Issaquah History Museums

Clarence B. Bagley

Excerpts from History of King County

by Clarence B. Bagley

Clarence B. Bagley

Clarence B. Bagley

Clarence B. Bagley

Published by the S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago/Seattle 1929
Now In Public Domain

Several sections of Bagley’s history are represented here, including the Preface, Chapter 13 on King County Coal,  and Chapter 42 on Issaquah.

The settlement of Alki Point in the fall of the year 1851, was the beginning of the real history of King County, though an occasional earlier visitor left interesting notes of its waterways and mountain streams.

Its development is one of the marvels of American civilization and western enterprise.

In all of its vast area there were only three hundred white men, women and children when the writer came here. Within two or three years he knew every voter in the county by name and sight, and nearly all of the women and children in village and county.

Much of the happenings of which he has written was part of his daily life, but human memory is fallible. For this reason every worth-while book has been consulted to verify the accuracy of this narrative. Of pioneer Oregon and Washington, Elwood Evans has been accepted as the original author to whom all later historians have of necessity appealed; of local matters, Arthur A. Denny, Thomas W. Prosch, Ezra Meeker, Fred Grant, Inez Denny, Orange Jacobs, Charles T. Conover and Cornelius H. Hanford have afforded much valuable aid.

Facts, facts, facts have been at all times the author’s aim and it is his earnest hope that the reader may here find its confirmation.

At best, a history of this kind can be little more than an index for the reader, pointing the pathway for further investigation.

Those who expect a work of much literary excellence will be disappointed.

In the fullness of time some inspired writer will tell of the romance and tragedies, of the labor and privations, of the fortitude and sacrifices of the gallant men and heroic women who laid the foundation of this great commonwealth. To them this book is lovingly dedicated.

From Chapter 13: Coal, Pages 280-300

Coal, coal, was the cry of pioneers of Puget Sound from the earliest advent of white men and the topic of never-ending discussion in pioneer newspapers. Search for it led hardy, venturesome prospectors into the forests and up the mountain streams, and some of the best farming land was discovered by them. The wealth of the forests that surrounded them was a matter of little or no concern to them.

Residents of the Sound Country cannot realize how dependent our pioneers were upon San Francisco as a customer for everything we had to sell. Practically all of our lumber, piles, fish and coal went there, and it was the insistent demand of San Francisco for coal that caused the earnest search for beds of the black diamonds.

From the earliest days of the white man in the country, coal was known to exist in Western Washington. Doctor Tolmie, Hudson’s Bay factor at Fort Nisqually, reports having found coal on the Cowlitz River in 1833, and says the Indians often brought specimens from the hills toward Mount Rainier during the early days; but the exact date of its discovery is not known.

Considerable space is devoted elsewhere in account of a trip about the Sound country made by Samuel Hancock in 1849, with coal as the object of his search.

At the time the shipment of coal first began, Seattle was little more than a sawmilling town, with only one little sawmill in operation. It had a population of less than one thousand and King County about five hundred outside of the town.

The citizens of King County had from the first hoped that their town was to take the lead of all others in the territory, and this hope, it seemed, would be realized through the building of the Northern Pacific. However, when that road announced its intention of making Tacoma the terminus, this move would no doubt have put an end to the expansion of King County industries for many years had not the King County fields at the same time begun to attract the attention of outside capitalists who had seen the ships arrive at the wharves of San Francisco loaded down with the best grade of coal yet discovered on the coast.

The casual reader, perusing the history of the industry, is at once struck with the peculiar fact that from the time of the first discovery of coal by Doctor Bigelow in 1853 to the commencement of the real development of the industry, a period of some twenty years elapsed, during which time little was done toward gathering in the wealth which nature had placed under the hills of this county. This, too, at a time when the settlement was greatly in need of some great permanent stabilizing industry. The people knew the coal was there, they also knew that its mining would mean growth and prosperity and wealth; but this coal was back in the hills where it would be necessary to build roads and trams over which to bring it to salt water where ships could be loaded.

Efforts were made to interest San Francisco capital in the enterprise; but these plans, after progressing to the hopeful stage, would fail. Some of the causes of this failure were to be found right at home–certain people always making an unfavorable report upon the projects for which money was desired. Another thing which retarded development was the discovery of the Mount Diablo field in California just at a time when work was really getting under way in King County. Although the Mount Diablo coal was of low grade, the, proximity of the fields to San Francisco gave it a big advantage over the higher grade King County product. Mount Diablo furnished San Francisco 206,255 tons of coal in 1874, while Seattle sold but 9,027 tons on that market. In 1876 the Mount Diablo output was reduced to 108,078 tons and Seattle sold 95,314 tons to San Francisco buyers; this, too, in spite of a strong clique of California capitalists, who, realizing the possibilities tied up in the King County coal field, were determined to prevent its development if possible; or, failing in this, to hold up that development until their own city could firmly establish herself as the commercial center of the Pacific Coast of America.

The San Francisco clique and the Northern Pacific delayed matters, but coal, however, happens to be a commodity which does not deteriorate so long as it is left in the ground. We waited until we became strong enough to force development.

When the people of King County, on that May day of 1873, started in to build a railroad across the mountains, they hoped to solve two of the big problems which then confronted them. One of these was connections by rail with the outside world; the other was quicker and cheaper means of bringing coal from the mines to salt water. By the end of the year 1875 the mines at Renton were able to ship their coal by rail, and a short time after the road had reached the Newcastle mine and had made available the vast quantity stored in those rich hills which is not yet exhausted after sixty years of shipment.

The coal road did not stop there, but pushed on up the Cedar River, reached into the Ravensdale-Black Diamond, Franklin field, where other rich beds were discovered and opened during the decade following 1880.

Fortunes have been made out of King County coal, but, the usual fate of the pioneer discoverer is seen in the history of the mines–most of the wealth produced went to the men who later obtained possession of them, and, because of their money, were able to do the development work–the original locater being forced to step aside and see others reap the benefit of his early toil.

Coal mining in the state may be said to date from 1848, when small outcroppings of lignite were worked to some extent along the banks of the Cowlitz.

Pioneer explorers who went up the rivers during the early ‘5Os kept their eyes open for possible coal discoveries, and reported outcropping beds in various parts of the country. In 1851, Captain Pattle, while hunting timber for the Hudson’s Bay Company, discovered the vein underlying the present City .of Bellingham. As this coal mine presented no difficult transportation problem, it was soon opened, and for some twenty-five years was a producer. The quality was very low, and when, in 1878, the mine became flooded with water following a fire, it was given up and remained closed for many years. Recently another and better vein was opened, and considerable coal is now being mined there. It was from the Sehome mine, as it was then called, that the first cargoes of coal were shipped from Puget Sound to San Francisco.

The King County coal fields were discovered by Dr. M. Bigelow, who while clearing land on his donation claim on Black River, not far from the present Town of Renton, accidentally uncovered a bed of coal in 1853. The mine was opened by Bigelow, Fanjoy and Eaton, the two latter being killed in the Yakima Valley during the Indian war of 1855-56. The mine was worked in a small way, and it is said one schooner load of 300 tons was sent to San Francisco, where it sold for $30 per ton. The demand .from the California market was so great that Doctor Bigelow was offered $24,000 for the mine, an offer he could not accept because at this time the property was bonded to Capt. William Webster for $20,000. The Indian war put an end to operations at this mine,. which was not reopened at the close of hostilities. Numerous efforts have been made in recent years to operate this and other veins in that vicinity, but they have not proved financially successful.

L. B. Andrews came out of the Squak Valley in the fall of 1862 carrying on his back a flour sack of coal which he had dug out of the hillside above the present Town of Issaquah. Taking the coal to the blacksmith shop of William Perkins and the small foundry of John Suffern, both of them pronounced it of excellent quality. Andrews was a gunsmith by trade and had a small shop on First Avenue at that time. He came to Seattle in the fall of 1860 and a warm friendship at once sprung up between him and the writer and continued steadfast until his death more than fifty years later.

In his gunshop he and I organized the first chess club in Seattle. It had only two members for many years.

But to return to our coal. The writer witnessed Andrews’ personal tests of his coal in a small forge connected with his shop, and we pronounced it excellent.

Perkins and Andrews soon formed a partnership. Like all the succeeding pioneer coal companies, Andrews and Perkins found that the development of their mine and the transportation of its product to market required more capital than they could command, so the property remained undeveloped until the completion of the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad in 1888.

The Seattle Gazette for August 11, 1863, said that Andrews had opened three veins, one above the other, within a distance of one-fourth mile up the mountain side, and that these veins ranged from 12 to 20 feet in thickness. Workmen were reported to be engaged in opening a road from the mines to Lake Sammamish, also that the coal was to be hauled to the lake and then shipped on barges to Seattle by way of the Lake Sammamish, Lake Washington, Black and Duwamish River route. In December, H. Butler had become interested in the mine to the extent of inducing San Francisco capitalists to come to Seattle and investigate the proposition. These men, Craig, Aiken and Bigley, visited the mine and reported “a bed of coal unsurpassed by anything of the kind in any part of the world.”

The same paper of February 2, 1864, published the following editorially: “While many of the coal-struck inhabitants have been engaged in wordy discussions of the quickest and best way to render the Squak coal mines available, and to bring the precious stuff down to the salt chuck, Mr. William Perkins went quietly to work, built a boat of about five tons burden, provisioned her, and with a couple of aboriginal sailors for a crew, made his way up the Duwamish and Black rivers, through the lakes to the mines, loaded, returned by the same route, and on Wednesday last reappeared at Yesler’s wharf with about five tons of the veritable Squak coal–the first ever brought to market. The time occupied in making this first trip by water to Squak was about twenty days, and the distance traveled in going and coming is nearly 140 miles; but Mr. Perkins was obliged to cut his way through brush and logs that choked the channel of the long, crooked slough connecting Isquawh and Washington lakes, and to lay on his oars over a week at the mines awaiting favorable weather to take in his load. He is confident that the round trip may be made in half the time mentioned, and that between the mines and the landing on Washington Lake, two miles east of town, it may be made in a few days. Mr. Perkins started back on Saturday for another load, and if it even takes him two or three weeks to make a trip by this roundabout route, the scarcity of coal for home consumption, and the price it readily commands, will yield a nice little profit for his labor. Perseverance like this is deserving of success, and we hope Mr. Perkins will win it.

Consider the courage, determination and unconquerable industry involved in such a trip. The scow had to be “poled” up the Duwamish, Black and Squak streams. Long poles were used that reached the bed of the stream, and then the crew walked from the bow to the stern of the crafts. One of the crew held it stationary until the others had again reached the bow. On the lakes, if the wind were favorable, a sail was set, but most of the time the craft was propelled by long oars, “sweeps” they were nautically termed. The coal was brought to the south end of Squak in a wagon and there loaded on the scow by hand. The return voyage was much less arduous for the crew.

In the fall of 1863 Edwin Richardson was surveying out a township on the eastern side of Lake Washington when he accidentally discovered a bed of coal on the north bank of what has since been known as Coal Creek. At that time coal was not considered as a mineral by the United States Government, and coal lands were subject to entry under the preemption laws. With the announcement of the new discovery at Coal Creek, prospectors were soon in the district. and had filed a number of claims. Among these were Edwin Richardson, Ira Woodin, Finley Campbell, William Perkins, P. H. Lewis, Josiah Settle, C. B. Bagley and others. With two districts being developed in the county, Seattle now commenced to “talk coal” in earnest. The Gazette printed maps of the coal fields, and active development commenced.

While the pioneer coal mine owners were men without large bank accounts, they did have the physical strength to go at the development work with pick and shovel. The work moved slowly for the first few years, but in 1865-66 the people of Seattle commenced to realize that they had great wealth in the coal mines right at their doors and that development work must be hurried along. Rev. George F. Whitworth, a man who had had considerable experience in eastern mining regions, became interested in the matter and moved from Olympia to Seattle in 1866. He, together with Rev. Daniel Bagley, P. H. Lewis, John Ross and Selucius Garfielde, organized and incorporated the Lake Washington Coal Company, which company opened the first tunnel on the hillside above Coal Creek and brought out some of the coal, it being carried out in sacks.

A light draft barge was built and arrangements were completed for moving the coal to the bay by way of Black River. The coal was brought down in a wagon from the mine on a road specially constructed for it at a cost of more than $2,000, a sum at that time far more important than today.

The future looked bright to the mine owners, but the barge grounded in the shallow waters of Black River and caused trouble. The coal was finally landed on Hinds, Stone & Company’s dock and was advertised for sale at $8 per ton. This firm had recently constructed a wharf at the rear of their store on the west side of First Avenue South, midway between Washington and Main streets, and had built up quite a shipping center there. The customs officers seized the barge because it was operating in salt water without a license–a little matter of detail which the coal barons had overlooked. Peace was arranged upon the payment of a fine of $50 and the barge went back after more coal, which was in great demand. Handicapped by lack of funds, the mine owners realized they had a very hard problem to solve. There was lots of money in coal, they had the coal, but they did not have the capital with which to build the roads, barges, cars and tugs necessary to transport that coal to the anxiously waiting market.

The United States revenue cutter Lincoln came into the harbor about this time and some of this coal was given to the captain with a request that he give it a trial. One of the amusing things about this test is that the captain reported the new coal created too much heat and came near melting down the smoke stacks of his vessel. This may have been hard on smoke stacks, but it was great news for the owners of the mines, and they were much encouraged with the report.

Realizing that the development of its mines was a task requiring more money than its stockholders could command, the Lake Washington Coal Company in the spring of 1868 entered into an agreement with Capt. C. F. Winsor for the sale of the property. Captain Winsor, it was understood, was acting for San Francisco parties who had large capital to invest in the Seattle coal fields. After a long summer of inactivity, the officials of the company learned that he was merely a broker who had tried to make a fat fee out of the sale, but had overloaded the deal with commissions and could not induce his people to invest.

During the summer word was received in Seattle that Captain Winsor had come to the Sound and that his boat was then at Olympia discharging cargo. As Seattle was not at that time visited by this line of steamers, and the company wished to know what the captain was doing with regard to the sale, it was decided to send a party out to see him. Rev. George F. Whitworth, P. H. Lewis, and C. B. Bagley accordingly rowed across the bay to Alki, where a fire was built and preparations made to intercept Captain Winsor’s boat when it came along during the night. The boat was late in getting away from Olympia and it was near morning before it was seen coming down the Sound on its way to San Francisco. The steamer was held while the party discussed the coal question, which goes to show that schedules were somewhat elastic in those days. In San Francisco some interest was awakened in the King County coal fields, and T. A. Blake, a young mining engineer, was sent to the Sound in the summer of 1868, with instructions to make an investigation of the field. Blake’s report, which was never published, shows him to have been a very far-sighted observer. In speaking of the Coal Creek (Newcastle) field, he says “The lower one alone of these three beds will probably furnish a greater mass of good coal in a given length and breadth than any mine yet worked on the Pacific Coast of America. It will not be easy to overestimate the future importance of the Seattle coal field to the commercial and productive interests of the Pacific Coast; notwithstanding the heavy outlay which will be required to open the mines upon a proper scale, and to put the coal in the market.”

Blake’s report was filed away; the Seattle people were to be allowed to develop their mines without the assistance of California capital. Seattle people were accustomed to having their projects turned down by outsiders, and they also knew how to take one of these rejected projects and make it successful; so they organized a new mining company under the name of the Seattle Coal Company, incorporated February 1, 1870, and at the same time a handling company under the name of the Seattle Coal and Transportation Company, the latter to have charge of delivering the output from the mine at Newcastle to the ships on Elliott Bay.. The Seattle Coal Company succeeded the old Lake Washington Company, the main stockholders being Ruel Robinson, Amos Hurst, Albro M. Pringle, Martin L. Chamberlain, Edwin Eells, Thomas Flannagan, George H. Greer, A. N. Merrick, George F. Whitworth and C. B. Bagley. This corporation bought the interest of the old company, except that of Lewis and Ross, and now owned the 480 acres comprising the claims of Edwin Richardson, Josiah Settle and C. B. Bagley. There were 10,000 shares of stock, the value of which was placed at $1,000,000.

The market for its product open, this product tested and approved, its mines in workable shape with tunnels run and output guaranteed, the new owners felt sure of success, provided the transportation problem could be solved. It was decided to move the coal through Lakes Union and Washington by barges carrying the cars, which would be run over tram roads to be built between the lakes and also from the south end of Lake Union to the bunkers to be erected at the foot of Pike Street. The transportation company, composed of Robinson, Hurst and Peter Bartell, started work on this line in the spring of 1871, and every man who wanted to work was given a chance at railroad building. There were no steam shovels in those days and the road builders went at the job with pick and shovel and wheelbarrow, but they finished the road and .moved coal over it for many years.

The cars were loaded with coal in the mine, let down the long inclined tram to Lake Washington, where they started on the first part of their barge trip. At Union Bay they were moved from the barge to the portage tram, over which they were hauled to Lake Union to be again loaded onto a barge for a trip to the south end of the lake, where they were again on the tram rails bound for the bunkers at the foot of Pike Street. These tram rails were six inches wide, made of wood and surfaced with strap iron. The car wheels were spread out so as to reduce wear, as each car had. a capacity of two tons. The coal was handled eleven times in its trip from mine to bunker, the transporting cost amounting to about $5 per ton. The company spent $25,000 in preparing to handle the coal, and after several months of operation sold out to Charles D. Shattuck and S.. Dinsmore, of San Francisco, who in turn sold the business, after having made several improvements, to Osgood & Remington, who operated the line until 1880; when it, together with the Seattle & Walla Walla Railroad, passed under the control of Henry Villard and the Oregon Improvement Company.

For two years this railroad was operated without a franchise from the city council, that body approving the franchise ordinance, which was Ordinance No. 55, on May 7, 1874. Almost two years later the Seattle Coal & Transportation Company was granted a right of way for the line which had then been in operation for four years. The right of way was granted in Ordinance No. 85, approved by the council January 25, 1876. These were the first railroad ordinances ever passed by Seattle, and to the fifth council, composed of John Collins, mayor, and John Leary, Robert Abrams, J. S. Anderson, Isaiah Waddell, James McKinley and William Meydenbauer, councilmen, belongs the honor of passing Ordinance No. 55, while the seventh council, which approved the right of way ordinance, was composed of Bailey Gatzert, mayor; Benjamin Murphy, G. W. Hall, Josiah Settle, Isaiah Waddell, J. R. Robbins, J. H. Hall and John Leary.

While under the management of Dinsmore, the first railway excursion ever run in the Puget Sound country was conducted over the line from the Pike Street bunkers to Lake Union. The locomotive, called “The Bodie,” was brought up from San Francisco early in the year 1872. Upon its arrival the company issued an invitation to everybody to come and take a ride. Nearly everybody in Seattle had worked to build the road and now they were to have a free ride behind the first locomotive to toot its whistle amid the dark recesses of King County’s forests. In reporting the excursion the Intelligencer of March 25, 1872, says:

“‘Friday last was decidedly a holiday in this city, owing to the opportunity afforded everyone to indulge in the novelty of a free ride behind the first locomotive that ever whistled and snorted and dashed through the dense forests surrounding the waters of Puget Sound. Business in town was not exactly suspended, but it might very near as well have been, as an excursion on Dinsmore’s Railroad, connecting Union Lake with the Sound, with its constantly departing and returning train of cars during the day, seemed uppermost in the minds of all, and pretty much monopolized every other consideration.” The locomotive and its eight new coal cars were kept moving from 11: A. M. until everybody in town had had a ride at about 5: P. M., the round trip being made in about half an hour.

By the end of May the company had finished its long trestle to deep water and ships were receiving their coal direct from the cars into which it had been loaded at the mine. This reduced the cost of handling and by the end of September the sixty men employed in the mines and the fifteen in the transportation department were turning from 75 to 100 tons of coal daily into the bunkers and ships at the foot of Pike Street. The company was operating ninety-two cars, with more under construction, had just finished the construction of twenty-five houses at the mine and was preparing to greatly increase the output.

The first cargo of Newcastle coal to be carried away from Seattle consisted of 405 tons, which was shipped to San Francisco on board the bark Moneynick in the year 1870. The Intelligencer in the early part of the year 1880 gave the following figures covering coal exports in tons from Seattle for the previous ten year period: 1871, 4,918; 1872, 14,830; 1873, 13,572; 1874, 9,027; 1875, 70,157; 1876, 104,556; 1877, 112,734; 1878, 128,582; 1879, 132,263. Of this 790,639 tons the Renton Mine had supplied 33,419 tons, while the Talbot had furnished 23,426 tons. Some idea of the importance of the Newcastle mine may be obtained when it is remembered that all the rest of this coal had been dug out of its beds. During the month of December, 1879, the following vessels loaded at Seattle coal bunkers: The ships Eldorado, Alaska, Two Brothers; bark J. B. Bell; barkentine Tam O’Shanter, and the schooners Excelsior and Reporter. The greater part of this exported coal went to San Francisco, not to exceed fifteen thousand tons being divided between other ports, one of which was Honolulu.

The trestle work and bunkers of the Seattle Coal & Transportation Company were the most prominent objects on the water front in 1877. These works represented an investment of $30,000 and extended into the bay a distance of 800 feet. On June 16th, while the Western Shore and Washington Libby were lying at the chutes loading coal, the entire structure suddenly fell into the bay, teredoes having eaten off the piles which about eleven months before had been driven into the mud at the bottom of the bay. Although the bunkers contained some 1,450 tons of coal at the time, the boats escaped with minor injuries.

From 1880, until 1887, the mine was a heavy producer, the output running from 118,742 tons in 1883 to 231,816 in 1885.

By the end of the year 1883 these mines were producing 55 per cent of the total coal produced in the territory and 22 per cent of the total for the Pacific Coast. The output for 1890 was 159,524 tons. Annual production continued well above the 100,000 ton mark until 1900, when the mine was closed down and remained unproductive for a time.

Labor troubles in 1886 reduced the output to 22,453 tons, and in 1887 the hoisting works at the mouth of the mine caught fire. This fire spread into the mine, where it burned for some months, necessitating the closing down of the works. At that time the mine was producing from 150 to 200 tons a day, demand was strong and prices were high, coal selling at the Seattle docks for $5 per ton, a price $1 per ton higher than had been obtained at any time during the previous ten years. Notwithstanding the labor troubles and fires the output of the Newcastle Mine had reached the grand total of 1,740,000 tons by the end of the year 1887.

On January 24, 1867, the Territorial Legislature passed an act incorporating the Coal Creek Road Company and giving it authority to build a rail or tram road from a point on Lake Washington, near the outlet of Coal Creek, to a point about three miles eastward in section 27, township 24 north, range 5 east, of the Willamette meridian. The act gave the company the right to appropriate a strip of land 100 feet wide for the entire length of the proposed road, together with such lands as it might need for warehouses at terminals, and provided that no other road should be laid out within fifty feet. The company, composed of William W. Perkins, John Denny, H. L. Yesler, John J. McGilvra, C. J. Noyes, C. H. Hale and Lewis C. Gunn, was incorporated with a capital stock of $5,000, with the privilege of increasing the same to $500,000.

H. L. Yesler was president and Gardner Kellogg secretary.

Although the Legislature had given this company what amounted to almost an exclusive franchise up the Coal Creek Valley, which was so narrow in places as to make the building of a rival line a physical impossibility nothing was done by the company until in August, when it advertised for bids for the construction of the road. The date set for opening these bids was August 20th, but if any were submitted they must have been unsatisfactory, as the company again advertised, setting the date forward to September 2nd, with the same result on that date.

Nothing more was heard of the company until November 4th, when it held a meeting of its stockholders. The meeting was well attended, Yesler, Denny and McGilvra being elected directors. The company spent considerable money on the project and built its road to its Coal Creek claims, bringing out some coal over the line, but the enterprise was not successful, and by the end of the winter of 1867-68 was in bad financial condition. Its stockholders failed to meet their payments, the Intelligencer of April 25 stating that the company had sold six shares of stock for non-payment of assessments. Something like thirty thousand dollars had been spent and lost. During the latter part of April the road was sold to the same San Francisco parties who had bought the Lake Washington Coal Company properties, but as this afterward proved to be a brokerage deal with no money behind it, the Coal Creek Road stockholders failed to realize anything out of their investment.

Had the money wasted on this project been invested in providing transportation from the Newcastle Mine to Seattle, the history of the coal industry in King County would have been vastly different from what it is. It could have remained in the ownership of Seattle people and would not have passed to San Francisco capitalists, who later furnished the money for its development and absorbed the profits Seattle learned her lesson; her people saw the danger of dividing their forces and from that time onward were to be found united whenever the task to be accomplished was of sufficient magnitude to require such united action.

The Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad made substantial progress in 1876. James M. Colman was interested in it, and not only put in a big block of his own money, but secured other money as well; he also assumed the superintendency. Piledrivers were engaged, and the town end of the road was built; the first locomotive engine (called the A. A. Denny) was secured and construction begun on a large number of cars, of which the cast iron, wheels and woodwork were the product of local shops and mechanics. Construction work was not allowed to stop with the year. By March 7, 1877, the road was completed to the Town of Renton, and was formally opened that day. Excursion trains were run, and everybody carried free. It was a happy occasion for Seattle, Renton and Duwamish Valley people. Next day the hauling of coal trains began. The remainder of the year was spent in extending the road toward Newcastle, in completing the wharf and incline in town, in building new cars, getting new engines and generally preparing for greater things. Newcastle was reached by the company with its rails, engines and cars February 5, 1878, and the same day a train with fifty tons of coal was brought from the mine to town. The Seattle Coal and Transportation Company at once abandoned the lake route, laying up the boats, taking up the rails, disposing of its rolling stock and leaving to ruin all connected with the old transportation route that was not salable. The railroad company, on the contrary, lengthened its wharf so as to accommodate four vessels at a time, ran four locomotives and fifty coal cars, moved from four to eight hundred tons of coal a day, carried the mails, secured a large traffic, and made its property one of the most lucrative and promising railroad ventures in the country.

In 1873 E. M. Smithers prospected the country around the present Town of Renton. The streams showed signs of coal and Mr. Smithers was satisfied that beds of it existed in the neighborhood. After devoting considerable time to the district he had about made up his mind to give up the search when he found coal float in one of the small streams. Following this float up stream he came to a place beyond which the coal seemed to be absent, so ascending the bank he prospected the hillside and found the bed with almost the first stroke of his pick. Together with T. B. Morris and C. B. Shattuck, Mr. Smithers organized the Renton Coal Company, and the mine was opened,. A tramway was built to the Duwamish River, the cars pulled by horses, and the coal brought in barges to the bunkers on the Yesler wharf in Seattle, the steamer Addie being built and used for the purpose of towing barges. Among those in the Renton Company were Ruel Robinson, C. B. Shattuck, T. B. Morris and E. M. Smithers. Close upon this discovery was that of the Talbot vein in the vicinity. The coal was excellent in quality, and soon was popular in the local market. By the end of 1874, the output was ten tons a day. In 1875 it was greatly increased. A quarter interest was then sold to Pope, Talbot and Walker, the Port Gamble mill owners for $25,000. The steamer Wenat was brought from the Columbia River. Ships, in the bay were loaded from barges by both the Renton and Talbot companies, selling coal then by the cargo for $6 a ton. In 1875 the two companies shipped to San Francisco 13,240 tons of coal, and in 1876, 26,707 tons.

Before the coming of the railroad the Renton and Talbot mines passed through several years of, transportation troubles, during which their barges turned turtle in the river or bay, their steamboats “snagged” and the coal sank into the water. On October 14, 1874, the Renton Coal Company launched the little steamer Addie from the shipyard of William Hammond at the foot of Cherry Street. The launching of the Addie was celebrated by the firing of cannon and the blowing of all the steam whistles which the town had at the time. She measured 110 feet long, 19 feet beam, with a depth of hold of 4 feet 6 inches, and was placed under the command of Capt. H. H. Hyde. Within a short time Hammond had finished a large barge and the Addie commenced her work of towing coal. Several other barges were built for this service during the fall, each of them being 80 feet long by 20 feet wide, with a capacity of eighty tons.

Early in the spring of 1874 John Collins, J. F. McNaught, John Leary and M. Padden opened the Talbot Mine at Renton under the superintendency of the latter. Development work was prosecuted with vigor and within a year the company had driven a tunnel 16 feet wide and 11 feet high for a distance of 450 feet, exposing a vein of coal ten feet across the face. They had obtained 320 acres of land and also had built a mile of railroad from the mine opening to the landing on Black River, where coal bunkers were being erected.

More railroad was built in 1875, and in 1876 the Seattle & Walla Walla reached the mine and the water route was abandoned. The mine was a continuous producer until 1886, when it was closed, remaining unproductive until 1895, when the Renton Cooperative Coal Company obtained possession of the property and opened up some new beds. The mine became the property of the Seattle Electric Company in 1901, since which time, with occasional interruptions, it has been one of the heavy producers of the county.

The addition of the Renton and Talbot mines to those of the Newcastle district at this time was a most fortunate circumstance, as Seattle coal operations were now able to furnish employment for many of the men which the panic of ’73 had made idle. Yesler made extensions to his wharf and the Renton and Talbot companies built large bunkers there; Wilson & Sons and other iron workers were kept busy casting mine car wheels; the mills were sawing lumber, and by the close of the year 1875 Seattle’s waterfront was a busy place, her citizens were at work and her merchants were doing a good business, the holiday trade being placed at $20,000 that year. With the coming of the railroad to the mines production increased, the facilities for handling the product keeping pace with the output, so that by 1881, J. M. Colman, then manager of the railroad, was able to load 1,200 tons of coal into the hold of a vessel directly from the cars of the railway company. This was a great advantage as it saved extra handling, breakage to the coal and enabled a ship to obtain its cargo in much quicker time.

As has been shown, nearly all of the King County coal mines, early in their history, passed into the control of foreign corporations. That these foreign owners have considered the local mining industry from the standpoint of dividends only is shown by the fact that these same dividends, or profits, annually reach a sum greater than the amount paid in wages to King County coal miners, the great majority of whom are citizens of foreign nations. It would seem that with such vast quantities of coal as this county possesses, the importation of an outside product for the purpose of supplying local demand would be unnecessary. These foreign owners, in order that they might declare larger profits to their stockholders, placed a price upon the local product which made these importations not only possible but highly profitable, and during the last twenty-five years, more than one fortune has been made through supplying the people of this city with coal mined east of the Cascade Mountains, in British Columbia and even in far away Australia.

By far the greater part of the profits made through the development of the timber industry, with its saw and shingle mills, its sash, door, barrel and other woodworking factories, have remained in the state where they have contributed to the comfort and well being of the people. Such, however, is not true of King County coal, one of the greatest assets Seattle ever possessed, and it is to be regretted that its profits have gone to enrich other states, while our own people in their efforts to be loyal to the local product have been forced to pay these profits, knowing at the time the true condition existing in the industry. The pioneer did not possess the capital required to develop the mines. He could have held on to his claims, in which event the development of the country would have been retarded; but he sold, hoping the resultant development would justify his sacrifice. For every hundred dollars invested by the foreign purchasers of the mines, thousands have flowed, and continue to flow, into their pockets; all because the pioneer did not have, and could not borrow the capital required for paying the expenses of developing his claims.

During the last fifteen years several new mines have been opened in King County, some of which, like the Denny-Renton Clay and Coal Company’s at Taylor, the Grand Ridge east of Issaquah and others have produced coal in commercial quantities. King County production passed the million mark in 1902 with 1,012,217 tons to its credit, and reached the maximum in 1907 with 1,416,509 tons. The heavy increase in the production of California fuel oil during the last few years has forced curtailment of the coal output, with the result that King County mines produced but 844,701 tons in 1915. Many heat and power producing plants have substituted the new fuel for coal, but now that oil prices are beginning to rise, King County mining promises to again take the place in the industry which nature, through her great generosity, intended it should occupy.

Notwithstanding the fact that Washington coal mines are under very rigid inspection laws, they produce their share of accidents, and tragedies, in which men lose their lives and leave women as widows and children as orphans.

During the ’80s the wharf and coal bunkers on King Street were a notable feature of Seattle’s waterfront. They were wiped out by the Great Fire of June, 1889.

That transportation was the main problem confronting the coal mine operators in King County is shown by the history of the Issaquah field. It was from this mine that L. B. Andrews dug the first flour sack of really good coal ever brought into Seattle. This was in 1863, but it was not until the building of the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern, now the Northern Pacific’s North Bend branch, in 1888, that this immense body of coal was made available to the market. The Seattle Coal & Iron Company was organized in 1887, with a capital stock of $5;000,000. D. H. Gilman was president; Henry Crawford, vice president; J. A. Jameson, treasurer, and F. H. Whitworth, manager. The object of the company was the development of the Issaquah Mine, also the iron prospects on the south fork of the Snoqualmie River near the summit, which at that time were supposed to be of great value. Incidentally it may be mentioned that the company hoped to become a big factor in the Pacific Coast coal market, which was then controlled by the Oregon Improvement Company and the Dunsmuir interests of Vancouver Island.

The company owned 1,497 acres of coal land, with at least five veins running from 6 to 14 feet in thickness, said to be one of the largest and richest fields in the country. Development work was started on a scale which it was thought would produce from 300 to 500 tons a day, and the first shipments were made in 1888. The iron mines proved to be prospects only, but Issaquah made good as a coal camp, averaging over one hundred thousand tons annual production from 1892 to 1904, when it was closed. Under the management of the Superior Coal and Improvement Company the field was again opened in 1910. Very little coal was produced by this company. In 1912, it gave place to the Issaquah & Superior Coal Mining Company, which spent a great deal of money in bringing the mines again into production. They yielded 80,994 tons in 1914.

The Black Diamond Coal Company was organized in California in 1864, and through its development of the Black Diamond mines at Nortonville in the Mount Diablo district of Contra Costa County early arose to a position of prominence in the industry on this coast. All through the early days promoters of new projects went to California for their capital, and it was in this way that the Black Diamond Company obtained possession of the coal mines at Coos Bay, Ore., and Bellingham Bay in Whatcom County. The company marketed great quantities of coal from these three districts, but as the product of none of them came up to that of the King County mines in quality, it was decided to obtain a mine in this district.

P. B. Cornwall was at the head of the Black Diamond Company when it decided to enter the King County field in 1880, and it was under his direction that Victor E. Tull was sent north from San Francisco with instructions to explore all the coal fields of the Puget Sound country with the object of discovering new and better veins. The company desired to find a better coal than the Newcastle, which at that time was the best coal being shipped from King County. Tull began his work on the banks of the Skagit River; continuing south many veins were examined, many samples sent to San Francisco for testing, but it was not until July, 1880, that he discovered the great beds which are known to underlie the Black Diamond-Franklin-Ravensdale field. The small samples which Tull had sent to San Francisco were found to show such high quality that the company sent B. B. Jones, a coal expert, who had been employed by the company at its Mount Diablo mines for some years, to Seattle with instruction to continue the prospecting of the district. Jones’ report of what he found was so favorable that the company at once put a crew of men at work opening what has since been known as Mine No.14 of the Black Diamond group.

With plenty of money at its disposal the company pushed its development work along very rapidly and in January, 1882, had a crew of men at work building houses, cutting trails to the river and opening the vein of coal. On April 7, 1882, Tull loaded a box of 800 pounds of Black Diamond coal on board the Idaho for shipment to San Francisco, the shipment being made that the company might submit the coal to more exhaustive tests than had yet been given it. These tests proved to be so satisfactory that President Cornwall decided to pay the mines a visit. Morgan Morgans was at that time the company superintendent at the Mount Diablo mines and Cornwall asked him to come to King County with him. The two men left San Francisco on June 7, 1882, on board the steamer State of California, and arrived in Seattle June 9th, by way of Astoria, Kalama and Tacoma. The next day they obtained a wagon and driver and set out for the mines. Some eight miles beyond Renton the driver was sent back to Seattle and the men continued their trip on horseback.

Following the visit of Cornwall and Morgans the Oregon Improvement Company sent Harry Whitworth and a crew of surveyors into the field for the purpose of surveying an extension of the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad from Renton to the mines. The survey was completed in June and within a short time construction work was started on the new line.

At this time King County was producing sufficient coal to keep the steamships Willamette, Umatilla and Walla Walla constantly engaged in carrying it to San Francisco, the three boats averaging five trips per month and carrying 2,200 tons per trip.

Morgan Morgans was sent to King County in 1885 as general superintendent of the Black Diamond mines, the first coal in anything like commercial quantities being taken out in March of that year. The railroad had been finished, the company had a large number of men employed and by the end of the year 43,868 tons of the new coal had been taken out of the ground. It was of high quality and was soon very popular as a steam producing fuel. Morgans remained in charge of the mines until they were acquired by the Pacific Coast Coal Company in 1904, and under his direction other veins were opened in the district, which took first place in King County coal production in 1895, a place which it has held for many years.

With the opening of the Black Diamond mines, and the completion of the Cedar River extension in 1884, prospectors began searching for other veins of coal in the district, and it was not long before it was found that the outcropping discovered by Tull was in the center of a large coal field. Many prospects were opened and some of them, notably those of Franklin, Ravensdale and Lawson, soon became heavy producers. Development work on the Franklin Mine was begun during the summer of 1885, and was hurried along with such vigor that the mine had produced 7,854 tons of coal by the end of the year. This mine is located about three miles east of the Black Diamond mines, and, like them, was long a heavy producer of high quality coal. It was opened by the Oregon Improvement Company, later passing into the hands of the Pacific Coast Coal Company. The field reached its highest production in 1900 with 167,600 tons taken out that year.

The Ravensdale mines began shipping in 1900 under the management of the Leary Coal Company. The first year’s output was 48,000 tons, which was increased to 184,370 in 1895. The mine passed under the control of the Northwestern Improvement Company, subsidiary to the Northern Pacific Railway, and produced 127,972 tons in 1914. An explosion destroyed the mine in 1915, killing thirty-one workmen, since which time it has been abandoned by the company.

Through the building of the Cedar River extension of the Columbia and Puget Sound Railway the mine at Cedar Mountain was developed by the Cedar Mountain Coal Company, Samuel Blair, president; Laurence Colman, secretary, and J. M. Colman, manager. Although development work was not started until in August, 1884, the mine had produced 1,732 tons by the end of that year. This property was never what could be called a heavy producer and after being operated for some twenty years was closed because of faults.

Coal mining has contributed its share of the comedy and melodrama, as well as tragedy to the romance surrounding the development of the Puget Sound country. Promising prospects which filled their discoverers with high hopes of financial success have often failed to produce the desired results. Rich mines have been discovered only to be lost to the original locators; fortunes have been lost and other fortunes won, and notwithstanding all the wealth which has been taken out of the mines of King County during the last sixty years, there remains today a body of coal of unknown vastness, which, as the ,years roll along, will continue to produce wealth, not only for the men who own and operate the mines, but for the manufacturers, transportation lines and the army of people who depend upon these and allied industries for a living, and make Seattle their home.

“The Pacific Coast Company” of today is a gigantic corporation and has a long lineage. The Lake Washington Coal Company, Seattle Coal Company, Dinsmore and Shattuck, Osgood and Remington, Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad Company, Oregon Improvement Company, Columbia and Puget Sound Railroad Company, Black Diamond Coal Company, Franklin Coal Company, Pacific Coast Steamship Company, and perhaps other local companies, are all centered today in the one company, which has its head office in New York City with Walter Barnum, president.

Operations on what later were known as the Newcastle Coal Mines began in 1867, and in the sixty-one years that have passed The Pacific Coast Company, under its several organizations, has done more toward the development of King County’s’ resources and the upbuilding of Seattle and outlying towns and communities, than any other corporation.

In early days most of the output of its mines went to San Francisco and it owned and operated a fleet of steamships as coal carriers with many independent sailing vessels in the same trade. The steamships were Mississippi, Walla Walla, Umatilla, San Pedro, Montara, sailing ships Spartan, Germania, Ivanhoe, Two Brothers, Dashing Wave, Kennebeck and many others were built for the coal trade, but as the shipments gradually lessened they were converted into passenger ships.

These ocean shipments at one time reached 30,000 tons per month; today, aside from what ocean steamers take from its bunkers for fuel and the fuel supply of the Alaskan canneries and some of its towns it has no ocean shipments of coal.

From time to time its mines have been apparently “worked out,” and mining operations have shut down; later to be resumed when other vein’s have been discovered and opened up.

Franklin and Newcastle Old Town are deserted villages and Black Diamond is only partially tenanted by the miners who work in the new mine near Elliott Station, in Cedar River Valley, who are transported to and fro daily by the company.

Recently its mines at Newcastle have resumed their youth and in November 1928, they produced a daily average of 743 tons and the new Black Diamond mine yielded a daily average during that month of 1,374 tons.

Their briquet plant on the eastern shore of Lake Washington has an eight-hour capacity of 500 tons but its demands are seasonable, ranging from 250 to 500 tons daily. The coal it uses comes about equally from the company’s mine at Carbonado and from its King County mines.

It is a fact worthy of note that within the memory of our older citizens it was necessary to send abroad a thousand tons of King County coal daily for a market and that today the output of more than two thousand tons a day is nearly all consumed at home, notwithstanding the invasion of crude oil and the largely increased use of electricity for heating purposes

Years ago the company sold all of its steamships sailing out of Seattle, but recently it bought two ships from the United States Shipping Board which will be used in its Alaskan traffic with limestone for its Seattle cement plant as return cargoes. They have already brought down nearly forty thousand tons for that purpose.

The Pacific Coast Railway Company, at San Luis Obispo, Calif., is one of its branches. Its local organization is divided into Railroad Company, Steamship Company, Engineering Company and Cement Company.

Much of the present day details about the company were supplied by Glen F. Clancy, general superintendent, and William Claussen, district sales manager.

The acquisition in 1926 of the Ravensdale Coal Mines by the Continental Coal Company of Seattle has meant the rejuvenation of Ravensdale, one of the pioneer mining towns, originally established in 1885.

Ravensdale is on the Northern Pacific Railway, about three and one-half miles northeast of Black Diamond. The Continental Fuel Company is one of the largest of the independent coal miners and dealers in King County. Recently that company acquired, under the name of the Dale Coal Company, Sections 1, 31, and 36 from the Northern Pacific Railway. This includes the townsite of Ravensdale, which has been largely rehabilitated, there being fifty-seven children in school at the present time, with a gymnasium and other facilities for them. Ninety votes were cast in Ravensdale precinct in the presidential election of 1928. In the two mines, the Dale and McKay, there are 100 employees.

The beds already located, which include the famous McKay seam, contain 55,000,000 tons of coal, according to the estimate of such a well known geologist as George Watkins Evans. The company has constructed and is operating a modern colliery with a capacity of 1,000 tons of coal a day, and has many miles of underground workings. In 1928 these mines produced more than fifty thousand tons of steam and domestic coal, while plans for 1929 include 100,000 tons.

The property embraces nine seams of coal, only two of which are being worked at the present time. In conjunction with the colliery, a modern briquetting plant with a daily capacity of 100 tons has been built. The company employs a German formula for the conversion of non-coking into coking fuel. The plant is at present in course of reconstruction to repair damage by a recent fire.

More than any other local industry, uncertainty has ever attended coal prospecting and mining. Discoveries that for a time aroused hopes of financial success have failed; rich mines have been opened and operated for a time with large profit and suddenly disappeared, but other discoveries were made. Geologists tell us that there are vast deposits of coal underlying much of King County, and notwithstanding all the wealth which has been taken out of the mines of the county during the past sixty years there probably remain today bodies of coal which in future years will continue a source of wealth.

The production in the King County mines has been much increased during the year 1928. The state keeps close watch upon mining operations and each year presents an interesting tabulated report of the total production, the number of men employed, the number of their working days, and the tons per day per man taken out. For the year 1927, the total tonnage in King County was 456,230; average number of employees 922; average number of days work per man 185; average tons per day per man 2.67.

During the year 1927 there were small coal mines operated in King County by independent owners and so far as I have been able to learn they are now taking out coal. Their total output for 1927, was only 177,000 tons.

Following is a list of them: Carbon Coal and Clay Company, Bayne; Caroline Coal Company, Tiger Mountain; Continental Coal Company, Black River; Dale Coal Company, Ravensdale; Elk Coal Company, Palmer; Harris Coal Company, Issaquah; California Alaska Coal Corporation, Snoqualmie; Morris Bros. Coal Company, Durham; Parkin Kangley Coal Company, Palmer; Renton Sunbeam Coal Company, Renton; Strain Coal Company, Renton; Tulloch Coal Company, Ravensdale; Enumclaw Coal Manufacturing Company, Enumclaw; Occidental Coal Company, Cumberland; Navy Mine, W. G. Kegler, Cumberland; Diamond Coal Company, Black River Junction; Danville Coal Company, Ravensdale.


[av_toggle title=’3. Issaquah: Early History’ tags=” av_uid=’av-g81uqa’]

From Chapter 47: Issaquah, Pages 765-768

In early days the little valley at the head of Lake Sammamish through which the Snoqualmie branch of the Northern Pacific Railway now runs was known as Squak Valley. Squak, or Squawk, as it is sometimes spelled, is a corruption of the Indian name Squowh, pronounced by the natives as if spelled Isquowh. The white settlers were drawn to the valley by the rich bottom land and the absence of floods. In the ’50s about 200 Indians of the Simump tribe lived in the vicinity of Squak or Sammamish Lake.

L.B. Andrews was the first to take a claim in the valley, going there in 1862 to develop a coal mine. The following year a number of settlers came, including John P. Adams, William Casto and his wife Abbie, John Halstead, William Jepson, H. Beatey, John Stevens, Ned Jacob Ohm, known as “Dutch Ned;” James W. Bush and his wife Martha, William Dennis, Frederick Johnston, David Maurer, William E. Walsh, H. E. Holmes, and Rob Mellas. Later comers were a certain Sherwood, George Davis, and Ned Welch. In the spring of 1865 Thomas Jefferson Cherry preempted 160 acres near the Lake. Governor Pickering, who had previously perfected his title to an entire section at Snoqualmie Falls, acquired the Casto farm upon the death of the owner, and his son, William Pickering, Jr., settled there in 1866. In 1867 Ingebright A. Wold and his brothers, Peter and Lars A., with R. J. Jones, bought Welch’s farm of 160 acres, paying him $500 for it. John Reard was a tenant on the Pickering place later. George Washington Tibbetts, subsequently known for the stores he built at Renton, Gilman, Snoqualmie, and North Bend, settled at Squak in 1874, renting from Pickering until in 1882 he bought the Ohm homestead of 160 acres. Peter J. Smith came to the valley in March, 1876, and purchased eighty acres from Thomas J. Cherry. In 1879 in company with John Anderson he bought a farm of 170 acres two miles north of the present townsite and started dairying.

The first settlers found a stubborn growth of forest, except for about one clear acre on the Bush place, another patch on the Adams farm, and about forty acres on the Pickering place. When the soil had been placed under cultivation, potatoes were raised for human food and turnips and rutabagas for feed. The original stock of cows, hogs, horses, and chickens, was augmented as time went on, and, soon the farmers were making small shipments of produce to Seattle.

The present trip of one hour by automobile from Seattle required an entire day to go and two to return in the ’60s and ’70s. Casto, before his death, had done a small business in hoop poles, made from the hazel of which there was a dense growth in the valley. He shipped these to San Francisco merchants, frequently receiving as much as $1,500 for a single shipment. At first the settlers used as a short cut to Seattle a rough footpath which started from Coal Creek on the east shore of Lake Washington, as well as the longer water route through Lake Sammamish and the slough.

The first produce shipments of any size were made about 1867 or 1868. Farmers with oxen carried their stuff by team to the Lake Landing and then proceeded by canoe or small boat through the slough to Lake Washington. One of the Wolds is said to have built the first scow used on the Lake. This craft was towed on the larger body of water and pushed through the slough with poles, ten days being required to make the trip to Seattle and return, a distance of twenty miles. The landing on the Seattle side was made at Leschi Park, then known as “Fleaburg” because of the insects which infested the small Indian settlement there. Early in the ’70s Bush constructed a bateau about thirty-six feet long. His daughter, Samantha, told the writer of steering her father’s boat on many of these early trips to the metropolis, carrying cargoes of hoop poles, potatoes, oats, butter, eggs, or butchered hogs. Steamboat travel to the valley began in the ’90s. J. C. O’Connor built a steam scow which he called.’ the Laura-Maud and Captain James Fairburn a small iron boat, the Avril. Fairburn and Charles Poole for a while carried passengers across Lake Washington for seventy-five cents each way, landing at the O’Connor place, at about the site of Houghton.

For a time hop growing promised to be the leading industry of the valley. Indeed, the first hops grown in the county were raised by the Wold brothers. In 1868 they planted half an acre in hops after purchasing the required 2,000 plants from Ezra Meeker of Puyallup. The first shipment was sold to Schmieg’s brewery in Seattle for a keg of beer. In 1891 the Wolds built a hop-house and by 1893 they had increased their acreage until they had fifty acres in these malt producing vines. Lars Andrew Wold acquired title by preemption to 160 acres adjoining the original holdings of himself and his partners and subsequently bought them all out. Tibbetts also became a large hop grower on his 1,000-acre farm. Although Tibbetts had held only a sergeant’s rank in the Civil war, he was styled “General” in his latter years on account of his election in 1881 to a generalship in the Washington State militia. General Tibbetts served as chairman of the Republican county central committee at one time, was elected to the Territorial Legislature in 1876, served as member of the convention that framed the state constitution in 1889, and in November, 1902, was elected to the House of Representatives of the State Legislature. He also served as notary public and as justice of the peace at Squak.

The building of the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railway and the consequent tapping of the Squak coal fields, especially the rich Gilman mines, augmented the population of the valley sufficiently to warrant platting a townsite. On June 7, 1869, only seven ballots were cast at Squak in the general biennial county elections. In 1885 the population was only 100, but the completion of the railroad in 1888 and the first shipment of coal in the following year brought such numbers to the region that 200 ballots were cast for sheriff in the election of 1890. Accordingly Ingebright Wold platted forty acres as the Town of Englewood on May 7, 1888, laying out the site on either side of the railroad. This plat should not be confused with that of Inglewood, a townsite laid out on the east shore of Lake Sammamish, just north of Monohon, on July 30, 1889, by Paul Hutchinson and others. The mines had been named in honor of Daniel Hunt Gilman, a prominent resident of Seattle who promoted the railroad, and by general consent the town was soon known by the same name. The post office, which had been Squak, was given the name Olney to avoid confusion with another in Washington called Gilman, until the town was named Issaquah.

Gilman was incorporated as a town on April 29, 1892, with F. W. Harrell as mayor and I. A. Wold, treasurer. The following were councilmen: Isaac Cooper, S. A. Bushman, Richard Chambers, German Borcoldi, and August Donant. On September 2, 1893, A. L. Valentine, town surveyor, fixed the town limits.

By the late ’90s. the change of name to Issaquah, an adaptation of the Indian name, had been growing in favor and the name Gilman was discontinued.

The first plat in which occurs the designation Issaquah was that of W. C. Noyle and his wife Elizabeth, filed with the county auditor on March 5, 1900, as Issaquah Park. On April 13, 1905, Herbert S. Upper platted an addition to Issaquah. He laid out two subsequent additions on April 1,1913 and on February 28, 1914. Raymond D. Ogden, Seattle attorney, in company with Peter McCloskey and his wife Elizabeth, platted an addition on October 8, 1913. The limits of Issaquah were extended by annexation of adjacent territory on February 7, 1913, during the mayoralty of Peter J. Donlaw.

Issaquah first appears on the United States census rolls as Gilman precinct in 1900, when the population, including Gilman town, was 1,060. In 1910 the precinct had 556 persons and in 1920, 1,026. The population today is estimated at 1,000. In 1900 the vote for sheriff in Gilman precinct was 214; by the election of November 4, 1902, Issaquah had become a separate precinct in which 127 votes were cast. In 1910 there were ninety-five votes and in 1920, 225. During the presidential election of 1928, 264 votes were cast


[av_toggle title=’4. Issaquah: First Businesses’ tags=” av_uid=’av-emqo1e’]

From Chapter 47: Issaquah, Pages 768-770

Ingebright Wold had conducted a general store on his ranch and done a thriving business with the farmers, miners, and Indians of the surround­ing country. In 1881 George W. Tibbetts erected a good-sized store and hotel on his farm and in the following year established a stage line from Newcastle to Squak, and thence to North Bend, operating in connection with the Columbia and Puget Sound Railroad. Following the platting of the town, Tibbetts put up a large two-story building and moved his busi­ness into it. This was the first mercantile house in town and was later occupied by the Issaquah Coal Company. William Pickering, appointed in 1870, had been the first postmaster at Squak. Tibbetts took over the post office in 1878 and kept it in his store until 1886. Miss Mattie Bush succeeded him, keeping the office at her father’s house. George Parks, was postmaster after Miss Bush, until J. H. Gibson, who still holds the office, was appointed in 1899.

The erection of the first frame house in town is credited to Isaac Cooper, who put up a saloon upon his arrival in 1887. He also dealt in real estate until June, 1899, when he bought the Belleview Hotel which had been built by Thomas and Mary Francis in 1888. Mrs. Francis be­came the wife of Cooper, who ran the hotel until February, 1902, when it was leased to James Corbett. Another early hostelry, established before 1889, was the Gilman House, opened by William Moore on Front Street, on the site of the State Bank of Issaquah Building. A later rooming house was the Gilman Hotel on the corner of Main and Second streets. The Grand Central Hotel, an unpretentious structure, accommodates travelers today.

In 1888 a group of citizens organized the Issaquah Water Company. The incorporators were George W. Tibbetts, Thomas Rowley, William Moore, and Isaac Cooper. In 1901 the greater part of the stock passed into the hands of A. B. Stewart and Samuel Stempson of Seattle, but Cooper continued as resident manager for several years.

The first bank at Issaquah was established in 1900 under the name of W. W. Sylvester and Company by W. W. Sylvester and his son, Warren C. The younger Sylvester, who now lives in Seattle, was cashier. The Syl­vesters did a banking and insurance business in a small wooden structure on the site of the present bank building. Later they replaced it with one of concrete. On April 22, 1913, the business was incorporated as the Issaquah State Bank, with its present capitalization of $25,000, by H. C. Schultz, former manager of the Kirkland State Bank, W. L. Collier, and L. P. Schaeffer, the control of the business having passed to this group from the Sylvesters. The State Bank of Issaquah has since enjoyed a healthy growth. In 1928 the institution reported a surplus and profits totaling $12,600 and deposits aggregating $415,850. Officers were as follows: J. H. Peters, president; J. H. Gibson, vice president; A. J. Peters, cashier; and W. L. Peters, assistant cashier.

Dr. Shoemaker was the first physician at Gilman. Dr. W. E. Gibson first came to Issaquah as Dr. Shoemaker’s assistant and finally succeeded to his practice, serving also for about seven years as local physician for the Northern Pacific Railroad. With his brother, J. H. Gibson, the Doctor opened the first drug store. Dr. Gibson was elected Mayor of Gilman in 1890 and subsequently served as councilman.

The Issaquah Independent was established as a weekly on January 1, 1900. George Webster bought it from the original owner, whose name is not available, and in 1907 sold it to A. P. Burrows. David Peacock bought it in 1916 and changed the name to The Issaquah Press. M. A. Boyden is the present owner and editor. The paper is published weekly and claims a circulation of 500.

In August, 1900, a telephone company was organized and on January 1 of the following year there were two subscribers. In 1928 there were 132 telephones. In 1902, John M. Goode, a son-in-law of General Tibbetts, established a livery business which he ran for seven or eight years. Later he erected a service station at the junction of the highways known as Goode’s Cor­ners where he is still in business.

Early in the present century I. W. Van Winkle opened Issaquah’s Cash Store, dealing in general merchandise. By this time Gibson’s drug store was carrying a stock of stationery, books, school supplies, paints, oils, wall paper, and sundries. F. A. Fisher, who had opened an under­taking establishment, by 1909 was also dealing in furniture and draperies, while E. C. Guss, confectioner, in addition to running an ice cream and candy parlor advertised himself as at the public service for tailoring and cleaning and pressing. Fred Stefan established and conducted for many years the Issaquah Steam Laundry.

In 1914 George Wilson Tibbetts, a son of General Tibbetts, opened the first Ford agency at Issaquah, continuing in business until 1919, when he sold out and went to Texas. Upon his return he took the managership of the Motor Sales Company and still holds that position.

The Grange store, which is still in business as The Grange Mercantile Association, was opened by Andrew Wold, a son of Lars Andrew Wold, who served as manager for three and a half years. Wold bought out Tolle Anderson’s hardware and feed business, which he still conducts un­der the name of A. L. Wold & Company.

The Issaquah Creamery Company and the Fox River Butter Company, Incorporated, are today the chief dealers in dairy products at Issaquah. The Washington Co-op Egg and Poultry Association has a branch at Issa­quah to take care of the important local poultry and egg business.

From Chapter 47: Issaquah, Pages 770-771

Lumbering for many years was an important industry in the region tributary to Issaquah and many are still employed in logging and milling at Monohon, Preston, High Point and to a minor extent just outside the town. One of the early sawmills after the incorporation of the Town of Issaquah was the establishment of three brothers, Joseph, John and E. P. Neukirchen.

The Issaquah Mill Company was incorporated on January 15, 1903 and for a period carried on a general lumber and milling business. The in­corporators were as follows: William R. Bush, Chris J. Trandum, Axel Forsberg, and Olof N. Kinde. In 1909 there were three lumber mills and six shingle mills within a four mile radius of Issaquah.

The lumbering and milling operations at Monohon, on the east shore of Lake Sammamish, have also contributed to the prosperity of Issaquah. The name of this town, founded by Martin Monohon, who took up a home­stead there in 1877, appears erroneously on most maps as Monohan. Lee Monohon of Renton, a son, is authority for the correct spelling of the family name. The Allen and Nelson Mill Company was established at Monohon in 1889 by Watson Allen, James D. Houghton, and James H. Watson, with a capitalization of $50,000. In 1906 the holdings of this concern passed into the hands of C. P. Bratnober, John E. Bratnober, and C.S. LaForge. The mills had a cutting capacity of 120,000 feet daily. The plant included fifty homes for employees and a twenty room hotel. For some years, also, the Lake Sammamish Lumber and Shingle Com­pany, incorporated on December 17, 1892, by Frank G. Winquist, A. C. Hilan, Sam J. Yates, and Denis H. Stake, was in business. The Lake Sammamish Shingle Company, incorporated on September 10, 1901, by J.F. Weber, Henry F. McClure, and R. M. Castle, is still doing a good business. About 1909 the Empire Lumber Company was operating a lumber and sawmill about one mile east of town, while Shelton and Jones had a shingle mill three miles to the northeast. One mile to the south, also, was the R. and A. shingle mill, while three miles to the southwest were the shingle and sawmills of the Tiger Mountain Mill Company. About this time Brace and Heath established a shingle mill near town. Several small sawmills are still operated in the town and Issaquah also benefits from the lumber industry as a shipping point, about two train loads of logs leaving there daily.

Many Issaquah men are employed in the lumber industry at High Point, a little less than three miles east, and at Preston, three miles far­ther along the highway toward Fall City. High Point, named thus be­cause it is at the top of a steep grade of the Northern Pacific’s Snoqualmie branch, was founded by John Lovegren, who settled there with Charles Edeen in 1905 and erected the first shingle mill there. An abundance of cedar in this vicinity has made the manufacture of shingles an important industry. The High Point Mill Company has a good-sized mill there today.

Preston was named in honor of William Preston, an associate of D. H. Gilman and others in the building of the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railway, and was used as a supply post when the Seattle Coal and Iron Company had prospecting camps in that region. August and Emil Love­gren early in the present century established the Preston Mill Company, which is still operating, although August Lovegren is dead and Emil Love­gren is no longer actively connected with the mill. C J. Erickson is now president of the company which is capitalized at $300,000. The concern runs a lumber, shingle, and planing mill, employing about 200 men. The daily output is approximately 75,000 feet. The population of Preston is mostly of Swedish descent, and a great many of the mill hands came direct from the old country. Often a husband and father has come alone to this town, worked hard for a year or two with but one objective-the sight of his wife and children in a comfortable little cottage to greet him -at the end of a day’s toil, to have his dream fully realized in the course of time.

From Chapter 47: Issaquah, Pages 771-773

The story of early coal mining at Issaquah is related elsewhere in this history. Mention will be made here only of the romantic episode of the Issaquah and Superior Coal Mining Company, which occurred just be­fore the beginning of the European war, and which has been facetiously termed, the “German occupation” of Issaquah.

The Issaquah and Superior Coal Mining Company, organized by Count Alvo von Alvensleben, a German national, acquired surface and coal rights to about 2,000 acres of land and spent more than a million dollars in preparing to take coal from its properties. Tunnels, gangways, tracks and surface equipment were installed. The most modern machinery at that time for grading and cleaning coal was installed at a cost of more than $100,000. Houses were built for the miners and Count von Alvensleben even proposed to install a golf course for the miners. von Alvensleben in operating his Vancouver mines had startled other mine owners with his almost socialistic ideas of giving the men who worked in the bowels of the earth adequate pay and decent living conditions. He had welcomed the labor unions and had always maintained that any industry which could not give its men a fair wage and humane hours forfeited its right to exist.

Walter Baelz, general manager of the company, was then connected with the German civil service in its department of mines. Today he is assistant to the Minister of Mines of the German Republic. The installation of the plant was in charge of J. R. Watkins, an English mining engineer.

All the preparatory work had been done for a plant capable of produc­ing 2,000 tons of coal daily. Besides the millions of tons in the seams of the mines, the Company controlled valuable deposits of fire clay which it planned to develop in the future. A briquetting plant and a works for the manufacture of commercial fertilizer were being planned.

The enterprise was hailed with great expectations by the people of Issaquah. More than 500 men were employed during this preparatory period, with a monthly payroll of $30,000. Under the impetus lent by the Company more homes and business buildings were erected at Issaquah in 1913 than had been built there in the preceding twenty years.

But world politics were to close the shafts of this mine within the next twelve months and the newly installed machinery was destined to rust un­til the greatest conflict the civilized world has known was fought out on European battlefields.

von Alvensleben, who has since become an American citizen, came of a noble Brandenburg family. An intimate of the Emperor and other well born Germans of less rank, the Count found no difficulty in persuading many of exalted station to invest money in the plant. During the war a rumor was circulated to the effect that the Kaiser himself had money in the mine; von Alvensleben was even accused of being the Emperor’s agent in Canada and in the Pacific Northwest. These charges were pure propa­ganda, according to the Count. “I wish to deny unequivocally that the Kaiser ever had money invested in the Issaquah mine,” von Alvensleben told the writer in 1928. “Any funds the Emperor had for investment were placed by two conservative Jewish banking houses in Berlin. Strug­gling mines on the western shore of North America were not on the list of these bankers.”

But there was more than $1,000,000 of German money invested in the enterprise. With names like that of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg on its pages the stock book of the Issaquah and Superior Coal Mining Com­pany might have been a section of the “Almanach de Gotha.”

Prior to the European war, von Alvensleben had sent 100 tons of coal to a Bavarian by-product plant for analysis. He received encouraging reports from the chemists who declared that at least 199 products were derivable from Issaquah coal. The Count’s German friends, had already engaged themselves to furnish $1,000,000 for the erection of a by-product plant when the hurricane of August 1, 1914, swept upon the Central Powers and made necessary the use of all available funds in the defense of the Fatherland.

von Alvensleben had purchased the properties of the Issaquah Coal Mining Company and the Superior Coal Mining Company, paying $250,000 for the fields. A Seattle bank held a mortgage on the property. After various vicissitudes the bank, for other causes, failed, after foreclosing the mortgage on the mine. All the Germany money invested in the mine had been lost, leaving nothing to turn over to the Alien Property Cus­todian. Later, the bank, while in the hands of a receiver, disposed of the property to the Pacific Coast Coal Company for a sum in excess of $300,000 making, according to von Alvensleben, a profit of more than $300,000. The Count, a victim of circumstances, was unable to continue his mining operations and is now engaged in the real estate business in Seattle.

Issaquah hopes that some day the Pacific Coast Coal Company may see fit to reopen the mine, which is said to be comparatively free from gas and water and might be operated with slight overhead expense.

The Pacific Coast Coal Company also owns the old Grand Ridge Mine which has not been operated since 1920. The Grand Ridge Mine, operated during the early boom, had been acquired by Andrew Reynolds in 1903. He operated it until the strike of 1905, when it was shut down. Begin­ning in 1909, in company with C. J. Smith and A. S. Carey, Andrew Reyn­olds worked the mine until 1920 when the property was sold to the Pacific Coast Co.

Reynolds and his sons, John James and Joseph A., are now beginning operations in sections 22 and 13, on a slope about two miles northeast of the Grand Ridge Mine. At the present time they are taking out only about twenty tons a day, but they hope to increase the capacity as time goes on. The fields contain as much as 20,000,000 tons, according to Reyn­olds’ estimate.

A small trucking mine is being operated on the Caroline property near Issaquah, owned by the late John C. Eden. The output is from twenty to twenty-five tons per day. Lawrence Harris also has a small mine on the Sunset Highway west of Issaquah.

From Chapter 47: Issaquah, Pages 773-774

Dairying has long been an important contributor to the prosperity of Issaquah. Early in the century R. H. Wilson had a fine herd of Guernsey cattle, and the Guernsey and Holstein stock of W. W., R. R., and E. E. Pickering were well known. The three brothers for many years engaged in dairying on their 360 acres. The Tibbetts brothers also did an exten­sive dairy business. The Meadowbrook Condensed Milk plant was established in 1911 and afforded a convenient market for locally produced milk. The Northwestern Milk Condensing Company was organized with a capitalization of $25,000 in 1908 by John Anderson, a dairy farmer, in asso­ciation with Dr. W. E. Gibson, Tolle Anderson, P. J. Smith, W. M. Sylves­ter, and A. F. Giese, farmer. After five years of successful business the founders sold the plant to others. The company is still in business at Issaquah, making a high grade of condensed milk and several kinds of cheese, which find a ready market in Seattle.

Coal first put Issaquah on the map of King County, lumbering, dairying and farming have made substantial contributions to its growth and pro­gress, but of late years a new industry, poultry raising, promises to equal, if not surpass, the others in the annual value of the return to the valley. The Wold sisters and others are enjoying large profits from this industry.

On April 26, 1929, A. J. Peters, president of the Issaquah State Bank, gave the writer the following summary of the status of local industries:

“I have consulted the local postmaster and four or five of the oldtimers here who have been active in business and otherwise aware of the develop­ments in the community and they all join me in the opinion that lumber­ing and logging as grouped together still occupy the first position as to receipts in the community although there has been no particular growth in this line in recent years, and no doubt as the timber is cut away it will be on the decline.

“Poultry and poultry products no doubt take second place and have gained this position during the short period of six or seven years. This line of farming is still on the increase but not as rapidly as it was several years ago. Both the Washington Co-operative Egg & Poultry Association and the Fox River Butter Company, two of the largest egg gatherers in this state, have stations here and they are no doubt an important factor in encouraging and enlarging the poultry business. They are gradually reaching out into more distant territory and centralizing the poultry busi­ness at this point. Both of these concerns are now planning to establish candling stations and hope soon to be able to make direct rail shipments of their products from here. They are now covering practically all of the territory which might be called Central King County east of Lake Washington.

“Dairying might be placed third in rank, and is probably very much at a standstill. We have noticed no particular increase or decrease in this line for a number of years. And because of the rather limited supply of land that is suitable for this purpose we see no reason why this line should increase very much except by new and better farming methods and more concentrated efforts.

“Coal mining has declined to fourth place. At present there are only two small mines operating in this vicinity and although we do not predict any great amount of development in this line for a good many years yet, still scientists and experts tell us that the day will come when our coal will be sought after.”

From Chapter 47: Issaquah, Pages 774-776

The story of Issaquah schools is typical of the development of many other social institutions of the Pacific Northwest: within the memory of those still living, the hardships and deficiencies of frontier days have been left behind and today the children enjoy the advantages of the most progressive rural communities. In the late ’60s in Squak Valley school was needed for only the children of the Bush family. About 1867, J. W. Bush hired Thomas Silas Sloane to give his children instruction in elementary subjects. Sloane had settled on the Beatey place and held class in a little cabin on his own land. Bush bore the expense himself the first term, but the following year the bachelors of the community helped with the salary of the second teacher, one Barker, who succeeded Sloane. At first school was held for only three winter months. All five of the first pupils of this frontier school are still living: William R. Bush and his sister Emily, now Mrs. Cyrus Darst, reside on the family homestead in the Valley; Andrew Jackson Bush lives at Fall City; and Mattie Bush and her sister Samantha, Mrs. Paul Prue, live at Issaquah.

Several years passed before the community boasted a real schoolhouse. Class was held on the various farms, one term in the Bush hop-house, the next in the Wold hop-house, on the Jones place, and elsewhere, until in the course of time the settlers erected a modest building on the hillside of the Pickering farm. The name of the first teacher in the new school is not available hut R. Hopkins was an early schoolmaster. I. P. Rich was also an early one. The term was six weeks then. John Bush, William Wold, and John, Pete, and Mike Donlon were among the pupils.

Some years later a wooden school building was erected on the site of the present brick schoolhouse. The handsome structure which now houses Issaquah consolidated district No.205 was built in 1915, chiefly from the proceeds of a $30,000 bond issue. The old building still stands at the rear and is almost completely occupied. When the new schoolhouse was finished the Pickering and Issaquah town schools were consolidated, and four other districts were added subsequently, so that today the building houses all grades and the district high school as well. School directors during whose administration the building was erected were as follows:

H. C. Schultz, chairman; P. W. Knoernschild, clerk; Daniel Bosqui, J. W. Finney, W. J. Lewis, E. M. Day. Harry James was the architect and William Willis, the contractor.

The growth of the high school is indicated by the increase in the number of graduates since the first class received their diplomas in 1911. That year three girls were the only graduates: Mabel Ek, now Mrs. L. S. Brady of Seattle; Mary Gibson, now Mrs. Leonard Miles, and Olive Gibson, now Mrs. Bayh, both of whom still live at Issaquah. Maude Bradburn was the only member of the 1912 class and in 1913 there were but two graduates, Ruth Cubbon and Adelina Stefani. Minnie Wilson, now Mrs. J. H. Schomber, was the only person to receive a diploma in 1914, and Anna Hayward, now Anna H. McGuire, was graduated in 1915. Five students made up the 1916 class, four that of 1917, and the number has increased since, until in 1928 twenty-nine students received diplomas. The Issaquah High School was admitted to the list of fully accredited four year secondary schools in 1917.

Much of the District’s development has been under the superintendence of George M. Clark, an educator with progressive ideas and great enthusiasm for his work, who took office in the fall of 1916. The present enrollment is 582, and the school serves a district twelve miles long. Many of the students come from points as distant as Preston and High Point. The District was one of the first to provide transportation for children who live at great distances and an excellent stage system has been established with six busses, all District owned. The first bus was operated in 1916. In 1928 a total of 276 children were carried and more than 31,000 miles were traversed by busses. Two of these vehicles cover about twenty miles morning and evening each day. One Ford car operated by the District traveled 6,876 miles in 1927. The District maintains its own repair shop.

The following constitute the present board: C. W. Peters, chairman; J.W. Gregory, P. W. Knoernschild; Mrs. Olive Bayh, clerk.

From Chapter 47: Issaquah, Pages 776-779

The first religious services in Squak Valley were held by Protestant ministers at irregular intervals in the ’60s. The Rev. R. C. Smith, D. R. McMillan, and others preached there, the latter holding services in the Bush farmhouse. In 1875 the Rev. A. Atwood and the Rev. D. R. McMillan held a revival meeting at Squak and at Fall City. A number of persons joined the Methodist Protestant Church, represented by McMillan. A few years later Atwood held occasional services in a hall belonging to Gen. G. W. Tibbetts in the valley, also in a small schoolhouse at Monohon.

In 1889 Ingebright Wold gave a lot 50 x 120 feet for a church upon which a building 30 x 50 feet was erected in 1890, during the pastorate of George R. Osborn. A man named Hubbard built the church and money and labor were contributed by Gen. G. W. Tibbetts, James Bush, W. R. Bush, L. A. Wold, George Davis, John Friend, Peter Rippe, Peter Smith, and others. A contribution of $250 was also obtained from the Board of Church Extension of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Officers of the enterprise were J. H. Northup, D. T. Carr, and C. W. Wells, trustees of the Houghton charge. The early resident pastors were W. H. Johnstone George R. Osborn, J. M. P. Hickerson, H. Alling, E. R. King, 1892; A. Crumley, J. R. Edwards, 1893; H. D. Wadsworth, 1895; W. R. King, 1897.

On September 27, 1892, the organization was incorporated as the Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church of the Town of Gilman. The incorporators were as follows: John Friend, J. H. Gibson, Mrs. Aura Putnam, Mr. and Mrs. J. Leitch Parker; W. E. Gibson, Mrs. Fannie Gibson, Mrs. Ida Gibson, W. Woodruff, Carrie E. Woodruff, C. R. Shaw, and E. R. King.

In 1898, during the pastorate of W. R. King, a parsonage was built on a lot 50 x 120. King died at his Issaquah charge on April 4, 1899.

In 1900 the Methodists held a spirited revival at Issaquah and Monohon.

In 1902 L. J. Covington was Sunday school superintendent, Benjamin Price class leader, and the following were stewards: Mrs. Susan Gibson, Mrs. H. R. Corson, Mrs. H. C. Vaughn, Joseph Peck, and C. R. Berry. Trustees were as follows: Doctor H. R. Corson, Doctor W. E. Gibson, Professor Thomas Brown, William E. Vaughan, and Thomas Cubbon.

Following the death of King, Luther J. Covington took the pastorate in 1899 and was succeeded by T. J. Redfern in 1902. On September 28, 1903, the Rev. A. J. McNemee returned to his old field and served as pastor until the next year.

“Issaquah was a coal mining town of a thousand inhabitants,” McNemee writes, in telling of his experiences there, in his book, cited in the chapter on the Snoqualmie Valley. “I only had a few church members and there were nine saloons in the town. The year I was there the miners had three strikes. There were many children and I did what I could to build up the Sunday School, but only had a few teachers. Monohon was an afternoon appointment four and a half miles away and it was hard work to preach three times and teach a class in Sunday School besides attending the Epworth League. At the end of the year I had a nervous breakdown.”

McNemee describes the primitive conditions under which worship was carried on in these pioneer communities.

“Our church in Issaquah was built on cedar blocks from one to two feet high and the hogs made their beds under the church,” he writes. “During the evening services they caused us no little trouble. Finally one of my friends and I got some lumber and boarded up the opening and also put in some heavy iron rods in the church to keep the building from spreading. We worked hard for two weeks to finish it. My friend remarked, ‘I wish the church was lowered about a foot and moved over about four or five feet’ as it was near the street excavation. That night there came a hard wind from the east and blew the church off the blocks and just to the place my friend had wanted it moved. The windows were smashed, the inside casings split, the chimney had toppled over and it certainly was a sorry-looking wreck after the storm. It cost us $500 to repair the damage. We later painted the church and built a fence around it to keep out the stock. Directly back of the pulpit on the outside was a knot hole in the rustic lumber which a swarm of bees discovered. They entered and nested between the wall and the wainscoting. They always got busy when our choir began to sing and almost broke up the service. I tried to drive them out but failed. The next pastor was wiser-he cut a hole through the boards and found a quantity of honey to pay for his trouble.”

The Rev. S. J. Buck succeeded McNemee in 1904 and his successors, until the appointment of the Rev. C. C. Dix in 1920, were as follows: W. B. Marsh, 1905; Horace Williston, 1908; Charles A. Owens, 1909; S. G. Jones, 1911; R. G. Pike, 1915; Charles F. Johnson, 1916; A. F. Grissom, 1917, and S. V. Warren, 1918. During 1921 and 1922 the Issaquah church was supplied by the Methodist Conference. By 1923 the diminishing strength of the Methodists and the Baptists made a union of forces advisable, and the Rev. Archie M. Hurd was the first pastor of the Issaquah Community Church. In 1928 the Rev. George S. Maness, a Baptist, was pastor.

The Issaquah Baptist Church was organized on May 2, 1890, with about a dozen members. In June of the same year it entered the Northwestern Association, reporting fourteen members, with William Brown from Kent supplying them. The church was holding regular services in a good-sized room, which had been furnished for church purposes. On June 3, 1896, the church was recognized and Brown ordained as a minister by a council called for that purpose.

The Rev. Mr. Brown worked successfully at Issaquah for a while, but on account of strikes and other causes the congregation became scattered, and finally Brown gave up the work and left the town. In 1900 there were no pastor and no services. The mining company had refused to donate a lot save for union church purposes and no building had been erected. In December of that year a Baptist Sunday school and prayer meeting were organized by E. M. Sylvester, the banker, and half a dozen others in Issaquah and ten Baptists at Pine Lake, five miles away.

The Rev. Archie M. McIntosh came to Issaquah in 1903 and remained until he was succeeded by the Rev. Charles F. Eisenmenger in 1906. The latter preached there until 1913, when W. P. Hillyer came from Fall City. In 1914 and 1915 R. I. Case served the church, but during the next few years the annals of the Western Washington Baptist Convention show no minister regularly stationed there. The Rev. J. D. Nicholls finally came in 1921 and was the last regular Baptist minister at Issaquah before the establishment of the Community Church.

On September 6, 1900, a Swedish Baptist Church was established at Preston. Charter members were the following: August Lovegren, B. G. Benson, A. P. Johnson, Theodore Johnson, E. Edwin, F. 0. Lonn, Charles J. Palmquist, and G. F. Lindquist. The church has had a continuous existence since that time. The present pastor, the Rev. Axel Carlson, was appointed in 1927.

As early as the ‘8Os there were a few settlers in Squak Valley who desired the rites of the Roman Catholic Church. Peter McCloskey bought some land from Jacob Jones in 1879. In the early ‘8Os other Catholic families came, among them those of Martin Gleason, Michael Donlan, and Martin and John Heinz. The author was unable to obtain the date of the first mass, but it was held at the home of Michael Donlon by Father Emmanuel Demanez, later chaplain of Providence Hospital in Seattle. Priests came occasionally to the valley and held services in the farmhouses. Among the early priests were Father McAuley, who came from Snohomish; Fathers Victor Garrand, Reed, and Adrian Sweere, Jesuits from Seattle, and Father Peter Garde, also from Seattle.

During the present century, St. Joseph’s Church at Issaquah has been conducted as a mission of St. Anthony’s of Renton. In 1896 the present wooden frame church building was erected by P. J. Maloney of North Bend during the pastorate of Father Peter Van Holderbeck on property donated by McCloskey. Father Edwin J. O’Brien took charge for a year after Father Van Holderbeck and was in turn succeeded by Father Bourke, who served until 1905. In that year Father Van de Walle, now at Snohomish, took charge. In 1907 Father John Power took over the Renton parish and with it the Issaquah mission. In 1909 Father Power was relieved and since that time the mission has been attended from Renton by Fathers M. J. O’Callaghan, Joseph Cammerman, Sampson, Nicholas O’Rafferty, Ailbe Heenan, Deere, F. B. Klein, and the present pastor at Renton, Father William Carey.

Issaquah has also had a Finnish Lutheran Church for several years.

From Chapter 47: Issaquah, Pages 779-780

One of the earliest lodges of the Patrons of Husbandry in the county was organized as Alpha, No. 55 in the valley on October 17, 1874, with Thomas J. Cherry, first master and Thomas G. Sloane, the school teacher, secretary. Other members were as follows: William Pickering, William H. Brunk, Mary J. Brunk, Charlie W. Brunk, James Bush, Martha A. Bush, George W. Tibbetts, Rebecca A. Tibbetts, John C. Reed, Annie Reed, Mathias Carter, and Jacob Jones.

Pine Lake Grange, No. 324, was organized at Monohon on October 14, 1909, with twenty charter members. D. J. Delong was first master, James L. Peterson secretary, and F. W. Griffith, lecturer. Other members were the following: H. Werner, Steve Vaughan, Emil and Mary Fish, Julie Durand, Henry and William Sutter, A. W. Caelson, Victor Smith, F. W. Griffith, Artimus Boyce, Axel Huvinen, Annie Goebel Sutter, Mary Goebel Sutter, Ed Erickson, R. N. Carlson and Mary F. Peterson.

Issaquah Valley Grange, No. 581, was organized by thirty-two farmers on February 27, 1915. W. R. Bush was chosen master, the Rev. R. I. Case, secretary, and Hy. H. Helsing, lecturer. Other members were the following: J. W. Barlow, H. Haglund, M. Henry of Monohon, R. L. Baizee, I. L. Fancher, C. H. Russell, Harris H. Hall, Frank Hailstone, Otto Larson, Magnus Becker, Eric Erickson, Mrs. W. R. Bush, Martha, Hazel, and Agnes Bush, W. R. Bush, R. I. Case, Mary S. Prue, George L. Armstrong, Irving Tibbetts, Louis Alice, R. H. Lenover, Mr. and Mrs. L. H. Smart, Wenzel Wimmer, John Stidl, M. Hoff, D. W. Darst, John Kranick, and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Baxter.

The Odd Fellows were one of the earliest fraternal organizations to have representation at Gilman, coming in 1889. Gilman Lodge, No. 69, was instituted June 26, 1889, with the following charter members; Michal Murray, Charles B. Shaw, George W. Tibbetts, James M. Fewings, Michael Clune, and August G. Jackson. Charles B. Shaw was first noble grand, James M. Fewings, vice grand, and Thomas Gibson, secretary.

Myrtle Lodge, No. 108, F. and A. M., was chartered June 15, 1899, with William E. Gibson, first worshipful master; Owen Doran, senior warden; and George W. Tibbetts, junior warden.

The Knights of Pythias came to Issaquah in 1890, Triangle Lodge, No.46, being chartered on February 5th of that year with the following members: Charles T. Hulbard, John M. Goode, Thomas Miles, James Howerson, Frank Shafer, Cyrus Darst, John Abraham, T. J. Pitts, William Ross, W. E. Gibson, John Rudolph, F. M. Ryerson, George Tayl9r, Samuel Gustin, E. H. Short, G. W. Patton, Isaac Cooper, Charles Holt, Thomas Grey, William Chadwick, J. A. McEachern, Louis Becker, Thomas Walker, and George W. Tibbetts.

Issaquah women have several organizations, the earliest of which, the Rebekahs, auxiliary of the Odd Fellows, was instituted in July, 1893. Two of the charter members are still living, Mrs. Emma Darst and Dr. W. E. Gibson. The Order of the Eastern Star was organized in March, 1900, with Mrs. Fannie Gibson first worthy matron. Mrs. Gibson also served as first president of the Past Matrons’ Club, of the same order, founded in September, 1927. Arabella Wilson was first vice-president and Mrs. Jessie D. Clark, secretary and treasurer.

From Chapter 47: Issaquah, Page 780

n 1928 the town affairs were in a prosperous condition, the assessed valuation of property being $222,638, and the budget for the year, $4,320. Although the present city clerk transacts most of the business at her home, the town has its hall, erected in 1892 on Main between Second and Third streets, in which the council holds its meetings.

Issaquah owns its water system. The town bought the properties of the Gilman Water Company in 1923 for $16,000 and the plant, which serves 339 taps, is now appraised at $22,500 on account of improvements which have been added in the last few years. The income in 1928 was $4,719.61.

The town has thus far failed to provide itself with a public sewer system, each family maintaining its own septic tank. A paved highway runs through the town and in 1925 Front and Mill streets were paved. Issaquah has very few cement sidewalks, but in 1928 the town council passed an ordinance requiring the use of cement in future.

The town has a library of approximately 1,000 volumes.

The present town officers are as follows: John Fischer, mayor; A. J. Peters, treasurer; Fannie Gibson, town clerk; L. H. Heppler, John Talus, and A. A. Stiuad, councilmen; August Willig, superintendent of the municipal water works, and J. M. Stakebake, marshal.