From the Digital Archives: Camp Fire Girls


Minnie Wilson Schomber’s Camp Fire Girls Uniform
Full Record

Just recently we photographed two Camp Fire Girls uniforms that we have in our collections. Our research for Local History Month of Josephine Cornick Ross, Minnie Wilson Schomber, and Ferol Tibbetts Jess landed us with a common thread – they all participated in Camp Fire.

We discovered this when we were perusing photographs from an album owned by Ruth Johns Anderson (we’ve blogged about Ruth’s son, Rod, and his letters home during WWII here, here, and here.) Imagine our surprise when we discovered a photo of Jo Cornick Ross and Ferol Tibbetts, two women whose paths didn’t really cross, seemingly examining and sizing each other up!

“Camp Fire Girls Hiking Trip, June 1918”

Back Row, L to R: 
Hilda Lawrence Essary, Ethel Hallworth Berntsen, Vera Lawrence, Alice Pedegana Moss,
Front Row, L to R:
Ruth Johns Anderson, Josephine Cornick Ross, Ferol Tibbetts Jess, Myrtle Becker McQuade

Minnie Wilson Schomber was about 5 years old than Ferol and Jo, so she doesn’t appear in the photos. But we know that she was a part of Camp Fire because her uniform appears in our collection. Her uniform has many patches, beads and a pin – some of which we can identify and some we can’t. The organization of Camp Fire became national in 1912 and the first handbook was published in 1914. It seems that there were general guidelines to creating patches and uniforms and a lot of creativity and personalization was encouraged.
While no doubt most people in Issaquah’s paths crossed at one time or another, it’s always nice to be able to make a connection between people you’re researching. Jo, Ferol, and Minnie all led completely different lives but had very much in common (e.g., never having children.) Camp Fire Girls is just another part of filling in that picture.

“The Indian Maid”
Ruth Johns Andesron
(most likely in Camp Fire uniform)
ca 1918

For more Camp Fire related records, click here.

Looking for Local History: Ed Mott and WAM 2012 Wrap-Up

And so concludes Washington Archives Month 2012! We hope that you’ve been following our daily posts on Pinterest and Facebook as well as the occasional blog here.

We’ve been saving the best for last: a part of our Issaquah Oral History Video (available here in our online gift shop – this is a collection of stories told by the Issaquah people who lived them), this is a section called “True Crime in a Small Town.”

Ed Mott ca 1967-68
Full Record

It features Ed Mott, an Issaquah Police Officer who experienced everything from small crimes to D.B. Cooper and Ted Bundy. He tells his own personal stories about being first one on the scene to one of Ted Bundy’s crime scenes and much more. See the video posted below.

All of these items posted during Washington Archives Month are made possible by generous grants from 4Culture. But a lot of what we do is made possible by donations and volunteers in the community. We hope you will consider donating, volunteering, or becoming a member. Or just stop by and visit one of our museums!
Ray Robertson

Issaquah History Museums Celebrates Washington Archives Month!


Welcome to WashingtonArchives Month, October 2012!

Ray Robertson and his two oldest children
Full Record

The purpose of Archives Month is “to celebrate the value of Washington’s historical records, to publicize the many ways these records enrich our lives, to recognize those who maintain our communities’ historical records, and to increase public awareness of the importance of preserving historical records in archives, historical societies, museums, libraries and other repositories across the state.”

In short, we’d like to share more of our archives with you.

This year’s theme?

Law and Order in the Archives: Crooks, Cops, and Courts

As you may (or may not) know, Issaquah has some interesting stories in this theme. Over the month we’ll share some of the more simple records like town marshals, “progressive” police cars, and great pictures from our collection. We’ll also touch on people like D.B. Cooper and Ted Bundy and share how they relate to Issaquah’s history.

Everyday we’ll share with you via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, a link of the day – either to our website or digital collections – that will take you further into the theme of law and order in Issaquah.

As you can see from previous blog posts and our digital collections, much of what we will share with you was made available by a generous grant from 4Culture.

Another way we can continue to share our collections with you is through generous donations made by the community. If you’d like to support our work, Archives Month 2012, and our ability to share it with you, you can help in the following ways:

–     Visit either of our museums (or both!) in Issaquah.

Gilman Town Hall Museum
165 SE Andrews Street
Issaquah, WA 98027

Thursday-Saturday, 11am-3pm

$2/adult, $1/child, $5/family of 3+
$10 family pass gives all-day access to both museums
Friends of the Issaquah History Museums visit for free

Issaquah Depot Museum
150 First Avenue NE
Issaquah, WA 98027

Friday- Sunday, 11am-3pm

$2/adult, $1/child, $5/family of 3+
$10 family pass gives all-day access to both museums
Friends of the Issaquah History Museums visit for free

–     Join us! Become a member of the Issaquah History Museums.

–     Make a donation.

–     Volunteer!

–     Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and our blog.

    Subscribe to our newsletter.

So follow us this month as we share with you some great records we have in our archives and come learn about your local history!

A Thrift Shop Treasure

By Carolyn Davis
I have been a collections volunteer at the Issaquah History Museums (IHM) since the fall of 2009. This summer I started volunteering at the Eastside community Aid Thrift Shop in Kirkland. the director of the shop, Jody Orbits, showed me a textile that had been donated and asked me if I thought it was a real antique or a reporduction. My first thought was that it had to be a reproduction because a real 1848 textile would be quite rare. I told her that I didn’t know for sure but knew people who could help authenticate it.
First I showed it to the members of the Seattle Vintage Clothing & Textile Club. The club was founded three years ago and the membership has a wealth of historical textile knowledge. They pronounced it to be real and a great find.
Then I took it to Julie Hunter, collections manager at the IHM. As she looked at the warp, the weft, the pattern, the bright colors, the condition, and the weavers mark, her face lit up like a Christmas tree. IHM director Erica Maniez was also there that day and was excited about the piece.
What is this prize? It is a hand woven half-coverlet. The weaver’s mark is in the bottom right corner and reads, “Somerset, Ohio, 1848, L. Hesse, Weaver.” Erica’s internet research found that Mr. Hesse was recorded in a book called American Coverlets and their Weavers: Coverlets from the Collection of Foster and Muriel McCarl, by Clarita Anderson. He was born about 1809 in Germany. His wife’s name was Madeline and they settled in the Somerset Township, Perry County, Ohio, by about 1837, when their eldest child was born. The 1850 census listed Hesse as a 41-year- old weaver with real estate valued at $800. The book stated that he used Alsace-Lorraine dyed yarn produced by Michael Kircher. It also noted that Hesse was known to weave his mark in the corner block, including his name, location, date, usually his client’s name or initials, and “Weaver.” He was active between 1838 and 1860.
Julie determined it to be a half coverlet because there are some cut threads along the selvage where it had been sewn to its other half. She knew that most coverlet looms of the period in which this was made were only about a yard wide. This piece is thirty-five inches wide (the coverlet is seventy-nine inches long.) I can only imagine what the whole coverlet would have looked like. I’m sure it was magnificent! After 163 years, it is still in excellent condition and the dyes are vibrant, although one corner has some damage. If there had been color fade, the green might have faded to brown first. The fibers are wool and cotton or linen. The pattern is striking with birds, vines, grapes, leaves, flowers, stars, and buildings. All the motifs are consistent in style with other textiles and quilts of the mid-19th century, especially those with German heritage.
It would be wonderful to know how it got ti Kirkland, Washington. Did it come with settlers that came west of the Oregon Trail? Did a Gold Rush miner’s family bring it to the region when they settled here? Was it ever in Issaquah? Jody Orbits said when it cae into her thrift shop, it was under some other items in a box. Did a family clear a deceased relative’s estate, passing on all of the old things? Or did the donor think it was a reproduction? We will never know but it is fun to think of all the possibilities.
Since we established that it is indeed an antique, Jody agreed
that we should find an appropriate museum home for it. Julie wrote to the Ohio Historical Society. Later a curator called and said the OHS has over 400 coverlets in their collection, inluding a full coverlet woven by Mr. Hesse. He suggested that I contact the Perry County Historical Society, also in Ohio. David Snider, the Acquisitions Chairman of the PCHS, was delighted to have this half coverlet join the four already in their collection. I was sad to see it go when I shipped it to him, but it is going back home to where it belongs. I hope the Perry County museum and its audience enjoys it as much as we have.
I’d like to thank Julie Hunter and Erica Maniez for their expert help and for inviting me to tell this story. Jody Orbits and I were interviewed by the Kirkland Reporter and await the publication of this story in that paper. The reporter asked if we were going to take the coverlet to the PBS Antiques Roadshow. This little treasure has touched many people these last few months and has certainly earned its fifteen minutes of fame!

Mystery Artifact from Tiger Mountain

A hiker sent us the images below, along with the following note:

My girlfriend and I were hiking along 15 Mile Creek on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah on Tuesday afternoon, when I stumbled upon what looked like a large metal coil of some type. It looked like it was pretty old, especially since one end of it was buried in the hillside. It is extremely close to the old railroad grade which used to go up Tiger Mountain, and maybe a couple hundred feet away from the sealed entrance to an old coal mine. There is also the concrete foundation of a historic coal crushery, and also a coal washery (which have been recorded by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources) about a half mile from where I saw the coil. This makes me think it was part of a piece of mining or railroad equipment.
I’ve been researching and trying to figure out what it was used for, and just wondered if you guys might have any insight? Each loop was roughly 20 cm in diameter. I took some pics and used my camera bag for scale so you can take a look if you want.
I contacted a couple of my coworkers to see if they had any ideas, and they think it could be remnants of a trolley car wire or blasting line.

If you have any ideas about what this cable might have been used for, let us know!

1928 Preston Shingle

Al Ward, a resident of Rapid City, South Dakota discovered this shingle during a 2001 remodel of his house on Mount Rushmore Road. The shingle stamped with the Preston Mill Company’s stencil had traveled from Preston to Rapid City in 1928 when the house was built. The shingle grade was Extra Clears, the best of 4 grades sold by the Preston Mill Company. An advertisement in The Issaquah Press in 1929 advertises this grade of shingles for $ 3.40 per square, delivered (presumably in the Issaquah Area). A “square” of singles equals 4 bundles of 25 square feet each which equals 100 square feet.

Mr. Ward indicated he paid $240 per square for his replacement shingles. The shingle that he donated is on exhibit at the Gilman Town Hall