Site founded Sept. 1, 2000. We passed 3 million page views on Feb. 10, 2009
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.

(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

(Click to send email)
Nora See Hastie, the Capt. John See family, Anacortes brickmaker,
and the Thomas P. Hastie family, who crossed
the plains by covered wagon in 1850

      This brief story is from the 1970 obituary notes that John Conrad prepared for the annual Skagit county Historical Society August picnic. Conrad prepared the profiles from 1949-73 and we have transcribed them from his handwritten notes. The entire collection is being shared first with the subscribers to our separate online magazine and later on our free homepages. Can you help us with memories or scans of photos of these families or any other historic family in Skagit county? Please email if you can. Thank you.

      The death of Nora Hastie, 92 [died in 1969, born in Texas], in Anacortes brings to mind two old pioneer families of early day Skagit county. She was born Nora Grace See in Waco, Texas, in 1877, daughter of John and Nellie Grace See. The father served four years as a captain of a Missouri cavalry company in the Civil War. His civilian trade was brick making and building. He was very civic minded, eventually becoming county commissioner of McClellan county and was also Grand Master of the Texas state I.O.O.F. In 1888 the family, with three children, moved to Tacoma, where the excitement of "railroad boom" was on and Anacortes was contesting Tacoma for the terminal site of the new rail line. Capt. See proceeded on to Anacortes where he resumed his occupation of brickwork. Only one old brick building there today still survives in use — the new Wilson hotel, now called the Cove Hotel. Other large jobs were the junior high school and the old Anacortes Hotel, which stood empty for so many years. Mrs. See and children followed him to Anacortes in 1889 and they lived in a large tent for some time due to shortage of homes, his brick plant was located below 35th street near the present veneer plant [Journal ed. note: where would that plant have been?]. The energetic army veteran organized a G.A.R. branch in Anacortes, became state commander, delegate to numerous conventions as far away as Chicago. Also, in civic affairs he served as mayor, city councilman and as state legislator. After his wife's death he received an appointment as head of the Old Soldier's State Home at Retsil.
      Nora Hastie had a very keen memory and with her gift of "total recall" of old events enjoyed telling of many incidents in her lifetime. She was able to pass a grade school teacher's examination when only 15 years old and substituted in the Anacortes schools. Next year [1893?] she taught at the little Samish Island school and was sent the following year [1894?] upriver to [a school] near Darrington. She made the trip by train to the end of the line at Hamilton, then took a stage to Sauk, then by ferry and then horseback 13 miles to her new school. A log cabin awaited her [with three students to teach] across the Suiattle river, to which she paddled by canoe. The rugged experiences of teaching in this isolated corner of Skagit county [during the depths of the 1890s Depression] taught the young girl schoolteacher that life would perhaps be more attractive and enjoyable down in the older areas . The following year she was able to get an appointment to the Fir School, near Dry Slough [west of the south fork of the Skagit]. This job proved to be an important turning point in her life, for within two miles — as the crow flies, from her new boarding home at the Andrew Crogstad residence, living a dashing young blade named Walter Hastie, who soon was able to communicate and arrange for those romantic horse and buggy rides. The winding gravel roads of Fir were happy roads as they provided the background for a successful courtship and the happy young couple established their new home on the pioneer T.P. Hastie homestead farm. The next year of school opened without her services.
      Walter's father, Thomas P. Hastie Jr., was born in Liverpool, England, in 1835; his mother was Welch. They crossed the Atlantic in 1845 when young Tom was only ten and the parents settled in Wisconsin, where they remained for five years. On the overland journey by ox teams and covered wagon in 1850, they lost two oxen in one spot where the only water found was alkali, slowing down progress of the trip. Left to travel along behind, they reached The Dalles, Oregon territory, too late to travel through the Columbia River Gorge where unusually heavy snow had fallen early. They were obliged to spend the winter of 1850 there working at wood cutting. Leaving in the spring of 1851, they crossed the Columbia river twice en route to fort Vancouver, the last crossing to reach Sauve Island [near future Portland], which provided good feed and rest for the oxen and was to be home for two years. In 1853 they found passage on a salt boat going to Fort Steilacoom on Puget sound for the Hudson Bay Co. The boat's captain, upon hearing that Captain Thomas Coupe successfully brought his vessel through Deception Pass the year before, brought the Hastie family via that route to San De Fuca landing on Whidbey Island in June 1853. The first year, [Thomas P. Hastie Sr.] cut wood in Penn Cove for the steamer Mary Ellen and worked cutting and loading spars for Thomas Cranney, the mill operator at Utsalady, for shipment to world wide shipyards. This material for masts measured 150 to 200 feet long and was skidded by ox teams. Some shipments were lost going around cape Horn. One day while walking on the beach at Brown's Point, Camano Island, Hastie witnessed a raid by Northern Haidah Indians on a canoe load of 14 lower-Skagit Indians, leaving six Skagits dead.
      Hastie Sr. never forgot the brutal assassination of Col. Isaac N. Ebey in 1857 by the same Northern tribe. Hastie Sr. worked for Ebey and one day he was questioned Indians as to Ebey's standing. [Not realizing why they inquired], he replaced that Ebey was "Hyas Tyee" (great man in Chinook Jargon). That evening, after dark, hearing his dogs bark, Ebey opened his door and was shot and killed. Hastie helped Mrs. Ebey and her two children and a Mr. and Mrs. Collins from Olympia escape through a window and run to the nearby home of W.B. Engle. Returning to the Ebey home after arming themselves, they found Ebey's body with his head cut off. It was later found by the captain of the steamer Mary Ellen and returned to the island, where it was buried in his grave. Hastie Sr.'s wife died in 1863 and he returned to Wisconsin, never to return to Whidbey. His claim on Whidbey was by Lake Hastie, which was named for him. In 1855, young Thomas P. Hastie Jr., then 20, joined with Washington volunteer units in the Indian War until 1856, then followed gold strikes through northern Idaho and the cascades, then again served in the Army, 9th U.S. Infantry, 1864-67. [Living] on Whidbey until 1870, he crossed over Skagit Bay to the Skagit delta and homesteaded 160 acres of tideland west of Dry Slough. With veteran's preference he proved up [on the claim] in only two years, but did not move his family over until 1877. Since then he resided continuously until his death in 1925 at age 90. Hastie Jr. was the first Master of a Skagit river Masonic lodge, at Skagit City. He was also a member of the first veterans organization, the G.A.R., or Grand Army of the Republic. He served as sheriff of Island county, then served as county commissioner for Whatcom county, before Skagit county split off in 1883, and then on the new Skagit county board as chairman. For over 35 years he was active in county, school and dike offices.

      You can read a full profile of English immigrant Thomas Hastie, who crossed the plains in 1850 with his family, then settled in the San Juans, where he witnessed the murder of Colonel Isaac Ebey, all before he became a grand farmer on the Skagit delta. In his own words and those of others.

Links, background reading and sources

Story posted on Oct. 18, 2002, last updated on March 9, 2004, moved to this domain July 5, 2009
Please report any broken links so we can update them
This article originally appeared in Issue 10 of our Subscribers-paid Journal online magazine

Getting lost trying to navigate or find stories on our site?
Read how to sort through our 680-plus stories.
Return to the new-domain home page
Links for portals to subjects and towns
Newest photo features
Search entire site
(bullet) See this Journal website for a timeline 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 550 features, we depend on your report. Thank you.
(bullet) Read about how you can order CDs that include our photo features from the first five years of our Subscribers Edition. Perfect for gifts.

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

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

(bullet) Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 88 years.
(bullet) Peace and quiet at the Alpine RV Park, just north of Marblemount on Hwy 20, day, week or month, perfect for hunting or fishing
Park your RV or pitch a tent by the Skagit River, just a short drive from Winthrop or Sedro-Woolley
(bullet) Joy's Sedro-Woolley Bakery-Cafe at 823 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley.
(bullet) Check out Sedro-Woolley First section for links to all stories and reasons to shop here first
or make this your destination on your visit or vacation.
(bullet) Are you looking to buy or sell a historic property, business or residence?
We may be able to assist. Email us for details.

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:
(Click to send email)
Mail copies/documents to Street address: Skagit River Journal, 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, WA, 98284.