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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Free Resources Stories & Photos
(Seattle & Northern 1890)
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, founder & editor Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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3. Silas M. Butler is dead

From the Skagit Co-op Dairyman, October 1950
(Silas obituary magazine cover)
Si on the magazine cover

      Silas M. Butler, one of the pioneer members of the Skagit County Dairymen's Association and for eighteen years the association secretary, died at his home on October 12, [1950] at the age of 87 years. He had been failing in health for some time, but until recently was quite active.
      Butler is survived by his wife, Ida; one daughter, Miss Gertrude Butler, who is teaching in Bremerton; five sons — Fred Butler, Tom Kirkby and Hugh Butler of Burlington — Maurice Butler of Fairbanks, Alaska, and Stanley Butler of Sedro-Woolley; and seven grandchildren. Funeral services were held Oct. 14 at the Walter Hulbush Funeral Home in Burlington.
      Silas Butler was one of Skagit county's real pioneers. He came to this state in 1883 from Pennsylvania and settled in Edison in 1884. He worked for some time as a logger and in 1901 became one of the county's leading lumbermen when he bought a thousand acres of virgin timber along the Old Grade road north of Burlington. In 1902 he built the famous Butler's Mill and in the next eighteen years developed one of the best known mill towns in this part of the state, employing as high as a hundred men and building a store and some thirty houses, operating a railroad, dining hall, the company store and an entire community.
      As the timber went, he bought and developed his dairy farm and became interested in the Dairymen's Association, of which he became a director in 1925 and later succeeded J.M. Harrison as secretary. He served at one time as county commissioner and was also school director. He was one of the builders of our association, and one of the outstanding leaders in Skagit county development.

(Darigold meeting)
      This is a photo of a Dairymen's Association meeting of an unknown date. Silas is the middle with the goatee and we believe that J.M. Harrison is at the left. Silas became an association director in 1925 and later succeeded Harrison as secretary. We hope that a reader can identify the other directors, which may include George Green and Phil Cornelius.

Click on these thumbnails for full-sized photos. All these photos from the Butler family scrapbook.
(Butler lumber mill, 1910s)
(Butler gravel pit5 near the farm)
(Cabins for workers and their families at the old Butler mill)
Far left: Butler Lumber Mill at its peak during the teen years.. Center: The Butler gravel pit on the east side of Butler hill, around the bend of the Kelleher road.. Right: Cabin city, the collection of woodframe cabins where mill workers lived from roughly 1902-17.

      Also read part one, a profile of the Butlers, a fine pioneer family; and part two, a profile of Silas Butler and his lumber mill and dairy, from the Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Aug. 18, 1949.

Story posted on Aug. 8, 2002, and updated on Dec. 25, 2003
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You can read about our prime sponsors:
Read the history websites of our two newest sponsors and supporters:
Oliver Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 82 years
Bus Jungquist Furniture at 829 Metcalf street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 36 years

Peace and quiet at the Alpine RV Park, just north of Marblemount on Hwy 20
Park your RV or pitch a tent by the Skagit river, just a short driver from Winthrop or Sedro-Woolley

College Way Antique Mall, 1601 E. College Way, Mount Vernon, WA 98273, (360) 848-0807
Where you will find wonderful examples of Skagit county's past, seven days a week

North Cascade Ford, formerly Vern Sims Ford Ranch,
West Ferry street and Crossroads/Highway 20
either on the Sedro-Woolley page or directly at www.northcascadeford.com
DelNagro Masonry Brick, block, stone — See our work at the new Hammer Heritage Square
See our website www.4bricklayers.com
33 years experience — 15 years as a bonded, licensed contractor in the valley
Free estimates, reference, member of Sedro-Woolley Chamber (360) 856-0101

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