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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
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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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Nathan Edward Goodell's store — and landing

The Upper Skagit River gold rush 1879-80 and the Goodell property lived on after him as Dohne's Roadhouse
(Goodell roadhouse)
Sedro-Woolley photographer Darius Kinsey took this photo on a 1900 expedition with his friend Seneca G. Ketchum, publisher of the Skagit County Times. In the book, Kinsey Photographer by Bohn and Petschek, it is captioned, "Raodhouse on Skagit River. This is Goodell's Landing." Presumably this is Edward's original store, which August Dohne made into a roadhouse a few years before the photo was taken. The building burned in 1901.

      Sometime in 1879 an Oregon storekeeper named Nathan Edward Goodell read a newspaper article, probably the most prominent one in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, that let the cat out of the bag about discovery of placer gold on the upper reaches of Skagit River near Ruby Creek. Ever since Portland was the jumping-off point for argonauts who flocked to Whatcom in Washington Territory for the 1858 Fraser River gold rush, Oregonians kept their antennae quivering for word of the next big strike. Edward decided this was the real thing rather than humbug, so he took his savings and a stock of goods and steamed up the Washington coast. He arrived by sternwheeler at the new town of Mount Vernon on the Skagit River sometime that summer or fall.
      Like Mortimer Cook, who would found the town of Bug/Sedro four years hence, Goodell planned to make his fortune selling goods and staples and outfitting equipment to the miners instead of panning and digging for the gold himself. He soon met Harrison Clothier and Edward G. English, founders of Mount Vernon and proprietors of the trading post and they formed a partnership for a trading post that would be within packing distance of the gold fields but also close to the end of the line for steamboat navigation. The storekeepers had their hands full, setting up their new town, selling real estate and logging off the hills around, but they welcomed a partner who would take the risk. They also knew from their customers where "The Portage" was located, the last place that a canoe could ascend the Skagit canyon in normal years. Beyond that, anyone trying to row farther soon found narrow gorges, roiling current and boulders that threatened to tear craft of any size to pieces. Author Paul C. Pitzer explains that the Canyon resulted from a glacier moving down the ancestral bed of the Skagit from what is now Canada, about 15,000 years ago. The glacier carried with it tons of gravel and crushed rock and finally subsided at about Ruby Creek. When it melted, the gravel washed downstream, but this gravel includes huge boulders and the layers are hundreds of feet deep in some spots. The Portage was a mile and a half downriver from the mouth of Bacon Creek, on the homestead of Maine-native Albert Bacon, whose Nip-and-Tuck mine at Ruby Creek was one of the most lucrative claims. In relation to today's landmarks, The Portage was almost halfway between Marblemount and Newhalem.
      We are unsure whether Clothier and English had already shipped goods and equipment to the miners by the time that Goodell arrived on the river. Some sources are either vague about their participation or do not mention it. Regardless, Goodell was soon in business at Township 37 North, Range 12 East, Section 21. He may have erected a crude wooden cabin or had it built for him as dozens of upriver miners packed back and forth ten miles or more on what was called the Goat Trail, and finally around Devil's Corner, which had been hewn out of a steep cliff on the north side of the Skagit gorge. His cabin was possibly the one that the original prospectors built in the winter of 1877.

National Parks Service map showing the Landing's location and later homesteaders

      In that same year Otto Klement, Charles [Karl] von Pressentin, John Duncan John Rowley and Frank Scott set off from Mount Vernon in canoes manned by Indians to explore the upper Skagit. As early as 1873, Indians told settlers about finding yellow gold upriver. Otto Klement wrote in his memoirs that, after a trip of several weeks that took them up into British Columbia and over to Lake Chelan, they returned via Cascade Pass and the Skagit. Somewhere near The Portage their boats overturned and they nearly starved until an Indian they called Cascade Charlie led them to their cached supplies. He then rowed them in canoes to what became known as Goodell's Landing, on the north shore of the Skagit, between Goodell Creek that empties into the river from the north and Newhalem Creek that empties into the river from the south. That is where they built a log hut and made sluice boxes that they used in their gold mining the next two years. Some sources give the impression that Goodell's landing and store were on the shore of the creek, but that is dispelled by the maps that we show on this page.
      In that first relatively dry season of the fall of 1879, prospectors faced a long, grueling trek up the river from the normal head of navigation for sternwheelers. In regular years, the river was only deep enough as far as William Hamilton's landing on the north shore of the river where his town would soon stand. But the winter of 1879-80 was far from regular. Old-timers spoke of that winter as the worst series of blizzards in Northwest history. Down in the flatland along Puget sound, snow drifted in the pioneer villages as high as five feet or more. In the foothills of the Cascades, the snow-pack was 20-40 feet. By the spring of 1880, when the snow melted, prospectors packing in found stumps 40 feet high that were the remnants of trees cut off at the snow surface during the winter for firewood. The ensuing snowmelt and runoff led to a rise in the river to the point that sternwheelers could ascend 20 miles or more upriver from where they normally stopped in regular years. The 1906 book, Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, explains what this combination meant to the mines and miners:

      In July 1880, the steamer Chehalis, Captain Thomas Brannin, made the trip up the river to The Dalles [present location of the bridge south of Concrete] in two days and a half, attaining the highest point ever reached by a steamboat, but a few days later, the Josephine, Captain Denney [actually Sam Denny, later a partner with Joshua Green], reached nearly as high a point. These steamers were both of one hundred tons burden and their successful voyage demonstrated the possibilities of navigation on the Skagit. One result of the travel back and forth to the mines was the demand for numerous way stations and provision stores up and down the Skagit valley. Amasa Everett's place at the mouth of Baker River, and David Batey's near the site of Sedro-Woolley [at Sterling — Sedro was then just an Indian campground on the slough], together with many other places carved out of timber, met the demand by becoming supply stations, but the largest mercantile establishment anywhere above Mount Vernon at this period was that of Clothier & English at Goodall's Landing, succeeding Edward Goodall [sic], who had had for a short time previously a store at the same place. Albert L. Graham says that Ruby City, laid out on twenty feet of snow, likewise had a small store for a short time during the excitement. The fare on the steamers from Mount Vernon to the portage was at first twelve dollars, subsequently dropping to days to make the years a considerable amount of gold taken from the Ruby Creek mines, they have never attained the first rank as wealth producers
      In his graduate thesis that he turned into the book, Building the Skagit, Paul C. Pitzer researched newspapers of the period and found some gems that provide a little more background on Edward's business plans and promotion. Pitzer discovered that Edward packed in about $1,000 of supplies up the Skagit to his creek and then sold the goods to miners that first season at a loss, since few had any money yet to show for their diggings. In the Dec. 20, 1879 issue of the Bellingham Bay Mail, he found what Edward did during the winter of 1879-80, between the dry seasons:
      [He] came out in the fall [of 1879], poorer, but still excited about the riches that would certainly be found, eventually. Goodell toured Seattle, made speeches, said that the rush of men to the Skagit would bring money into Seattle, that the merchants of Victoria, B.C., would snatch the opportunity away if Seattle was not careful, and in all, raised over two thousand dollars, which was earmarked for construction of the Ruby Creek trail. . . . Gold or no gold, the miners came. Some managed to get their boats up the Skagit as far as a place called The Portage, which is about seven miles below Goodell Creek. From there they walked. A lot of men went on to Canada, then along the Fraser River to Fort Hope, and south to the Skagit. They had to put their provisions in bond during the trip through Canada, in order to keep from paying duty on some items, but the inconvenience seemed worth it, especially when compared with the problems of the other route to the mines.
      Above Goodell's camp, there was a spot where miners had to climb a Jacob's Ladder, up a cliff forty feet high. The trail, such as it was, crossed the river three times in the few miles above Goodell's. And over the winter, there was heavy snow brining high water and avalanches, not to mention wind and biting cold. If there were no snow slides, there were rock and mud slides; the miners could take their choice.
      This was all to be set straight, however, with Mr. Goodell's collected money and by the company that gave him the lowest bid for building the trail. But when the trail crew arrived on the scene, they took one look, and offered to pay off the contract, wanting only to get out of there and forget the whole thing. After that, the various mining companies did some work on the trail, but it was haphazard and minimal.

      First off, the highway was eventually cut along the gorge and over the North Cascades, but it took 92 years. Second, a big, ambitious mining company — from Portland, like Edward, appeared in May 1880 to organize and equip a professional mining operation. This attracted even more miners and a tent city arose as some men found as much as $8 of gold per day. Like many other Paul Bunyanish exaggerations regarding Skagit River towns, the reports you may read in various sources about Ruby City's population of anywhere from 2-5,000 miners are way over the top. The federal census in June netted only 519 names and that was near the peak. Then, almost as soon as they appeared, the new Skagit Mining Co. disappeared after 30 days on the scene, broke like many of the miners. By that fall, argonauts had gleaned almost all the placer gold on the various creeks around Ruby city, and by the time the cold winds blew, nearly everyone had packed up and left. Did Edward go with them or did he say for awhile? Until we hear from one of his descendants, we do not know.
This blurred copy of a map in the National Parks Service collection shows the location of Goodell's store and Dohne's later roadhouse, along with the old Indian trail that the miners used to trek back and forth between Ruby Creek and Goodell's store.

      Historians had precious little to work with regarding Edward Goodell, just snippets in books here and there, until one day nearly 30 years ago when Jim Harris, a volunteer who was giving a talk to visitors at the National Park Service [NPS] at Marblemount, was approached by a man afterwards who introduced himself as W.L. Goodell. In a brief conversation, the man told Harris that he had a letter that an N. Edward Goodell wrote to his nephew, Willie Baker, in New York. The letter was dated March 19, 1881, and was posted from LaConner, Washington Territory. Jim logged a copy into the NPS archives and shared it with his friend, Charles Dwelley, who published the Concrete Herald newspaper and also edited what is often considered to be the best book of the Skagit County Historical Society's series, Skagit Memories. That is where I first read about Goodell — N. Edward, as he preferred to be formally known. Here is a part of his letter, which was written a month after his business failed and when he came downriver to the new town of LaConner on Swinomish slough:
      I am at present away from home and my time for today and tomorrow will be unoccupied and in thinking of the misfortunes of the past year I have thought of my folks in the East and the promises I made myself and them not to allow anything to come between me and keeping up a continued correspondence with them, and so here I am at work and I am going to write until I get tired and then I shall quit and when you get tired of reading you can do the same.
      Well, I rolled my blankets and came down the Skagit River strapped with scarcely money enough saved out of the wreck to pay my passage to my family. So my golden dreams are past and I am poorer today than ever before in my life. And I am looking back over the past two years of my life as the most exciting passage of a life spent in reckless enterprises. The City of Goodell that bid so fair to become one of the important trading places of the Pacific Coast and that a year ago had a population of nearly a thousand with its stores, hotels, saloon, bakeries, restaurant, etc., etc., today boasts of one inhabitant. Its empty buildings and swinging signs are monuments of man's folly, and men's senseless ambition for gold. A thousand dollars were spent for every dollar that came out of the ground. I suppose you are asking how I feel over the matter — all right — I played for large stakes. I knew that my chances were desperate, and I had made up my mind to accept of whatever the result of my madness might terminate in. And so I am commencing anew, and hope to be making a stir soon in something. So far since coming down the Skagit I have been resting on my laurels but shall allow this to last but little longer.
      And now, Willie, as you like to listen to stories of frontier life, I want to tell you of my experience and adventures with the Indians while on the Skagit River. Some of my friends have been trying to have me write a history of them for publication but as I am not an expert in that line of business I do not care to undertake it. Upon the head waters of the Skagit are a tribe of Indians who, until within the past two years, have seldom come in contact with the whites. These Indians number about four hundred souls all told and about one hundred and fifty warriors.

      And there we will stop quoting. For now. The rest of the long letter is quite a tale, which we will share in the near future. He was 40 years old at that time and exhibiting some delusions of grandeur. There was no such city of Goodell, at least no record that we can find. No hotels, saloons, bakeries, restaurants. His landing was at most dotted by a few crude log structures and probably a few more Indian tents. We infer that he lived cheek-by-jowl with Indians there because that was a spot where they dried their salmon for decades or centuries, thus a very special site for the Salish Indians of this area who revered the salmon and depended on it for sustenance. As far as we can deduce, the "city" to which he refers must have been Ruby City, located at the mouth of Ruby Creek where it emptied into the Skagit River just before the river turns nearly due west from its southerly course out of Canada. That area is all underwater now, flooded decades ago for Ross lake behind the Seattle City Light dam.
      It is far stretch to think of that as a city either, more a hodge-podge of cabins, lean-tos and tents housing anywhere from two to five thousand miners at its peak in 1880. If you saw Warren Beatty's movie, McCabe and Miller, you can imagine how it must have looked. The business district would have been a block or two long, sunk into mud for seven months of the year, and then one day in the spring of 1880 the miners would have awoken to an alpine paradise with a profusion of color from wildflowers and a view of ragged 5-10,000-foot peaks all around that illustrate the geology of the youngest part of our continent. He may have moved his wares to that city sometime in his short career upriver and that could be what he describes as his city. We hope that Edward's descendants will read this story and share memories that will enlighten us about Edward's 20 months in the mountain paradise that ended in a "wreck," as he described to Willie in the letter above.

Edward's life in Oregon
      Mary Jo Morelli, co-chair of the Friends of Forest Grove in Oregon, has helped fill in several gaps of Edward's life. Mary Jo is one of those volunteers that every history organization values so much. As a child, she spent days hiking around the Barlow Road on Mount Hood, an early avenue through the forest for emigrants trekking cross country on the Oregon Trail. Her most important discovery for our Goodell story was the wedding record of Edward and Catherine "Kitty" Owen of Forest Grove on July 21, 1861. Mary Jo discovered the record because the wedding was conducted by Rev. Horace Lyman in the Greek Revival house that Forest Grove pioneer Alvin T Smith built on his land claim in 1854. The Friends of Historic Forest Grove bought the property and house — the second oldest surviving structure in town and one of less than a dozen in the state that are left from that period, and hosted a fund-raising event there in August 2006 to seek vital funds for the restoration. She has read Smith's daily diaries from the 1820's to 1887 and in there she found that Edward and Kitty witnessed many weddings at the Smith home over the years.
      Smith was the first permanent American settler on the West Tualatin Plain in Oregon. He and his first wife, Abigail, came to Oregon Territory with Reverend and Mrs. Harvey Clark as independent missionaries. They emigrated to Oregon Territory from Quincy, Illinois, and spent the winter of 1840 with Dr. Marcus and Narcissa Whitman at their mission at Waiilatpu, Washington, and Alvin, a master carpenter, then spent a few months working at Henry H. and Eliza Spalding's Lapwai mission near present-day Lewiston, Idaho. The Smiths moved on to the site of present Forest Grove — 25 miles due west from Portland, where Rev. Clark established the Congregational Church. On Nov. 29 1847, the Whitmans and 12 men and boys were slaughtered by Nez Perce Indians at Waiilatpu. The Spaldings' daughter Eliza, who was staying at the Whitman's mission school, escaped injury. After hiding for a month with friendly Nez Perce and negotiating the release of the massacre survivors, the Spaldings evacuated down the Columbia to Oregon City and Alvin T. Smith took them in for a few months until Spalding built a small cabin for his family. In 1845, Smith and Clark started a school in a crude log cabin on the church grounds. That school evolved into the Tualatin Academy in 1849, where Eliza was the first teacher, and that in turn became the Pacific University, under the auspices of the United Church of Christ in 1851.
      Back in June 1846, Smith helped settle the estate of a Robert Owens who died and left three small daughters, one of whom was Edward's future wife, Catherine; the Smiths took her in and raised her. The Smith diary also includes a note that in February 1861, he paid Catherine's tuition for her last term of school, so she apparently graduated just before they married. Mary Jo noticed that Edward listed on the marriage certificate that his home was Grand Mound, Washington Territory. Edward and Alvin became close associates. As you will read in the Goodell family story, Nathan Edwards (later shortened to Edward) Goodell was born on Oct. 21, 1839, after Jotham settled his family in northern Ohio following flight from angry nationalists in Ontario, where his father, Jotham Goodell, was preaching. Jotham died up at the family homestead on Grand Mound on Nov. 19, 1859. Although records are sketchy, Edward and Kitty seem to have lived back and forth at the two locations until Jan 13, 1862. Mary Jo found a notation in the diary for that day: "Agreed to let Edward Goodell have my place for 2 years. April 8 & 9 1862 made bank transactions on behalf of N E Goodell in Portland." A later note for March 31, 1864, reads: "Catherine and Ed moved down here. Edward takes my place for 2 years. He gets half the stock & crops. Reserve the land west of the road and 2 horses for self." Edward's mother, Anna Glenning Goodell, moved down to Forest Grove the year before to live with her son Henry and Alvin T. Smith often looked after her, recording her in his diary.
      The 1870 federal census of Forest Grove shows that Edward and Kitty had three children, ranging in age from six years to two months; their names were Charlotte, George, and Laura. According to an Aug 9, 1865, note in Smith's diary, they lost another daughter, Nellie, five years before that: "Ed's family went to Portland, little girl got very sick, died and buried in Portland." In February 1870, there is a vague reference to the Goodells moving so that may have been when Edward had a home built for the family. Edward had managed Smith's farm for the preceding five years; he may have also continued managing the farm after their move from the farm to their new home. Mary Jo also found a listing in the 1873 Oregon Business Directory and Gazetteer, compiled by John Mortimer Murphy, for N.E. Goodell under General Merchandise in Forest Grove.
      Our only other record from early in that decade is a vague reference to Edward and his mother, Anna Glenning Goodell, in his sister Phoebe Goodell Judson's marvelous book, A Pioneer's Search for an Ideal Home. The year is uncertain, but after consulting with family members and other researchers, we have narrowed it down to 1871. We know that Phoebe visited her mother in Forest Grove at the same time as the State Fair in Salem, 50 miles to the south, which was conducted on July 15 that year.

      We were equally rejoiced to be together once more. Seeing her so helpless, I decided at once to take her home with me. My brother Edward conveyed us over the rough way in his comfortable carriage, and at Whatcom we found Mr. Judson waiting us with a mattress for a bed in the canoe; and thus we comfortably conveyed her to our home on the Nooksack.
We assume that Edward certainly did not convey his mother all the way to Whatcom in his "comfortable carriage," because the roads north through southwestern Washington were still hideous and a carriage would have been shaken to pieces before it even reached Grand Mound. We conclude that he took them as far as the Columbia River, where Phoebe and her mother connected with a steamer that took them north to Seattle, and then they probably boarded a sternwheeler for Whatcom
      After the 1873 directory listing, Edward disappears from the records we have accessed. The next time we find him is when he buys a sloop sometime in 1879 to transport his goods north to the Skagit River, so that takes us full circle to the beginning of this article. We are still seeking information about those intervening six years and what happened to his business and family. We have also drawn a blank so far about the period after 1881 when he returned to Forest Grove after the "wreck," as he described the business venture up north. Did he return to business in Forest Grove? We have one final vague reference that is a hint as to Edward's later life. A Goodell descendant named Sue Balfour wrote a letter to an unnamed friend in 1967 that includes this detail: "Nathan Edward and his wife, Catherine Owen, died over in Clatsop county and he was an early judge over there. Said he died quite young, suspected it might have been diabetes." We and other researchers are trying to determine if this is a fact; we hope a reader may know more. All we know for sure about Edward's death is that it occurred five years after he returned from Washington Territory, on Aug. 15, 1886, but the listing does include the place or if he left his wife a widow. We have tracked down Sue Balfour, who is indeed alive and well, so we will share her memories with her as this story evolves. Meanwhile, you can read more details of Edward's early life with his family in Washington at this in-depth Journal feature about the Goodell family:

Epilogue for Goodell's Landing and Dohne's Roadhouse

(Dohne Roadhouse)
      This 1917 photo from the National Parks Service collection shows another view of Dohne's roadhouse that replaced the original buildings that were leveled by fire in 1901.

      After Edward gave up on the store and the miners moved on by 1881, a series of owners took over the property by Goodell Creek. We are unsure if it was named officially or if it was referred to by that name informally. By 1890, Reese Jones owned the property. We learned most of the information about the evolution of Goodell's site from a terrific series of articles by Gretchen Luxenberg and others for the National Parks Service website. Jones sold to Harry Dennis in the mid-1890s. In the summers of 1893 and 1895, Mrs. Lucinda Davis and her daughter and two sons operated a roadhouse, which enabled Dennis to go prospecting. We do not know if the roadhouse was in the same structure as Goodell used for the store.
      The Davises opened a family roadhouse of their own upriver at Cedar Bar in 1898 and Harry Dennis sold the Goodell Creek property and improvements to August Dohne in 1897. Dohne, a German immigrant who migrated to the Skagit via the Dakota Territory, first came up the River in about 1892 and claimed land and erected a cabin just below Goodell Creek and erected a small cabin. In this story about Goodell's Landing, we learn that the roadhouse was located on high ground above the river, and the site included several log buildings. Dohne continued to operate the roadhouse until 1901, when an accidental fire destroyed the log structures. He rebuilt immediately, and eventually he owned a two-story log residence, a smaller house, and an L-shaped barn. When the Government Land Office surveyors came through the township in 1906, they recorded that Dohne had several acres of land cleared and planted in garden and in clover and that the upper Skagit River trail bisected the property, with a sizable orchard to the north. (You can read about the Davis family at this Journal website, which we are now updating substantially following conversations in the spring of 2007 with Lucinda Davis's great-granddaughter.)
      The Forest Homestead Act was enacted in 1906 and Dohne applied for a patent two years later. Ranger Calvin Farrar examined the claim and reported that a barn and a bunkhouse were added to the previous structures. Of the 124 acres of land, three acres were under cultivation and ten more were cleared, but the acreage included an estimated six million board feet of timber and that started a chain of bureaucratic hurdles that Dohne was forced to leap. A new superintendent for the forest reserve, Charles Park, took over that year and change at the top often spelled trouble. Park and Ranger Alfred B. Conrad at Rockport began a flurry of memos to the effect that Seattle City Light was considering the Goodell area for its jumping-off point for dam-building and the two bureaucrats wanted to smooth the way for the company. They set about trying to prove that Dohne had failed to dot some "I" in his claim or that he had been underhanded with his survey, but his neighbors all vouched for him. Now the rangers were in full lather and their shenanigans over the next two years are worthy of a Hollywood Perils of Pauline movie with a villainous bureaucrat twirling his pencil-thin moustache.
      Determined to stymie Dohne's application, the bureaucrats found William Thornton, a former neighbor of Dohne when he lived downriver from Goodell's Landing (and the namesake of the Thornton lakes and Thornton Creek). Thornton did not care for Dohne and made a vague statement that Dohne was "not quite responsible, sometimes." Park then snowballed that into a court case, claiming that Thornton's observation substantiated skullduggery by Dohne in falsifying the original boundaries of Henry Dennis's claim. Park actually bragged in writing to Conrad that he would "use Thornton for all he's worth." But then Henry Dennis returned and verified the boundaries that Dohne claimed. That incensed Park even more and led him to investigate all government paperwork about Dohne. He was ecstatic when he discovered that Dohne had filed a claim to government land back in North Dakota in 1885, the ownership of which would disqualify him for the new patent. Park had to eat his red tape again when Dohne produced evidence that he had relinquished the prior claim. Undaunted, Park then challenged Dohne's citizenship, but Dohne produced his naturalization papers and Park's own superiors informed him that citizenship was not required for ownership. Park still delayed Dohne's claim in hopes that he could find a disqualification, but in the spring of 1910, the Skagit Power Company chose another site on the Cascade River for their initial dam project, so they did not immediately need Dohne's property after all. Finally, on April 25, 1910, Dohne received final certification of the land and six months later he gained title to his fully patented homestead. A second fire leveled the roadhouse again in 1913, and Dohne rebuilt again, with U.S. Forest Service rangers and U.S. Geological Survey employees as the principal guests. This hassling by the bureaucrats was not unique to Dohne. Pitzer describes similar nightmares that both the Davis family and John McMillan experienced in the same time period.
      Dohne stopped working in 1918 when he became ill and had to be taken downriver to Sedro Woolley for medical help. He died shortly thereafter and left no heirs. His homestead was sold one year later in probate court and fetched two bids. An article in the Nov. 1, 1919, issue of the Concrete Herald announced that Sadie Silverling [Cudworth] of Marblemount bid $2,775, but that the Bingham Investment Co. of Sedro-Woolley beat her out at $3,000. But two months later, the property was condemned for the proposed Seattle City Light hydroelectric project. The company needed a site for bunkhouses and they awarded the Bingham Company $27,000 for the land, a tidy profit.
      In September 1919, construction began on a road, a sawmill and a small, temporary power plant at the Skagit canyon above Goodell's original site. Within a year, jackhammers were pounding, a narrow-gauge railroad delivered material and nearly 100 cottages and bunkhouses were in place. In 1920, Edward almost got his wish posthumously when workers began considering a name and Goodell City was a prime candidate. But in 1921, the bigwigs from the Seattle City Council were due for a visit and a group of college-student painters scrawled a sign that read "Welcome to Newhalem," the name that was attached to the sawmill camp along Newhalem Creek. The name of the creek itself was an Anglicized version of a word from the Upper Skagit Indian language that meant "goat snare." That was the name that stuck.
      The National Parks Service website notes that "Today, there are no structures remaining from Dohne's roadhouse operation at Goodell's Landing. The property was incorporated into Seattle City Light's company town of Newhalem, a work-camp-turned-city, in the 1920s. The site of Dohne's main building is now in the backyard of a company house. Only a lilac bush stands nearby to suggest the location of a vanished structure.
      Ed. note: you can proceed next to an in-depth background profile on Nathan Edward Goodell's family, who migrated west with him when he was a small boy in a covered-wagon train (see link below). They left Vermilion, Ohio, in the spring of 1850, wintered with the Mormons in 1851 in what became Utah Territory, and arrived in Portland, Oregon Territory, in 1851. His father's family and the families of two siblings moved in 1853-54 to the Grand Mound area of Thurston County in the new territory of Washington, which was carved out from the north half of Oregon Territory. Edward's older sister was Phoebe Goodell Judson, the "mother of Lynden," Washington and the author of one of the most important pioneer autobiography/memoirs. It is their relationship that led us on this ten-plus year quest to prove how they were related. For some reason, histories of the Northwest have not connected the siblings. One of her daughters, Mary, also became a key pioneer of Skagit County when she married Edward McTaggart, one of the founders of Edison. Both mother and daughter will be profiled in subsequent chapters of this exclusive series.

      We especially want to thank the historical experts at the Lewis County Historical Society and Museum. We asked Clark McAbee, the director, to submit our draft manuscript to history experts in Lewis County and they provided many suggestions and corrections that helped us insure accuracy. Clark is assisted by Karen Johnson, and volunteer historians Margaret Shields and Margaret Langus operate the research library, where they have volunteered four days a week for more than twenty years. We strongly suggest that you check in there, in the former Northern Pacific Railway depot located in Chehalis, Washington, whenever you visit the area. Their advice and the advice from the Goodell descendants and from Mary Michaelson has made this a collaborative venture and we hope we can correct the record in some places where we have found inaccurate details.

Endnotes from above
Illustrated History book
      Illustrated History of Skagit & Snohomish Counties, Chicago: Interstate Publishing Co., 1906. This is considered by many people to be the bible of history for the named counties. It has a unique format. The front half is derived from copies of all the newspapers of the area that were still in print in 1906, from pioneers themselves and from interviews with pioneers and their descendants. The back half was a subscriber history, paid for by individuals and families, some of whom chose to submit fantasy and fairy tales, and others who submitted accurate family history and tree along with their payment. [Return]

Pitzer Book
      Paul C. Pitzer. Building the Skagit. Portland: The Galley Press, 1978. Many people consider this book to be the best brief introduction to the geology and history of the upper Skagit River and the hydroelectric and dam projects of Seattle City Light and Stone & Webster Co. The first two editions are long out of print, but a new edition is now available, in addition to copies stocked in many used-book stores. [Return]

William Loren Goodell
      William Loren Goodell was a son of Jotham W. Goodell, Jr., Edward's younger brother and the last of 11 children. William Loren passed away on Aug 7, 1987 and his presence is missed in the whole family of Goodell descendants. He started writing articles about his family and Washington Territory for the Sou'wester magazine of the Pacific County Historical Society in the 1950s. Over the next few decades, he shared both his oral family history and documents, along with photos, with other descendants all over the country. Karen Rinnert Parsons, another Goodell descendant, corresponded with him for several years and has been very helpful with this series. She met with him personally and now has many rare keepsakes, including photos and even original letters written by Phoebe Goodell Judson and her twin sister, Mary.[Return]

Nephew Willie
      William Jonas "Willie" Baker, was a son of Joel Brigham (Goodell) Baker, fourth child of Jotham and Anna Goodell. Father Joel was born while his parents lived in Canada. Jotham's older sister Phebe Goodell Baker visited the family in Canada when Joel was the tender age of 4. Jotham's mother died when he was seven months old and he became effectively orphaned. Phebe assumed responsibility for him when she was just 17 and raised him. Phebe and Jonas Baker lived in Lockport, and they were childless. Phebe begged Jotham and Anna to let them adopt young Joel and they assented. They were well to do by then and promised to raise him well and educate him. Joel was never formally adopted, but in his early 20's filed a petition to change his name to Baker to honor the "parents" who raised him. We are unsure if Joel ever saw his birth parents again. For some unknown reason, Nathan Edward Goodell and Willie Baker formed a close friendship and corresponded often, even though they may not have ever met in person. We hope that another descendant will read this article and provide more information. We thank Karen Rinnert Parsons for her research on this part of the family. She descends from the Rev. Joel Goodell, Jotham's brother, and she started studying the genealogy of the family 40 years ago. She met with William Loren Goodell several times in the 1970s and communicated with Naomi Baker, a descendant of Joel Brigham Baker, who are both key sources to understanding the family. After putting aside her study for a number of years, she became active again after meeting Mary Michaelson of the Lynden Pioneer Museum.
      Karen also introduced us all to another important source, Goodale-Goodell Forebears, compiled by Helena Goodale Hargrave in 1971 and revised in 1975/76. Karen explains: "Mrs. Hargrave sent me her last remaining copy, and has some additional notes in it that the earlier copies do not have." She lived in Walnut Creek, California, and died in March 1982. Mrs. Hargrave's sister-in-law [unnamed] headed up the Genealogy/History section at the Sea Library in the late 1970s-80s and added it to the collection under Dewey number 929.2. Mrs. Hargrave descended from another branch of the family from Jotham. Robert Goodell, the original family immigrant had two sons who have descendants down through today. She descended from son Isaac Goodale. Jotham descended from son Zachariah Goodell. The variations of spelling of the name requires a lot of reading to understand. You can find another copy of the book at the fine Heritage Quest Research Library, A Genealogy Library and Bookstore, in Sumner. [Return]

National Parks Service
      This website provides extensive background into both Goodell's Landing and subsequent businesses at his site. The site is part of a much larger study by Gretchen Luxenberg and others in the 1990s about the settlement and migration patterns of the North Cascades area and the Skagit River. For students and researchers, this is a very valuable primer that includes extensive footnotes and bibliography. [Return]

Sadie Silverling Cudworth
      We refer to this marvelous frontier hotelier and character because of a marvelous connection we established while researching the Goodell family and Lynden, Washington. When Sadie first appeared in Marblemount, Washington, at the turn of the century, she was the wife of a Hugh Cudworth, who took one look at the muddy frontier town and decided it was not for him. He wound up migrating south to a dusty little town named Hollywood where he was hired on production crews of silent films. We are researching them for a subsequent profile and we were thrilled to find a Cudworth family that sank roots at about the same time in Phoebe Goodell Judson's town of Lynden. We hope that a reader who is a descendant of the Cudworth clan can help us in our quest. [Return]

Phoebe Goodell Judson's book
      Phoebe Goodell Judson. A Pioneer's Search for an Ideal Home. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984, (originally published 1925) The paperback edition is more easily found today and that is the edition from which I quote. Paperbacks can be purchased at the Lynden Pioneer Museum. Original editions are available in some used-book stores such as Michael's in Bellingham. [Return]

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Story posted on October 15, 2005, last updated May 7, 2007 . . . Please report any broken links so we can update them

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