 miles west from Walnut Grove, Minnesota, to join him in De Smet. Nancy Cleaveland, who has been studying documents, diaries and books about the Ingalls family for more than ten years, cites a handwritten memoir by Charles Ingalls in which he wrote that he was hired in June as a bookkeeper, timekeeper, and paymaster by the Dakota Central Railroad. Although C&NW owned the overarching system and track was laid by crews from the Winona & St. Peter line that C&NW absorbed in 1867, this particular line that was built west to Pierre, Dakota was usually called the Dakota Central.

(Surveyors House)
In December 1879, the Ingalls family moved into this Dakota Central Railroad Surveyors House at De Smet. Laura wrote about it in her book, By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939). This photo is courtesy of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society website, 105 Olivet Avenue, De Smet, South Dakota, which is full of information and photos for those who want to learn more.

      The Ingalls family left on the train on September 6 and rode west to Tracy, Minnesota, where Charles met them. They continued by wagon, winding up at the Silver Lake camp the next day, where Charles worked for A.L. Wells and Co. selling goods to the graders on the Dakota Central Railroad. The family lived in a railroad shanty in De Smet until December, when the railroad surveyors quit work and the Ingalls family moved into the Surveyors House. Charles's wife, Caroline Lake (Quiner) Ingalls, had her hands full with four girls, ranging from age fourteen to two: Mary Amelia, Laura Elizabeth, Caroline Celestia "Carrie" and the baby, Grace Pearl. Mary had become blind in the spring of 1879, the result of brain fever, as noted on a later application to the Iowa College for the Blind in Vinton. De Smet was the setting for four books of Laura's Little House series and two of her books that were published posthumously. Laura's seventh book, Little Town on the Prairie, first published in 1941 when she was 74, and most recently reprinted in April 2008, featured Jacob Hopp. Jacob played a key part in a rite of passage for Laura, an apparently real incident that is set in her fictional book in 1882 when she was 14 and trying to forge her own identity:
      But next morning she and Mary Power were so eager to see Laura that they waited for her to come out of the house. Mary Power had found out about name cards. Jake Hopp, who ran the newspaper, had them at the newspaper office next to the bank. They were colored cards, with colored pictures of flowers and birds, and Mr. Hopp would print your name on them. . . . Mr. Hopp promised that the cards would be ready on Wednesday at noon, and that day Laura could hardly eat her dinner. Ma excused her from doing the dishes, and she hurried to the newspaper office. There they were, delicate pink cards, with a spray of pinker roses and blue cornflowers. Her name was printed in thin, clear type: Laura Elizabeth Ingalls.
(Laura's card)
      Jacob went through the long, severe Dakota winter of 1980-81 that Laura described in her 1940 book, The Long Winter, also set in De Smet. In a 1921 letter, he described his work as "I moved to De Smet in March [1880] and prepared all the type for the first and succeeding issues of the News," but he proved to be a successful publisher and businessman in those early railroad years. Another paper started in town, as was the case in many frontier boom towns where the papers were aligned with political parties or causes. The Hopps were well greased in the Territorial Republican Party. Cleaveland adds that the main reason for such a profusion of these small weeklies was because of the preemption-claim process: "final proof notification had to be published in a paper three times prior to making final proof. Final proof notices financed many a small paper that fizzled out once the land had been patented." The competing De Smet Leader began publication on Jan. 27, 1883, and later merged with the Kingsbury County News on Nov. 1, 1890, to form the De Smet News.
(Book cover)
The cover of the 2004 edition of Little Town on the Prairie, with colorized versions of Garth Williams illustrations.

      After the railroad arrived in June 1880, Jacob took on a number of partners over the years. George A. Mathews became more active in politics, as did his partner Scobey. Scobey was a member of the Territorial Council in 1883, which led to Mathews being appointed to the Capital Commission, which authorized $45,000 for the Brookings Agricultural College, where he and George W. Hopp were trustees. After Mathews (who wound up in San Diego four decades later) left the partnership, one of Jacob's partners was Will E. Whiting, who was a member with Jacob in a bachelor's club in town and who came to De Smet with his father and brothers in 1879. That bachelor status for Jake ended on July 7, 1883, when he married a De Smet girl, Susie Power, at Kasson, Minnesota. The Power family figured prominently into both Laura's book and the Hopp family future. Three months earlier, Whiting left the partnership on April 14, 1883, and C.B. Macdonald took his place. Hopp & Macdonald were known by most as Jake and Mac, as the pair became two of the most popular and influential men in the district. Although the News started as a branch of Geo. W. Hopp & Co. of Brookings, Jacob apparently bought a significant share, maybe a majority.
      On June 14, 1884, the News reported that Hopp and MacDonald sold the paper to Will E. Whiting and W.J. Barnes. In November, Mrs. L. M. Hilton took the place of Barnes and in the new firm of Whiting and Hilton, Whiting became the editor; Whiting also married Mrs. Hilton. MacDonald had moved to Kansas. The year of 1885 brought hard times to Dakota and most of the rest of the nation. An ad that year featured Tinkham & Hopp; Charles Tinkham was the hardware merchant in De Smet and Jacob had become a furniture dealer. The big news in De Smet that year for Little House readers was the marriage on Aug. 25, 1885, of Laura Elizabeth Ingalls to the dashing homesteader, Almanzo Wilder, at the home of Rev. E. Brown. Cleaveland notes that Laura taught at the Wilkin School in the spring of 1885 and that Laura reluctantly left home at age 16 in early 1884 to teach at a one-room school 12 miles south of De Smet. On March 13, 1886, Hopp and Mac Donald took over again as proprietors of the News. In April 1887, Jacob was elected to the De Smet City Council.

The Hopp brothers move to Washington, one by one
      Back in Brookings, George Hopp passed on the postmaster duties in 1886 and in that same year his brother John set up business in town, initially in second-hand goods and then the City Dray line, which hauled freight to and from the railroad and between towns in the county. In that same year, John married Carrie Adell, a Wisconsin native, who was five years younger. By 1888, people were coming back from the West Coast on connections with the Northern Pacific and telling folks in Iowa and Dakota Territory about the amazing land out in Oregon and Washington Territories that was covered with natural resources from abundant crops to timber to minerals, including gold and coal.
      We are unsure which newspaper George's youngest brother Thomas owned after he left the Arlington Sun, but we do know that he wound up being the stalking horse for the brothers in their move to Washington Territory, departing in 1888. Various biographies for Thomas have overlapping time frames for his first five years here and the newspapers he started, but after sorting out the information in all the cities, we conclude that he landed first at Union City, in Mason County, on the Olympic Peninsula, mainly because the 1904 Big Bend biography lists that town first. There was much talk in the 1888-89 period about a railroad branch extending around the southern end of Puget Sound to the Peninsula and many sawmills were churning out lumber and shingles in the area of Hood's Canal where Union began as a trading center in three decades earlier. We have not yet determined when he launched the Union City Tribune, but it was apparently in print before 1890.
      Maybe Thomas followed hunches or reliable information about future railroads because in 1890 he established a second paper at Marysville in Snohomish County, the town on the north shore of the delta of the Snohomish River, five miles northeast of future-Everett. James P. Comeford and his wife, Maria, opened a trading post on the nearby Tulalip Indian Reservation in 1872 and Comeford soon bought some land, where Marysville now stands, from William Renton and other homesteaders when Renton moved his operation south to King and Kitsap counties. Comeford's branch store was the only original business until about 1883, when the first influx of settlers grew rapidly and he soon platted a town named for his wife.
      Comeford wrote a history of the area years later, recalling that Thomas P. Hopp started the Marysville Globe newspaper in 1889, the same year that the "Great Northern railway built through Marysville." That did not seem right because James J. Hill did not start building his GN/Seattle & Montana through Marysville until 1891. Then we read an account by Phil Dougherty, the excellent historian from Sammamish, who reminded us that the Globe did not begin publication until February 2, 1892. He also noted that another newspaper, the Marysville Leader, started sometime in 1890, before the railroad actually arrived, and that it went bankrupt in 1890. We conclude that Thomas launched the Leader but soon moved on to what he saw as greener pastures, his modus operandi back in Dakota, but that Comeford and others may have confused it with the Globe.
      The 1904 biography also claims that from 1888 to 1892, [Thomas] "was special agent of the United States treasury, located at Whatcom, and during this time seized large amounts of opium." So far we have no record of that, but his next venue was indeed in Whatcom County because his third paper appeared in 1890 in Sumas, right at the southern edge of the border with British Columbia and a key town on the rail line that ran north to Mission, B.C.. In Volume One of her 1926 History of Whatcom County, Lottie Roeder Roth noted that Thomas launched the Sumas News in April 1890, possibly simultaneously with the Union City and/or Marysville papers.
      Back in De Smet, the Kingsbury County News reported on May 10, 1890, that Jacob W. Hopp and E.P. Sanford "started Tuesday for the Pacific coast. They expect to spend about three weeks looking over Washington." On Aug. 9, 1890, the News reported, "Last Saturday evening at the residence of J.W. Hopp, Edwin P. Sanford and Miss Mary Power were married," which made the two men brothers-in-law by marriage. In between time, in early July, Jacob left town for a short visit with his parents at Bush Creek, Iowa. That was apparently in preparation for moving his family to Washington, because Roth notes that he soon joined Thomas in a partnership at the Sumas News. Jacob was elected a city councilman in Sumas in September 1891.
      That brings us full circle to the introduction at the beginning of this story, because George W. Hopp had already moved to Washington as the second of the publisher brothers, sometime in late 1889 or 1890 because he began the Sedro Press in April 1890. Pioneer descendant Ethel Van Fleet Harris showed a copy of the first issue of the Press to the Courier-Times publisher in 1953 and she showed it to Ray Jordan in the early 1970s, when he writing his book, Yarns of the Skagit Country, but the Van Fleet family descendants do not know where the copy is now. We hope a reader will have any copy of the Press in their family scrapbooks.
      As we researched about George, we discovered that one of Sedro-Woolley's most famous early doctors practiced in Brookings while George lived there. Menzo B. Mattice set up practice in Brookings in 1881, according to the 1906 book, Illustrated History of Skagit & Snohomish Counties. We wondered at first if Mattice moved to Sedro first, but then we discovered that in the year George moved out here, Mattice and his brother opened a drug store and a music store and continued through 1891. Sometime later that year, Mattice moved to Sedro and became the third mayor, in 1894-95, after Hopp. Maybe he followed George.
      All three brothers were in place in 1890 in the new state, which gained statehood the prior November 11 as the 42nd in the Union. North and South Dakota became the 39th and 40th states simultaneously on Nov. 2, 1889, nine days before Washington. None of the Hopps stayed in one place long, however, because they had nearly 40 years of publishing ahead, in cities all over the Northwest.
      For now, though, it was time for Thomas to get hitched. In November 1890, Thomas, now 27, returned temporarily to Clark, South Dakota, to marry 17-year old Abbie C. Stillwell, the daughter of Edward Stilwell, an Indiana native who owned a general store. That discovery led us to wonder if a newspaper in Clark County was one of the two papers we could not find in Thomas's series of four back there. Clark is the county seat and for such a sparsely populated town and county (1285/4183 in 2000), the railroad boom brought good times for this town northwest of Brookings. At least four newspapers were based here in those years of the 1880s and '90s. Could Thomas's paper have been the Clark County Pilot, 1883-1885; the Clark Review, 1886; or the Clark County Review, 1885-1886? Or could he have been the unnamed partner of Fred S. Pruyn on the Clark Pilot-Review, 1886-1925, that resulted from a merger of the two earlier papers? Could that have been the paper that he left in 1888 and did he return to Clark to marry the high school girl he met there? We hope a reader will have the answer.

The Hopp publisher-brothers trio branches out
      Two years after the Sumas launch, Jacob was on the move again, this time to Idaho, which had become the 43rd state on July 3, 1890, eight months after Washington was admitted to the Union. In May 1892, Jacob and Susie moved to Latah County, Idaho, to take over the Genesee News (or Recorder), which had launched the year before, about a hundred miles south and east from Spokane. Their company was called Hopp & Power, presumably for Jake's brother-in-law Charles Power. Terrana discovered that Charles was a printer back in DeSmet as early as 1887. He moved with them to Genesee and worked as a printer for the News and became a printer at some point. As in De Smet, they sank roots and stayed there a little more than 11 years before moving back to Whatcom County. A report in February 1900 noted that Jacob had drawn on his creamery training and was running such a business in addition to the paper.

(Jacob and Susie Hopp)
      Top: We are indebted to Gina Terrana and Loie Robinson for a collection of photos of Jacob W. Hopp and his extended family. Jacob and Susie Hopp in Bellingham. Photo courtesy of Gina Terrana and Loie Robinson.
(Hopp and Sanford houses)
      Right: Gina's photograph of the 600 block of Chestnut Street, Bellingham, showing the Jacob Hopp home on the left and the Edwin Sanford home on the right.

      Although the brothers did not sell the Sumas News to Whatcom County pioneer Jesse R. Hall sometime in 1893, after Hall's competing International Vidette newspaper folded, Thomas also moved on in early 1893 to his fourth newspaper in four years, this time the Bridgeport Standard in Bridgeport in Douglas County, east of the North Cascades Mountains. Thomas had finally found someplace to call home and he and Abbie stayed there until their deaths, raising nine children. Although Washington state was starting to slide economically at the beginning of what would become a full-blown nationwide Depression in 1893, Douglas County showed real promise. In 1892 a group of Connecticut investors purchased the townsite of Westfield, renaming it in honor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, their hometown, a year after Butler Liversay platted the village. Thomas melded quickly with the new developers and named his new newspaper the Standard after the daily in Connecticut, although the paper back east served a population of nearly 50,000 and the city on the Columbia hovered around 100 population in the 1890s.
      Four dams were built on the Columbia River near Bridgeport in modern times, but back then river shipping and agriculture were the mainstays of the economy. The Columbia nearly completely encircles the county and once pioneers built irrigation canals, the desert and sagebrush was replaced by apple, pear, and cherry orchards, which are still prominent. Chelan County is to the west and Okanogan County is to the north. In 1898, Thomas opened a mercantile establishment in a small way, but it soon grew into a large general store in Bridgeport where he sold agricultural implements. He was postmaster for four years and then Judge Hanford appointed him U.S. Commissioner. Unlike George, he apparently did not join the Masons, but was a member of the Modern Workmen of America., and the I.O.O.F. Odd Fellows, and was a Lutheran, noting that he was raised that way. We are still looking for when he sold the newspaper.

Murder creates an opportunity for George in Olympia
      Back at the Skagit River, George also moved when he saw a better opportunity open up. By 1892, neighboring Woolley was already ascending over the united Sedros. Because all the early issues of both the Sedro Press and Skagit County Times in Woolley burned in various fires years ago, we are unsure of which Sedro, old or new, was the original home of Hopp's plant; it may have been on Jameson Street, where other businesses straddled in the early 1890s.
      Down south at the state capital in Olympia, more than 50 different papers had stopped and started from 1852 to 1900. Back in 1876, a daily Olympian surfaced but it came in and out with the changing economic tide. In 1891 a group of local printers including George Blankenship decided to launch the Daily Morning Olympian. Charles R. Carroll and J. H. Norris published the first issue on March 15, 1891, with John Rea, editor. A lot of shuffling ensued and on June 9, Rea and Norris were left and James P. Ferry had joined on. Publication by committee did not seem to work, however, because on Dec. 10, 1891, Thomas Henderson Boyd purchased the paper. He did very well for a year until he became a victim in Seattle on Dec. 3, 1892, of one of the most sensational murders of the 1890s.
      This was a difficult case to research. All we initially knew was that Henderson was shot and that his "murderess," Ursula Junito Unfug, was brought to trial in Seattle on March 23, 1893. Her appearance stunned the courtroom as she showed up in widow's garb and veil, insisting, when Prosecuting Attorney Miller asked if Unfug was her true name, that "No, Ursula J Boyd is my true name." She was indeed his wife and we knew that she was acquitted. That is when I turned to Gary Zimmerman of the Fiske Genealogical Library in Seattle, who often performs magic when ferreting out facts from a century or more ago.
      Gary discovered that Boyd was 30 years old and that in December 1889 he was appointed the first clerk of the Committees on Agriculture and Military Affairs for the Washington State Senate after statehood was granted that November. Clarence Bagley, in his 1929 book, History of King County, observed, "The verdict of the jury practically said, 'Served him right'," and in his 1916 History of Seattle he wrote that the murder was "one of the saddest tragedies that ever resulted from the double standard of morals for men and women. He was the editor of a well-known paper; she a courtesan of the underworld, until she met him two years previous to the murder." Then Gary found this summary from the "paper of record:"

Shot and killed her husband
New York Times Dec. 4, 1892
      Seattle, Washington, Dec. 3 — Thomas Henderson Boyd, editor of the Olympian, at Olympia, was shot at a late hour last night by his wife, who lives here. Boyd came her from Olympia today and spent the evening in a saloon drinking. About 10:30 his wife came after him and took him home in a hack. Thirty minutes later she shot and killed him, but for what reason is not known. She was arrested. Thomas H. Boyd was the son of Col. A.P. Boyd of Philadelphia, at one time Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
      Boyd, who was thirty-five years of age, went to Tacoma about four years ago, where he engaged in newspaper work, afterward going to Olympia, where he bought the Olympian. He was a fluent writer and a man of excellent address. His wife says she shot him because he had ceased to love her.

      Boyd's estate continued publication until Feb. 10, 1893, when a new group of partners bought it. J.O'B. Scobey — who moved to Washington the year before, became a principal partner with George W. Hopp and they decided to accomplish a two-fer. In addition to the Olympian, they also bought the Tribune from J. W. Robinson, calling the merged product the Olympian-Tribune for the first year only, then the Olympian again. Their other partners included Henry A. McBride, H.C. Parliament and F.S. Swan, with Scobey as the editor and manager as their first issue appeared. Scobey and Hopp were of course friends for the past 20 years. McBride was Hopp's brother-in-law who lived with the family. Hopp knew Parliament from Skagit County, where the latter published the Skagit County Logger in 1890 — which evolved into the Hamilton Herald and then the Concrete Herald, and then he published the Star in old Sauk City.
      Over the next year, partners dropped one by one until Scobey and Hopp were the only ones left as the nationwide Depression hit the area hard. As the Depression dragged on, S.A. Madge appeared as a new business manager in June, 1896. Then on Nov. 1, 1897, Madge bought Hopp's interest. Scobey, whose intriguing middle initial stood for O'Brien, had left the paper in July when President William McKinley appointed him as a Receiver of Public Moneys in the U.S. Land Office in Olympia. Scobey had served two terms in the Dakota Territorial Legislature back home and he was elected to a term in the Washington State Legislature as a representative from Thurston County, from 1895-97. He died in 1910.. His first love, however, was his orchard and he organized the Puget Sound Preserving Company, which gained famed for its strawberry jam, according to William Farrand Prosser in a biography included in his 1903 book, A History of The Puget Sound Country.
      George's activities over the next 16 years after leaving the Olympian are full of gaps. In a biography in the 1928 book, History of the Columbia River Valley From The Dalles to the Sea, author Fred Lockley wrote that "he was connected with the state printing office at Olympia until 1913." Maybe he was thus engaged for the first few years, but we found snippets showing that he was otherwise engaged during that period.

New century, new papers, brothers move again
(Hopp house)
Jacob and Susie Hopp's house in Genesee, Idaho. Courtesy of Gina Terrana and

      By 1894, the Snohomish Rural Directory shows, John Hopp had joined his brothers in Washington and was a farmer near Marysville — did he come with Thomas? In the 1900 Federal Census, he was recorded as a farmer living in Tumwater, by Olympia, with Carrie and three children ranging from ten to two.
      In 1898, brother Henry Hopp and his wife, Mary, had a baby girl they named Margret Hazel while living in Missouri; they had married two years earlier when Henry was 35 and Mary was 22. In the 1900 Federal Census, they were recorded in Clark, South Dakota, where Thomas had returned to marry a decade before. By 1910 they were living in Brooklyn, Hennepin County, Minnesota, and had added a daughter, Bertha, and a baby girl named Iowla, or Lola. In 1920 the family lived in Musselshell, Montana, where Henry was 58 and still a farmer, while Margret, or Marguette, was working in the post office. By 1922 they lived in San Diego, California, when Jacob's family visited them and George A. Mathews and they still lived there in 1926 when Jacob died, but in the 1930 census, they were recorded in Belmount, Golden Valley, Montana, and all the children had moved away. Henry died at age 75 on May 24, 1936, in Musselshell and Mary survived him by 26 years, dying in Contra Costa, California, on Oct. 27, 1962.
      Jacob and Susie were still living in Genesee in 1900; they never had had any children. In August 1903 the Edwin P. Sanford family reported back to De Smet that Jacob and Susie had returned to Whatcom that year, when that town merged with the other communities on Bellingham Bay to form the consolidated town of Bellingham. Charles Power, Mary and Susie's brother, had remained in Idaho.
      Then there was the cryptic Alaska gold rush connection. Back on June 1, 1900, the De Smet News carried a letter from Jacob, in which he wrote, "A brother of this writer, with a P.M.'s commission in his pocket and divers schemes in his head, sailed from Seattle on the fine U.S. Senator for Cape Nome, Saturday. Just before the boat pulled out he scribbled a few lines for us, saying they expected a fine trip and a good time after they arrive among the gold-lined shores." After the initial gold strikes along the Yukon River in 1896-98 that started the gold fever, action had moved on to the Nome area in western Alaska, near the Bering Strait. We have not yet determined which brother he wrote about. While researching, however, we found notations at the website,, from Sept. 12, 1905, that recorded, "Klondike Pioneers from Seattle, Washington . . . Jacob and Mrs. Jacob Hopp, 114 Valley St. Seattle." That reminded us that when we started our research many years ago, we found another publisher named Hopp in Alaska. On Dec. 5, 1891, Fred L. Henshaw sold the Skagit County Times in Woolley (which he founded earlier that year) and left for Alaska to work for a newspaper at Douglass Island, Alaska, which was owned by a Charles Hopp. We later found a copy of a 1914 letter from Alaska, signed by publisher Charles A. Hopp of the Douglas Island News, Douglas Island, Alaska. Douglas Island is just south of the state capital at Juneau, at the southeastern tip of the state, far away from Nome, and we have not yet connected Charles with the Hopp brothers.

(Power sisters)
The Power sisters of De Smet all three married men who moved to Whatcom County. From the left: Mary Power Sanford, whose husband, Edwin, became a director of Bellingham National Bank; Lizzie Power Leitch, whose husband was Sam Leitch, a U.S. court clerk in Whatcom County; and Susie Power Hopp, who married Jacob W. Hopp. Their brother, Charles Power, was Jacob's partner with the Genesee News. Photo courtesy of Gina Terrana and Loie Robinson, who is a granddaughter of Charles Power. Gina notes that Mary Power is the only one of the sisters who appeared in a Laura Ingalls Wilder book.

      Thanks to Gina Terrana and, we read in the Genesee News that Jacob and Susie returned to Whatcom County in January 1902 and that Jacob went into the hardware business. When we researched various Whatcom and Bellingham directories, we discovered that he became a partner with Nathan N. Hinsdale in Hinsdale Hardware. As far as we know, that marked the end of Jacob's publishing career. Jacob's life took a downturn when Susie came down severely ill in 1905-07 and on July 2, 1907, she died in Bellingham. After several visits to Whatcom, Susie's widowed mother, Elizabeth Power, moved to Bellingham in 1906 as did Edwin P. Sanford and his wife, Mary, Susie's sister. Victor Roeder, president of Bellingham National Bank and son of Whatcom founder Henry Roeder, soon hired Edwin as a teller and ten years later Edwin became a director of the bank. Mary Power Sanford died at age 63 on Oct. 2, 1929, and Edwin died after a heart attack on Aug. 19, 1932, at age 67. In 1910, Jacob married again to Alice J. Leitch Allison, a close friend of his and his deceased wife. By the time of the census that year, he was listed as a hardware salesman.

George and the Sunnyside Times
      George is the brother who is hardest to place during the period from 1900 to 1909. For the 1900 census, his wife, Edith, was oddly listed as the head of the family in Tumwater, but they were still married; we have not found George anywhere else that year. They had three children, all born in Dakota Territory: Douglas, 17; Edith, 15, and Blaine, 11. Her widowed father, Robert McBride, 75, lived with them. We know that George was still around because he was elected that fall to the State Legislature and served one term, representing Thurston County, from 1901-03.
      We cannot find any firm details about George in the period after his term in the Legislature ended in 1903, so we had to tie together some admittedly loose ends. From various accounts, we know that his next to last newspaper was the Sunnyside Times. As noted in the 1919 History of Yakima Valley, Kittitas & Benton Counties, "The Sunnyside Times, of which A. M. Muffin is editor, was founded by L. W. Miller and George W. Hopp, now of the Camas Post." Unfortunately the writer did not give a time period and thus far we have not found such a record elsewhere. As we noted elsewhere, Harold S. Smith was associated with the Times in 1910 so perhaps a Smith and a Hopp collaborated again on a newspaper sometime up to 1910 in Sunnyside.
      We know where George was in 1910, when he was recorded in the census that June in both Bellingham and Olympia. Edith's brother, Henry McBride, who was George's partner 17 years earlier at the Olympian, lived with them in Olympia. George and his son, Blaine, were lodging in Bellingham while they were both listed as manufacturers at the Bellingham Glazed Cement Pipe Works. The 1911 Polk Directory lists George as the president of the firm. In the 1912 directory, Jacob W. Hopp is listed as the manager of the company. By the time of the 1920 Federal Census, Jacob was the Manufacturer of Cement Pipe in Bellingham. On July 31, 1922, the De Smet News reported that Jacob was president of the Bellingham Concrete Works. Thus far we have not determined the details of the ownership of the company by George and Jacob over the years or if George sold out his interest.

George finally finds a home
(George in Legislature)
George W. Hopp in the State Legislature, 1921

      We do know that in 1913 George finally sank roots as brother Thomas had done 20 years before in Bridgeport. In the 1928 book, History of the Columbia River Valley From The Dalles to the Sea, Fred Lockley wrote that George bought the Camas Post in 1913, which had been founded in Clark County in 1908. The town had begun as the LaCamas Colony Company in 1883, ironically to provide materials for another publisher. The colony selected the townsite of LaCamas on the northern shore of the Columbia River for their new paper mill. Henry L. Pittock, the owner of the Oregonian newspaper of Portland needed large stocks of paper, and the lakes behind LaCamas provided a vast source of water to power machines at such a mill.
      Aeneas MacMaster established the first store at the site in that first year and in 1909 his brother wrote a letter that explained the source of the name being the camas root that Indians depended on for food. The plant flowers with blue blossoms that resemble the hyacinth. The U.S. Postal Service dropped the "La" from the name in 1894 and after the town incorporated in 1906, the shortened name was chosen, much to the displeasure of many local residents, who retained the longer name for the nearby lake and creek. The town eventually developed as one of the twin cities with nearby Washougal that are suburbs of the city of Vancouver. Crown Zellerbach absorbed the local mill and became the most important employer.

(MacMaster store)
The MacMaster general store in Camas.

      George returned to the State Legislature, serving one term as a representative from Clark county in 1921-23. George's wife, Edith, died in on Aug. 26, 1925. According to brother Jacob's obituary, he died while visiting George in Camas on March 20, 1926, on his way to visit brother Henry in San Diego. According to the Columbia River history, George was still publishing the Post in 1928 but an editor of the present Camas-Washougal Post Record indicated that they do not have any records of his era. George died in Camas on Nov. 26, 1928, at age 74. He may have been the last of the trio of brothers to publish a paper, depending on when brother Thomas sold the Bridgeport Standard. We hope that a Washington historian will compile a complete history of old weekly newspapers, such as this South Dakota group has done.
      Brother Henry was still alive back in Montana when George died. John Hopp continued farming and carrying mail until he was almost 70 and he died on June 24, 1943, at age 87 in Tumwater. He and his wife, Carrie, had three children, all born in Washington. Thomas, as the youngest of the five brothers, survived them all. When he was 91, he died in Bridgeport on May 29, 1954, in a rest home in Pateros, on the north shore of the Columbia.

      We owe so much to a group of people who helped us unearth details about this amazing family of publishers. Donna Macy Sand of Bellingham continued to provide key research details. Gary Zimmerman, president of the wonderful Fiske Genealogical Library of Seattle, provided key details. Frank Crisler inspired our search when he initially inquired about the Smith family who published the Arlington Sun in South Dakota, and provided us important details about George W. Hopp and Brookings over the past four years. Bruce Satra contributed details about the Smith family and early Washington weeklies. And late in our process, we met two women who filled in important gaps in South Dakota and Washington from their research of more than a decade into writer Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Power family and the town of De Smet: Nancy Cleaveland, who now lives in Georgia , who publishes the Pioneer Girl website and Gina Terrana, who lives in Seattle and publishes the Roses and Daisies website. We literally could not have provided this complete story without the aid of all of them.

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Capsule story posted on Aug. 23, 2005, totally updated and photos added May 15, 2008
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