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(Seattle & Northern 1890)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
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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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Capsule profiles of Anacortes and
Fidalgo Island pioneers, businesses and place names
Part 3: S-Z

(Wagon Road)
This post card, circa 1900, shows the initial wagon road that William Allard originally cut out from the bluff along the western shore of Fidalgo Bay, beside the Weaverling Spit. Courtesy of Claudia Lowman.

      This multi-part section will give you brief capsulized reports that may be expanded into full stories in the future. It was set up as a collection of end notes to our feature on Anacortes Amos Bowman's story of Eleven Years Hence, 1879 and 1890. You will find a click link in each capsule that will lead you back to the place in the story where you were reading. This section will be expanded in future issues. The capsules are alphabetized, using the first letter of the person's last name or the first letter of the business, building or place name.

Edward L. Shannon
Excerpted from the magazine, Anacortes Illustrated, Spring 1891, George P. Baldwin, Ed.
      . Strength of conviction which would withstand all discouragements could hardly be better exemplified than in the facts connected with the first pioneer on the north side of Fidalgo Island, Mr. E.L. Shannon. Mr. Shannon is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and spent most of his youth at Milwaukee and later at Cincinnati, where he graduated at the celebrated Chickering Academy. He was then for a time connected with the large school book publisher, W. B. Smith & Co., of Cincinnati, and later held a position with the old Cincinnati Gazette. 1n the year 1863 he left alone, at the age of nineteen for California, going around by way of the Isthmus, and taking the old steamer Champion, the trip in those days costing a matter of $350.
      Arrived in California, he became engaged in the Mexican trade, which finally took him to Mexico, where he remained a year, returning to California to engage in insurance. Mr. Shannon made his first trip to Portland in 1865 with General Hazard Stevens, who came up the Columbia as agent of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company at Wallula. Mr. Shannon's next trip was in-1870, when he located on Ship Harbor in the manner previously described in these columns [see below].
      Of the i6o acres pre-empted by him, Mr. Shannon donated one-half as a subsidy on the entrance of the Oregon Improvement Company. Shortly after the failure of Jay Cooke and consequent abandonment for a time of the project to bring the Northern Pacific to a terminus at this point, Mr. Shannon engaged in other matters, and in the years 1879 and 1880 was connected with the Portland Oregonian.
      [Journal Ed. note: Jay Cooke & Co., a stock brokerage, failed rather spectacularly on Sept. 18, 1873, and took the country down with them. Cooke and his confederates in banking circles and in the federal government had been financing construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Their techniques of inflating the value of stock, along with the railroad's headlong race to obtain sections of land in a checkerboard pattern along their routes, was the public face of much deeper financial problems, including overspeculation in land and securities, the fed's issuance of too much paper money and spiraling rises in inflation. Before the year was over, nearly 5,000 businesses failed, including hundreds of pioneer banks built on railroad money, and another 5,000 would fail before the nation recovered in 1898-99. The Northwest began recovery a year earlier, on the strength of fishing and agriculture, especially with foodstuffs shipped to the miners in the Klondike.]
      Mr. E. L. Shannon, a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and afterwards a resident of California, made a trip to Portland in 1865 to become agent of the Oregon, Steam Navigation Company, at Wallula. In the year 1870 Mr. Shannon came again from California, this time to the Sound, joining General Stevens at Olympia, where he was engaged as internal revenue collector for Washington, which he abandoned a year later to become attorney for the Northern Pacific Railroad. In the latter part of 1870 Mr. Shannon, acting in company with General Stevens, examined carefully the shores of Puget Sound and located at Ship Harbor, being followed by T. Henry Havekost, who located upon another portion of the water front, but subsequently moved down to Burrows Bay. In 1872 Stevens and Shannon formed a syndicate to secure all of the Burrows Bay and Ship Harbor property up to Bowman's Point and make a contract to sell out to Jay Cooke for the Northern Pacific terminus on the Sound. Stevens associated with him, for the purpose of taking up claims, Captain George D. Hill and B. B. Tuttle who were located by Shannon along the water front as far as the present Avenue P wharf, as well as the Burrows Bay frontage. Filings were not made until 1873, as the survey of the land was not commenced until the winter of 1872. Their negotiations with Jay Cooke were made through the medium of General J. W. Sprague, of Tacoma, and E. S. Smith (then known to some as Skookum Smith). By the failure of Jay Cooke their plans miscarried, although the negotiations were by him considered favorably and arrangements practically completed. In the interim have to note the advent of Orlando Graham and William Deutsch, who are still located on the present townsite of Anacortes.
      In 1880, [Shannon] entered the employ of the Northern Pacific Railroad as statistician and progress reporter in the building of the connection from Spokane Falls to Missoula, and was engaged thus for two years, making his reports direct to [Henry] Villard, [who took over control of NP]. After leaving the Northern Pacific, Mr. Shannon engaged in various pursuits on its line, which were very profitable; and among his investments were some which proved very judicious, not to say lucrative, namely those at Spokane Falls.
      To-day Mr. Shannon is a man of very considerable wealth and makes his home at Oakland, California, but visits the Sound regularly and has not only seen his dreams of Anacortes realized, but has shown his abiding confidence by making additional investments in property. His pride in the young city is shown in his every word and his education and business training have had a good effect and have been a never ending source of encouragement to the present citizens of the city whose great future he early foresaw.[Return to Eleven Years Hence]

Elijah S. "Skookum" Smith
      Elijah S. "Skookum" Smith is famous in Northern Pacific history for leading the construction team in hurry-up fashion, after the Financial Panic in September 1873, to finish the rail bed from Kalama to Tacoma on Commencement Bay at the new town of Tacoma. This was vital so that NP could collect their land grant bonus from the U.S. government. In 1885, Smith was president of Oregon Railway and Navigation Co., and in 1889, he was president of the Oregon Improvement Co., both based in Portland. OIC launched the Seattle & Northern Railway, from Anacortes to Sedro, in 1890 and its construction teams built the road bed, bridges and depots along the way. We discovered that he and NP had a "stormy relationship" in the 1890s and he moved on to the Montana, Wyoming & Southern Railroad and a mine near Bridger, in far-south-central Montana. In Chinook Jargon, the trading language between Indians and Whites, Skookum generally meant "strong" or even "supernatural," and Smith's performance at the eleventh hour in 1873, and his risk-taking in subsequent rail operations made those meanings apt. [Return to Eleven Years Hence]

Gen. John W. Sprague
      John W. Sprague was born in White Creek, Washington County, New York, on. April 4, 1817, and was a classic child prodigy as he entered Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, New York, when just 13, but he left school before graduation and became a merchant as a teen. He moved to Ohio in 1845 and continued in business until the Civil War broke out, when he raised a militia and was commissioned as a captain of the 7th Ohio infantry. He rose rapidly through the officer ranks on the strength of his knowledge of logistics and organization and was brevetted as a major general before he mustered out of service in 1865. His post-war railroad career was assured on the strength of his dual accomplishment as a commander of a unit in Alabama in July 1864 that defeated an overwhelming enemy force and as an organizer who preserved a rail corridor for moving his corps into position near Decatur. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1894 for those actions.
      After the war, the Winona & St. Paul railway appointed him as manager and in 1870 he became general manager of the western division of the Northern Pacific. When Financial Panic threatened the company in 1873, he bought up property on Commencement Bay, the nearest place on Puget Sound to where the NP construction teams were building a route north from Kalama. NP announced that spot as the western terminus and Sprague went on, along with Capt. John C. Ainsworth, to establish the city of Tacoma. He joined Ainsworth again in 1879 to establish the town of Ainsworth near the steamboat town of Wallula as the western end of the route for the Walla Walla and Columbia River Railroad (also called the Walla Walla and Seattle). At the time he had headed the Oregon Steam Navigation Co. as general superintendent since 1877. He became a full-time administrator for NP later in 1879 and on Sept. 8, 1883 he drove the golden spike at Gold Creek, Montana Territory, to mark the completion of an transcontinental route for NP. He continued his investment in various bank and promotion of Tacoma until his death there at his home on Dec. 27, 1893. [Return to Eleven Years Hence]

M.V.B. Stacy
      We wish we knew the fulls names M.V.B. stood for, but we have found several references to his role in Northwest and Anacortes history. First of all, we know that he lived in Washington Territory early on because we know that he bought Blanket Bill Jarman's homestead at Belfast and the Prairie District on Sept. 28, 1880, $750. The next mention is from the Don Wollam, undated cite from the Oct. 6, 1883, Northwest Enterprise in regards to the organizers of the first Anacortes townsite along with James McNaught, P. H. Lewis, John Collins and others, who were acting as both speculators and front men for the Northern Pacific Railroad. In 1890 he was back for the boom along with many other luminaries and capitalists, including: Among such we find mention of Governor Ferry, John Collins, P. H. Lewis, Judge Hoyt, John McGraw, Jesse George, Kinnear brothers, Governor Squire, General Sprague, Allen C. Mason, Dexter Horton, Arthur Denny, James McNaught, and Judge Roger S. Greene. When Bowman returned from Sumas Prairie in 1888 to rustle up land subscriptions as an inducement for a railroad terminus, Stacy managed the campaign to procure, quietly and silently, about three thousand acres by donation and purchase, with the aid of Frank Seidell, of Seattle, and Orlando Graham, who owned property on the northwest tip of Fidalgo Island. He is also the namesake for the Stacy Rail Yards that were located on the landfill where the Sears Roebuck store was later erected south of downtown Seattle. [Return to Eleven Years Hence]

Gen. Hazard Stevens
(Gen. Hazard Stevens)
Gen. Hazard Stevens

      General Stevens was the son of the first governor of Washington Territory, Isaac I. Stevens. At age 13, he accompanied his father and assistants on an arduous 3,000-mile trip in 1853 from the East Coast to Olympia in Washington Territory. The governor was quite taken with Fidalgo Island in his terms here from 1853-57. Both father and son were U.S. Army officers in the Civil War. Hazard enlisted after leaving his first year of college at Harvard. On Sept. 1, 1862, both were wounded at the Battle of Chantilly, north of the Bull Run River and Manassas. Isaac, a major general in command of the 79th New York Highlanders, died of his wounds and Mark M. Boatner's The Civil War Dictionary notes that he was being considered at that point to be the next commander of the Army of the Potomac. Son Hazard was actually wounded twice, but recovered and fought in The Wilderness under Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and went on to capture Fort Huger in Virginia in April 1863, action for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery. He was brevetted to Brigadier General, thus becoming the youngest general in the U.S. Army.
      Theresa Trebon, in her book, First Views, notes that after the war, Hazard assumed the support of his mother and siblings and he and his sister Maude speculated in real estate on Fidalgo, losing heavily in the Financial Panic of 1873, but then investing more, and Amos Bowman bought part of the land. We also know from various biographies that the U.S. government in 1867 appointed Hazard Stevens to be Collector of Internal Revenue for Washington Territory of. After leaving his federal post he read for the law privately under the tutelage of future Secretary of State Elwood Evans and was admitted to the bar in Washington in 1870. He was soon hired as an attorney for Northern Pacific Railroad and later became the president of Olympia Light and Power Company and Olympia Railroad Union. An early mountain-climbing enthusiast, he accompanied Philemon Van Trump, the private secretary to the 11th Territorial Governor, Marshall F. Moore, in 1870 on the first successful ascent to the summit of Mount Rainer (see this Journal website). In the early 1870s he stumbled professionally. In 1871, the federal government decided to prosecute loggers who were poaching timber from federal lands along the NP checkerboard right-of-way across the Northwest and NP attorney Stevens was issued blank subpoenas to prosecute the thieves. By early 1873, however, the government received reports that Stevens was actually aiding timber poachers who were in league with him. According to an article on this Journal website, "The U.S. General Land Office finally stepped in June 1873, and accused Stevens of stealing from the government and the railroad. Stevens was not charged, but NP fired him."
      He moved back East again and regrouped by setting up a law practice Boston in 1875, near his widowed mother. In 1885 he was elected to the Massachusetts General Court and for the next four decades he returned annually to the family's 320-acre Cloverfields Dairy Farm, where he entertained lavishly in a Dutch Colonial house. He also became vice-president of the State Historical Society in Olympia. [Return to Eleven Years Hence]

B.B. Tuttle
      B.B. Tuttle moved to Washington Territory in an unknown year, with a stopover in Portland, from Jefferson County, Iowa, where members of a large family of Tuttles were settlers and elected officials as early as 1848. Tuttle was a justice of the peace in Portland in 1886-89 and he was married to Kate A. Greene of Sacramento. We have not found any reference to him in Washington, but we discovered that the family lived closer to her California roots in 1905-16, where B.B. was involved with the incorporation of the town of Davis. [Return to Eleven Years Hence]

Weaverling Bluff and Weaverling Spit
(Wagon Road)
This is another view of the original wagon road near Weaverling Spit, taken in 1906, according to Dan Wollam in The Anacortes Story. Note the ghostly specter in the background of a very early automobile on the gravel-packed road. It could very likely be Nick Beezner in his battery-powered Cadillac, on of the first four horseless carriages in the county.

      Theresa Trebon explains in the book, First Views, that the bluff and spit were named for the James and Frances Weaverling family, who came to Fidalgo Island in the 1872. The spit, which extends on the perpendicular eastwards out into Fidalgo Bay, has been altered dramatically, including in 1920 when the sharp point was blown away with 75 tons of explosives. I checked the 1870 census from Johnson County, Missouri, where the family last lived before moving here in 1872. Frances was Weaverling's third wife; his first two wives died, in 1850 and in 1860. They had five children together and four children were by the first wives. Only five of the children were listed with them in the 1880 Ship Harbor Precinct census here and one of the older girls was married and living separately with her husband and two children. James was a native of Pennsylvania and Frances of Vermont. He lived with the first two wives in Illinois and married Frances there. They apparently moved to Missouri by 1868. James was listed as a farmer in 1880; Charles worked on the farm and the other four children attended school.

Whitney & California Geological Survey
      One Foot on the Border and other sources claim that Professor Whitney hired Bowman for his famous geological survey in 1868 and that Amos remained in that employ for six years. This claim is apparently a repeat of some prior article for which the writer did not research the actual Whitney survey or records in the University of California-Berkeley library. First, signed records in that collection indicate that Bowman was engaged by the survey as early as 1865, so he had obviously returned from Europe by then and was hired by 1865 or before. Second, Whitney's actual involvement with the survey was cut short in 1868.
      Josiah Dwight Whitney (1819-1896), a brother of grammarian and lexicographer William Dwight Whitney, was contracted as the state geologist of California in 1860. In 1864, he and his party were the first recorded white persons to see the peak of the mountain that was later named Mount Whitney — the highest peak (14,494 ft) in the conterminous United States, in his honor. As with Hubert Howe Bancroft and his landmark book series, however, Whitney often did not do the field work and heavy lifting himself, but instead depended on earnest, young scholars and researchers and surveyors, and Bowman certainly exhibited all of those talents. Although Whitney is usually associated with the survey for the period 1860-1874, he was actually a professor of geology at Harvard University from 1865 on. We also discovered that the initial Whitney survey ended in 1868 when the state cut off funding. So we suspect that Bowman was actually engaged by other team leaders in the various follow-up surveys until 1874.
      Whitney is often cited as, and gained fame for, being the author of the YosemiteBook, which advocated protecting Yosemite Valley as a national park. The book featured 50 Carleton E. Watkins original photographs and lithography by the famed Julius Bien and Co. of New York. Some of Whitney's luster wore thin when Whitney became further known for his scientific feud with John Muir (see this Journal website about Muir). Whitney originally contended that Yosemite Valley was a graben, or a down-dropped block of land, but in 1871, Muir disagreed and said that it was, instead, a glacial valley. Arriving in California in the early spring of 1868, Muir made a cursory tour of Yosemite Valley after hearing of its matchless landscapes. After reading Whitney's book and the theory, he returned there in 1869 with a herd of sheep, which he later called "hoofed locusts" because of their destructive effect on the mountain vegetation. Muir made copious notes of the landforms and tested Whitney's conclusions in annual pilgrimages to Yosemite, finally published his own conclusions. Whitney mocked Muir's counter-theory and tried to suppress any evidence of glaciation in Yosemite, but his own peers determined that Muir was correct and Whitney compounded his problem by never admitting that he was wrong. As the Sierra Club points out:

      John Muir delighted in telling a story of the occasion when in June of 1879 he was taking a horseback party, including Dr. Joseph Cook, a noted clergyman, up Clouds Rest. The conversation naturally turned to the origin of the scenic wonders spread out before them. Muir had expounded his theory of the part glaciers had played in molding the landscape, and Cook had countered with his view that the valley and its surroundings were not the product of any evolutionary growth, but came into being as they now are, "created out of the hand of God." He favored Whitney's theory, that the bottom of the valley had dropped out, because it fitted in with his own view of creation. The reverend gentleman, who was rather portly, had dismounted and was examining a piece of the glacier-polished granite pavement to which Muir had called his attention, when suddenly his iron-nailed shoes slipped on the glassy surface and he sat down on the solid rock with all his ponderous weight. He was rather dazed by the jolt. Muir rushed over to help him to his feet, but could not refrain from taking advantage of the situation by exclaiming, "Now, Doctor, you see the Good Lord has given you this most convincing proof of the mighty work the glaciers have wrought!"
      We again wish that Bowman had kept a journal and recorded his own take on the Whitney-Muir controversy. You can find references to Bowman's own writings in association with the survey, and his detailed maps — the talent that he would put to great use when he moved north — in the online digital collections at Berkeley. Another site notes that Bowman worked with the various surveys until 1875 and explains his extensive surveys of the area around Oroville, California, for its "blue gravels." He conducted extensive field studies of the gravels of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and his studies are quoted extensively in Whitney's 1880 book, Auriferous Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California. Bowman moved north sometime after that 1875 assignment. [Return to Eleven Years Hence]

      See this Journal website for a timeline of local, state, national and international events for years of the pioneer period.
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