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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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Peter Trueman, pioneer of Sauk City
and Lyman by the Skagit river

Transcribed from Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, 1906, page 805
(Lyman downtown)
This is how Lyman looked when Peter Trueman settled here. We are looking south down Main street towards the river. That is Birdsey Minkler's hotel to the left, with saloon attached, and the general/store post office is next door. You can see the roofline of the new Knights of Pythias hall behind.

      Peter W. Trueman, a farmer and dairyman living a short distance east of Lyman, has demonstrated what a man with only $300 to start with can do in comparatively few years in Skagit county. By energy, thrifty and constant application to his work, he has accumulated considerable property and now is considered well-to-do in his community.
      He was born in Cheshire, England, Jan. 26, 1864, the oldest of the seven children of James S. and Jane (Wright) Trueman. As a lad he worked in a cotton factory four years, then at the age of twelve he went to work in a stone quarry. In 1883 he crossed the Atlantic to Belleville, Ontario, and there he worked for the railroads a few years, later engaging in farming. Early in the year 1888, he came to Seattle, Washington, but eventually selecting Skagit county for his future home, he went up the Skagit river and took land twenty miles above the mouth of Baker river. There were only two white women there at the time and settlers were few.
      Four years later, having proved up on his place, he came down to Lyman and commenced work in a logging camp four miles below the town. After being thus engaged for three years, he married, moved to Lyman and began work in a shingle bolt camp. In 1898 he purchased land in the vicinity and a year later built a house upon it, in which he now lives. He afterward bought the place adjoining his original Lyman property on the south, and he has since gradually drifted into cattle raising and dairying on his pleasant farm of eighty-eight acres. A firm believer in selected stock, he keeps a fine Jersey bull at the head of his herd, while his hogs are splendid Berkshires, and all his livestock is the best obtainable. He also has a fine young orchard.
      In 1895, Mr. Trueman married Mrs. Emma Ries, widow of Nicholas Ries, who bore to her first husband four children, Clara, Josie, Ernest and Albert. The Trueman children are three, namely Fred, Ruth and Jean H. Mr. Trueman is a member of the Knights of Pythias and of the Modern Woodmen of America, while the family are adherents of the Episcopal church. In politics he is a Republican, active in primaries, caucuses and assemblies, having missed only one of the county conventions of his party in eight years. He has been justice of the peace four terms; is clerk of the school board, and was an active and potent factor in the organization of the Hamilton high school district. The Trueman family is one of the most popular and high respected in the community.

Skagit River Journal research
      On Oct. 12, 2002, the editor attended the 100th birthday of Mary Albertine Trueman McDougle, the widow of William Trueman, who was a nephew of Peter Trueman. Mary and her son, William Harold Trueman, lived on the original property. She passed away on Jan. 6, 2004, at age 101, with her family at her side. She was the Lyman correspondent for the Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times for many years. A Sept. 24, 1953, issue of the Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times notes that Peter first homesteaded in the Sauk area, perhaps near Illabot creek. [See this Journal website for more Sauk details.] The same story reported that Peter's younger brother Fred followed from England and settled at Birdsview in 1904. He worked there for Hightower Lumber Co. for four years before joining Peter in Lyman in 1908 and worked for Hightower's Skagit Mill Co. for 32 years. We are corresponding with Trueman descendants and hope to profile the family more fully in 2004. Fred was a key member of the Skagit County Pioneer Association. Historian John Conrad eulogized Fred at the August 1959 Skagit County Pioneer Picnic by noting that he promoted the pioneer monument at the entrance to LaConner while he was association president in 1925.
      Update: Nicholas Ries, Emma's first husband was apparently a brother of Frank Ries, a famous old timer in Sterling, Sedro and Lyman. Frank Ries owned saloons in Sterling and new Sedro from 1886-90, one of which was in the famed Hotel Sedro. When Birdsey Minkler came downriver from Birdsview in 1886, he became a partner with Frank Ries in a sawmill on property on or near where Trueman later settled. We have read in other sources that Ries brothers were involved in the timber business.
      We always offer a caveat to the modern reader about the biography section of the 1906 book, Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, 1906. The book was split into two parts, the first half compiled mainly by young journalist Harry Averill as a result of reading the archives of all pioneer newspapers available at the time and interviewing pioneers. Young Averill and others rode out to each farm by horse and buggy and viewed family documents, diaries, bibles and photographs, and transcribed family memories. After writing for years in Idaho and California, Averill returned home to edit the Mount Vernon Herald for two decades. The second half was a collection of biographies subscribed and paid for by families who could afford the fee. Some have said that the subscription was $100 but that seems quite a dear sum for those times. Regardless, this second half has to be taken with a grain of salt, as the pioneers would have said, because several of the biographies have proven to be more works of fanciful fiction in parts or the total. In the case of Mr. Trueman, his information matches with other accounts, so we are fairly confident that it is a true record, even if it is terrible flowery. We hope that a reader is a descendant of this family and can provide more information, copies of documents or scans of photos. And we hope that descendants of other Lyman pioneer families will help us with our ongoing series on the town. You will find an extended collection in the free home pages, which will grow considerably in 2004. Are you a descendant of one of those families or do you know anyone who is?

Story posted on December 30, 2003, [the story is being updated considerably and will be re-posted in Winter 2005]
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