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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, 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
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Edward and Teresa (Lappin) Eldridge
and their descendants, updated September 2006

(Edward Eldridge)
      In this section &mdash part three, profiles of Mr. and Mrs. Eldridge and their descendants
Part Three: Profiles and Obituaries of the Eldridge Family
Edward Eldridge and Teresa Lappin Eldridge
2003-04 Bellingham Centennial Biographies
      Edward Eldridge was born in St Andrews, Scotland [on December 7, 1828]. Orphaned at age eleven, Eldridge ran off to sea at age fourteen and became a sailor, traveling to America in 1849. After sailing the Great Lakes, Eldridge headed to San Francisco. There, working alternately as a miner and a sailor during the height of the gold rush, Eldridge met Theresa Lapin [actually Teresa Lappin], who he married in February 1952. Lapin, born in County Armagh, Ireland, came to America with her sister in 1850, and had traveled to California while employed as a domestic servant.
      During his time in San Francisco, Eldridge established close connections with Whatcom County pioneer and mill owner Henry Roeder. In 1853, at Roeder's request, the Eldridges sailed with their daughter Isabelle to Bellingham Bay to settle and work at the Roeder-Peabody saw mill on Whatcom Creek. Following their arrival in May 1953, Edward Eldridge worked in the construction and later the operations of the saw mill. Theresa Eldridge cooked and provided meals for the mill workers from the Eldridge's first cabin, sited at the future intersection of Clinton and Division streets.
      In 1854, Edward and Theresa acquired tracts of land around the mouth of Squalicum Creek, where they constructed a new family cabin. Oregon law entitled men who settled in former Oregon Territory between 1850 and 1855 to make donation claims of 160 acres apiece. As a married man, Eldridge was able to stake claims totaling 320 acres. Shortly after establishment of his land claims, Edward went to work at the Sehome coal mine, and also taught school for miners at night. Theresa Eldridge established a boarding house for men working at the mine. Her boarding house later expanded to became the Keystone hotel, located at the corner of Laurel and State Streets.

(Teresa Eldridge)
Teresa Eldridge

      Edward Eldridge soon became actively involved in local and regional politics. Between 1856 and 1858, Eldridge served as the first probate judge for Whatcom County. His subsequent political appointments in Whatcom County included County Commissioner, County Auditor, County Treasurer and Deputy Collector of Customs. As a member of the Territorial Legislature, Eldridge served as Speaker in 1866-67. He was a delegate to the Territorial Convention in Walla Walla in 1878, and attended the State Constitutional Convention in Olympia, in 1889. He also led the unsuccessful campaign for women's suffrage in Washington state.
      In addition to his political interests, Eldridge became a key figure in the commercial and industrial development of early Bellingham Bay. Besides part-ownership of the Bartlett and Eldridge saw mill (sold to the E.K. Wood Company in 1900), he served as director the Fairhaven and New Whatcom Street Railway Company, Puget Sound Loan, Trust, & Banking Co, and was president of the Bellingham Bay National Bank, Bellingham Bay Gas Company and Bellingham Bay & Eastern Railway.
      Edward and Theresa Eldridge had four children: Isabelle (1852-1911), Edward Jr. (1855-1868), Alice (ca. 1858-1886) and Hugh (1860-1939). The family home (built in 1862) was burned in 1878, along with Edward's extensive book collection which had served as an informal community library. In 1891, the "Eldridge Mansion" was constructed on Eldridge Avenue, on the bluffs overlooking Squalicum Creek. The mansion was destroyed by fire in 1893 just after Edward's death in 1892. Theresa died in 1911.
      Ed. note:This biography is courtesy of this website from Western Washington University created by Heather Weaver. and the staff of the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies in Fairhaven, a wonderful place to research, especilly for original records of the northwest counties, Elizabeth Joffrion, Ruth Steele, Jason Viers, David Boyd, Candace Wellman)

Death Of A Pioneer: Edward
Obituary, The Daily Reveille, Whatcom-New Whatcom, WA, Oct. 14, 1892
Captain Edward Eldridge Passes Away. The Early Life and Struggles of
One of the Leading Men of Washington — Sailor, Soldier, Farmer, Statesman
and Banker — Forty Years on the Shores of Puget Sound. The Last Sad Rites

      Hon. Edward Eldridge died at his residence in this city, yesterday afternoon [Oct. 13], at 3 p.m., of paresis, aged 63 years.
      Edward Eldridge was born at St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1828. When but a lad of 13 he went to sea and followed the life of a sailor, until the discovery of gold in California in 1849. Landing in San Francisco in October of that year from the ship Tonquin, he caught the gold fever and started for Yuba, where he dug for the shining metal for twelve months. He next found employment for a year and a half on the Pacific mail steamer Tennessee. At the end of that time, determining to settle down, he married and went to Yreka.
      He was not, however, satisfied there, nor at San Francisco, where he subsequently returned, and in May, 1853, he removed to Puget Sound. He came with Captain Roeder, who was bringing up machinery to establish a sawmill at Bellingham Bay. He located at Whatcom, whose entire population at that time consisted of twelve men working the mill. He also found employment there for a short time, his wife, who was the first white female that settled in Whatcom county, doing the cooking for the party
      He took up a donation claim of half a section of land adjoining that of Captain Roeder, on the front of Bellingham Bay. He arrived on the Sound in time to take part in the Indian war, and served in Company H under Captain Peabody and in the battalion commanded by Major Van Bokellen [actually Van Bokkelen]. He was also, himself, in command of a company that guarded Whatcom and the newly opened coal mines there. In a public capacity he has served almost continuously in different county and state offices. After being in the legislature for some time he was speaker of the house in 1866/67, and presided over the conventions that nominated [Arthur A.] Denny, Flanders and Garfield [Selucius Garfielde] to congress. In 1878 he was one of the delegates at large in the territorial constitutional convention held at Walla Walla, and was also a member of the constitutional convention of 1889 at Olympia. Mr. Eldridge was a democrat in politics up to the time that Fort Sumpter [Sumter] was fired on, and since then has been a stalwart Republican. . . . He was married in 1852 at San Francisco to Miss Teresa Lappin, a native of Ireland.
      Captain Eldridge, as he was called at home, came to Whatcom a very young man, without money, and when each pioneer was struggling to existence, and in no condition to render much aid to others. He died, forty years later, rich and full of years and honors. In the early days he worked for the coal company, then operating on Bellingham bay, and cleared his farm, doing the greater part of the manual labor himself. He filled several of the county offices, and was considered the leading citizen of Whatcom county. The last honor given him was by the republicans of the state in making him one of the eight delegates to the national republican convention at Minneapolis, which nominated Benjamin Harrison for president. Upon the revival of business upon Bellingham bay, and the growth of New Whatcom and Fairhaven, he fell easily into the new order of things, and was at the front in every public enterprise. He was, at the time of death, president of the Bellingham Bay National Bank, president of the water company, of the gas company, and of the Bellingham Bay & Eastern Railroad company. He leaves a wife; a son, Hugh, a daughter, Mrs. J.J. Edens, of Guemes island; and three grandchildren by his eldest daughter, deceased. . . . He was among the foremost advocates of female suffrage on the Pacific coast, and delivered a memorable speech upon that subject in the constitutional convention, but realizing the futility of having female suffrage recognized, did not press his views. He was the author of a brief, but graphic history of Whatcom county, published in the Reveille and of many important papers.

Isabelle Eldridge Edens (1852-1909)
Daughter of Edward and Teresa

Ferndale Record, July 23, 1909

We hope that a descendant will have more photos of Edward Eldridge, his wife, children, grandchildren and their various homes, and possibly some answers to the questions about the name change and the feud with the Munroes. We also seek photos or documents about his various business ventures, especially the Eldridge and Bartlett mill and the original Bellingham townsite on the flank of Sehome Hill, which he owned with Erastus Bartlett

      Mrs. Isabelle M. Eden [sic, actually spelled Edens, corrected hereafter], wife of Hon. J. J. Edens, died at 7:30 Sunday morning at the family home on the Eldridge estate, Bellingham. Mrs. Edens was one of the pioneers of Northwestern Washington, coming here with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Eldridge, from Yreka, Cal., where she was born, December 21, 1852. She was the first white child in Northwestern Washington.
      Mrs. Edens came to Whatcom, as Bellingham was called, in the early days, May 25, 1853, and attended school there. She went to Olympia about 1867 to attend the school of Professor L.P. Venen. She stayed there about three years and returned to Bellingham, where she taught school for a number of years in the old Sehome school, which formerly stood on the corner of Dock and Laurel streets.
      Mrs. Edens married J. J. Edens in Bellingham February 24, 1880, and went with her husband to live on his large farm on Gumemes (sic, Guemes) island. Her father died in 1892, and in the fall of 1893 she, with her husband, moved to Bellingham, and has lived ever since in the home where she passed away Sunday morning. She leaves a host of friends and was thought a great deal of for her thoughtfulness and kindness of heart, which won her way into the hearts of many.
      Mrs. Edens was 57 years old and is survived by her husband, three daughters, mother, brother and two nieces. Hon. J. J. Edens, her husband, was at one time a member of the legislature, representing Skagit County, and is now a trustee of the Normal school. Her three daughters are Maude, Olive and Nettie, all three of whom were at their mother's bedside when she passed away. Misses Olive and Nettie returning but a few weeks before their mother's death from Columbia college. Her brother is Hugh Eldridge, postmaster of Bellingham. Her mother, who also survives her, is Mrs. Theresa Eldridge [usually spelled Teresa]. Mrs. May Carr and Mrs. Alice Jukes are her two surviving nieces.
      For the past few years Mrs. Edens has been in poor health, suffering from rheumatism. Her last illness lasted about five months. Last Tuesday she was brought home from St. Joseph's hospital, and since that time has gradually declined, the end coming Sunday morning. Saturday she was conscious, but during the night became unconscious. Several times she had brightening spells, but about two hours before the end she lapsed into unconsciousness for the last time. Her husband and three daughters, together with the doctors and two nurses, were at the bedside at the end.
      The funeral ceremonies were conducted last Wednesday under the trees at the old family home, where she was married twenty years ago. Rev. Wark officiated and Judges Kellogg and Neterer, Messrs. E. W. Purdy, Charles I. Roth, R. L. Cline and Charles Donavan were the pall bearers. Six of her former pupils at the old Sehome school in the early days of Whatcom acted as honorary pall-bearers. They were Victor Roeder, Edward McAlpin [probably Edward McAlpine Jr., son of 1870s settler of Skagit City], Lew Jenkins, John Padden, John Slater and Charles Tawes. Veterans of the civil war and the members of the Women's Relief corps attended in a body. The funeral car carried the party to Bay View cemetery, where internment was made in the family plot.
      [Ed. note: This obituary is courtesy of Susan Nahas the RootsWeb coordinator for Whatcom county. Her extensive site is a tremendous resource for genealogists and students of Northwest history.]

More Eldridge profiles in this section
      In part two of this Eldridge section, you will find these additional profiles of Mr. and Mrs. Eldridge
      Part four:

Links and further reading

      See this Journal website for a timeline of local, state, national and international events for years of the pioneer period.
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(bullet) Story posted on Sept. 26, 2006
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