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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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Bingham bank memories, part 2
and the 1911 Indian twins story
— Bingham and Ingham
Chapter 4 of 4

William West celebrates 40 years with Bingham Bank
as the bank celebrates 50th anniversary
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, May 9, 1940, Bingham Bank 50th anniversary section
      In about two months, the C.E. Bingham & Company bank will celebrate its fiftieth birthday, but meanwhile, cashier W.T. (Bill) West is celebrating an important anniversary of his own on May 10 when he completes his fortieth year in the pioneer institution of C.E. Bingham & Co.
      McKinley had just been inaugurated as president of the United States and there were evidences of prosperity on every hand when young bill West, then a freshman in high school, went to work in the bank as a general helper to sweep, dust, keep the fire going, run errands and be otherwise useful. Because of his snaillike speed he was soon dubbed "Hotfoot."
      The staff then consisted of C. E. Bingham, president; J.B. Holbrook, cashier; C.A. Watrous, bookkeeper; and Bill. The bank was then located in a frame building on the present site. The only mechanical device employed was one of those newfangled machines, a typewriter. All other work was done by hand, even to copying letters on the old letter press.
      An acetylene gas lighting system provided illumination. Banking hours were then from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, with additional two-hour service from 8 to 10 on Saturday nights and from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Sundays. With dozens of new saw and shingle mills, logging camps, the coal mine at Cokedale flourishing, and many saloons, the bank's heaviest business came on Saturday nights and Sundays. Passenger trains brought crowds in Saturday nights and departed with crowds on Sunday nights. Those were busy, exciting times for the young office boy.
      Throughout his forty years of service, West has worked in every department of the bank. He became assistant cashier in 1913, and in 1920 was promoted to the position of cashier. He has made a name for himself as a banker, as a valued community worker, and as a friend and counselor to many.

Sudden death of W.T. West is big shock; was bank cashier
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Unknown date 1952
(William T. West)
William T. West

      The entire community of Sedro-Woolley was shocked Saturday by the sudden death of William T. West, cashier of the C.E. Bingham & Co. State Bank, and one of Sedro-Woolley's real pioneer citizens. He suffered a heart attack Thursday evening and was rushed to the Memorial Hospital, where he failed to recover, and died Saturday evening.
      Mr. West had suffered a heart attack a year or so ago, and was planning to retire from the bank in the near future. He had been doing some work on his house, and apparently had recovered from his earlier attack. Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at the Lemley mortuary with the Masonic Lodge in charge.
      Bill West was born May 24, 1884, at LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and came to Sedro-Woolley with his parents in 1889. He attended the old Franklin grade school and the old Sedro-Woolley high school. On May 10, 1900, he quit high school, which he was just starting, and went to work as an errand boy at the C.E. Bingham & Co. State Bank. He was employed at that institution for more than 52 years, until his death last week. He became assistant cashier of the bank in 1913 and in 1920 was made cashier, which position he held at the time of his death. He was elected a director of the bank in 1933.
      He was active in many civic organizations and lodges. He was a member of the Knights of Pythias lodge of Sedro-Woolley for more than forty years and was treasurer of this lodge and secretary of the Masonic lodge at the time of his death. He had been a member of the Sedro-Woolley Masonic lodge since 1919 and was one of the most active members for many years, serving from 1943-46 as district deputy grand master. He was a past patron of the local Eastern Star chapter and had served on many Masonic lodge committees. He was a member of the York and Scottish Rite bodies.
      Bill West had served as a member of the city council, on city planning boards and in many other civic groups, and was one of the most highly respected citizens of the community. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Hazel West; by his daughter, Mrs. Maxine Knutzen of Bellingham; one brother, Stanley West, and a sister, Myrtle Wells, and two grandchildren in California.
      Pall bearers at the funeral were Victor Barr, C.J. Shiek, O.C. Shiek, E.E. Scott, C.P. Kloke and A.J. Buckley, all past masters of the local Masonic lodge, which was in charge of the service both at the mortuary and at the graveside at Union Cemetery.

Indian Twins born in Jail in 1911: Ingham, Bingham, Holland
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Dec. 28, 1911
      Ed. note: 1953 sidebar: When the following incident occurred in Sedro-Woolley, Chan Ingham was chief of police and C.E. Bingham was mayor. It has not been definitely established whether or not the twins were named "Ingham and Bingham," but some of the old-timers say they were. 2003 sidebar: Others recall that the twins were named Bingham and Holland. Regardless, the following story is very patronizing and sloppily written, showing how the politically correct pendulum had swung far in one direction. Just substitute "Irish" for "Siwash" in the story and you'll catch our drift. It has swung the other way today, with dreaded terms like Native American. Regardless, the story is still as funny as it was when the incident occurred in 1911, if you can get past the prejudice.

      Twins were born in the Sedro-Woolley jail to Joe and Maggie Joe, Siwashes. Both boys are as robust as a dynamite explosion. Mr. and Mrs. Joe, unmindful of the delicate condition of the latter and according to established Siwash custom were in the city to add to the holiday festivities as far as firewater and wet weather would permit and there seems to have been an abundance of both.
      It was Magg's state of inebriation and dampness that induced Maggie's arrest, rather than the more cogent reasons stated above. Maggie was given blankets, locked in a cell alone. When Marshal Bell went into the outer room later, Maggie was at the cell door, asking for a drink of water. After drinking, she announced "got baby." She had brought a young child to town with her and Bell thought some one had brought it in.
      He departed and returned a little later, found Maggie again standing at the cell door. She again announced "got 'nother baby." Bell investigated and upon absorbing the situation, it flashed into his mind to turn in a fire alarm or call for help. He did the latter though Maggie did not need any such thing.
      Jap Holman [night watchman for merchants] came up and opened the cell door. Maggie walked out to the stove with the two kids each wrapped in one-half of a city blanket. The news spread and there was a Siwash soiree in the vestibule in a few minutes. Mr. and Mrs. Joe, each carrying a twin clad in city blanket, departed on foot for their home near Lyman and no doubt gave the twins their first bath in the Skagit en route.
      [Ed. note: That last swipe at Indian custom needs a brief explanation. From the earliest days of usurpation of Indian land, pioneers noted a custom of Skagit Indians whereby they dunked their babies into ice-cold Skagit river water the minute they started crying. After a few dozen repetitions, the babies learned better than to cry. The conclusion drawn was that the custom derived from times when Northern Haida tribes conducted periodic sojourns to the river to capture slaves. The Indians apparently did not want their cherished infants to give away their parents' hiding places by crying.]

Bingham Bank Employees in 1950
Courier-Times, July 27, 1950, Bingham Bank 60th Anniversary section
      In addition to the officers of the Bingham bank, many of the other employees have been with the institution for many years, and all are local citizens, many of them local high school graduates.
      Frances Britchford, a local high school graduate, entered the bank's employ in 1943 and has been employed there ever since, with the exception of a short period. Minnie Russell joined the force in 1942.
      Peggy Myers also joined the bank force as a bookkeeper in 1943. She was Peggy Fahey at that time, being later married to Eugene (Bud) Myers. She is now a teller in the bank. Her husband, Bud, the bank's note teller, came into the organization after being discharged from the navy in 1945.
      George Sperry also came into the bank shortly after completion of his service in the U.S. Navy. Judy Bingham, now Mrs. George H. Jones, came into the bank as a teller in 1944, continuing with the bank since, except for a sojourn in Hawaii.
      Edna Bryant has been on the bookkeeping staff for a comparatively short time, although she was with the bank for quite a period, several years ago before her marriage. James Fahey, the bank's maintenance man, has been with the firm for some two years and remaining members of the staff have been employed for shorter periods.

Only one of third generation of the Binghams in bank
Courier-Times, July 27, 1950, Bingham Bank 60th Anniversary section
      With sixty years elapsed since C.E. Bingham started the Bingham bank in Sedro-Woolley, the second generation of three sons, Q.R. Bingham, Albert H. Bingham and Charles S. Bingham, are now in charge of the bank and the insurance business operated separately as the Bingham Investment company.
      So far, only one of the third generation of Binghams is connected with the bank. Judy Bingham Jones, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Q.R. Bingham, has been a bank employee for some years. She is married to a Sedro-Woolley man, Dr. George "Bud" Jones, son of dr. and Mrs. George Jones of this city.
      Quinby Bingham, son of Mr. and Mrs. Q.R. Bingham, after putting some time in the marines during the second World War, was graduated from the University of Washington Law School and at present is living in Tacoma, where he is connected with a firm of attorneys. He is married.
      Charles E. Bingham III, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bingham, attended the University of Washington, and during and after the war spent several years in Japan with his wife and two children, a son and a daughter. He was a lieutenant in the Army C.I.C. He became fluent in the Japanese language. He is now in Chicago, continuing his education in an army school.

There are four parts to this Bingham story and two bonus links

Story posted on April 24, 2003, last updated Oct. 7, 2007 . . . Please report any broken links so we can update them
This article originally appeared in Issue 13 of our Subscribers-paid Journal online magazine

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