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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition Stories & Photos
(Seattle & Northern 1890)
Covers from British Columbia to Puget sound. Counties covered:
Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan. An evolving history dedicated
to the principle of committing random acts of historical kindness

Noel V. Bourasaw, editor 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

(Click to send email)

John Conrad's obituary notes:
Colorful Lives 1951

Prepared for the August 1951 Skagit County Historical Association Pioneer Picnic
including pioneers and their descendants
who passed away from August 1950 to August 1951

      These files are derived from notes that John Conrad compiled annually from 1949-73 and then read in condensed form at the picnic itself and published with collected photographs in the Puget Sound Mail newspaper, which is no longer published. [See Conrad's biography at: this Journal website.] The Mail published a special Pioneer Edition annually for the August picnic. Many can be viewed on microfilm at the Suzallo Library at the University of Washington, but many burned in various LaConner fires. If you have copies of any of them, please email us. We would like to read the issues and include the pioneer profiles that were included each year with the lists. This section will eventually have more than a thousand names of pioneers and descendants. We would appreciate it if you would pass it along to friends and family who are genealogists so that they can consider subscribing and eventually read Conrad's notes of all 25 years when he served as memorialist. Thank you.
      These are Conrad's handwritten notes, which we have transcribed and only lightly edited for clarity and spelling before being coded into web language. The list is organized by general area of the county. The names of those who passed away from the picnic of August 1950 to that of August 1951 are in bold. Information in [ ] is for clarification, correction or research of the individuals, towns or families that has been conducted by the Skagit River Journal. Some of the latter information in brackets is from the Skagit Valley Genealogical Society Index to Funeral Home Records, a most valuable aid. [See this web link for how to obtain it]. If we post burial information, you can assume the person died in 1951 unless we specifically state 1950 inside the brackets. Blue underlined links indicate stories about the pioneers elsewhere in our webpages. One of the most valuable aspects of Conrad's research is that he includes Indian families who were here at the time of the pioneers and emphasizes their impact on the county. We would appreciate it if you would pass it along to friends and family who are genealogists so that they can consider subscribing and eventually read Conrad's notes of all 25 years when he served as memorialist. Thank you.

Highlights of this year's list:
      James and Blanche Gray of Sedro-Woolley. Henry Ambrose Martin of Illabot creek. List of settlers from Maine, New Brunswick and Grand Manan island. Miss Harriet Davis, daughter of Rev. B.N.L. Davis, one of the earliest county settlers, in 1873. Spelling of Whidbey vs. Whidby.

Sedro-Woolley area including Prairie and north,
and the Lakes area south of the Skagit
      James Gray of Sedro-Woolley followed his wife Blanche Gray by 6 months, [he on Sept. 19, 1950, and she on March 5.. Blanche Somers was born Aug. 11, 1864, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, James Gray was born Aug. 14, 1862, also in Nova Scotia, and they married when he returned to Maine briefly in 1898. Jim came to the Sedro area as a logger in 1889 and later owned saloons, the most famous of which was the Palace in Woolley on Northern avenue. Blanche helped organize a lending library in Sedro-Woolley, served as the first librarian, and was a key member of the Carnegie Library after it was built in 1915. [See their story at this Journal website]
      John Gould was a long-time feed dealer in Sedro-Woolley. [Gould was a partner with Marcellus B. Holbrook in the old Skagit Commission feed and grain business, starting in 1906. That was succeeded by Lentz & Nelson Feed Store, just west of the Northern Pacific tracks, where the Vern Sims Ford parking lot is today.
      Mrs. Naomi Ketchum [died in 1951 at age 88, born in Canada] was the widow of one of the first newspaper editors in Sedro-Woolley. [Ed. note: Seneca G. Ketchum was the very colorful editor of the Skagit County Times, which was launched in Sedro in 1891. The first record we have of Ketchum is when he wrote for newspapers in the boomtown of Fairhaven, starting in 1889, and he came to Sedro sometime during the Depression of the 1890s. He was editor during the time that Sedro and Woolley merged and he accompanied photographer Darius Kinsey on a famous tour of the mining areas and the Cascades in 1899-1900. Born in Canada, he died on Aug. 20, 1903, three years after he and Naomi lost an infant son named Seneca Jr. Naomi was a widow for 48 years. Seneca G. Ketchum's notable life and his treks with photographer Darius Kinsey will be the subject of a Journal feature in September 2004.]
      Mrs. Adele Warner Urfer, born at [Warner's] Prairie 72 years ago, was the daughter of Charles Warner, one of the first settlers in Samish valley and who also helped Mortimer Cook log the present townsite of Sedro-Woolley. [Charles was the son of Capt. John Warner, who married a member of the family of the chief of the Thompson river Indians in British Columbia. Charles also owned a saloon in Sedro in the 1890s and he took his own life in 1907. Read about Warner's family at this Journal website.]
      The prosperous lumbering community of Montborne on Big Lake is recalled by the passing of Mrs. Adelia Nelson, widow of Ben, a twin brother of John Nelson, who ran the big industry, Nelson-Neal Lumber Co. for many years.
      Brief notes: M.H. Jordan was an old-time schoolteacher at Lyman, Burlington and Conway. Although serving later in other parts of the state, he always called Skagit county his home and reserved burial lots in Sedro-Woolley cemetery for himself and late wife. Mrs. Maggie Thomas [died in 1950 at age 85, born in Canada] of Sterling was a true American who never missed casting her election ballot through til the election held one week before her death. And Day Woodruff [died in 1951 at age 65, born in Iowa] was a faithful school bus driver for 20 years. Husband and wife both summoned within the year: Mr. and Mrs. Lars Tronsdal of Sterling; Mr. and Mrs. Ewing Colvin of Clear Lake. A mother and son died in McRae: Mrs. Charlotte Norris [died in 1950 at age 85, born in North Carolina] and son Ben [died in 1950 at age 37, born in Oregon]. Mother and daughter in Sedro-Woolley: Mrs. Eva Grace Gregory [died in 1951 at age 87, born in Mississippi] and daughter Mrs. Sibyl Sanders [died in 1951 at age 59, born in Washington].

Upper Skagit river area from Skiyou to the Cascades
and the south-river area east of Clear Lake
(Henry Martin)
Henry Martin
See Upriver section

      Henry Ambrose Martin [died in 1951 at age 90, born in New Brunswick, Canada] was perhaps the last of the early upriver pioneers. They were obliged to pole canoes up the swift water to reach their new homes. [Ed. note: Martin is a pioneer that will profile in the next month. He arrived in Seattle on June 7, 1889, the day after the great fire, took a steamer to Mount Vernon and then walked cross-country about 75 miles to reach his very isolated homestead on Illabot creek, southeast of future Rockport and east of the Sauk river. He literally carved out a home from the wilderness and even built a wooden one-room school for his own children and those of his neighbors. He sent for his wife, Katharine, the next year and together they raised nine children. They hosted Catholic services in their parlor for their children's sake and then sponsored the St. Catherine's mission near Concrete. His son Fred became a state senator and Fred completed his father's dream by donating a sizable island on the old homestead to become a wildlife reserve. Read our three-part story of the Martin family at this website from our old domain. Caution: links in the stories at our old website do not work. You will have to return here to find the proper links. We will replace this series in the fall of 2004.]

Skagit settlers from Maine and New Brunswick
      Ed. note: Our research into the many families who hailed from New Brunswick, Grand Manan Isle and Maine has been spun off to a separate Journal website

Other upriver departed
     : Valentine Adam Jr. [died in 1951 at age 61, born in Hamilton] was the son of one of the first upriver settlers, [who settled on the future site of Lyman in 1877, homesteaded there until 1884 and then traded properties with Henry Cooper. Their farm was halfway between Lyman and Hamilton]. A year after father Adam arrived, 300 Yakima Indians came over the mountains and tried to arouse the upper Skagit tribes to rebel but to no avail. He said that no [wagon] road to Mount Vernon was put through until 1885.
      Mrs. Grace Pape [died in 1950 at age 74, born in 1876 in Nebraska] was a landmark for 61 years in the Birdsview vicinity. [She was the daughter of Capt. Lewis A. Boyd, first upriver schoolmaster, and her second husband was James L. Pape. See Dan Royal's fine website for more information. He is a Boyd descendant. You can also read about Capt. Boyd at this website from our old domain: Caution: links in the stories at our old website do not work. You will have to return here to find the proper links. We will replace this story in the fall of 2004.]
      Frank [Garden] Olson [died in 1950 at age 88, born in Illinois] came to LaConner 68 years ago and worked for Jim Dunlap and many farmers, including my Dad [Charles Conrad]. While living in Fredonia he took up a claim on 120 acres where Rockport is now located, owning much of it till his death. He has called Rockport his permanent home the last 30 years, although still managing his Fredonia farm.
      Brief notes: Old merchants called include Clark Ely, at one time a prominent upriver storekeeper at Van Horn. Herb Lisherness [died in 1950 at age 89, born in Maine] helped in the development of the Lyman area. James Cooper [died in 1950 at age 80, born in New York] will be remembered at Concrete as city marshal for years.

Mount Vernon and southwest Skagit county
      Miss Harriet Davis recently died in Seattle at 65 but she was only a child of five when her father, the Rev. B.N.L. Davis, passed on in 1891. In the less than 20 years that he pioneered in this vicinity, he proved to be one of the most energetic, constructive and upright men in our county's history and left much to be remembered for. [He moved here with his brother James Harvey Davis from Tennessee in 1873 and homesteaded and built a grand house and barn at what is now the north end of Hoag road in the eastern Riverside district.] Coming here in [1873] as a young Baptist minister, he settled on a large tract of land in the northeast Riverside district extending west to present Hwy. 99. He built the farm up to a high degree of cultivation, erected a large dairy barn on the brow of the hill just east of the present Great Northern bridge. The barn was so well constructed that it stands today in use after three-quarters of a century, still dominating the landscape. Rev. Davis had a large apple and prune orchard and planted a large hop field. The settlers and natives came and picked the fruit on shares and a wood-burning drier constructed on the place took care of the owner's share. The hops were planted with the understanding that the product was used for yeast in bread making; however, upon learning later that breweries used most of it for their beverage, the conscientious minister ordered the whole field razed at a substantial loss. But he must have done alright as the tax records of Skagit county show that his taxable wealth in the years 1883-89 was $16,389, a sizable amount in those days. [You can read historian Dick Fallis's extensive biography of Rev. Davis on Dan Royal's www.stumpranchonline.com website]
      Rev. Davis performed the first baptism in the county near the Peter Van de Kuyl's home in a little slough on the North Fork. The recipients were Mahala Washburn, who later became Mrs. C.C. Hansen, and Mrs. Somers, later Mrs. James Gaches. He later served a term as county treasurer. In his honor the 1st Baptist church in Mount Vernon is known as the Davis Memorial church. He died at age 41 in 1891. The obituary of his death, found in an old scrapbook, says: "He was of an irreproachable Christian character and strict integrity" and that the funeral was the largest held until that time.
      On our memorial roll are two cousins with interesting ancestral background: William Gates of Oregon and Ira Gates, [died in 1950 at age 72, born in Skagit county] mayor and civic official at Concrete for a quarter century. William's father, Jasper Gates, was the original settler of [the town of] Mount Vernon, homesteading on the present townsite in 1870. Ira's father was Tom Gates, who arrived here in 1873, homesteading at Dry Slough [southwest of Mount Vernon]. He claimed he had the first wagon in the county but no road to use it on. Jasper and Tom were brothers and both Civil War veterans in Missouri and their father, Abel, was a veteran of the War of 1812. You can also read about Capt. Boyd at this website from our old domain for the full story of Jasper Gates and his extending family as they settled Mount Vernon and the area to the southwest. Caution: links in the stories at our old website do not work. You will have to return here to find the proper links. We will replace this story in the fall of 2004.
      The daughter of an Illinois attorney, Mrs. Sara Brown [died in 1950 at age 85, born in Canada] had two pioneer Mount Vernon attorney brothers: Isham and James Haddock Smith. She was born on the day of Lincoln's second Inaugural and was a classmate of William Jennings Bryan.
      The oldest white woman in years of residence, Mrs. Leona [Moore] Downs, followed her brother George [Moore] in death by less than a year and came to Skagit county 80 years ago when only a child of six months. Her parents Thomas J. and Mary Moore came to the Northwest by sailing vessel around Cape Horn in 1866, settling first at Port Discovery where she was born in 1872. Her death also recalls the history of her father-in-law, Dr. H.P. Downs, physician an early day reclaimer of Skagit tide lands. In 1883 he was appointed a member of the board of county commissioners by the legislature to effect the organization of the new Skagit county, then served three terms as its first auditor, three terms as deputy assessor and was elected twice as mayor of Mount Vernon. [George Moore farmed at old Skagit City.]
      A brother and sister from Mount Vernon died: William Zimmerman [died in 1951 at age 76, born in West Virginia] and Mrs. Sarah Vanderpool [died in 1950 at age 84, born in Indiana]. He was a former police officer in Mount Vernon and Seattle and she spent many years of her early life as a cook in Skagit county logging camps.
      Two sisters, Mrs. Minnie Pearce [died in 1951 at age 75, born in Skagit county] and Mrs. Jennie Peterson followed each other by only five weeks. Recounting the immigration of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. John F. Anderson, is an interesting comparison with present day travel. They left Sweden, where Jennie was born, stopped in Iowa for four years, and in 1874 — with a family of then six, went by train to San Francisco, then by steamer Prince Albert to Victoria, B.C. A sloop was engaged to Port Townsend, then to Whidby island, crossing it by wagon, and the last leg of the trip was by another sloop voyage across Skagit bay and up the North fork of the Skagit to the home of an uncle and aunt who had settled there in 1869. When her parents later ran the pioneer hotel at Fir in 1884, Jennie, besides helping wait on table, rowed a boat across the river to become the first teacher at the original little one-room Conway School.
      [Ed. note: Note that Conrad still used the spelling, Whidby. 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.]
      The death of Mrs. Edward Engen at Milltown reminds us of the hard three-way struggle to reclaim the tide lands from both river, salt-water and hill seepage. All that was accomplished by men like her husband's father, Lars Engen, an early-day emigrant from Norway.
      Mrs. Mary Wolf [died in 1950 at age 81, born in Norway] will be remembered by old timers as a daughter of the Ingval Fredlunds who farmed south of Mount Vernon for many years.
      Brief notes: A former county officer was Fred Bertrand, long-time auditor. The wife of a former commissioner was Mrs. Zig Nelson. Swan Swanson [died in 1951 at age 83, born in Swanson] served for years as dike commissioner at Harmony while Matthew O'Brien [died in 1950 at age 78, born in Illinois] was an old county road man. John Sheahan [died in 1950 at age 44, born in Canada] was a tugboat skipper. A riverboat captain's widow was Mrs. [Mattie Jane] Pinkerton [died in 1951 at age 75, born in Kansas]. Capt. Frank Murray was a familiar river skipper at opening of navigation. Henry Stark [died in 1951 at age 79, born in Pennsylvania] will be remembered as the old Mount Vernon pioneer transfer [freight] man. Time marches on and most old one-room schools are absorbed by consolidation. Now we see many of the old pupils making their exit; for instance, from the old Skagit City school — Antone Gidlund, Petra Nelson and Violet Rygg. Peter Nelson was another old Skagit City resident and ran a steam threshing machine for years.

LaConner, the Flats, Pleasant Ridge, Swinomish reservation
      The passing of Oliver D. Currier [died in 1950 at age 73, born in LaConner] represents the last of a family that was prominent before the turn of the century. His father and namesake, Oliver C., was a Civil War veteran who came West with his wife Augusta from Maine in 1876 and settled on the flats near Dodge Valley. They were devout Methodists and he was trustee at the local church. In 1900 he was killed when he fell and a loaded wagon ran over him. The funeral procession was the largest ever seen at that time and when they arrived at the Pleasant Ridge Methodist Church, the place was found to be already filled, so an outdoor service was necessary. Baptist and Methodist ministers participated and a large number of G.A.R. veterans were present. Their eldest daughter, Susan Lord, was an outstanding teacher around 1900 and I feel fortunate that she was my first in the old Jennings School. The following year she was Skagit County Superintendent of Schools. Shortly after becoming Mrs. Frederick Ornes, her promising career was cut short by death [sometime between 1906-08]. Oliver D. her brother, was a kind and respected neighbor. I can remember an example of his love of his fellow man when a life-long friend George Hannah became blind. Ollie took him on frequent drives around the county. Stopping once at our place, Hannah remarked that he enjoyed the sightseeing since Ollie was so good and considerate in describing the scenery, providing him as best he could with seeing eyes.
      Mrs. Rose Jean [Williams] Cornelius [died in 1950 at age 51, born in Skagit county] died at Pleasant Ridge. [Ed note: Her husband John Cornelius descended from his grandfather, John Cornelius, who rode in a covered wagon with his family across the plains from Iowa to Oregon in 1845 at age five with his father and stepmother, Isaac and Ruthinda Mounts Cornelius. While the family lived in Oregon in 1846, Isaac died suddenly and John was taken away from his stepmother to live with his grandparents Cornelius. Fifteen years later he visited Ruthinda for the first time since their separation. She lived with her third husband, William Wallace, on Whidbey Island and they had a 12-year-old daughter named Betsy who caught John's eye. John and the renamed Bessie married in November 1865 and over the next few years they moved over to the LaConner flats to homestead. John Cornelius the elder surveyed much of western Skagit county and four other counties and died young at 40. His widow Bessie married J.O. Rudene, who was one of the most substantial farmers on Pleasant Ridge, and one of her seven children was 14-year-old William, John the Younger's father. Rose Jean Cornelius was the daughter of William J. and Jennie Rachel Williams. Ed. note: This is one of the most confusing families to profile, but we make a stab at it in Issue 11 of the Subscribers Journal online at this website Caution: that story from our old domain and links in the stories at our old website do not work. You will have to return here to find the proper links. We will replace this story in the fall of 2004.
      Guy Armstrong [died in 1951 at age 67, born in Washington] was in those days a neighbor to the above. Guy was a twin brother of one of our ex-presidents. Their father, William Armstrong, developed 240 acres just east of town, with the help of his sons.
      Our treasurer, John M. Hurley [died 1951, born in Washington], was taken from us just one week ago. We were schoolmates here in LaConner over 40 years ago. As a youngster, Jack always was unusually sensible in judgement. He took a deep interest in this park, always looking ahead to improvements. Those seats you are sitting on were renewed and given cement bases of late because Jack suggested it at our meeting two years ago.
      Billy Conner, whose mother, Louisa Ann, made us the gracious gift of this park, is brought to mind by the passing of his widow Martha Gipple Conner. Her mother will be remembered as proprietor of the old LaConner Hotel and the Gipple Café.
      Harry Rock Jr.'s [died in 1951 at age 54, born in LaConner] death in LaConner recalls that his grandfather John Rock had the first harness shop in Skagit county and that farmers and loggers came for miles to buy his well made product. One of his helpers and later his successor was Harry Rock Sr., father of our late member. Both he and his wife Jessie had neither sense of speech nor hearing, yet they successfully raised their two boys, who had no such impediments. The father was really an artist at his harness-making trade of those days.
      Also overcoming handicaps was Alfred Osberg, whose folks — the Andrew Osbergs, originally developed the large C.E. Gaches farm. Alfred lost an arm at an early age, so was forced to give up farming. He secured a position with Polson Implement Co. in Seattle and became one of their best salesman. Yes, he asked for no help, just lifted himself by his own bootstraps and he had only one hand to do that with.
      "Man presumed drowned in fall off fish trap" meant more to me than just a newspaper headline just a couple of weeks ago. When I was a boy on Swinomish slough, we lived directly across from the Indian reservation and one of several natives was Ignatius Willup, a young fisherman. Hardly a day but we saw each other, crossing in our boats or canoes and we remained life-long friends. I have visited since with him here at some of our picnics. The "kid," as we called him, was in demand as a very reliable worker by farmers and others through the years and its seems ironic that he should die on the job. I had always been told that the Swinomish were one of the friendliest tribes and my experience proved that true.
      Brief notes: A life-long friend of Gust Pearson [see below] and also an immigrant, Nels Magnus Anderson [died 1951, born in Sweden] died just five later than Gust.

Anacortes, Fidalgo Island, Padilla and Bay View areas
      Native born at old Fidalgo City was Capt. Jess Graham [died in 1951 at age 76] 76 years ago and who later navigated every steamboat channel in the county, picking up oats and hay. [Ed. note: He was apparently the son of Frank Graham, who owned a nursery with his brother Albert on the island. Their father was Orlando Graham, who was one of Sherman's lieutenants on the March to the Sea across Georgia in the Civil War and was later a noted miner in Skagit county. Jess married the widow of William Cornelius, Jennie Williams Cornelius, who was the mother of John Cornelius, the husband of Rose Jean Cornelius, who died in 1950 and whose death and relatives are noted in the LaConner section above.]
      William V. Wells [died in 1951 at age 85, born in New York] of Anacortes, for years a law partner of the late Judge Joiner, served in the state legislature ten years, the last eight as a senator. He was much in demand in his days as a speaker and a recent 50-year edition of the Concrete Herald pictures him dedicating the Baker River [Thompson] bridge in 1918. He must have liked the upper valley for he maintained a summer home near Birdsview for many years. He was a great booster of the Cascade pass Highway proposal and for any worthwhile civic project at home.
      Mrs. Elsie Todd [died in 1951 at age 77, born in Norway] of Anacortes, who was taken just a week ago, loved her home and family, but she was also an outstanding worker in club, fraternal and church activities. She has been a regular attendant at our picnics and has appeared on programs on this platform. Personal tragedies never got her down, as she lost two previous helpmates in life. I can remember also when she was our farm neighbor for years on the flats here, that we all grieved at the tragic death of her brother when the steamer Valencia, in the days before radio, missed the entrance to the straits of Juan De Fuca in a storm and piled up on the rocky coast of Vancouver island with a total loss.
      The father of William Halpin of Lake Campbell ran a store at the old Fidalgo City [later called Dewey after 1898 for the famous Admiral] 75 years ago. [We believe his father was also named William Halpin. We hope a reader will have memories of the Halpins, the Bests, F.J. Carlyle and George Loucke, Legh Freeman, Julius and Will Potter, Dwight Rathbone and Callie Rathbone Dahlen, and the various towns of Fidalgo City, Deception, Gibraltar and Dewey.]

Burlington and northwest Skagit county
      Missing from this picnic for the first time in my memory is our departed ex-president Gust Pearson [died 1951, born in Sweden]. Gust was an adopted citizen and in his over a half-century of living in our midst was a splendid example of loyal devotion to his new land. He especially loved his home and his flower garden.
      The Darigold organization lost two of its officials, one retired and one active. Silas M. Butler, [died in 1950 at age 87, born in Pennsylvania] first a pioneer logger and lumber man on Butler Hill [north of Burlington near the present Avalon golf course], which was named for him. Later he turned the logged-off land into a dairy farm, found time to serve as county commissioner and also became director and secretary for many years of the big dairy co-op. His signature was probably more well known and appeared on more welcome checks and certificates than any such in the county. Read about Silas Moore Butler and his family in our three-part series at this website
      Bud Egbert was active to the last as field man for Darigold. Born of pioneer parents at Allen, he was probably one of the most widely known men in the county. We miss him here today, where he usually was somewhere out in the background, contacting his friends, but never taking the limelight. Every one of us who had the pleasure of knowing him can agree with one dairyman who said "There just won't be another Bud Egbert."
      Charlie Woods worked for years in the old Butler mill at Belleville and was one of the oldest employees.
      Mrs. Ada Gilkey Watkinson [died 1950, born in Pennsylvania], who with her mother and sisters were the first white women to come to Edison, was the daughter of Franklin Gilkey. He was a member of the Skagit county board of commissioners appointed by the legislature when the county was formed in 1883, and he was also called on for the first official jury to serve in the new county.
      Further Edison pioneer history recalls that the late Mrs. Frances "Fannie" Estes [died at 82 in 1950, born in Oregon] was the old operator of Edison Hotel until it burned down.
      James B. Doran, died in 1950 at age 89, born in Texas] was am early settler who first homesteaded just across the line in Whatcom county, then came back at the turn of the century to settle here for good. Another whose early life was in Whatcom was James Whelan of Edison who was preceded by his wife [no first name] just seven months before. Her father, Nick Schumaker, helped with the first diking project on the Samish flats more than 70 years ago.
      Mrs. Helen Parker [died in 1951 at age 75, born in Nebraska] was just a child when she came West with her parents [the M. McLeans] to Avon from the little Canadian island of Grand Manan, off the coast of Maine, which seems to have produced so many of Skagit county's thrifty early day pioneers. [Her husband was Joe and they owned a tugboat.]
      Ed Morrow, [died in 1951 at age 74, born in Michigan] electrician of Burlington, came to the county when a lad of 13 in 1891. His father-in-law John Chilberg also arrived here at the same age in 1871 [from Iowa], with his parents, the Charles Chilbergs, who together with the Polsons were the first Swedish settlers on the North Fork.
      The old Solomon Olson and Linus Abbott family so prominently identified with Fredonia in the early days is brought to mind by passing of Mrs. Esther Olson Abbott [died in 1950 at age 64, born in Kansas].
      Brief notes: Homer Humphrey [died in 1951 at age 80, born in Oregon] was a jeweler at LaConner and Burlington. Mrs. Frances Sullivan was the widow of Dan P. Sullivan, who first came to Edison; they were also both early residents of Samish valley.

You can access the links for each year of transcribed notes at the table of contents page for each paid-subscriber edition. If you have not yet subscribed, we urge you to do it today so that you can read hundreds of names that are helpful for genealogy.

Story posted on Dec. 1, 2002 and updated on August 1, 2004
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