Location: Port Townsend Washington

Biography of Capt. Enoch S. Fowler

CAPT. ENOCH S. FOWLER. Mr. Fowler, a portrait of whom appears in this work, was one of those Argonauts who came to this country at an early day, and has since made himself a name known as a household word all over Puget Sound. Captain Fowler was born in Lubec, Maine, November 19, 1813, and died in Port Townsend November 27, 1876, being sixty-three years of age. He came to the Pacific coast in 1849 as master and part owner of the brig Quoddy Bell, which he sold in San Francisco, joining the brig George Emery as mate, and made his first voyage in her to Puget Sound in 1850, Alfred A. Plummer, Sr., the founder of Port Townsend coming on her as passenger. Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. choose a state: Any AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY INTL Start Now On the next voyage of the George Emery, Captain Fowler commanded her. He next, with the Wilson Brothers of San Francisco, purchased the topsail schooner Cynosure and came to the Sound as captain of her, on...

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Biography of Hon. Charles Eisenbeis

HON. CHARLES EISENBEIS. – This wealthy resident of Port of Washington gained his eminence by sturdy industry and sagacious investment during the pioneer days. He is a native of Prussia, was born in 1832, and the fifth in a family of ten children. Of his father he learned the trade of a baker, and was prepared upon his arrival in America in 1856 to earn thereby, in company with his brother, an independent livelihood at Rochester, New York. In 1858 he came via Panama to San Francisco, and in the fall of the same year arrived at Port Townsend. He here opened a shop and prepared for the market the first baker’s goods in the town, and probably the first in the territory, except at Vancouver. He was under engagement with the firm of Priest & Peterson, becoming a partner within a few months. The site was the same as that now occupied by his present fine building. Two years later he removed to Steilacoom, and after a sojourn of five years at this point, during which he engaged successfully in his former business and in brewing, returned to the city of his first choice, continuing a remunerative management of his shop, and investing his saving in real estate. by this means he has acquired some of the finest property in the city, and at Seattle has been very...

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Biography of L. B. Hastings

L.B. HASTINGS. – Under the bluffs on the sandbank at the old place that the Frenchmen called La Dalles, in the autumn days of 1847, a company of wayworn immigrants was lying along the river side, the women at the tents, the children playing with the dogs and romping on the shore, and the ponies and cattle feeding upon the mountain. The men were at work day after day a whole month, with their axes and hammers, in making a flatboat from the pines that they cut form the hills. This company of sixty wagons had just come out of the infinitely long distance to the eastward; and when the craft, made with the woodman’s rude skill, was done, tents, wagons, equipages, women and children were all packed on board; and the clumsy, square-headed barge was set afloat, drifting down the wide river between stupendous mountains. Past Mimmeluse Island and past the beetling crags of Wind Mountain, it approached and reached the dangerous Cascades. Here was the portage. below that was the drifting and rowing to Linnville, and along the thickly wooded shores of the Willamette to the spot where Portland now stands, which consisted then principally of Pettygrove’s cabin; while behind it rose the forest giants, “black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream.” These amphibious travelers, or voyagers were LB. Hastings and company, – Hastings, the pioneer of Portland and...

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Biographical Sketch of James McCurdy

JAMES McCURDY. – This gentleman, who worthily bears the name of his honored father, Doctor Samuel M. McCurdy, was born at St. Andrews, New Brunswick, in 1840. He was early sent to school, and spent his time to advantage until as a lade of fourteen he began the work of his own maintenance, finding a suitable position in the general merchandise store of Vose & Joyce at Robbinston, Maine. Four years later he engaged as clerk at New York. In 1859, however, he determined to join his father upon the Pacific coast, and reached Port Townsend, Washington Territory, in September of that year. He employed himself there in the study of medicine in the office of his father, and also acted as clerk in his drug store. From 1862 to 1873 he indulged a love of change and adventure by following a sea-faring life. Returning from this uncertain employment, he began the systematic development of lime works on San Juan Island in partnership with the late N.C. Bailey. Upon the death of his partner two years later, Mr. McCurdy conducted the business very ably and profitably, and succeeded in building up a large manufacturing industry, which he continued until the autumn of 1886, when he sold advantageously to a California company. In 1888 he established the lime works on Orcus Island, conducting them successfully, and still retaining in them...

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Biography of Hon. Robert C. Hill

HON. ROBERT C. HILL. – Mr. Hill, one of the most responsible men of Washington, and a pioneer of an early day, was born in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, September 14, 1829, the son of Doctor John Hill, his mother’s maiden name having been Eliza L. Davis. At the age of seven he moved with his parents to Philadelphia, and received his education at the excellent grammar and high schools of that city. He entered upon a business career as clerk in a wholesale dry-goods store in the city, and followed that occupation four years. In 1848 he removed with his parents to New Jersey. In 1850, with his father and two brothers, he came to the new empire on the Pacific shore, making the trip via Panama, and arriving in San Francisco on board the steamer New World in July. In partnership with his father he opened a lumber yard at that city, and a year later tried the fortunes and vicissitudes of life in the mines, but shortly afterwards accepted a position as manager of the ranch of his brother in Sonoma valley. Seeking for something better to the north, he arrived at Whidby Island in February, 1853, and found located there his brothers Nathaniel D. and Humphrey, who had located in the fall of 1852. He took an adjoining place, and with them went to the Indian war....

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Biography of Hon. Alphonso Fowler Learned

HON. ALPHONSO FOWLER LEARNED. – Mr. Learned, whose travels and services abroad have taken him extensively over the world as an able representative of the American nation and flag, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1838. He spent a precocious boyhood in the schools of that city, – “The Athens of America,” – and at the age of sixteen was an alumnus of Comers College. Preferring the sea, however, to further bookish confinement, he became cabin boy on a full-rigged ship, returning as able seaman. In 1857 he came on the clipper ship Sierra Nevada to San Francisco, and as mate on the bark Goldhunter, sailed to Port Townsend, Washington Territory. There he entered the mercantile business with his uncle, E.S. Fowler, but in 1862 went to Shanghai as superintendent for the large tea importers, Russel & Co. He returned in 1871, and continued in business with E.S. Fowler until the death of the latter in 1879. Much time was spent after this in San Francisco in the newspaper business, and six years in the internal revenue department. Coming back once more, he accepted a position as bookkeeper for the Alaska Mill & Mining Company; but the offensive climate induced his speedy return. He thereupon opened a real-estate and insurance office, and conducts a large business in this line. In the political world, Mr. Learned has been a prominent...

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Biography of Col. Henry Landes

COL. HENRY LANDES. – The subject of this sketch is prominent and noteworthy, even among the foremost self-made men of the great and growing Pacific Northwest, – a section so progressive and promising that it has attracted the most vigorous minds and the ablest men throughout the country. He was born in a small town in Germany on the 8th of October, 1843. In 1847 his father and family emigrated to Kentucky, Henry being then four years old. There the boy grew almost to the years of manhood, and developed in a marked degree the spirit of adventurous ambition which led him on the 1st of October, 1861, to break away from the restraints of school and enlist in a Kentucky Federal regiment of infantry, being then but eighteen years old. In that regiment he served his country faithfully and well for over three years, covering nearly the whole period of the war of the Rebellion, and participating in all the principal battles from Shiloh to the capture of Atlanta. He was honorably mustered out of the service of the close of his term. The close of the war left him with his love for adventure intensified; and, like many another young man, he started out to seek fame and fortune single-handed, without prestige or assistance, but with a courage and industrious determination that amply equipped him to grapple...

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Biography of J. J. H. Van Bokkelen

J.J.H. VAN BOKKELEN. – We constantly find among those that are here present lives of such incident and fullness, that any sketch must be so meager as to be well-nigh worthless. The active career of Mr. Von Bokkelen, covering more than half a century, is one of them. He inherits his name and much of his rugged mentality from an old Holland family on his father’s side, which at the time of the entrance of the French and flight of the King came to New York. There the grandfather became one of the first physicians, settling in the old Bowery, he having been in Holland physician to the King’s household. During the war of 1812 his father continued the active reputation of the family by making a hazardous voyage with one Captain Main to Japan for a load of saltpeter for Uncle Sam, running the gauntlet of two British war ships on the return voyage by the Cape of Good Hope. His father during the balance of his life followed a shipping and commercial business. On the mother’s side our subject is of a hardy sea-faring Welsh family, that came to New York in 1867, his grandfather on his mother’s side being the third licensed pilot in New York; and during the Revolutionary war he was most famous for piloting the French fleet into the bay. His early recollections...

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Biographical Sketch of Wilhelm Otto Roesch

WILHELM OTTO ROESCH. – The brewery of Pendleton, Oregon, is operated by Mr. Roesch, a man who has had long experience in all the processes of manufacturing the beverage. Born in Germany in 1855, he came to America in1870, working in a brewery. He followed the same business in San Francisco in 1874; at Steilacoom in 1886; at Portland until 1888. At Port Townsend he built a brewery for himself, running it two years. At Heppner, in 1880, he operated his own brewery one year. In 1882 he returned to Germany, marrying Miss Anna Rapps. Returning to Oregon, he is now at Pendleton, operating his own brewery. He has three children, Freda, Wilhelm Lewis and Herbert...

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Biography of Francis W. Pettygrove

FRANCIS W. PETTYGROVE. – The greatest respect and admiration is due the memory of the men and women who came to the Pacific Northwest when it was the home of Indians, and mountain men and a few traders, almost as wild, to plant homes and lay the foundation of the empires of Oregon and Washington, now so prosperous, and in fact fast verging into the garden spots of the union. They dared much when they accepted the role of pioneers. Among those who came in the earlier emigrations was the gentleman whose name heads this brief sketch. He was a native of Maine, having been born at Calais in that state, in 1812. From that time until 1842 his time was taken up in securing an education, and in fitting himself for an active, useful and honorable future career. In the latter year he accepted an offer of a mercantile firm in the East to bring to Oregon a stock of goods, open up a store and act as their agent. After getting the merchandise on board of the ship Victoria, he set sail in her for the far-off West via Cape Horn and the Sandwich Islands. On his arrival at the islands, he transferred his goods to the bark Farna and not long thereafter found himself in the Columbia, the vessel having anchored near Vancouver. There he was...

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Biographical Sketch of Alfred A. Plummer, Jr.

ALFRED A. PLUMMER, Jr. – This gentleman, of whom we present an excellent portrait, is the son of the pioneer whose sketch appears above, and was born in Port Townsend September 7, 1856. As a boy he received a sound practical education at the public school of the place, and as a young man entered into mercantile business, and has become a leader in business enterprises. In 1881 he inaugurated a business at New Tacoma, but eighteen months later returned to his native city, and after a time established with D.W. Smith and J.D. Fitzgerald the Port Townsend Foundry & Machine Company, one of the most important enterprises in the city, having a capital of twenty-one thousand dollars, and being operated under the able management of our subject. It turns out excellent work, and is the forerunner of many great enterprises of a like nature. In a public capacity Mr. Plummer has been at the fore, having held the office of county commissioner of Jefferson county for four years, and having also been a member of the city council. He was married in 1881 to Miss Katie, daughter of N.D. Hill. Five children were born to them, three of whom are now living. Mr. Plummer has recently met with a very sad affliction. On July 28, 1889, death robbed the happy home of its most precious jewel. The wife...

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Biography of William H. Whittlesey

WM. H. WHITTLESEY.- This popular young gentleman, who has brought to our coast a business capacity and enthusiasm of progress which augers well for the city in which he has made his home, was born in Virginia August 8, 1858, and is a son of the gallant Major Joseph H. Whittlesey of the United States Army. The mother, Kate K. Fauntleroy, belonged to one of the first families of the Old Dominion. The son William, of whom we write, remained in the south while his father, the major, was transferred to the Department of the Columbia, having command of Fort Dalles; and his grandfather, General Fauntleroy, was in command at Vancouver, and later at Benicia, California. Upon the outbreak of the Civil war, the family returned to their old home; and after this fearful political storm was over, and the year of 1872 reached, our subject, now become an ambitious youth, went to Princeton College, graduating with honor four years later, then being but eighteen years of age. Repairing to Washington City, he entered the Columbia Law School, securing a legal education, and also filling a position as clerk in the War Department at the Capitol. Seeking a career at the West, he came to Leadville, Colorado; and, being admitted to practice in the supreme court of the state, he entered upon professional work. With the facility of the...

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Biography of James Seavy

JAMES SEAVY. – This representative gentleman of Washington is, as we have noted in the case of many of the leading citizens of that state, a native of Maine, having been born at Thomaston, of the old Pine-tree state (Maine), January 11, 1825. Receiving an ample practical education at the public school and academy of his native town, he maintained himself during his early manhood by teaching and farming. In 1854 he undertook the labor, almost unheard of in his community, of bringing his family by sea to the Pacific coast, accomplishing the voyage around Cape Horn in the bark W.T. Sayward, and reaching San Francisco in September. In December of the same year he came up the coast, finding a location at Port Ludlow. He was book-keeper for the great mill at that place, and was also sought for public trusts, serving as county commissioner and as representative from Jefferson county. In 1860 he changed his residence to Port Townsend, a city well known to him by reason of a short stay there previously as teacher of the school. In that place he engaged in mercantile business with Hon. L.B. Hastings. In 1862 he was appointed postmaster, the duties of that position gradually absorbing much of his attention as the years went by; and he was retained until 1879, thus filling one of the longest terms on record....

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Biography of Hon. James G. Swan

HON. JAMES G. SWAN. – Hon. James G. Swan was born in Medford Massachusetts January 11, 1818.He came to San Francisco via Cape Horn in 1850. He came to Shoalwater Bay in 1852, which was then a part of Oregon, and remained till 1856,when he went East as private secretary to Governor Isaac I. Stevens, Delegate to Congress at Washington, District of Columbia. He returned to the territory in 1858, and settled in Port Townsend. In 1862 he was appointed teacher in charge of the Makah Indian Agency at Neah Bay, and remained till 1866, having charge of the government property during the war. He rendered effective service in keeping peace among the Indians, and in protecting the Agency from incursions of foreign Indians from British Columbia. At the close of the war of the Rebellion, when the Confederate steamer, Shenandoah was destroying our whalers in the Arctic ocean and Behring Sea, the people of Puget Sound were in daily apprehension of the rebel cruiser destroying the lighthouse at Cape Flattery, the agency buildings at Neah Bay, and the town and mills on Puget Sound. there were no tug-boats nor steamers on the Sound as at present; and the sight of one excited general remark. One afternoon the smoke of a large steamer was discovered from the tower of the school building at Neah village, approaching from the north....

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Biography of Capt. Henry L. Tibbals, Sr.

CAPT. HENRY L. TIBBALS, Sr. – One of the most active men of whom Port Townsend, Washington, boasts is the captain whose name appears above. He has done much to make that city, and merits the recognition and wealth which its rapid growth awards him. He was born in Middleton, Connecticut, on December 18, 1829. His parents were in good circumstances; but at the age of ten he took the responsibility of shipping as cabin boy on a brig, at seven dollars and a half per month. From that time forth, nearly half a century, his life has been spent upon the sea or salt water. At the age of twenty he was master of a brig on a voyage to the West Indies, and until 1849 was mate or master in active sailing. In that year he came around Cape Horn to San Francisco in charge of the sailing vessel Draco. Returning East, he came out in 1853 on another cruise, reaching San Francisco the next season, and thence went to Australia in charge of the bark What Cheer. In 1856 he arrived at Puget Sound as sailing master of the revenue cutter Jeff Davis, and was stationed with her at Port Townsend one year. Then, leaving the water, he opened a hotel, and in 1858 built the Pioneer Hotel on the present site of the Cosmopolitan. He...

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