Lopez Island, San Juan County, Washington
PREHISTORY: NATIVE AMERICANS
This historic residents of Lopez Island were the Lummi on the northern half, and the Samish on the southern half, both tribes being members of the Straits Salish family of Native American Indians.
Lummi legend refers to the Taleqamish (ancestral Lummi) as having "grew to a great number but sometime in the remote past they were destroyed by a great plague". The last survivor(s?) had the house moved to Sandy (Flat) Point on Lopez Island, where it joined the house of Qokwaltxw. "When Qokwaltxw arranged it in line with the building of that village, it was too cramped. He then placed the house at right angles with the original village and made it the home of his daughter. This part of the village was thereafter called Twlolames (Xwla'le-mish), facing another, from which the name Xwle"mi (modernized to Lummi) is derived." (Stern 1934) One of his descendants, Sehenep, had this house moved to Gooseberry Point, Lummi Reservation, about 1725 AD (the date derived from genealogies). Lummi had several summer camps on northwestern Lopez Island.
The Samish historically numbered over 400 people in three villages: Guemes Island, Fidalgo Bay, and Samish Island. Their summer camps extended out into the southern San Juan Islands. The name Samish referred to the people from Samish Island, and recently was applied to all the people of the tribe. The people who lived at the main village on Guemes Island were called Chechamkum (Puget Sound term). It seems likely that perhaps about 800 years ago a band of Straits Salish mixed with a band of the Swinomish Skagit Salish and formed an intermingled group now known as the Samish.
Apparently the decade around 1725 AD there were many wars, perhaps in defense from waring tribes from the North (including those from SE Alaska). Defensive trenches are found throughout the islands, Vancouver Island, and Gulf Islands, all dated to about 1725 AD (dating from C14, trees growing in trenches, and soil accumulation dating methods).
Long before the Straits Salish occupied the islands, there was another distinctive group here, very likely ancestral to, or a branch of, the Chemakum, historically inhabiting parts of the Olympic Penninsula. This interpretation is made using skeletal analysis from all over the Pacific Northwest, with the early San Juan trait centering around the northern Olympic Peninsula. The Paleo Chimakum inhabited the southern islands perhaps until about 100 BC to 200 AD, when mid Marpole (early Straits Salish) characteristics begin to appear. The early Straits Salish apparently broke off from a Fraser Delta group about 500 BC and gradually inhabited the islands thereafter.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE LOCAL INDIANS REFER TO : STRAITS SALISH PREHISTORY
Lopez Island was first originally explored by some of the crew of Captain Vancouver in 1792, but it was first recognized by the Spanish Explorer, Eliza in 1791. At that time Eliza thought the whole San Juan group to be one single large island and mapped it as "Isla y Archipelago de San Juan". However, it was one year earlier, in 1790, when Martinez end Gonzalo de Haro explored the inner regions of the Straight of San de Fuca and mapped all the San Juan Islands as being a single coastline attached to the mainland of what is now Washington.
Gonzalo Lopez de Haro, for whom Haro Straits and Lopez Island are named for, was born and raised in Spain. In his early manhood be entered the corps of naval pilots, and after being trained there for two years, sailed for the Philippines in 1777. Between 1783 and 1785 he made successive voyages from Cadis to Montevido, Cartagena, Algiers, and Havana. While in Havana he responded to an emergency appeal from San Blas Nayerit, Mexico for additional officers sad was transferred there in 1785.
The Spanish Empire wanted to reach the Aleutians in 1788. They wanted to claim it for their own. Viceregal instructions for the 1788 expedition Northward were from Carlos III, King of Spain. He ordered them to ascend to a latitude of 61 degrees, investigate any Russian settlements and their strength and whether settlements were permanent or temporary. He was to take official possession for Carlos III wherever convenient. So out of San Blas, two ships were sent out -- the Princessa and San Carlos. The expedition was commanded by Esteben Jose Martinez on the Princessa, and the San Carlo. (alias Filipino) Captained by Gonzalo Lopez de Haro. Martines had 89 aboard his ship and Lopez had 83. They sailed early in 1789 and took possession of Nootka. After a year of possession, and in response to further strengthening the Spanish hold to the Northwest coast, Martines emphasized the potential importance of the unexplored waterways deep within the Straits of Juan de Fuca.
Ordered to investigate these waters were ensign Manuel Quimper, now captain of the ship "Princess Real", and as his pilot, Quimper assigned the experienced Gonzalo Lopez de Haro. They left Friendly Cove (Nootka) on May 31, 1790. They first went across the southern portion of Vancouver Island to a place near Victoria, then down to the Olympic Peninsula in search of a large inlet basin (Puget Sound), this now being July 5. Feeling the opening he had found was not of any importance, the Spaniards headed back to the place near Victoria. They did find a large inlet leading northward and Quimper named it Estrecho de Lopez de Haro (today's Haro Strait). They returned to Nootka August 15.
Quimper's haphazard course explains why the San Juan Archipelago, reveled Spanish and English Explorers two years later, appeared to him to be one solid coastline.
In 1791 Francisco Eliza was commandant at Nootka, Vancouver Island. He was ordered to provide for exploration of the interior Strait of Juan de Fuca and coastline from Nootka to Northern California. Instructions arrived March 26, 1791 and on May 4, the San Carlos (commanded by Eliza) and a smaller ship, the Santa Saturnina (commanded by Saavedra and 20 seamen) went south.
The San Carlos arrived at the point of rendezvous near Victoria, and dropped anchor. A longboat, commanded by ensign Jose Verdia, explored northward through the San Juan Islands, but was forced to turn back by hostile ware canoes. After the schooner Santa Saturnina arrived, Verdia set out a second time, discovering Georgia Strait, and a vast waterway stretching out of sight toward Northwest and dotted with islands, large and small. After ten days, Verdia returned to the flagship and Eliza transferred his base of operations to Port Discovery, from where he dispatched the schooner and longboat to penetrate Haro Strait once more. Near the San Juan Islands some war canoes again attempted to overpower the longboat, but the schooner succeeded in frightening them off by firing its cannons over their heads. For three weeks they followed the Strait northwestward, to almost 50º latitude, about parallel to Nootka, but short of supplies, were forced to turn back before sighting any terminus to the broad waterway.
Maps that Eliza had made show the San Juan Islands, not as individual islands, but clumped together in one large group, resembling a large island he called "Isla y Archipelago de San Juan". It shows a small opening where San Juan Channel is, accurate readings from Iceberg, around Watmough Head, up Lopez Island, and even shows the small island, Long Island, near Richardson.
The first known ship to enter the interior of the San Juan Islands was the Chatham, commanded by Lt William Broughton, under direction of Captain George Vancouver. Early in 1792 Captain Vancouver had passed the San Juan Islands, and was intrigued by this appealing group of islands. Staying on the Peninsula with his ship the Discovery, Vancouver sent one of his Lieutenants, William Broughton to look them over. Lt Broughton (a midshipman, and had participated in attack on Bunker Hill) left at noon on a course for the southern tip of Lopez Island, steering for some "peaked hills" - probably Chadwick Hill above Watmough Head.
Chatham toured the islands between May 18 and May 25, 1792. Upon reaching Smith Island, he sailed the rest of that day, entering San Juan Channel. He anchored in Griffin Bay for the night.
Next morning Broughton sent a cutter to reconnoiter Upright Channel. Returned before breakfast and the Chatham worked slowly against strong ebb tide, anchoring for a time off Lopez's Flat Point for a day of fishing, relaxing, and astronomical observations. The next morning, a Sunday, he went around Upright Head, southeast to Lopez Sound and out into Rosario Strait.
It may be that Vancouver named what is now Lopez Island, but more likely it was not named until 1841 to Chaunceys Island and in 1847 changed to its' present name of Lopez. In July 1841 Captain Wilkes, on a United States Expedition named this island "Chaunceys Island" for Captain Isaac Chauncey, a hero in the United States Navy. Then, in 1847 Captain Henry Kellett of the British Navy restored it to its' Spanish name of Lopez after Gonzalo Lopez de Haro, first sighter of the San Juan Islands.
In 1854 the U.S. Coast Survey came through the islands, more accurately identifying the islands and named Iceberg Point.
The British Admiralty Chart of 1858-59 (Chart #2689 Richards) names Long Island (off Richardson) and also Davis Bay (near Richardson) - possibly for Benjamin Davis who was there in 1870.
There must be a distinction made between the settlers and visitors. Settlers were the ones who settled and stayed and were well known in later years, however there were probably many "visitors" who lived on the islands for years, but none remembered.
As the story is handed down, Hiram Edson Hutchinson was the first actual settler on Lopez Island - somewhere between 1848 and early 1850's (another source says 1869?). He established a trading post here and later the first post office, April 2, 1873. Hiram arrived here when the Lummi Indians, who fished here in summers, where engaged in fishing in Fishermans Bay at their village which they called "Sxolect" when Wilkes came in 1841. "Hi" had just rounded the bay when he noticed the local Indians were in a battle with a delegation of Alaskan Indians - who had already slaughtered many of their numbers on Orcas. With a good supply of firearms he soon put the enemy to rout. The Lummi hailed him as a deliverer and offered his friendship and he built a dwelling near their village, now called Lopez. Hiram was married by tribal rights to an Indian woman from Vancouver Island. The federal government later passed a law stipulating tribal marriages were unlawful and that such marriages either had to be reperformed according to white mans law or dissolved, by sending the woman and their offspring back to their tribes. Hiram sent his wife back to Vancouver Island, along with their son Millard. Some time later, Millard returned to Lopez and lived with his aught, Mrs. Irene Weeks. She reared him as her own son. Hiram ran his business largely on the barter system, cash money being scarce supply. He had sugar, coffee, beans and nails which he purchased from Victoria. Since the British outlawed living on Lopez in 1853 it can be assumed that either he was not here then, or that he was in good relations with the government of Victoria (from where he purchased his goods for sale).
In 1852 a British subject, and Hudson Bay employee, William R. Pattle, was granted a license to cut timber and carry trade with the Indians on the Southwest side of Lopez (either Davis Bay or Richardson). "He erected two log huts and began cutting spars for export to San Francisco, but left the Island in 1852 (same year) to investigate tales of "black fire dirt" - coal - over Bellingham way. Finding the stories true, Pattle abandoned Lopez to pioneer Bellingham coal mining industry." [from Pig War Islands by David Richardson].
Pattle's camp was taken over by an American, Richard W. Cussans (Cousins) and companions, who had made $1500 worth of improvements before Governor Douglas of Victoria got wind of it. At that time the British were claiming ownership of the islands. Cussans was curtly informed that he and his companions were trespassing on British property. Cussans, by Douglas' account, then maintained that he was a British born subject, and intended to settle in the colony. Cussans told his tale to Lt. James Alden, whose ship "Active" nosed into Lopez waters October 1853 on a U.S. surveying mission. As Alden's orders were to stick to his charting and not provoke trouble, he couldn't help. Cussans license was to expire at the end of 1853, so he decided to close up shop. Upon his departure, Douglas sent a canoe party to Lopez with instructions to take possession of the island formally and "mark that act by some permanent improvements."
By "permanent improvements" Governor Douglas meant for the islands to be settled. No one wanted to settle on Lopez, but there was a party sent to San Juan Island, and that group was the one that started the Pig War. So it was actually Mr. R. W. Cussans that initiated the start of the Pig War.
The second "settler" on Lopez Island was Arthur "Billy" Barlow, who landed in 1856 at what is now Barlow Bay. He was attached to H.M.S. Sadillac, a British warship which was engaged in surveying the channels in the waters surrounding the islands and was one of four sailors who deserted the ship in 1855, a few nights before she sailed for England. After working at several lumber camps on Vancouver Island. Barlow finally squatted on Lopez Island where he built a log house and married. He married on October 21, 1870 at American Camp on San Juan Island to Lucy _____, an Alaskan born Native. As soon as the island dispute was adjusted he settled on Barlows Bay, became a U. S. citizen, proved up and obtained title to 170 acres. Barlow lived on Lopez till he died during the week of April 28-May 5, 1898, living on Lopez for 42 years!
In the year 1857 came Joseph Merril. He was born about 1825 in Maine and fought all through the Mexican War under General Zachary Taylor. On Lopez he was a deer hunter and had a canoe forty feet long and six feet wide. He sold deer to the garrison at Esquimalt, Vancouver Island. He and Hiram Hutchinson had a band of sheep, about 600 or 700 head, for years. In 1870 Jo was listed as a farmer. He died in an old soldier's home in California February 15, 1890.
In July 1859 the U.S.S. "Massachusetts" brought Whatcom County coroner to hold an inquest on a body found murdered on Lopez Island.
In 1862 James Nelson settled on Lopez Island, just south of Port Stanley. He was born about 1825 in Denmark and was a deep water sailor in his younger days. He prospected gold during the California gold rush. It is said he was on a Norwegian fishing schooner when he first came to the San Juan Islands, and that the wickedest shark he ever saw was one between Henderson's Camp and Lopez Pass. James first married to an Indian, Maria, who was born about 1840 in British Columbia. Then he married to his second wife, Ellen _____, born about 1826 in Denmark. James sold his farm in 1903 and bought a house in Georgetown, South Seattle the same year. There he died in April 1911, age 91.
In the same year of 1862 (some sources say 1863 or 1865), Charles A Swift, from Connecticut, settled on Lopez Island. He worked being a lumberman. He was born about 1828. On San Juan Island on January 18, 1874 Charles married to Ellen Chatalin of British Columbia. They adopted a daughter, Nellie, born 1872. The mother, Ellen, died by 1880 and Charles again married to Catherine Smith on Lopez January 15, 1885. Swifts Bay is named after him.
In 1865 a Lopez settler named Davis tangled with the military authorities on San Juan Island - Camp Pickett. He had been living on Lopez, running livestock for several years, and went to San Juan for farm a seven acre tract on shore. After working 3 months, Davis visited Lopez, to see how his cattle were doing. On his return to San Juan, he spied a goat which he said was his property, in possession of the military officer, Captain Gray. The commander at the post gave $5.00 greenback for the animal. Davis demanded gold. Davis was the told to settle his affairs and leave within a week. If this was Benjamin Davis, he was on Lopez in 1870, a farmer from Massachusetts, born about 1829. He had a wife, Jane born about 1843 in Washington (an Indian) and son, Robert, born about 1866.
In 1865 there was a telegraph line built to connect Victoria to the American Western United States. It was operated by the California State Telegraph Company. But just as a shipload of copper wire for the Victoria end arrived there from San Francisco, the home government in England vetoed the plan, in case of hostilities. In March 1866 the first message was made form Victoria to Washington State, and later one was made to California. In 1870 a Mr. James Dawson was the telegraph operator on Lopez Island, located on Telegraph Bay. He was born about 1833 in Georgia. The line was disconnected in 1875 because of numerous breaks in the cable. Owen Higgins in 1965 found one of the old wooden insulators used on the line, near his home. It was a wooden block 3" x 4" x 5" and was fixed to an old growth tree by hand forged iron spikes.
In 1868 (many sources say the same year as James Nelson, 1862), there landed a Mr. Charles Brown, on Lopez Island. Born in Sweden in 1828, he left his native land and followed the sea until 1859 when he settled in Washington, then a territory. He first landed at Scow Bay, near Port Townsend. He was the first mail carrier in San Juan County when he transported the mail from Port Townsend to the soldiers at American Camp on San Juan Island. In 1868 he located on San Juan Island, locating about two miles from Lopez. He was either married before, or was living with his Indian wife, and then legally married to her under white man's law, at American Camp on October 21, 1870, her name being Mary Jane. She was born May 15, 1835 in British Columbia. Charles died August 31, 1908 on Lopez Island. They had at least 10 children.
The next year, 1869 came the Davis and Anderson family, and most likely the Flint and Sherer families.
James Leonard Davis, and his wife Amelia, and their four children (Rowland, Ethelda, Hezekiah, and Gertrude) landed on Lopez in September of 1869. Mrs. Davis is known as the first white woman on the island, all the others were Indian wives, or the men, bachelors. James was the son of Hezekiah Davis who came a few years later. James was born in Dunnville, Ontario January 22, 1832. On June 30, 1861 he married to Navereign L. Barnum who died in 1863. They had a son Rowland. James then married to Navereign's sister, Amelia Culver Barnum, May 10, 1864. They had a family of ten children. Her father, D. W. Barnum and wife came to Lopez by 1880. About 1866 James Davis and his new wife, Amelia, and his two children, Rowland and Ethelda started for the Northwest, and landed there in the early part of 1868. They resided in Dungeness and Port Discovery more than a year before coming to Lopez in September of 1869. He had a nice farm on Lopez. He also shipped in cattle from Texas by way of San Francisco and contracted to supply meat to the British garrison on San Juan Island. He hired an Indian to clear the land for him and after the international boundary dispute in the San Juan's, he raised matched Percheron horses and branched into dairying.
Charles A. Anderson came here in 1869, settling on the southern end of the island. He married August 12, 1873 on Lopez Island to Ella F. Brown, age 15, and daughter of Charles Brown. They had at least eight children. Charles was born in 1828 in Finland.
The Flint brothers came here about 1869. They were all born in Denmark. The three brothers, then, were Baltimore (born about 1833), William (born about 1839), and Olaf (born about 1845). By 1880 Baltimore and William were gone, but Olaf was here with his two other brothers, Julius (born about 1830) and Carl Alfred (born about 1857). All five were fishermen. Julius apparently married the same woman twice. As far as I can see from certain old records, he married Mary Emma Bartlett (sister, or perhaps a daughter, of John?) as early as 1865 in New York. She was born about 1856 in that state. They came to Washington about 1869 (may have lived in Port Townsend) and are recorded on the 1880 census of Lopez. They may have been separated and she married Carl Alfred Flint (known as Alfred) on October 28, 1882 on Lopez Island. Either he died and she married to Julius Flint (again?) on Lopez December 5, 1886. They had at least five children.
About 1869 John L. Shearer came to Lopez Island. He was born about 1833 in England (some sources say Pennsylvania) and died November 30, 1891 at Port Townsend. He was a farmer and was the first coroner and probate judge of San Juan County.
John (Jack) Balaam, an Englishman, born in 1844, was here in 1870 and 1880, but he later moved away to Stuart Island, and Dad Chevalier lived in his old place in 1946. John married an Indian woman named Mary and had at least three children: Kitty, John and Annie.
The 1870 census of Lopez Island contained 55 to 70 people (some people from other islands may have been included). Of the 70 people, these included 19 bachelors and 12 families (of which: 7 families with native mothers, 1 family no children, and 4 families non-native).
Several others were listed but it is assumed they actually lived on other San Juan Islands (Paul K. Hubbs and wife Susan (San Juan Island?), Edward Healand (San Juan Island?), Alfred (D?)ockson of Decatur Island, John P. Reed and family of Decatur Island, Benjamin Smith, John and brother William Keddy (San Juan Island?), George Jakel and wife Eliza (San Juan Island?) and (stepson?) James F. Bryant, Robert Fraser and wife Mary Jane Fleming along with father William Fraser (San Juan Island), and Christoff Rosslyn, his wife and children (possibly from San Juan Island).
The 1870 Census includes: Benjamin Smith born about 1833 in New York, a farmer Charles Brown and family who settled Lopez in 1868. Wife Conna an Indian, and their eight children. Charles Swift who came in 1862 James Nelson, his wife Maria, an Indian, and daughter Maria, who came in 1862 Christian Frederickson, age 21 from Denmark, in same household as James Nelson, recorded as his farm laborer. William Kingsbury, age 37 from Vermont and wife Sophy, age 26, an Indian born in Washington. Benjamin Davis, his wife Jane, an Indian, and son Robert who were here in 1865? Hiram E. Hutchinson and son Millard who came in 1848-early 1850's Charles Beold, age 48 from Isle of Jersey, in same household as Hiram, recorded as a laborer on his farm. Charles Cedargreen, age 24 from Sweden Peter Lawson born 1827 Denmark, came to San Juan Island in 1859, locating at Eagle Cove, Kanaka Bay, San Juan Island. Lived on San Juan. Recorded as a fisherman and did not own any land on Lopez. Rasmuth Yansen, age 30 born Denmark, a fisherman with Peter Lawson. Did not own land on Lopez. Robert Wood, age 28, from Canada, wife Betty, an Indian age 25 born British Columbia, daughter Jesse 7 born Washington, and also Anna Townsend age 4 born in Washington. They were not here in 1880. John Williamson, age 40 a farmer from Ireland. FLINT brothers: Baltimore, William and Olaf, who came about 1869. Joseph Merril who came in 1857 Charles Berry age 46 from Cape Good Hope, a farmer Thomas Smith, age 40 from Norway, a farmer Arthur Barlow, age 36 from Ireland, who came here in 1856, wife Lucy, an Indian, and five children. James L. Davis, age 38 from Ontario, his wife Amelia who came here in 1869, and four children. John Shearer, age 37 from England, who lived with James Davis James Dawson, age 37 from Georgia, telegraph operator Joseph Dickson, age 24 from North Carolina, a farmer John Scheffer, age 42 from Hesse Darme, Germany, a clerk in the store. L. W. Nickerson, age 25 from Ohio, a merchant at the store F. William Taylor, age 37 from Scotland, who ran the store, his wife Jane, and three children. Maybe co-owner of the store. This store may be the same located at Lopez, where Hutchinson worked. Robert Fraser and wife, Mary Jane (Fleming), and father, William Fraser, age 60 of Scotland. Robert was born in Louisiana in 1826, and located on San Juan Island in 1859. Christoff Rosslyn, age 29, of Hesse Dam, Germany, wife Ann age 20, an Indian from British Columbia, Harriet, age 7, Rudolph age 5, and Catherine age 1. Possibly from San Juan Island. End 1870 Census.
In 1872 the government made another inventory of the settlers on Lopez Island, and came up with 23 males of age 21 and up. Of these, 5 were born in the U. S., 12 were foreign born but a U. S. citizen, 4 were born in Great Britain and not citizens, and 2 foreign born and not citizens.
The first school on the island was held about the year 1872, taught by a Mrs. Thompson, and English lady whose pupils were Mary Brown and her sisters, Maggie and Maria. Later other schools were taught by women of the island neighborhoods, and still later a schoolhouse was built by donations.
There were only 12 families on Lopez when Sampson George Chadwick came to Lopez in 1873. he was born May 15, 1847 near Toronto, Canada. His father deserted the family, his mother died when he was 10 and Sam grew up in the home of his uncle in New York. At 17 he enlisted in the Civil War. He learned that his father had gone to Fraser River during the gold rush as Sampson went to find him in British Columbia. His father died before he left there. He left the Fraser and went to San Francisco and worked in a hotel. He lost his job after he dropped a tray full of food on the stairs. He went to Port Townsend and there he met John Keddy who hired him to herd sheep on San Juan Island. William, John’s brother, had some land at the head of Fisherman’s Bay on Lopez. Mr. Chadwick agreed to take charge of 200 sheep on Lopez for 2 years for John Keddy in November 1873. He would receive in pay, half of the wool and half the increase in lambs. On March 6, 1877 on Lopez Island, Sam married to Adella Bradshaw. She was born in 1859 at Dungeness, the daughter of Hon. Judge Charles M. Bradshaw, and of a Clallam Indian woman. She went to Long Island in 1876 to be with Mrs. Hezekiah Davis who was ill.
In 1874 (some sources say 1871) George S. Richardson, for whom Richardson is named, settled on the Island. Not much is known about him except that he cleared a few acres of land and built a farm. He was born about 1846 in Maine, and married to Eliza (Ellen). In 1879 George received an official patent for his land, signed by Wm Crook, secretary for President R.B. Hays. In 1881 George and Ellen sold their land to her relatives, Thomas and William Bishop who mined it for Iron Ore. They later moved to Chimacum, on the Olympic Penninsula, selling their land April 16, 1883 to Robert Cousins. William Bishop later became a State Senator.
In 1874 came the Weeks and John H. Bartlett.
In 1875 the Carr, Mann, Hansen, and Warner families came to Lopez. The two Carr brother were Oscar A., born about 1842 in Pickaway County, Ohio, and Hamilton J. Carr, born February 13, 1844 in the same county.
Andrew P. Mann was born about 1825 in New Jersey. He married first to Davisa Biggle of New Jersey and second to Lizzie , also from New Jersey. They had: Charles, Winnifred, Frank, Ross, and Robert.
Fred Hansen was born about 1841 in Denmark and married to Clara Engblom, who was born about 1858 in Denmark. They had: Nels, Hannah, William Fred, Nellie H., Mary, and Ina (or Irene).
About 1875 Wesley Warner came with his two sons, leaving the rest of his family to join him in 1878. Wesley was born about 1837 in New York. He was married first to Mary Cowles, by whom he had two sons, and second in 1866 to Mary A. Drahout. Wesley was San Juan County commissioner at one time. His daughter, Annie recalls that when her family joined her father, meeting him at a landing on Lopez, and rode about three miles on a hand-made sled drawn by a horse through a deep forest which had been blackened by many fires, as land must be cleared. Their home was a log cabin for a number of years. At first there were only three months of school during the year, but conditions gradually improved.
In May 1874 Hiram Hutchinson’s sister and husband came to the island to help in his store. She was Irene Hutchinson, born in West Charleston, Vermont, and daughter of Hiram and Prudence Hutchinson, on May 10, 1840. She married Lyman Weeks on December 25, 1862, and the couple lived on a farm in St. Lawrence County, New York for about 10 years, then they moved to Calaveras County, California where Lyman engaged in mining for about two years. They had five children: Edson, Hattie, Jennie, Albert, and Oscar. A son, James, died early.
In 1874 John H. Bartlett took up residence in the Island Center Valley. He was born about 1835 in Washington D. C. and followed the sea until 1862 when he located in Port Townsend and married Ellen Clancy. They stayed in Port Townsend a year and a half and then John was appointed position as keeper of the lighthouse on Smith Island which he tended for 10 years. John had come to Port Townsend in 1852 from San Francisco with 2 pigs, 2 sheep, and 2 chickens. About 600 Indians inhabited the place. After failing at farming he took to the sea on the schooner Mary Taylor, cruising the sound for a few months. He returned to Port Townsend and went into the hotel business. The building was called the Clam Hotel, mode of cedar shakes and the first inn in town. The next ten years were spent traveling the globe, then in 1862 returned to Port Townsend. He brought the first threshing machine in 1876 (an eight horsepower). At that time there were no roads on the island, and the first threshing crews hayed out roads to take the threshing machine on.
In October 1875 Mr. H. E. Hutchinson of Lopez reported to the Bellingham newspaper that settlers could now file for their preemptions, and homesteads, as the boundaries of military reservations had definitely been proclaimed by the general order.
In the early 1870’s came Hezekiah Davis and wife, parents of James L. Davis who came in 1869. Hezekiah was born in 1802 within four miles of Niagara Falls in Ontario. He had many children, and two of them left to California during the gold rush of 1849. He stayed on the family tract for many years and worked by taking care of the sawmill and logging. He married Catherine Uline and apparently came to Lopez before 1876. That is the year in which Adelia Bradshaw (later Mrs. Chadwick) went to Long Island to be with Catherine Davis who was ill. Long Island is across the bay from where the Davis residence is near Richardson. It has 50 acres on it, and was a soldiers homestead for J. J. Culpepper. In 1874 he sold his squatters rights to Robert Firth of San Juan for $20., less than half the value of a cow. Hezekiah bought the claim from Firth, moved to Long Island and completed proving up, receiving his patent in 186(6?). His wife died in 1877. Hezekiah stayed on Long Island for some years before returning to Dungeness where he died in 1890.
Mary Elizabeth Coffelt was born about 1820 in Indiana and came to Lopez in 1876 with at least three of her children: John, Jasper, and NancyJane.
In the year 1876 William Humphrey and wife Annie (Graham) landed on Lopez, settling on the north end of the island, and Humphrey Head is named after him. The next year, in May 1877, the Graham, Hodgson, and Phillips families settled here, on the southern end, at Richardson, arriving here June 10, 1877. William had met them at Port Townsend on a two masted schooner. They stayed first at William Humphreys for about two months. The only road on the island was through the center, around Fisherman’s Bay and up past John Bartletts place, then down to Charles Anderson.
Samuel Hinton landed on Lopez about 1877 and married there August 25, 1877 to Sophy Bird, and Indian born about 1850 in British Columbia. Samuel was a sailor, born December 19, 1836 in England. At the age of 14 he went to sea which he followed until settling on Lopez.
In 1878 Edwin E. Hummel and family moved to Lopez. Edwin was born in 1837 in Philadelphia and married to Antoinett Sheffer. Ed moved to Spokane in 1923. Hummel Lake, in the center of the Island, is named after him.
By 1879 James and Margaret Calpin had arrived. James was born in 1829 in Ireland and Margaret about 1830 in Ireland.
About 1879 Alexander Glascock and wife Rachel arrived on Lopez. After about six years they moved to Port Townsend, but their descendants have flourished on this island. Andrew was born about 1840 in Virginia, and Rachel, born about 1847 in Pennsylvania. He was a carpenter. The family lived in Iowa before moving here.
In 1880 Charles M. Bartlett, Thomas Upston, and John Sperry moved here.
About the year 1874 (some sources say 1871) there settled a certain George S. Richardson and his family, on the southern shores of Lopez Island, at the place that bears his last name. Not much is known about him except that he cleared a few acres of land and built a farm. In 1879 he received an official patent for his land, signed by William Crook, secretary for President R. B. Hays. In 1881 George and his wife Ellen sold their land to Thomas and William Bishop for iron ore on lots 2 and 3, section 14, township 34N, R 2W, for $200. Later the Bishops moved to Chimacum, on the Olympic Peninsula. William later became a State Senator.
On April 16, 1883 Thomas and William sold their land to Robert Cousins for $800! Robert and his family landed here on April 13. In 1884 he sold his land to his sister and husband, Mary and Charlie Mann for $1.00. In 1885 they sold lot 4 for $600.00 to H. J. Carr, and this may have been the site of the hotel. In 1887 they sold lots 2, 3, 4 to William Graham.
(FROM ARTICLE BY DAVID RICHARDSON…) Graham, who had lived on Lopez since 1877, always thought big and was already on his way to becoming the islands most prominent citizen—school board director, county commissioner, and all that. Graham decided the first thing that was needed was a post office on the south part of the island. The only one on Lopez then was at Fisherman’s Harbor, now called Fisherman’s Bay, five miles to the north. That was a long way to hike, just to mail a letter. (William’s brother, Tommy Graham, recalled in later years that there was only one horse on Lopez in the early days and “he was absolutely no good. They kept him there to look at.”)
Mail was carried once or twice a week on the little steam tug “Libby” at the time. About July 1889, a pioneer neighbor, James Davis—began rowing out into the bay to meet the “Libby” and receive mail destined for the lower end of the island. The Davis home served as post office for the first month or two. Then the postmaster’s appointment was given to Maggie Carr, whose husband, Hamilton, built a small building with a shed roof which became both post office and home for the Carrs. The community’s first dock was built this same autumn, extending out in Jones Bay (fall 1889).
It was about the first of May the next year when a newcomer showed up, introducing himself as Robert E. Kindleyside, and announcing his intention of starting a store. Graham and other neighbors turned out to help him build one. They had the spot picked and cleared, and a building put up in about two weeks. Shelves were in place a day or two after that, and the first load of goods arrived from Seattle on May 20. Kindleyside and his partner, Jarret T. Lewis opened for business the same day.
Lewis left to become a coffee planter in Hawaii not long afterward and in January 1898, Kindleyside sold out to two partners named Wage and McDonald. The following year William Graham bought the store himself, turning it over to a relative, Norman P. Hodgson to operate. Another Hodgson, Thomas P. became postmaster. The Hodgson brothers were universally referred to as “N.P.” and “T.P.”.
In January 1897 community spirit was brightly burning and the people of Richardson decided to build a public hall for dances and other occasions. Money was raised by popular subscription and much of the labor and materials was donated. The structure measured 40 by 80 feet and had two stories: characteristically it took only a month to build, and the first dance and supper were held in it on February 4. Just about everyone on Lopez and many people from surrounding islands attended this outstanding social event. For many years Richardson Hall was the pride of the island and found use as a schoolhouse and for church services.
The Richardson hotel was built in May 1890 by Hamilton Carr. It was sold to Matison Fredenberg in 1896, and in 1897 returned to Hamilton and Maggie. In 1902 they sold it to Albion Ridley, and wife”Lizzie”. Lizzie ran it when there were four bedrooms upstairs to rent and one downstairs. It was just a big old house.
By the century’s turn Richardson had become the principal port in the San Juans, especially during the fishing season when the waters around Lopez were thronged with boats and its shores lined with fishermen’s temporary dwellings. Over 400 men fished the 1901 season. A local paper proclaimed that the season’s catch came to over a million fish, of which, many thousands were dumped because of the lack of markets for such a bumper crop.
The first cannery in the archipelago opened at Friday Harbor in 1894, and that same year Lopez Island became an important supplier of salmon with two traps, one near Fisherman Bay, and the other on Long Island, southwest of Richardson. Eventually five traps were constructed in the immediate vicinity and some record catches of sockeyes were taken at Iceberg Point and Long Island.
Fish traps were springing up everywhere; one cannery was in operation and another about to be built; T.P. Hodgson had a hastily set-up salting and barreling concern going full blast until he ran out of both salt and barrels and found these items unobtainable anywhere on the Sound. No one lacked work, even if it was just cutting wood for the hungry steam vessels which came and went in great numbers. Hodgson and Graham salted 600 barrels of salmon before the supply of salt and cooperage materials were exhausted that year.
It was the year 1913 that the fishing industry really got started on Lopez. The salmon traps were catching salmon in great quantities and it was handy to have canneries here. At one time there were three canneries on the shore of the little cove at Richardson and one on a barge that was brought over from Anacortes each summer. Hodgson and Graham erected the Salmon Bank cannery. The Hidden Inlet Packing Co, owned by Fred Comieu, built a second cannery in a small cove just opposite the store. One of the problems in canning fish at Richardson was the lack of an ample water supply. Six wells were on the Hodgson and Graham property, yet the company had to bring barge loads of water from Blakely Island. (The Hodgson and Graham Canning Company was purchased in 1912, being called the Oceanic Canning Company since 1897).
In 1916 N.P. decided to retire from storekeeping and devote himself to dairying. The Hodgson and Graham partnership was followed by Ira and Mary Lundy whose son, Oliver and his wife, were very recently present operating the store at Richardson.
1916 was also the year of the big fire at Richardson. It was a peaceful Indian summer evening when the big oil company supply boat “Petroleum II” tied up to the wharf, connected its hoses and began filling two huge storage tanks next to the dock. There was a small leak somewhere and a bit of oil slick began to show up on the water. As the Petroleum’s crew finished its job, a purse-seiner from Seattle, the “Saga” angled into the dock. Its captain-owner, Fred Anderson, threw the line onto the dock himself. The crew of the 11 ton vessel were all below.
The oil slick had just about encircled the 45 foot Saga when the explosion occurred. Instantly the water was a sheet of flame all around. Anderson managed to jump to safety on the dock. Crewmen Charles Clausen and Isaac Nyland dove overboard on the offshore side, swimming under water for some distance. Nylund’s wind gave out too soon; he surfaced just at the edge of the flames, instantly receiving serious burns about the face and arms.
Engineer Emil Lungren, not a strong swimmer, was unable to dive. Holding his head above water the whole way he struggled through the inferno and reached shore, horribly burned, more dead than alive.
The wharf, warehouse, and purse-seiner were all destroyed. Except for an offshore wind blowing, the rest of the town would probably have gone up with them.
The Lundy’s built a new wharf—a two story affair with an elevator (home-made) connecting the floors. Feed, seed, flour and other staples were sold on the lower floor, where there was also a mill for grinding grain. This was replaced in the mid 30s by the present, smaller store building.
The Salmon Bank Cannery that Lundy had bought from Hodgson and Graham in 1916 burnt down in February 1922 when a terrific fire consumed the entire installation. Hidden Inlet was discontinued soon thereafter and, in 1925, the regular freight boat ceased to call at Richardson.
When fish traps were outlawed in 1932, salmon canning gradually was centralized in the hands of large mainland companies and methods of receiving the fish were modernized.
The hotel was torn down, the bakery, creamer, slaughter house, barbershop and pool hall disappeared.
Van Looyen, a Hollander, ran the creamery at Richardson about 1914, 1915. It was situated on the east side of the road, just north of Kriegs lot. Mr. Van Looyen went back to Holland and Mr. Harbeson ran it for a number of years. After Lundy’s bought about, they dismantled the creamery building and built the new store in 1928.
During the prohibition smuggling became quite a commodity. Mr. H. Smith-King, a retrograde from England, who had a shack on Woody (Charles) Island, observed the skiffs on the lee shore, awaiting night to make rendezvous with Canadian ships. Smith-King provided a half way station between Victoria and the mainland, supervising the unloading of bonded liquor, hiding it until the mainland contact picked it up. Atop one island from a tree platform, a lady watched and signaled “all clear” to waiting rum runners. Indians, who didn’t have to clear customs, carried liquor across from Vancouver Island in canoes.
CANNERIES: The first cannery was the Oceanic, located in the Lovejoy field. The second cannery was Hidden Inlet which replaced the Oceanic, and was also located in the Lovejoy field. The third cannery was the Hodgson-Graham Cannery located at the point.