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(Seattle & Northern 1890)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition Stories & Photos
The most in-depth, comprehensive site about the Skagit.

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 (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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John Conrad's obituary notes
for 1968 Pioneer Picnic

Prepared for the August 1968 Skagit County Historical Association Pioneer Picnic
including pioneers and their descendants who passed away
from August 1967 to August 1968

      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 1967 to that of August 1968 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 1968 unless we specifically state 1967 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:
      Sedro-Woolley: Ethel Van Fleet Harris, key historian and charter member of Territorial Daughters. Upriver: Herman Rohde, last of the original Cascade packers. LaConner: John Cornelius, descendant of two of the oldest families in the whole Pacific Northwest. Anacortes: Bertha Nelson Rowley, daughter of Noah Nelson, who platted south Anacortes. Burlington-Edison area: Elmer Knutzen, Marcellus Breazeale, Shorty Norris, Edward McTaggart [who is also the grandson of legendary early Whatcom settler, Phoebe Judson].

Sedro-Woolley area including Prairie and north, and the Lakes area south of the Skagit
Ethel Van Fleet Harris, pioneer and historian
(Ethel Van Fleet)
Ethel Van Fleet, 1931

      Ethel Van Fleet Harris, [80 born in Skiyou], one of the oldest on our memorial roll in point of residence in county, was born on the homestead of her pioneer parents, Emmett and Eliza Van Fleet in 1887 in the Skiyou district. That was near the new settlement of Sedro, which had just received its first post office the year previously [Actually December 7, 1885]. The parents had come west from Pennsylvania in 1880 to join [Emmett's] brother Luther who had settled on "Fern Land" above the river area to be free of high water.
      The Van Fleets were a very close knit family and Ethel, throughout the later years of her life here, loved to recall old incidents of her childhood and was often called to speak to clubs and other groups about the early days. She was a charter member of the Territorial Daughters, Chapter 1 [of Skagit county], and also a member of the Skagit County Historical Society. [Her parents were charter members of the later group in 1904.] In addition, she was a charter member and past regent of the Carroll Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Sedro-Woolley. Her recounting of pioneer happenings always held keen attention from her audience and her favorite subjects were "Poppa and Momma" whose endearing memory she kept to the end of her interesting life. In 1960, Ethel gave a typical old timers talk to the Sedro-Woolley Rotary Club and excerpts from it are well worth quoting. [That link is from our old domain; it also includes stories from her father and uncle's time. 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 update this story in the fall of 2004.]
      This is a brief version of her history of the Territorial Daughters of Washington. In August 1936 she attended the funeral of an old [Upper] Skagit Indian leader, Joe Napoleon. The services were delayed as people waited for a white casket to arrive from Seattle. Several ladies remained and talked of the need for an organization for Washington Territory women. Susie Batey Taylor suggested the name of the Territorial Daughters and a picnic meeting was set for Ethel's spacious old Van Fleet ranch ground and scheduled for the following week, on the third Friday in August. About 45 ladies attended this first picnic and it was voted an annual affair of what would be called Chapter #1. Monthly meetings at various homes were also held on third Fridays. The first officers were: President, Ethel Van Fleet Harris; Vice President, Martha Hight Wicker; Secretary, Minnie Lederle Batey; Treasurer, Susie Osterman Alverson; Historian, Eliza Van Fleet (Ethel's mother). The high point of [each] year was the annual picnic at the old ranch home, where Ethel added a treat of roasted ears of sweet corn. Also a bus trip was occasionally chartered. There were 77 charter members altogether and membership reached a high of 93 by 1953, but has dwindled the last several years. You can read the full TD.

Other Sedro-Woolley area departed
      Two former Sedro-Woolley residents on our memorial roll: Mrs. Jennie Douglass Parris of Seattle, 79, and William O. (Pete) Douglass of Redmond, 65, were children of Frank A. and Minnie Douglass. Her parents came to the new town of Woolley with the coming of the railroads in 1890 was Jennie was only two years old. She was a member of the second graduating class of the Sedro-Woolley High School. And older brother John had graduated the previous year in the first class. Father Frank, with his brother-in-law Norris Ormsby, started a drug store that same year of arrival. With the first city election on incorporation in 1891, Ormsby was elected to the city council of Woolley. A disastrous fire that same year destroyed the large Hotel Alexandria and most of the businesses in Woolley, including the drug store, which Douglass rebuilt. That fire brought about more talk of reuniting with the older town of Sedro, but no action was taken until 1898. After the towns merged, Ormsby was again elected mayor and F.A. was elected to the first city council, the only one retained from the prior council of Woolley. F.A. also served on the first school board in Woolley in 1891 and he later also served as city clerk. Pete ran the family drug store for three years and then ran his own at Redmond since 1945.
      Mrs. Jessie [Taylor] Pressentin, [died 1967 at age 75, born Wisconsin], of Sedro-Woolley, was the widow of Charles Pressentin Sr., son of upriver pioneer Karl von Pressentin. Charles was an old time and old style plumber for many years, who was often seen taking supplies for jobs around on his bicycle, even a heavy hot water take, even a heavy hot water tank, the old galvanized model. Their son, Charles Jr. was on last year's roll.
      Lloyd Marihugh, born at Bay View 70 years ago, had run groceries at Sedro-Woolley till moving to the Tri-City area over in Eastern Washington to operate one till his death [see the profile of the Silas Marihugh family].
      Charles Ira Brown, [83, born Iowa], of Sedro-Woolley, came to the Sedro area with his parents 82 years ago [1886] when only one year old. They came west from the little town of Chillicothe, Iowa, where so many settlers of the 1870s and '80s came from, such as the Chilbergs and J.F. Andersons of LaConner, and the Charles Wickers and McFaddens, other early Sedro settlers. [Ed. note: Wicker's father, A.J. Wicker, laid out the town of Chillicothe in 1849.]
      In February, Andy Christensen, [83, born Skiyou district], of Clear Lake and Paul Johnson, [75, born in Washington], of Clear Lake, both old English Logging Co. pioneers, answered the call. Paul was the son of Herman and Anna Louisa Johnson, old settlers in Cedardale, and he spent his later years here farming.
      Two departed carpenters represent two eras in home construction. Ed Rarey, [88, born in Indiana], of Sedro-Woolley, built more simple practical homes around the turn of the century when he resided in Burlington and later in Sedro-Woolley. John Milton "Joe" Henry, [68, born Washington], Big Lake, born at Edison in 1900 of pioneer parents, became one of the most expert house builders in the county, retiring only a couple of years ago.
      Brief notes: Andrew Nemo, [81, born in Italy], Sedro-Woolley was a retired Northern Pacific railroad man.

Upper Skagit river area from Skiyou to the Cascades and the south-river area east of Clear Lake
(Rohde pack team)
Jesse Kennedy of the National Park Service in Marblemount found this photo of a pack train in the park museum archives and it may have been one of Rohde's at what was known as Roland's Cabin. Click to see full size.

      Herman [Rohde] [died 1967, 82, born Illinois], came out from Chicago when only a lad of 17 years. He loved the outdoor life and followed the woods, later operating a string of pack horses from Marblemount for service in the high back areas of Cascades.
      Minkler Lake is designated by a road market two miles below Lyman and only occasions a quick glance from travelers on Hwy. 20. But nearby in the year 1897 Birdsey Minkler built a large sawmill, started a store and post office, all called Minkler. It was to this booming lumber settlement on the [Seattle & Northern Railway] that the Adelbert Ryder came that year and their daughter Emma "Betty" Ferguson [died 1967, 90, born in Michigan], is on our memorial roll today.
      Mrs. Jessie Smith White, [died 1967, 90, born in Canada], of Concrete, was born April 8, 1877, aboard her father's sailing ship off the coast of Peru. Captain and Mrs. David Smith were en route from St. Martin's, New Brunswick, Canada, via Cape Horn, to Puget Sound. She married George White in Everett and had lived upriver here since around the turn of the century.
      Frank E. Davis died at 91 in Seattle. He came with his parents to the upper Skagit Valley in 1890. They located near the Cascade mining district and had a home near present Diablo, which was a well known spot for years [known as the Cedar Bar] till finally acquired by Seattle City Light [and flooded for the Diablo Dam]. Due to the isolated location, Frank was obliged to stay downriver at Mount Vernon for his schooling, also attending Wilson's Business College in Seattle. [See this Journal website about Frank. That link is from our old domain; it also includes stories from her father and uncle's time. 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 update this story in the fall of 2004.]
      Another old upriver family is represented by Mrs. Evelyn Martin Davis [74, born near Illabot creek], who was a daughter of the Henry Martin family, old settlers at Rockport [actually across the river near Illabot creek]. She was postmaster at Hamilton for 25 years.
      Brief notes:.Walter Brown, [81, born in Illinois], of Hamilton was a retired Northern Pacific railroad man and section foreman.

Mount Vernon and southwest Skagit county
      The last surviving member of the pioneer Henry Summers family is listed on our rolls with the passing of Mrs. Emma Graham, 86, of West Mount Vernon. Her parents, Henry and Sarah Summer, came to Skagit county from England in 1874. The father was an orphan at 6 and worked changing shuttles in a cloth factory when only eight years old on a 12-hour day shift, getting what little schooling he could at night. He homesteaded on the lower end of Fir Island in 1875, the first settler in that vicinity and it was here that Emma was born on Feb. 24, 1882. In this same period, the huge logjam in the Skagit river, two miles long and reaching along Mount Vernon both and south, was gradually being cut loose by hand labor. The debris and logs were freed to drift downstream. But this cheerful prospect to upriver folks was bad news for Henry and his lowland delta farm. A large part of the lgos were carried down the South fork of the Skagit and lodged in a new jam in Freshwater Slough, the deepest outlet outside the summers place. They caused huge breaks in his dikes and washed out much soil, ruining his farm for any immediate use. He was obliged to look elsewhere and he traded for land on the North fork at the southern end of Pleasant Ridge. He worked out for three years to enable him to erect buildings on his new place, and Emma was a small child through this trying ordeal of her parents.
      An old landmark in the Milltown community below Conway is missing in the death of Elmer Swanson, who died at 80. He came to the Conway area with his parents August and Maria Swanson from Sweden when he was only a babe of less than 1 year old and made his home nearby since. Elmer could recall well the old booming town of Milltown when some 12 shingle mills were located within a 2 1/2 mile radius of the new settlement which sprang up on the Great Northern Railroad as soon as it was built in 1890. Swanson worked on log booms, starting when he was only 19, most of the time on Tom Moore Slough where logs from English Logging Co. were rafted after being dumped in the slough only a mile to the north. At one time some 60 years ago (1908) Milltown had 3 large shingle mills, 3 saloons, grocery store and post office, 2 hotels, short order restaurant, dance hall, Modern Woodmen of America [MWA] hall, railroad stop, and a well built grade school on the hill to the east. Some 200 men were working in the mills, and the English Logging Co. camp just 3 miles north. The loggers came down from there and the town was booming. Around 1915 the fine stands of cedar and fir played out and by 1930 all the industries except dairy farms were gone and Milltown reverted to ghost town status. Elmer kept on with boom work until his retirement; after 43 years with the English company., 3 years with Bellingham Boom Co. The Milltown School across the road consolidated with Conway school 30 years ago ['38] and is torn down. Many old-time friends are in the Conway-Fir Lutheran church cemetery up and across the road. He is survived by his wife, who was the daughter of Jasper Gates, who homesteaded Mount Vernon in 1870.
      Coy R. Kern, [died 1967, 80, born in Kansas], of Mount Vernon, started his career in Skagit county as a clerk in Dunlap Hardware Co. in LaConner, later served as postmaster, then started an undertaking business there. He later built the well known Kern Funeral Home in Mount Vernon and moved his home there. He was always civic-minded, served two terms on the Mount Vernon city council. The Mortuary still carries his name.
      Edwin [Halverson] died recently in Sitka, Alaska. He was a son of the Martin [Halversons] who settled on an island west of Milltown around the turn of the century. With two other neighbors they reclaimed wet delta land by dikes, from the branches of the Skagit river on two sides and from salt water tides from Skagit Bay below. With weak pioneer dikes to be constantly kept up, it was a struggle to stave off floods, but commercial salmon fishing in the river was a sure means of livelihood for the islanders. A large settlement below their home consisted of fishermen, some with families, and was called Fishtown, contributing much to the economy of Milltown. On recent years the lowland has reverted to wildlife use. The [Halverson] family moved to Sterling in 1918. [Ed. note: Leonard [Halverson] still lives on the old family farm where the old town of Sterling once stood, still fighting the Skagit and the county itself.]
      Alvin Hegewald, 74, was a retired Great Northern employee who worked so many years in the Mount Vernon depot [the original downtown one near Kincaid street, where the future depot is planned]. He had seen great changes in passenger travel through the years, when local trains were run to accommodate nearby residents and to haul express loads of produce and supplies. Now the old Mount Vernon station is being razed and a streamlined replacement for both Mount Vernon and Burlington is erected in the suburban Riverside district area, with passenger arrivals mostly long distance.
      Mrs. Grace M. Firoved, [85, born in Illinois], Mount Vernon, was widow of a longtime druggist, Ralph Firoved, who ran the Mount Vernon Drug Co. for so many years; he died in 1952. He had served as a city councilman and in World War 1 as civil defense director. Grace's brother was Dr. McKinley, a former longtime Burlington physician, now deceased.
      Ralph McMains, [died 1967, 86, born in Ohio], who came to the booming mill community when a young man to keep books for one large shingle mill, was a charter member of the MWA lodge there, and when the school joined Conway and Mount Vernon districts he drove a school bus until his retirement. He kept his home since in the Milltown area on the County Line road.
      Jules Fredlund, [95, born in Norway], of Mount Vernon, was a popular man in the county in his active years, having come here 78 years ago as a young lad with his parents, the Ingval Fredlunds. He took schooling in a creamery operation and was one of the organizers o Mount Vernon Creamery Co. in 1904, and was it manager and secretary for many years. At his death he was the last charter member of the First Baptist church in Mount Vernon.
      Sixty years ago the English Logging Co. was one of the largest employers in the county and our Memorial roll contains names of several old loggers of English Camp days: W.W. Cranston, [died 1967, 89 born in Minnesota], of Mount Vernon, who was later a real popular city police chief there; next day another comrade at English, Andrew Lovenmark, [died 1967, 86 born in Sweden], of Nookachamps, passed on.
      Mrs. Olga Larson, [died 1967, 71, born in Kansas], of Skagit City, was a daughter of the old Skagit City ferry operator, Otto Larson, who perhaps served longest of any ferryman in the county's history. His was at the old head of navigation on the river for the very early pioneers. She was the widow of Alban Larson. Claus Larson, [died 1967, 71, born in Sweden], of Mount Vernon, was raised on the North Fork of the Skagit, the son of John and Hannah Larson. He was a veteran of the 2nd Division [unknown branch] in World War I and served in four major battles. In later years he was a Deputy County Sheriff.
      Martin Sande, 73, died at Bremerton and had owned a sand and gravel business at nearby Silverdale. He was a son of Sivert and Marit Sande, old settlers in the Conway district who came there around the turn of the century and helped in the early development of that now rich farming district. It was mostly mud and water to contend with at first.
      Two Fir Island men near Dry Slough died only five days apart just three weeks ago. Howard Good, 71, a retired carpenter, was the son of the pioneer Franklin Good family who settled on Dry Slough 80 years ago where he was born], and Sivert Ranes, [79, born in Norway], who was a partner in the well known general merchandise firm of Hanstad and Ranes at Conway for many years until his retirement. Just a few months ago the Conway American Legion post honored five charter members who were beginning their 50th year of continuous Legion membership and Howard and Sivert were both of the group. Howard in his most active years was a tile roofer and helped lay much of the roofing on the Northern State Hospital buildings.
      Another old Dry Slough resident was Mrs. Anna Holt Sylte, [90, born in Norway], who had resided the last 83 years in Anacortes. Her first husband, John Holt, had the first automobile on Dry Slough, from the Dodge brothers. It was one of the first Dodge cars in the county.
      Herbert Miller, [died in California in 1967, 66, born on Beaver Marsh], was son of the once well known Beaver Marsh farmer Marsh Miller who came to the county in 1885. He leased a place near Pleasant Ridge for three years, then bought 110 acre farm at what is now the corner of the Calhoun and Beaver Marsh roads, when the area was mostly brush and stumps with so much water on the ground at times that the entire surrounding district called Harmony was nicknamed Frogdale. Reclaiming this uninviting soil by clearing and drainage was one of the accomplished tasks for which we all much to the ambitious early settlers. Today most of the valley's farm lands are perhaps one of the richest such areas in the nation and ironically so many who helped developed that acreage are not here to enjoy the rewards. Marsh Miller was one of them, but during his many years here he commanded the highest respect of his neighbors.
      Axel Anderson, [77, born in Sweden], of Harmony, was widely known around this county, having operated heavy equipment, especially old time road graders, and his county machine was a most welcome sight for earlier day farmers who so badly needed the smoothing down of the rutted gravel roads.
      In Mount Vernon at the turn of the century, William Storie featured large ads telling of his buggy business and blacksmith shop. His name is again brought to memory by the death of his son Wallace Storie, [68, born in Washington]. In later years of business the place on 2nd street was known as Storie's Auto Body Shop.
      Mrs. Delphia Gates Rosegrant, [76, born in Skagit county], who died only six days ago, was a daughter of Newton Gates and granddaughter of Jasper Gates, who homesteaded land in 1870 where downtown Mount Vernon now stands.
      Brief notes:.Old grocers: Dave Lindberg and Robert Olson, both from Mount Vernon. Other Milltowners who died: Ernest C. Anderson, born there 63 years ago, son of Hans Anderson and a state highway employee; Mrs. Virginia Hopkins Britten, 54, born there as a daughter of the pioneer Art Hopkins family. John Johnson, 72, of Mount Vernon, also was a retired logger. Mrs. Theresa Howley, [died 1967, 90, Minnesota], Mount Vernon, was widow of well known Dr. Edward Howley, O.D. Miss Emma Nelson, 84, Mount Vernon, was a music teacher, one of the first in this area and also organist for Swedish Baptist church.

LaConner, the Flats, Pleasant Ridge, Swinomish reservation
      Missing here today for the first time in our memory is John Cornelius, 78, of Clear Lake, who was the namesake of his grandfather, one of earliest settlers in our county and the Puget Sound area. The elder John had come as a child of 12 to Oregon, then to Whidbey Island in 1855. When a young man, the grandfather took up surveying and helped survey the shorelines of most of Samish, Swinomish, Skagit and Stillaguamish areas, enables the earliest settlers to obtain title to their land. Then he eventually took up land of his own in 1868 (100 years ago) at the head of Pleasant Ridge and brought over his young wife from Whidbey Island where she had come with her parents and was the first white child to reside there. John's father, Will, was only a small child when his parents brought him over from Whidbey by canoe to this wild tideland area when there were only five other nearby settlers and not even a post office yet in the county [actually in what would eventually be Skagit county]. John Cornelius, the grandfather, died in 1884 when only 45 and his widow later married J.O. Rudene, farmer and state legislator [and an immigrant from Sweden]. [See this Journal website about the Cornelius/Wallace/Rudene family. That link is from our old domain; it also includes stories from her father and uncle's time. 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 update this story in the fall of 2004. Theirs is one of the most important pioneer groups to study because of their impact on both Whidbey Island and Skagit county and their long span here, starting in 1847 in Oregon Territory.]
      Miss Grace Martin, born in LaConner 80 years ago, died in Seattle just six months after the death of her sister Dorothy. They were the last two survivors of the old B.L. Martin family of LaConner. Their father, [an Arkansas native] operated a well known clothing store from 1878 until his death [at age 69 in 1914]. Grace continued to run the business until 1941 when she retired and moved to Seatle. The old store building was torn down a few years ago and is now replaced by the Lighthouse Inn [now Palmer's in 2002].
      Frank "Jimmer" Frets [will be most remembered for his work] with his father, A.D. Frets, in the long established Frets Monument Co. Perhaps their best remembered job and one of the largest was our own Pioneer Association Monument erected at the entrance to LaConner. Although the Association started a drive in August 1925 to build it, ten years went by until $1,750 had been collected in cash during the Depression, with added pledges of $700. Jimmer's father designed the picturesque granite structure and agreed to built it for $2,750, and then to enable its erection he donated $150 himself. The imposing memorial was dedicated before a crowd of 500 on Pioneer Picnic Day, Aug. 6, 1936, a true bargain in today's values. Jimmer had films and slides taken of many historical events including the monument event and showed them often at these picnics.
      An old landmark around LaConner, Archie Misner, [83, born in Minnesota], is missing today. In 1962, Archie was honored at the meeting here for special services rendered beyond the call of duty to the Pioneer Association. The one job he perhaps enjoyed most was being on hand at the Puget Sound Mail shop to assist in any mechanical troubles, especially at Pioneer Edition time. Ironically he passed away while helping Editor Pat melt lead; perhaps he would have wished it that way. Archie first became acquainted with LaConner when he worked on the old steamer Fairhaven in 1900 when Capt. Thomas Green was skipper and Wally Green was pilot. Archie worked his way up to Engineer, to 1st Officer, to Mate. He liked to recall many tales of the colorful old steamer which made regular scheduled trips to Seattle and back, stopping for passengers and freight at various Whidbey and Camano Island docks. Fare to seatle was only $1, meal were 50 cents. Archie had many pictures of those days and often brought them in for Pioneer Editions, besides collecting from others. when he retired from steamboating, he made LaConner his permanent home, having married a LaConner girl, Mabel Siegfried, who preceded him in death. He still kept active, running his Fix-It shop where most appliances were brought for repair, was a charter member of the Rotary club, loved mixing with his fellow man to the end of this useful life.
      A pioneer LaConner blacksmith is brought to mind in passing of Mrs. Goldie Nelson, 70, in California. She was born in LaConner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Handke. The father ran a blacksmith shop in early days, later moving to a farm in Harmony district where he died some 60 years ago.
      Mrs. Lena Erickson, 91, was married at LaConner to Charles Erickson just a week before the beginning of the 20th century and they began farming on Beaver Marsh near Rexville. In 1910 [he might have meant the big flood of 1909] the big flood of November that year reached their low-lying farm at record depths and along with so many neighbors they lost heavily in live stock and supplies. They sold out and moved to the Allen district which has been her home since. Charles died in 1948. Mrs. Minnie Swanson's parents, the John Hansons, moved to Beaver Marsh country about the same time as the Ericksons left. They had farmed on the Bruce farm on Fir Island, where Minnie was born.
      Leland Culver, [83, born in Minnesota], who died at LaConner, was son of the Clement Culvers who came to Edison 80 years ago when dikes and drainage were crude compared to today's standards. Aftr operating threshing machines and farming leased land, the father did as so many others did, eventually buying some of the land for himself. Edwin Johnson, 81, was an old LaConner seed grower. He was pictured in last year's Pioneer Edition in a "coffee break" cabbage seeding group and was the last survivor of the old crew.
      Thomas W. McLeod, [died in 1967, 93], oldest in years of residence in county was born in Hamilton and moved down to Swinomish reservation when 21 years old. He married a member of the Samish tribe and she, Betsy, could remember Chief Samish, whose tribe was greatly weakened by the massacre off of Eliza Island many years ago. Nora Anderson Pollock, 84, came to Skagit county with her parents, Emil and Louisa Anderson, from Kansas in 1890 when she was but five years old. While she still a child, her father died, but later her uncle Nels became her stepfather and with the help of her brothers, the family saw the stump land at Ridgeway become a productive farm.
      Brief notes:. Gus Stone, [died in 1967, 69, born in Washington], of LaConner was a commercial fisherman.

Anacortes, Fidalgo Island, Padilla Bay areas
      A mother and daughter, both on this year's list [died in 1967] were Mrs. Bertha Nelson Rowley, 84, Clear Lake, and Mrs. Ella Wilson, 62, of Sedro Woolley, who died only 82 days apart [in 1967]. Bertha was a member of the Pioneer Noah Nelson family who came to Anacortes in 1883. Bertha was born there a few months after their arrival. The parents bought 100 acres of timberland on the south side of the present city when there was only one store, one hotel and several homes in the town. Nelson platted and cleared 40 acres for lots when the railroad boom developed in 1889, calling his project the "Nelson Addition." He was civic minded and donated one block to the planned new city for a the site of a school, which was used for many years and named the Nelson School. At the height of the boom he was offered $151,000 for his property and refused the fabulous price, an action he later regretted. He then built and operated a large shingle mill but it was not long till they were selling for half price. With the collapse of the Anacortes boom [after the financial panic of 1893] and poor shingle markets, he found his opportunity for a fortune was over and he gradually disposed of his holdings. He died in 1902, never forgetting his failure to see at the right moment.
      Bertha took a deep interest in pioneer history, wrote a complete biography of the Nelson family, which she gave to Sedro-Woolley Territorial Daughters, an organization she had been so active in. She was one of four last survivors of the original charter members of our Pioneer Association, organized in 1905 [actually first picnic in Sedro-Woolley in 1904]. She kept in her possession at her home the old Nelson family organ, now donated by family to the new Anacortes Museum. Also the original home in Anacortes, a well-preserved one, has been spared by wreckers of the urban renewal project and will be an historical relic.
      Mrs. Helen Matters Wood, 65, of Summitt Park [east of Anacortes] was killed in a traffic accident within the city limits of LaConner, only one block from the Pioneer Monument on Christmas Eve [1967]. Helen ws a daughter of Charles and Isabelle Matters, old Skagit pioneers. Her father worked many years on LaConner flats where he was a well known threshing machine operator. Her mother was a daughter of the Henry C. Barkhousen's. Henry Barkhousen, Helen's grandfather, settled on Fidalgo Island, coming from Whatcom in 1865 and located on what was later known as the Baxter Farm, now part of the present Texaco refinery property. He had been Auditor of Whatcom county and a member of the Territorial Legislature. After William Munks served 20 years as postmaster of Fidalgo, Mr. Barkhousen succeeded him on Dec. 4, 1890, the same day the office was changed to East Anacortes. That was the year of the big boom and that office covered an area that included March's Point. Apparently they were not too happy with the new name and in two months it was again called Fidalgo. Barkhousen kept the position for ten years, succeeded on Dec. 26, 1900, by Mrs. Munks. He once sold a team of horses to Capt. George Morse of Whidbey Island and they were obliged to swim them across inner Deception Pass from Dewey [due east of the bridge built in 1935], landing them near a skid road leading to Dugalla Bay. Barkhousen took a more optimistic view of pioneer life than many, said he preferred the open prairie soil of Fidalgo Bay to the difficult muddy farms to be had by diking on the flats. He said he had not seen too much hardship in his pioneering — a good garden was easily grown and a suit of clothes lasted for years. All the Barkhousen children spent their lives on the [Fidalgo] island. Granddaughter Helen and her sister still made their home on a corner of the old homestead, just south of the Texaco plant.
      Mrs. Edna Stiles Morrison, died in 1967, 94, born in Canada], had lived in Skagit county 80 years. Her parents, Fletcher and Margaret Stiles, were early settlers in the Beaver Marsh. Edna married John Morrison in 1892 and their first home was at Avon, then to Anacortes in 1904. She was a charter member of P.E.O. in Anacortes and one of the oldest members of Westminster church there. Since her husband's death, she made her home with her daughter and son-in-law at SneeOosh Beach where she so enjoyed life with the cool salt water breezes. She said it reminded her so much of her native New Brunswick climate.
      George Dewey McFadden's, 69, middle name illustrates a custom through history of honoring heroes in naming children after them. He was born one month after Admiral George Dewey who, with seven ships, destroyed the Spanish fleet of ten ships in Manilla Bay in 1898 and became a national hero. Skagit county had many Dewey sons born that year. [Ed. note: Dewey was so popular that the old town of Fidalgo City on the south end of the island was renamed Dewey after the original village was often confused with Fidalgo on the north end.]
      Mrs. Winnifred Hanson, [died in 1967, 70, born in Ohio, maybe spelled Hansen], of Anacortes was the widow of Gilkey tugboat Capt. John E. Hansen, who lost his life when the tug exploded in the channel between Guemes and Saddlebag islands some 20 years ago. Neither the tug nor its victim's body was ever recovered from the 44 fathoms of treacherous water. Capt. Hansen had been born in Dewey in 1893 and was a veteran of World War I, having been engaged in six major battles, also serving in Gen. Pershing's composite regiment and the Army of Occupation in Germany.]
      An old familiar family name around LaConner sixty years ago is brought to mind in the death of Fred Breslich, 87, of Anacortes. He was born on Whidbey Island, grew up in LaConner, then followed longshoring in Anacortes.
      One of the first resort operators in the county was John Graham, [died in 1967, 77, born in Washington], who ran the Rosario resort in the years when cabins and furnishings were rather pioneer in standards.
      Brief notes:. Vern Fraser, [died in 1967, 75, born in Iowa], of Anacortes was a retired shingle weaver. Mrs. Helen Campbell Shaw, [81, born in Maine], of Anacortes was the widow of Dr. Austin Shaw, M.D. Mrs. Jessie Merchant Helleman, [72, born in Ohio], Anacortes, was raised in Avon, graduated at Mount Vernon High School and University of Washington and taught for many years. George Chevalier, [died in 1967, 59, born in Washington, maybe on Waldron Island], of Anacortes was a commercial fisherman.

Burlington, Bay View and northwest Skagit county
      Elmer Knutzen, [57, born at Olympia Marsh, north of Burlington], died just nine days ago. He was a son of George and Anna Knutzen and a grandson of J.H. Knutzen who came to the Burlington area soon after the coming of the railroads in 1891. He took up land in the wet Olympia Marsh, built a creamery, started a store in town in 1901 and it grew to be one of the largest in the county. The store was simply called Knutzen Bros., with George and his brothers Harry and Ed as partners. Besides the big general merchandise business they had a large theatre in the same building. After several years this space was turned into an automobile dealer agency, one of the first such in the country, featuring Reo autos, forerunner of the Oldsmobile. They had a used car salesroom, and salesmen with good sales promotions comparable to today's. Later on, the auto agencies were concentrated in Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley and Anacortes. The Knutzen brothers continued in groceries and hardware, still one of the largest stores, until the disastrous fire of May 1956. Elmer then moved to Lake Stevens, selling groceries there, then was employed in Seattle where he was salesman for the large Ernst Hardware Co.
      [Albert] Marcellus Breazeale, [80, born in Oklahoma], of Bay View was raised as a child in the days before either radio or TV furnished the Western entertainment that youngsters today are provided with. However, most earlier day children listened to tales told by their parents of exciting events of history which oftentimes were actually witnessed by their elders. His parents were John Henry and Anna Marie Breazeale, thrifty hard-working immigrants from Germany, and had settled in the mid 1880s near Webbers Falls on Indian land in what was then called Indian Territory and later became the state of Oklahoma in 1907.
      It was on this newly developing bleak homestead in the raw Arkansas River valley that Marcellus was born in 1888. And as if to provide much excitement throughout the neighborhood, next door neighbors were the Frost Starr family. His sister Belle was married to one of the Younger brothers, famous bandits of those days, and the entire horse riding group frequently circulated unannounced through the home area, creating plenty of thrills. But local folks were never molested by the outlaw gang; they played for higher stakes. The Breazeales remained there until 1896 when they came west to Puget sound. A brother, William "Bill" Marcellus Breazeale (for whom our subject was named), lived at Bay View.
      As the mining activity from gold and silver around Monte Cristo was in full swing, the Breazeale family later located there, the father helping build an ore concentrator. The terrific 1897 flood in the entire Sauk and Stillaguamish valleys, the worst in history there, covered the area completely and washed out many roads and railroad grades and drove most families out from their homes. Residents flooded out gathered necessary belongings and with families trudging along as best they could on trails walked down river to find shelter. The Breazeales and children found the hotel at Silverton full but a sympathetic settler family nearby found lodging for them. The father later worked at Machias until railroads were restored; he went back to Monte Cristo. Son Marcellus taken to Bay View in 1901 where a better school was available, and he lived with his uncle until his parents joined him there in 1902. His schooling was as usual in those days, grade school, then perhaps a year or more business college, then outside jobs after farm season, when Marcellus worked at mining in B.C. He also served in World War I. He learned to love his salt water life at Bay View and was happy to see the beauties of his home shores preserved from industrial encroachment, which had threatened the community at times, before the days of zoning.
      M.E. "Shorty" Norris, [died in 1967, 81, came to the Burlington area with his parents when he was only three years old, in 1889, a year before the railroads came through, and two years before there was a post office. His father, James H. Norris, a native of Canada, spent most of his active years in railroad-bridge construction work. He helped establish two large transcontinental systems, the Canadian Pacific and the Great Northern. Work with the latter brought him west to the planned rail junction to be called Burlington, where he was to help construct the railroad bridge across the Skagit river. He fell in love with the new settlement and bought five acres for a home. After a few years in Alaska and British Columbia, where he did well at both mining and tunneling, he returned to Burlington in 1900 for good and purchased 45 acres more of cleared land for his hobby of cattle raising. Son Shorty [full name Murney Elwood] was to be later reminded of his dad's bridge building accomplishments when as a young high school student he decided to switch from Burlington after two years and enroll in Mount Vernon as a junior. As no bus or car was to be had for transportation, he walked the Great Northern railroad tracks both ways daily, usually accompanied by a pal his age, Art Hungerford. For the final two years of school he logged many crossings by the bridge route, far better than by rowboat or ferry. He later graduated as a civil engineer at the University of Washington in 1910, only 680 being registered in school as he entered. Shorty and brother guy had a construction contracting business and built many miles of cement highways; one of the largest jobs was the Yakima-Ellensburg section of Highway 97, still in use but soon to be supplanted by a new freeway. An ambitious and capable businessman, he once bought the entire Burlington 1st National Bank during the FDR bank holiday and some fifteen years later sold it to NbofC bank.
      Edward McTaggard [actually Edward McTaggart], 87, of Seattle, was born at Edison in 1880. His grandmother was Phoebe Judson, the first white woman north of Bellingham, who came across the plains in a covered wagon in 1850. His grandfather, Holden Judson, platted the town of Lynden in 1877 and was a pioneer merchant there until his death in 1890. Edward McTaggart Sr., his father, moved to Skagit county in 1869, landing on Samish Island. He homesteaded 640 acres and floated timber for his first home across land at high tide. He named the town of Edison, which is located on part of his original farm. He deeded land for the first store to Capt. A.J. Edwards as inducement for him to bring in a stock of goods. In March 1867 the settlers held a meeting and secured a post office and McTaggart was selected as postmaster. In the early 1880s he went before the county commissioners at Whatcom and secured a bridge across the Samish river, pledging on behalf of settlers to pay half of the cost. In the years 1870-78 he worked for the land office at Olympia and helped settlers obtain titles to their lands. He was reappointed by five succeeding governors through Gov. John McGraw and then retired. [Ed. note: for some reason, Conrad spells the name McTaggart, but we have found the family tree going back for generations and have found other documents that clearly have a "T" on the end, not a "D."]
      Mrs. Margaret Wallace Elstad, 80, passed on in Long Beach, California. She was one of the well known James Wallace family of 11 children who came to Burlington around the turn of the century, who settled on a large tract of land just north on present Chuckanut Highway in the Olympia Marsh. By hard work and old fashioned thrift the entire family worked together and developed one of the finest producing farms in the area. Our memorial roll has contained names of four members of the family in the last five years.
      Bill Gilkey, born at Edison 71 years ago, was one of six brothers and was namesake of his father, William E. Gilkey, old pioneer of the Edison area. The father was a partner in one of the oldest logging operations, Gilkey and Parker, using ox teams and for many years they had a dump in the Samish river near Allen. Bill Jr. was associated with two brothers for many years in the well known Gilkey Towing Co. at Anacortes.
      "Put" Anderson, who lost his life in an auto collision, was perhaps one of the best known dance orchestra players in the county, covering a span of nearly 50 years. In the early 1920s he played banjo with the Davis orchestra, then branched off on his own and had weekend engagements at the large Parker Pavilion in Seattle, with other dances in between at the old popular places such as Big Lake [Resort], Anacortes Elks, Burlington Fairgrounds, Mount Vernon Armory, Moose Hall. You name one!; he's probably played them all. He was a very energetic man, drove oil delivery trucks in his spare time and for the last several years was employed at the Anacortes Café, but maintained his home at Avon.
      Mrs. Pearl Klang, [died in 1967, 77, Iowa], Burlington, was raised in the River Bend area [we believe this refers to the Avon bend; anyone have other ideas?], a daughter of the Homer Lovelace family. She became a music teacher in both Island and Skagit counties, also held pre-school classes in LaConner, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley schools. She was also a nurse around Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley.
      Fishermen on our memorial roll include three from the Bow area: Ben Johnson, [died in 1967, 74, born in Norway]; Eli Anderson, [died in 1967, 88, born in Norway]; Ben Anderson, [died in 1967, 62, born in Norway], all in the month of August.
      Brief notes:. [George] Dillard Bradley, [died in 1967, 56, born in North Carolina], of Burlington, served many years as road supervisor in Skagit County District #2, also serving as a councilman in his home town. Walter Anderson, 84, of Burlington, came here as a boy of four years and followed the woods in his best years, as did [Robert Harlan] Bob Angel, [died in 1967, 87, born in North Carolina], of Alger. Mrs. [Mary E.] "Bessie" Davenport, [78, born in North Carolina], Belfast, who was a primary teacher for 30 years. Frank Umbarger, 79, of Seattle, came to Burlington as a one year old, later taught and was principal of the Burlington Elementary School.

Story posted on July 1, 2002, and last updated August 1, 2004
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