Evelyn Hopley Clift’s History of Samish Island

It is much too late to learn the story of Samish Islands’ early history from the lips of the first pioneers.  They are gone as are the Indians who once made the Island home, or an important rendezvous.  But I have pieced together from the family Bible, old letters, several newspaper clippings of long ago, and personal interviews with grandsons what tells a little part of those early days.  I pass it on humbly, filled with awe at the courage, fortitude, strength, and kindliness of the particular pioneer woman I found.

Time and the humid climate have all but erased the signs which tell us that here was a white man’s first crude cabin or there an Indian’s smoky long-house.

The clearings, so laboriously made, remain . . . greatly extended by tractor and bulldozer.  Roads that are wide and smooth today were once native trails, then narrow pathways and wagon roads.

Occasionally one comes upon a bit of orchard long forgotten, a portion of rotting rail fence, a wagon wheel, pestles, weights the natives used to anchor their nets, arrowheads, a lonely grave.

One of the earliest settlements by white men in what is today Skagit County was on Samish Island.  Projecting westward from the Samish River flats into the deep waters of Padilla and Samish Bays, the island is just over 3 miles long and 3/4 mile wide.  It was originally separated from the mainland by Siwash Slough, so-called for the 2000 or so Siwash who had their long-house there and hunted and fished these waters.  Siwash means North American Indian of the Pacific Coast.  INDIAN Indian, not the unfortunate connotation given the word in this day.  At low tide, this Siwash slough could be waded by a man in high boots.

Dan Dingwall (often called Dan Dingle)

Dan seems to have been the first permanent white settler.  He started a logging camp in 1872… the first such undertaking in Skagit County.  The sawmill was operated by a windmill.  It was remembered by George Hopley to be “crude and homemade. Even the cogwheels were made of round disks with yew wood pins for teeth. They certainly had to be ingenious to do the things they did out of what they had at hand.”

Two years later in partnership with Thomas Hayes, Dingwall opened a store adjoining Siwash Slough.  William Dean, a dour old Scot, soon replaced Hayes as Dingwall’s partner, but realizing the island’s potential, he started a store of his own in 1873.  It was called Deans Inn and he kept several rooms to let to travelers . . . the loggers heading inland usually stayed overnight on Samish.

Mr. Dingwall became postmaster in the Samish Post Office in 1870.  The next known post office was at Perleys, very near the Jim Raby place.  This building was later moved to the property opposite the church, and John Walch lived there for years . . . Walch had been an old sailor, had his ears pierced in the then belief it would benefit his eyes . . . wore big gold earrings a tall, large man with a broad Scottish accent, and looked every bit the part of the shaggy old sailor he was.  He built a nice sloop to sail and was always reported to have money buried on his property.

The arrival of George Eckenberger followed Dingwall and Dean.  He was a veteran of the Civil War, from Ohio, and took up a 160-acre claim on the south side of the island in 1877.  His wife Elizabeth was the first white woman on the island, preceding the second by seven years.

Watson Hodge and George Dean followed . . . several of these men married Indian women.  Mr. Hodge’s wife was of the Blackfoot tribe in Montana.

George Eckenberger

Born December 23, 1843 in Posey County Ohio, the 3rd of six children born to Leonard and Henrietta Eckenberger, who had married near Neurnberg, Germany in 1834 and emigrated to this country in 1836.

The father died during the cholera epidemic when the son was young. The mother subsequently married Captain John Yochem of the Union Army.

Mr. Eckenberger left his home in 1860 and went to Alabama to follow steam boating.  When the Civil War broke out he went North and enlisted in the 30th Ohio under Captain Riley, and served that command at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run and other engagements.  He was home on sick leave when the war ended.  He soon after went to Indiana and at Evansville in that state worked for 12 years at masonry.  He then crossed the continent by rail to San Francisco and came thence to Seattle in 1875.  During the time spent in Seattle, he twice visited Samish Island, then returned In 1877 and took up the land on which he resided continuously until his death, November 25, 1929.

The claim was under heavy timber and thousands of feet of good marketable timber had to be destroyed to make way for a clearing and the crops.

The first home erected was a small log cabin, which stood near the bay. This cabin was destroyed by fire, which was started when a bucket of pitch being heated to use for caulking a boat boiled over on the stove.  A sack of flour and several blankets were all that was salvaged. It was after this incident the historic Eckenberger home was built in about 1880.

An examination of the old building some 60 years later, after constant use, proved interesting, as reported in part by the Mount Vernon Argus:

“The weathered grey building, the oldest on Samish Island, was erected on the original homestead of 160 acres.  Nearly every piece of lumber and the foundation used in its construction was hand-cut or hand-hewn.  Huge cedar logs, hewn flat on one side were placed for the foundation.  The upper flooring was straight-grained, hand split cedar that was not nailed down.  The upper layer was of milled flooring brought in from a lumber yard at La Conner.  The studding and joists in the framework and the siding were also of hand-hewn cedar.

By far the most outstanding feature of the house was the fireplace, constructed by Mr. Eckenberger of the material he found on the island.  A stonemason by trade, he made chimney bricks by hand of the clay from the high back along the beach. The fireplace was backed by big rocks and sealed of the same clay.  Parts of the front structure were slabs of slate rock from Point Williams at the west end of the island, as were several areas of the front of the building.

How the fireplace could stand constant use for 60 years was remarkable for the clay bricks when dismantled, apparently smooth and solid, crumbled easily when struck with a hammer. An inner door studding served as “bank” for this pioneer home. It was partially hollowed at several levels with a sliding panel to cover it so skillfully done it was difficult to locate, even knowing where it was.

Elizabeth Eckenberger

Born in Evansville, Indiana, July 4, 1842.  The daughter of Benjamin and Alice (Hayes) Garis . . . she had two brothers who served in the Union Army, names unknown to us.

Married to George Eckenberger in Evansville, Indiana, on June 5, 1865. She was the first white woman to settle here, preceding the 2nd by seven years.  A hardy pioneer woman, she held the place while her husband was in Seattle or Whatcom County, working at masonry.  At one time she did not see another white woman for 18 months.  She labored with her man at clearing the land . . . she was a tall somewhat stooped woman, slim, and inquiry brings the quick response that she was the kindliest of humans.

She served as midwife to all during her years at Samish.  She readily visited the sick.  The story was told many times of the Indians crouching at her doorstep until they would be given a measure of sugar.

The home is recalled by grandsons as warm and inviting and “pretty”. Always meticulously clean and neat.  The bedrooms had large feather beds, pieced quilts, and rocking chairs.  The main room dominated by the fireplace contained rocking chairs, carved straight chairs, a lounge, and a table.  The kitchen was large . . . cupboards covered one long wall.  The end of the room opposite the stove and table had barrels of stored food . . . eggs, flour, dried and preserved fruits and vegetables, while overhead hung smoked meats, dried corn, etc.  It is remembered that a large board covered the flour barrel and this served as a worktable for the delicious bread and pies that came from her oven.  Meals were punctual~ breakfast was always at 5:30 a. m.,  the big meal of the day at 10:30 and for this Mrs. Eckenberger had often walked to the Watson Hodge claim and “gone fishing” with Mrs. Hodge for their dinner, walking back home and having dinner on the table at the appointed time.  Supper was at 4:30 and there was no more work that day!  Mrs. Eckenberger made her own coffee from barley roasted ‘just so’ in her oven.

Her chosen epitaph:  “Their’s but to see the task and do it; Their’s but the meager glory of the day . . . and then forgotten”.

Their 160-acre claim was devoted to cattle raising, dairying, hay, and a 7-acre orchard of first quality ….I’m told even today of their generosity in sharing of this bounty.  In later years their claim was broken up into 12 farm properties, 5 acres going to each of their children … Martha, John, George, Lucy, and Fred. Other parcels were sold to Wilbur J. Hopley, Georgiana Hopley, Andrew Holmes, Gilmore, etc.

Eight children were born to the Eckenbergers, 5 of whom reached adulthood.  Mary reached age 8 and Henrietta and Louisa died as infants.

The family experienced the extremes of difficult times but always rallied. They knew well the vicissitudes of the pioneer.  Their 3rd year here a forest fire swept the Island and things looked so discouraging that Mr. Eckenberger offered his property for sale at $300.00 but could find no purchaser.  Hard times were experienced until the boom commenced in 1881-2 when Mr. Eckenberger’s knowledge of the country stood him in good stead in locating settlers.

The land grant from the U.S.A. to George Eckenberger is recorded in Vol. 7 of Patents p. 349 in the year 1889, signed by President Arthur.  This conveys Gov. lots 2-3-4 as outlined on the map.

Everything in the Samish Country depended on the diking of the saltwater flats and marshlands.  This important undertaking was inaugurated by John Muller in 1871, by whom 60 acres were enclosed.  This place was later occupied by Nathaniel McCullough (near Samish River).  Dan Sullivan reclaimed 160 acres during the same year at a cost of $13, 000.  Both Muller and Sullivan’s land produced bountiful crops of oats in 1872-3.

About this time Ben Welcher introduced a diking machine that operated at a cost of $5.00 per rod.

As the Samish flats flourished, Samish Island became more important as a freight and mail center for the inland region.  With 3 docks, 3 saloons, a hotel, and a fish cannery employing 25 Chinese, logging, & boat building, travelers bound inland for the logging camps made overnight stops at Samish as a rule.

Before the docks, the stern-wheel and side-wheel steamers anchored offshore and put their passengers ashore by rowboat.  After the docks were built, and especially after the dock went to deep water, wood which was used to supply their fuel was a considerable and highly competitive job . . . many an argument developed and it is said when fists would not suffice to settle an issue, an ax handle often did.

Freight was unloaded here and ferried by flatboat with a sail to Edison. This was not a gentle business . . . putting strength and know-how against wind, tide, snow, and rain . . . these flatboats were rigged with a sail but very often had to be rowed.

Water was never plentiful on the Island . . . several springs and numerous wells supplied the need.  Issues of the Coast Pilot of the 1880s warned skippers that Samish Island was no place for watering vessels.

In 1881 the settlers built a bridge across the North Samish near Edison, using cedar logs for bents and cedar logging for flooring.  William Dean did the pile driving.  A dike was early completed across the flats to Samish Island, affording the interior easy connection with the Seattle -Whatcom steamers on the sound and ferry boats established between the island and the mainland.

Georgiana E. Hopley

A widow with 6 children came first to Seattle in 1881, where she kept a lodging house for a short time.  Aiming to get a homestead, she found 160 acres on the Samish River and filed a claim . . . a son took a pre-emption claim of 40 acres adjoining her claim.  I do not know the description of this property but believe it was bounded by Farm to Market Road and Sunset Road.   A son, A. Lincoln, a pressman for Lowman & Hanford in Seattle gave his mother a large share of his earnings to assist her in paying for and clearing up her claim.  Dan Sullivan later bought 1/4 of her Samish River claim, a Mr. Evans, a school teacher a small part and the rest unknown.

In 1885 Georgiana bought 5 acres on Samish Island from George Eckenberger and built a home which is presently the Guderjahn property. The lumber for this house was milled in Anacortes, freighted to Samish, and was hand-carried up the steep bank at the home site.  She bought and built on this property so the son and daughter who homesteaded Vendovia Island in 1881 would have a place to come to get away from the bruising loneliness they experienced.

Wilbur J. Hopley and sister Eva G. Hopley homesteaded Vendovia Island and established a sheep ranch there . . . clearing land and constructing homes.  They found the island could only support 175 sheep but sold wool at l5¢ per pound . . . packing it in large bags and taking it aboard their 32-foot schooner to the Seattle markets, and selling mutton and lamb to markets in Bellingham and Anacortes.  Poachers were a real problem to the home­steaders.  They frequently found carcasses of butchered animals whenever they left the island.

Wilbur J. Hopley married Martha Eckenberger of Samish Island in 1890 and she went as a bride at sixteen years of age to the comfortable home he had established for her on Vendovia.  Their first son Wilfred was born on Samish Island in February 1892. Harvey L. Hopley, born in April 1894 was the only white child born on Vendovia, and the aunt who was present told me of their dismay when at dusk of the evening he was born, a party of Haidas (3 canoes) came ashore and made camp just below their house.  The homesteaders were defenseless so barricaded themselves and trusted . . . mornings light showed the Haida had departed.

Later in 1894, the family returned to Samish Island to make their home.  The Vendovia home was dismantled and the lumber freighted to Samish and used to construct the nucleus of the home built here.  In 1896 four more rooms were added.  Hattie was born to them in June 1897, and Jack in May 1900.

The family befriended an old gentleman . . . Andrew Holmes, a kindly bachelor who had a good productive farm at the present Leonard Pike location.  In his later years, Mr. Holmes suffered greatly from rheumatism and was cared for at his own home until totally disabled.  A small house was then built for him at the Hopley home and he was cared for there.

Farming, logging, and boating sustained the family.  Sons recall many trips with their father in his schooner, and then in 1900 the joy of a first gas-powered boat.  Several years later the Reliance was built.  The Clift Motors in Bellingham built the gas engine.  Passengers, freight, and mail were carried to Bellingham, Anacortes, and other islands.

Wilbur J. Hopley also for some 15 years carried mail by horse from Samish Island to Edison, many times walking to break snow for his animal. The new road, so marshy, was laid with slab log from Squires to approxi­mately the Hank Ploeg farm.

The 2nd post office was at Perleys.  The mail had first come once weekly on the “J. B. Libby”, and once weekly on the steamer “Dispatch” from Port Townsend.  The 7-mile route to Edison was later increased to 3x weekly . . . the contract granted to E. C. Brown in 1886 was for $135.00 … mail later came 4x weekly.

Some memories of Hopley sons:

One memory of those early “sailing” trips:  When returning from Lummi one stormy day the sail became torn . . . the ingenious father managed to make shore at Vendovia, cut a goodly sized willow tree, wrestled it into the place of the mast and they “sailed home in good time.

Wilfred (Woody) tells me he recalls being sent as a little boy to bring the cows home.  He was terrified at the possibility of becoming lost in the very dense woods . . . in bright daylight it was very dusky.  When he found the cows by the sound of their bells, he would hold tightly to their tails to ensure his getting back home safely with them.

There is a memory of Harvey and Woody when as very small boys they were walking past the logging camp cook shack near the back at a point near the Fred Schram home when the elderly cook stepped to the door and threatened to cut Woodys nose off with the long knife he held.  The two boys raced for home and an irate father quickly returned to the cook shack, where the matter was soon settled with the cook’s assurance it was only a “very bad joke” and would never happen again!

Bull team logging was done on the entire Eckenberger claim.  Dogfish livers were fried out on the beach in big kettles to grease the skids.  The logs were hauled by teams of 6-8 horses on these skids to a ramp that led onto a trestle at about the Jim Squires place, where they were dumped into Siwash Slough.  The skid for this effort started in the back of the Wilbur J.Hopley place.

One very vivid memory of Wilfred and Harvey is of an occasion when as very small boys they had followed the team to see the load loosed… something did not follow through and in seconds not only logs but horses too were threshing about on their backs in the slough mud.  The scramble and flurry of activity and eventual cutting of the precious harness made for lasting impressions.

One other memory of these same two little boys mentioned above at play one day near the smokehouse, they unearthed a container that held enough money to make their eyes pop . . . they raced to the house with their find, to be chagrined at the dismay they caused . . . they had unearthed the family fortune!

There were a number of squatter buildings at Fish Point . . . about 15, mostly built before Dad’s time.  They were where fishermen rested, tended their nets and stored them at the river’s edge. . . and where a number of families made their homes.

Many people recall the Indians coming to Samish Island on the big tidal run-outs to dig the horse clams they preferred.  And then drying them on the beach, over hot coals, strung on split stakes hung over forked limbs.

There has probably never been a summer in the history of Puget Sound in which destructive forest fires have not raged, and the summer of 1885 was certainly no exception.  Fires on Guemes and Fidalgo Islands swept through some of the most magnificent fir trees . . . 200-300 feet in height, destroying standing timber, wood, rails, fences, and the buildings so laboriously constructed. At this same time, the Samish country was ravaged by destructive fires.  Over 1000 acres of land in that vicinity were swept clean of improvements, loggers were driven out and all operations were interrupted for that year.  Clothier and English and McElroy were the greatest sufferers.  These fires continued their destructive work and the entire sound country was wrapped in a pall of smoke until September 26 when a drenching rain and southerly gale put the fires out, clearing the smoke and brought back the sun and stars, releasing smoke­-beleaguered ships and steamers and ministered consolation to all the inhabitants of the sound country.

The year 1886 seems to have been comparatively unproductive of special events.  As happened every year of history in Puget Sound, there were high tides and floods such as people are wont to think the most remarkable of all time.  It seems that on January 24 the highest tide known at that time since records were kept, swept the coastline of the county, topping the dikes by inches, destroying a great deal of property and greatly damaging the crop prospects for the ensuing year.  The damage was felt especially in the vicinity of Padilla.  Immediately following this remarkable tide, a spell of severe cold during which the Skagit river was blocked with ice, a large part of the county having been inundated by the high tide and the ice having formed on the flooded area, the farmers were subject to serious inconvenience.

George Washington Lafayette Allen

It was in 1886 that George Washington Lafayette Allen built the ATLANTA HOME, the hotel later called Lummi Lodge, to honor his Atlanta, Georgia home, and dedicated to “all Confederate friends, and these who shared the Lost cause.”

The hotel faced Bellingham Bay, a large door banked by high windows on each side centered the front of the building.  This door opened into a large lobby which extended across the whole front of the building, a large dining room led off from this as did a narrow stairway to rooms above.  There were living quarters below as well as a huge kitchen and storerooms and a workshop.  Two large guest rooms at the head of the stairway faced the bay, and a center narrow hallway led to other rooms, a narrow stairway led to another level where two dormitory-like rooms apparently served employees. A boardwalk extended the length of the hotel on Edna Street, leading from the dock at which it is said sometimes 16 steamers a day came.

Mr. Allen operated the hotel for several years then leased it and moved to La Conner.  He later returned to pass away in 1903 at his apartment in the hotel.  His family continued with the hotel for several years after his death, then moved to Seattle.

Subsequent owners were Petty, Cleave, Kerr, Knause, and in 1926 the property was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Keith. The hotel burned to the ground on January 5, 1933.  The fire started in the chimney and the building was consumed in less than an hour.

The H. P. Halls, as related by Mrs. George C. Hopley in 1952 (Mamie) came to Samish Island on June 6, 1889 . . . the year of the fires . . . the sternwheeler “Washington” landed them at the beach and they came ashore with all their houseful goods.  They came to live in what remained of an old hotel at Fish Point.  The father was to have charge of Col. Haller’s place.

Mrs. Hall cooked at the Point for the haying crews . . . who were bothered greatly by the mosquitoes.  Baled hay was stored at the large barn at the Point, the site of a short dock that was cribbed up and extended a short distance into the river at that point.  Later, oats were shipped from here.

Col. Haller lived in Seattle.  In later years his son Theodore hunted here, boarding at the John Eckenberger home during his stays.  At one time he became mired in the mud (quicksand) in front of the Eckenberger home and John was able to free him and so save his life.

Mrs. Hopley (Mamie Hall) recalled that as children they had a considerable walk to school and always walked UNDER the cannery that was located at approximately the Gail Miller property when the tide was out.

George Eckenberger was the first road boss (supervisor) on Samish and built Front Street as is.

There was great rivalry between George Allen and George Dean.  When G.W. L. Allien plotted Atlanta on June 12, 1883, George Dean hurriedly plotted the town of Samish, and that on June 18, 1883.

An inventory for the closing of an estate in December 1903 was noted:

  • 10 beds and bedding  ……. $50.00
  • 1 range …….…….…………     $25.00
  • 5 stoves …….…….…………..  $25.00
  • 2 doz. Chairs …….……….     $10.00
  • 4 rocking chairs …………     $10.00
  • 1 organ …….…….…………..   $25.00
  • 1 horse …….…….………….     $50.00
  • 2 cows …….…….………….     $60.00
  • 1 Morris chair …….…….      $ 5.00
  • 1 express wagon ………        $10.00
  • 6 doz. Chickens ……….        $28.00

verified by appraisers: Jas Squires, Wlbr. J. Hopley, George Eckenberger.

The Lewis family came to Samish in February 1884, purchasing Lot 1, block 12 from George Dean, and later buying more land from him.  Looking over old abstracts, there are many names long forgotten, and NUMEROUS names never heard before.

In 1914 A. R. (Gus) Lewis built the dance hall that attracted such crowds. Mr. Lewis furnished the lumber and volunteer labor putting the structure together.  It was a building judged to be about 90 by 50 feet.  Name orchestras of the day played and boats came even from Bellingham.  It was very well patronized . . . some good rowdy fights took place on occasion . . . one orchestra which played there often had as a mascot a cigar-smoking English bulldog which sat atop the piano.                                                                                                                
The William Hebard family came to Samish in 1922, coming from Montana. They bought 47 acres and raised poultry . . . in the early 1930s being noted by the Co-op as the largest egg-producing business in Skagit. County.  

George Dean

A shipwright by trade,  for many years postmaster on Samish, and one of the early comers to Samish Island.  Made a success in business though at times experienced difficult times.  Born in Banffshire, Scotland  January 15,’ 1830 the 4th of 10 children of Wm. and Catherine (Horn) Dean, both of whom lived and died in the old country.  When a lad of 14 years, George left home to serve a 5-year apprenticeship to the trade of shipwright.  On receiving his papers he worked at Aberdeen, Scotland, Dundee, Glasgow, and Newcastle, England.  Each time changing location because of labor troubles.  In 1875 he came to the United States, landing in New York, and started on a tour of the country, which was completed at Seattle in the fall of 1875.  Mr. Dean arrived there on the first steamer which entered that port.  The city boa­sted of but two hotels then – the Occidental and the New England.

After looking over Seattle for 2 weeks, Mr. Dean came to Samish Island where a brother was keeping store and post office, this at the steamboat landing.  Samish Island was then the chief distributing point for the whole valley as far back as Warner’s Prairie, but there was but one white family on the Samish Flats.  Mail came by the steamer J.B. Libby once a week and the steamer Dispatch from Port Townsend stopped once in 7 days. It was not un­usual to see a band of 100 Samish Indians about the store and post office and Mr. Dean soon became able to converse with them.  Much of the waterfront around Edison had been taken up but no one lived there until about 1880 when settlement began in earnest.  Soon after his arrival, Mr. Dean built a sawmill, using wind as motive power, and with lumber turned out from that mill he built a schooner, which he sailed for 9 years.  Then he built the schooner “Mary Purley”  and sailed that for 3 ½  years, eventually selling out.

On the death of his brother, Mr. Dean took charge of the property. Diff­iculty arose with shipowners and none would stop at his wharf or warehouse except independent boats. He continued in business for 2 years and was post­master until 1897 when he went to Onalaska to build riverboats.

He did return to work out the details of a fishing device that combined the qualities of the purse seiner with that of the pile trap and which was adaptable to either deep or shallow water.  The device was patented and was considered by authorities to be the most valuable thing of its kind to have been developed in this state in a decade and a half!

Mr. Dean never married.  In politics a Republican.

Charles W. Hodge

A native of Puget Sound country, a large poultryman of Skagit Co., Born in Bellingham October 22, 1868, the 5th of 8 children of Watson and Jennie Hodge.  The elder Hodge a native of Burlington, Conn. started for the Pacific Coast when a young man.  He came around the Horn and was shipwrecked on the coast of Panama some 300 miles from a shipping point.  In company with another man he purchased a horse for the transportation of their belongings but the partner stole the horse as well as Mr. Hodges boots.  Forcing the unlucky to go in sock feet.  This was not the only unpleasant experience of this eventful trip.  At one place Mr. Hodge was arrested by the Mexicans as a suspicious character and held for 1 month.  Eventually, however, he arrived in California.  He was soon drawn into the gold excitement at Cariboo, B.C., and spent 6 years there, doing well.  Thence to Bellingham where he engaged in business for a time and later moved to Edison where he pre-empted 160 acres. He held this for 6 years- the location of the town.  He sold this, went to Samish Island, and took a homestead of 80 acres, later held by his heirs. He died in 1905.

Charles W. Hodge attended school to age 14 then went to work in a logging camp in the vicinity of Edison.  He followed logging at various points along the sound for 22 years before taking up farming.

In 1895 Mr. Hodge married Miss Alice Hansen, daughter of Wm. and Jennie Hansen.  The father was born in Norway but came to the United States in 1853 and soon took up residence in the Pacific Northwest.  He lived in Skagit Co. to 1898, farming on the Samish River.  Later moving to Tacoma.  Mrs. Hansen a native of British Columbia was the mother of 14 children of whom Mrs. Hodge was the 10th.  Charles Hodges had 6 children… Herbert, Douglas, Lydia, Ivan, Stanley, and Glen.

Watson Hodge’s wife had been stolen from the Blackfoot tribe of Montana.

James T. Squires, Sr.  

Born in Smith Co. Tennessee, the son of James and Amelia (Jones). His father had ambitions to become a physician but because of exigencies of war, and efforts to regain lost fortunes, died Dec. 1875.  His mother had died in July of that year.  The young son was orphaned and adrift at age 8.  He worked on a Mississippi plantation for several years and then went to Napa Co. California,  working in the vineyards for a year, thence to British Columbia. In 1891 he came to Edison with neither friend nor acquaintance and 35 cents in his pocket.  He worked as a laborer on a farm for a year and a half, then leased 40 acres and began cultivating the soil on his own.  In 1898 he had 245 acres of school land and went into business raising oats, diking 80 acres of marshland included in the tract.

November 20, 1895, Mr. Squires married Miss Theodosia E. Giles, daughter of R.J. Russell Giles of Tennessee who had come to Skagit Co. in 1891. To them were born Theodora, James Jr., Mary Gladys, and Floyd.   

Mr. Squires died on Feb. 9, 1960, and Mrs. Squires on April 4, 1936.

(Recorded by) Evelyn (Hopley) Clift  (Mrs. D. A. Hopley) 

The map on the left shows homestead locations as of 1890.

These notes of family records are copied from Aunt Eva (Van Wingerden’s) Bible, July 26, 1964.

Faustula W. Hopley – Born in Winchester, Mass. September 1, 1856 

Hattie E. Hopley – Born in Winchester, Mass November 24, 1859 

Wilbur 3. Hopley – Born in Winchester, Mass. July 16, 1862 

A. Lincoln Hopley – Born in Winchester, Mass. January 20, 1865 

Harvey C. Hopley – Born in Winchester, Mass. April 24, 1867 

Eva G. Hopley – Born in Winchester, Mass. September 24, 1869 


George Colcord Hopley – Born in Evans, Colorado October 8, 1872 

These notations of death are made:

Harvey C. Hopley – 3 months – Died in Winchester, Mass. July 5, 1867 

John Hopley – Died in Santa Clara, California, December 25, 1877

Faustula W. Hopley – 21 years – Died in Auburn, Washington March 26, 1887, Married name not given. 

A.Lincoln Hopley – 22 years – Died at Samish, Washington August 26, 1888 of Typhoid

Wilbur J. Hopley – 55 year. – Died at Samish, Washington March 13, 1917 of drowning

Georgiana E.  Hopley (mother) – 76 years – Died in Seattle, Washington August 6, 1909

Harriet E. Zeller – 89 years – Died at Bow, Washington April 17, 1948

Eva Van Wingerden – 90 years – Died in Bellingham, Washington October II, 1959

John Hopley and Georgiana E. Colcord – Married in Winchester, Mass. November 23, 1851 by Rev. Geo. Damon

George Eckenberger, born December 23, 1843 & Elizabeth Eckenberger born July 4, 1865 – Joined in Holy Matrimony, Jun 5, 1865.

Children born to them:

  • Fredrick, December 9, 1868
  • Lucy, February 17, 1870
  • Henereta, April 20, 1873
  • Louisa, July 5, 1866
  • Martha, September 9, 1874
  • George, April 26, 1877
  • Mary, March 9-
  • John Lewis, December 24, 1880

Deaths recorded as:

  • Louisa, August 5, 1866
  • Henereta, August 2, 1873
  • Mary, September 2, 1872
  • Lucy, December 27, 1915
  • Elizabeth (mother), September 4, 1917
  • George, November 9, 1929
  • George (father), November 25, 1929
  • Fredrick Charles, October 10, 1935
  • Martha, September 24, 1952
  • John, June 24, 1948