Location: Steilacoom Washington

Biography of E. R. Rogers

E.R. ROGERS. – The subject of this brief sketch is a son of Charles and Jane P. Rogers, and was born in Freeport, Maine, November 29, 1829. He there received a common-school education, and early took to the sea, “a life on the ocean wave” being the bent of his inclinations. He at the early age of fourteen shipped in Boston for New Orleans and Europe. he continued in that calling until he arrived in San Francisco, on October 10, 1849, in the bark Sarah Warren, a vessel subsequently well known on Puget Sound as one of its early lumber vessels. On arriving in San Francisco, he met his uncle, Captain Denison, who was master of a vessel homeward bound, and who not only offered him, but urged him to accept the position of first officer on his vessel; but he declined, and in June following was at Big Auburn Gulch, Placer County, mining for gold. A few days afterwards he was taken ill with brain and bilious fever, the first and only sickness since his childhood. Want of medical attendance and care protracted his illness until the following February. He then prospected for a season, and met with but very indifferent success. Later in the season he joined a company to the American River at Haniseeket bar; but the season proved short; and, the freshet coming on before...

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Fix, Earl George – Obituary

Earl George Fix, 50, of 1417 So. 44th St., died Friday [March 25] en route to a local hospital. He was born in Steilacoom and had lived in Tacoma for 23 years. He was a carpenter and a member of Carpenters’ Union No. 470. In addition to his wife Alice R., he is survived by a daughter, Linda Jane; three sons, Leslie W., Randal R. and Dennis W., all of the home, and his mother, Mrs. Olive A. Fix, Sumner. Services will be held Monday at 1 p.m. in the C. C. Melinger memorial Funeral Church, Charles Summers officiating. Burial will follow in the Sumner Cemetery. Tacoma News Tribune, March 28, 1949 Contributed by: Shelli...

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Wheeler, Abraham Lincoln – Obituary

Death came here yesterday [April 1, 1937] at noon to Abe Wheeler, seventy-three, whose 66 years of residence in the Kittitas Valley covered almost the entire period of white men’s settlements in this vicinity. The last of six children who came to the Kittitas with their pioneer parents in 1871, he died at the Ellensburg General Hospital after an illness of three weeks and following an operation performed on Tuesday. His death not only took another from the ranks of the valley’s pioneers, but separated that community’s oldest living married couple, as well. Surviving him is the widow, Mrs. Laura McEwen Wheeler, herself the daughter of pioneers who also came here in 1871. Having grown up together, Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler were married more than 53 years ago. Not far behind the earliest settlers, Mr. Wheeler’s parents brought their children to the Kittitas Valley in 1871 at a time when the first great influx of pioneers was underway. Two years earlier, Charles Wheeler and his son, George, an elder brother of Abe, had come here looking for range for their stock, as had most of the first settlers. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wheeler had crossed the plains from Iowa, in 1850, going to Yelm Prairie, near Steilacoom, where they lived for 17 years and where Abe was born on April 6, 1863. In the fall of 1870 they crossed...

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Biography of Hon. Jesse B. Ball

HON. JESSE B. BALL. – Twenty miles up the Skagit river, in the heart of one of the richest timber sections of Washington, is Sterling, a thriving young city, with high hopes for the future. The founder of the place is the man whose name appears at the head of this sketch. Mr. Ball is a pioneer of 1853, having crossed the plains in that year and stopped at Downieville, where he worked a short time for a company of miners, – his only work for anybody but himself on this coast. His career has had the restless activity and energy characteristic of our people. At Nevada City and other points he was engaged in mining for two years. At Oroville he was in the stock business for nine years. Taking advantage of the no-fence law, he then spent three years at Honey Lake valley, in the same pursuit. In 1867 he came to Puget Sound, and in 1868 farmed for a year on the Nisqually bottoms. Logging and lumbering near Steilacoom engaged his attention until 1878. It was in that year that he came to Whatcom (now Skagit), and started the town of Sterling. Here he kept a store and logging camp. A year ago he sold his store and his timber lands, and confined himself to farming and real estate, owning several sixty and seventy acre tracts...

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Biography of A. C. Campbell

A.C. CAMPBELL. – The respect Mr. Campbell commands in his community as a man of honesty and integrity, and as one who has acquired a very enviable competency by hard knocks and straightforward dealings, reminds one of Longfellow’s famous blacksmith; but, although Mr. Campbell has for years upon years listened to the “measured beat and slow’ of his hammer on the anvil, he no longer appears with leathern apron and bare, brown arms, because he is now settled down in a comfortable home, and in the midst of his loving family living happily by other and less arduous pursuits than blacksmithing. He an contemplate with pleasure the means which he has accomplished by industry and determination. He is one of the pioneers of the county, and as such should not be passed over with a mere casual mention. If there is any one class of men more than another entitled to the admiration of everyone, it is that known as the “early pioneers.” They were men possessed of more character, hardihoood and genuine bravery than any other class of men living, and possessed a versatility which seemed to fit them particularly for the life of a pioneer, – to subdue and have dominion. It by no means follows that all men who came to the coast in “early days” were pioneers of this stamp. “Those were the times that...

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Biography of Benjamin Brown

BENJAMIN BROWN. – Mr. Brown was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1831, and remained at his native place until 1857, receiving a common-school education. In this year he emigrated to American and settled in Michigan, remaining until March, 1858, when he came to California by way of New York and the Isthmus. From San Francisco he found his way to the Siskiyou mines, and operated until July of 1868, and thence came to the Frazer river mines. In the autumn of that year, he brought his journeyings to a close at Steilacoom, where he remained a year. Being favorably impressed with the Pacific coast country, he now returned East for his family, bringing them to the agency on the Umatilla reservation, where he was employed until the next spring. After a time spent in freighting to Walla Walla, he removed to the Grande Ronde valley, and helped in the building of a stockade some six miles north of the present site of La Grande. He has remained in the vale ever since, and has been closely identified with the history of the country. In 1852 he was married to Miss Francis Kirk; and a family of five girls are growing up around him. The only trouble they had with the Indians was in 1862, the time that they placed a pole, as a line north of which the Whites...

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Biography of Hon. William R. Downey

HON. WILLIAM R. DOWNEY. – There are few men who are more familiarly and favorably known to the old pioneers of Puget Sound than the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. His father was a Revolutionary hero, having followed General Washington in the battles waged by the colonists for freedom from the oppression of Great Britain. Mr. Downey was born in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, March 6, 1808. At the age of three years he accompanied his parents to Hopkins county, and while living there received his education. On February 12, 1829, he was united in marriage to Miss Emily S. Wetzel. Twelve children were born to them, four of whom now survive. In 1850 he, with his family, removed to Dade county, Missouri. In the spring of 1853 they started to the far-off West, and arrived on Puget Sound October 15th of that year, locating a home on the Nisqually Plains. On the breaking out of the Indian war of 1855-56, he was obliged with other settlers to abandon his home and seek protection for his family in the fort erected at Steilacoom, where they remained until the cessation of hostilities. In common with his neighbors, he shouldered his gun and enlisted for the campaign, serving in all the engagements until 1857, when the Indians were subjugated and peace restored. On the return of the settlers to their homes,...

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Biography of Rev. John F. Devore, D. D.

REV. JOHN F. DEVORE, D.D. – Doctor Devore was a native of Kentucky, being born near Lexington, December 7, 1817. He was of French descent, as the name indicates, and owed very much to the pious example of religious parents, who urged him with their last words to be “faithful to his God.” The “Life of Bramwell” fell into his hands at an early date, was read with great relish, and had much to do in molding the shape of his after life. Entering the ministry, he joined the Rock river conference in 1842, Bishop Roberts presiding. He was ordained deacon at Milwaukee in 1844 by Bishop Morris, and elder at Galena, Illinois, in 1846 by Bishop Hamline. In May, 1853, he was transferred to the Oregon conference by Bishop Waugh, and arrived with his family at Steilacoom, Washington Territory, the latter part of August in that year, and entered at once upon his singularly interesting and successful career of ministerial labor on this coast, embracing a period of thirty-six eventful years. While in the Oregon conference, Doctor Devore’s appointments were as follows: Steilacoom two years, 1853-55; Olympia one year, 1855-56; presiding elder Puget Sound district three years, 1856-59; Vancouver two years, 1859-61; The Dalles two years, 1861-63; East Tualitan two years, 1863-65; Milwaukee one year, 1865-66; presiding elder Portland district four years, 1870-74; Vancouver two years, 1874-76; Albany...

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Biography of John Flett

JOHN FLETT. – Among the schemes of the Hudson’s Bay Company, in 1839 and 1840, to acquire occupancy and secure British title to the territory on the north side of the Columbia river, was an immigration to the Cowlitz and Nisqually Plains from the Selkirk settlement in the valley of the Red river of the North. It will be remembered that the Hudson’s Bay Company was present in the territory west of the Rocky Mountains by virtue of a license of trade from the British Crown, which precluded it from acquiring landed possessions. Its right was a mere tenancy for years. To evade this provision, the attempt was made to form the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, which, though not consummated, yet fostered this scheme of colonization and occupancy. Under its auspices was formed the Red river colony of 1841, of which John Flett, now an aged farmer residing on Steilacoom Plains in Pierce county, is the lat survivor of the then married men or heads of families who, with their families, flocks, herds and worldly possessions, constituted the Red river immigration to the Oregon territory in 1841. Mr. Flett gives the following graphic description of the journey to Oregon of that colony: “An agreement was entered into by Duncan Fenelon, acting governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, on the one side, and a party of immigrants on the other,...

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Biography of Hon. Emory C. Ferguson

HON. EMORY C. FERGUSON. – Mr. Ferguson, whose portrait is placed in this history, was born on a farm in Westchester county, New York, March 5, 1833, and is the son of Samuel S. and Maria (Haight) Ferguson. He resided in his native county and learned the trade of a carpenter until reaching his majority. April 5, 1854, he with his brother Yates (who came to California in 1849 and had returned East) started via the Isthmus of Panama for the Golden State, arriving in San Francisco in May. Our subject immediately proceeded to the mines on the middle fork of the American river, where he followed merchandising and mining until 1856. He then embarked in the sawmill business in Greenwood valley, El Dorado county, which he conducted until the Frazer river excitement in 1858. He then came north, but a short time in the mines convinced him of their worthlessness; and he began to retrace his steps. Coming down the Sound, he located in Steilacoom, where he followed his trade until 1860. He then conceived the idea of cutting a trail across the Cascade Mountains to reach the Rock creek and Smilikamun mines, he locating on the present site of Snohomish city, where he built a log cabin which he used as his headquarters, and also kept a small general merchandise store. The cutting of the trail proved...

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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 Capt. Warren Gove

CAPT. WARREN GOVE. – The gentleman whose name heads this brief biography has been a resident of the Pacific Northwest for over thirty-five years, having settled on Puget Sound in 1853, during which time he has been closely connected with all enterprises that would lend stability and success to its growth and welfare. He was born in Edgecomb, Massachusetts, July 27, 1816. the early years of his life were passed with his parents on a farm. In 1839, while yet a youth of thirteen years, he went to sea. His close application to duty, and his gentlemanly bearing, attracted the attention of his employers, who, recognizing true merit, advanced him step by step until he was placed in command of a vessel. This life he followed until he was shipwrecked in 1844, when he abandoned it. The Captain was united in marriage to Miss Hespsibah Crooker in 1842. There were born of this union five children, three of whom now survive. He came to the Pacific coast in 1851, arriving in San Francisco in September of that year. After a residence in that city of two years, he sailed for Puget Sound and settled at Steilacoom, Washington Territory. Soon after his arrival he took up a Donation claim on one of the beautiful islands near that city, to which he removed and established himself and family in comfort. On...

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Biography of Bedford L. Martin

BEDFORD L. MARTIN – In the features of Mr. Martin we see another of those who passed through the fire and hardships of our Civil war. Born in Arkansas in 1847, he was bereft of both parents at the age of four years, and was taken to Indiana and brought up by an uncle. At the age of seventeen he enlisted in Company A, Tenth Indiana Cavalry, and served in the hard campaigns subsequent to 1863. At Hollow Gap he was in the charge where two hundred and fifty men were shot down from his regiment. At Nashville, he was taken prisoner, and spent four months and a half in Andersonville and other prison pens, being finally paroled at Lake City, Florida, so reduced in flesh as to weight but seventy-two pounds. After a month in the Union hospital at Jacksonville, and another at Annapolis, he was stationed at Fort Chase, Ohio, and was honorably discharged in August, 1865. After the war he led a wandering life for some years, seeking the best state in the union for a permanent home. He was stock-raising in Kansas, and was also in California, Georgia and Colorado. By the year 1871 he had passed through Portland to Puget Sound, locating a homestead at Steilacoom. In 1872 he was at Olympia, and afterwards at Seattle, but found a suitable location with J.C. Conner...

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Biography of W. H. Mastin

W.H. MASTIN. – As a lien upon the gratitude of his fellow-men, one writes a book, another opens a mine, a third builds a house. Each one may do the work for himself, but nevertheless, in recognition of the wants and needs of others, suiting his operations to their tastes and necessities, and finding his chief satisfaction, not so much in the profit that he reaps from his industry, as from the position which he fills in the world of business and society, making himself, his skill and his work, a necessary part of the great whole. It is in this way that businessmen become such great worshipers of the city or region in which they dwell. They have dollars and cents invested there, it is true; but, much more, they find there the real spring of public and fellow feeling which makes civilized life possible. This public interest and love of the community is what makes the difference between enterprise and avarice, between the business man and the miser. Mr. Mastin has enriched and enlarged Colfax, Washington, by the building of the Thielson House, the fine hotel in the city. He is a native of Knoxville, Illinois, where he was born in 1840. A worker, harness-maker by trade, he was already earning his bread when, at the age of eighteen, he left the old hearthstone for Pike’s Peak,...

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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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