Anna Blacken Carlson Swanson

A short story about the life of one of the Stillaguamish Valley’s early Pioneers.

By A. Loren Kraetz

Courtesy Author

Anna Blacken Swanson was born Jan. 6, 1865 in Surendalen Khristiansund, Norway. Her parents, Ole and Maret (Toalge) Blacken, had a small farm, but like so many other Norwegians at that time, had heard of the alluring riches of America and dreamed of a chance for a better life in the new world. This meant leaving their home, friends and loved ones, with the probability of never seeing any of them ever again.

Anna was three years old when she sailed from Norway with her parents on a frigate headed for Quebec, Canada their final destination. Four hundred passengers, all Norwegians, paid $15 for their passage. Each person was allowed two quarts of water a day. They took all food necessary for the entire journey. Fifty-three days were spent on the ship without seeing land. During the crossing eleven passengers were buried at sea. The ship had a stormy crossing, one storm lasting three weeks. Passengers were forced to hang onto their bunks, and throughout the storm they could not use their deck stoves (which were bolted to the deck) except at rare intervals. Heartfelt prayers of thanks for deliverance were given as the ship docked.
The immigrant train waited to transport them farther to their destination. Jolting from side to side, they endured thick black coal smoke, belching from the tugging steam engine. These were merely freight cars with board benches fixed along the sides.
On these, they sat, slept, and ate for the duration. On August 20th, 1868 they finally reached Northport, Michigan, in Leelanau County, where they were to make their new home.
It was here that Ole Blacken built a log cabin and began working in the lumber industry. His daughter Anna began her early education, becoming proficient in English and Norwegian.
As time went by the American dream began to tarnish. Frigid winds of winter, coupled with sub-zero temperatures, and followed by stifling hot summers with unbearable humidity made Michigan less than paradise.
The luring tales of something better on the Pacific coast haunted Anna and her brother John O. Blacken until they could resist no longer.
Marie, boarded a train for Seattle in Washington Territory. Upon arrival they made their way to the wharf, where they booked passage on a steamboat for Florence, Washington on the Stillaguamish River. From Florence they were carried up the river to Norman by Indians standing and propelling by long poles their shovel nosed canoes, which were most efficient in shallow water.
At Norman John had the good fortune of landing a job at McFadden’s logging camp. Anna hired on as camp cook. Growing up in the woods of Michigan, she had learned how to “make do” in the kitchen. Word soon spread of Anna’s savory skills. Quickly she had job offers up and down the river.
At this time logging on the Stillaguamish was in its infancy. There were no steam donkeys until after the railroads came in 1890-91. Logging was done by oxen and horses, mostly along the river banks using six yokes of oxen on a turn of three logs, pulled over puncheon, a “road” of small logs laid side by side, perpendicular to the track. The nearest saw mill was at Utsalady on Camano Island. It was there that ocean vessels could deliver the necessary machinery to erect a saw mill.
It wasn’t long until Anna’s reputation took her up both forks of the river, cooking in makeshift tent kitchens and mess halls. She felt comfortable being poled up and down the river by an experienced Indian canoeman, Jim Harvey, with whom she remained friends until his death.
In 1887 Anna married Charles Carlson of Sweden. They had a son, Elmer, in 1888. Anna continued cooking in the logging camp preparing three meals a day and doing some laundry. She took her seven year old niece, Marie, along to care for her infant son and to keep the native Indian children clear of her cake dough and bag of raisins. Perhaps Marie was the valley’s first playground supervisor!
Most of the early loggers were Scandinavians, and it was common practice at this time for laborers to ask logging foremen, “Who is the cook,” before asking about the wages. With Anna’s Norwegian background, she knew how to satisfy their hungry appetites with familiar food.
After four years of putting up with Charlie Carlson’s weakness for booze, Anna divorced him.
She was goal oriented and had a dream of owning a hotel. With the coming of the Great Northern Railway in Silvana in 1890-91, she saw the opportunity of having a successful business of her own. She had culinary skills, a command of English, Norwegian and Swedish, as well as a reputation of being honest and compassionate.
In 1892 she married her second husband, Neal Swanson, but continued using her skills in the camps.
By 1894 Anna had saved enough money to build a two-storied hotel in Silvana directly across from the Great Northern depot. She offered meals family style for 25 cents and rooms 25 cents single or doubles, 50 cents.
At last she could retire from the hard work of the logging camps and their harsh conditions. The hotel was an instant success. She had a steady stream of railroad men, bolt cutters and mill workers to keep the hotel more than fully occupied. She offered laundry service as well for her boarders.
With all the cooking, washing and room cleaning it required more than her two diligent hands. During this time many young girls also immigrated from Norway. These girls found employment scarce and many became depressed. They had no money to go back home, spoke only Norwegian, and seemed lost in the jungle of virgin timber.
During the ensuing years Anna took many of these young girls under her wing, giving them a job, food, and a place to stay and helping them learn English until they had a chance to gain some self-confidence and independence. Many of these immigrant girls found suitable husbands and spent the remainder of their lives within eyesight of Anna’s hotel in Silvana.
Anna and Neal Swanson had two children, Nina and Arthur. Neal adopted her first son, Elmer. In 1899 Anna suffered the loss of her husband of seven years when he fell from the Great Northern Railway trestle and died. With renewed determination, she set about raising three children and running her hotel.

Silvana Hotel The hotel in the center of this photograph is thought to be the second Silvana Hotel which burned 1902. Courtesy Stanwood Area Historical Society. circa 1900? Photographer Unknown

Two years later in March of 1901 another huge set back: Ewing’s general store caught fire, burning Anna’s hotel and the Peterson’s residence. In spite of the fact that Silvana had little water and no fire department, much of the hotel’s contents were saved.
With some insurance money Anna quickly bought lumber, and as soon as the embers cooled she rebuilt the hotel. Many of her boarders took a leave from the woods to help rebuild their home. In two months the hotel was back in full swing.
Conditions were just looking good when seventeen months later, on Aug. 23, 1902, a second devastating fire burned her new hotel, Ewing’s new general store, Peterson’s new home and two additional business houses. The fire of unknown origin started in a woodshed at the rear of Anna’s hotel. Once again the residents of Silvana came running and saved most of the hotel’s contents.

Now for the third time Anna began construction at once for a new building, this one being larger than the first two. By winter the hotel was up and running once again. This time she maintained a vacant lot on either side as a fire break.
As the valley gave way to dynamite, grubhoe and guts, many large prosperous farms developed around Silvana. Often farmers who employed large crews for haying, threshing, silo filling and pea vining would treat their crews to a tasty noon feast in the hotel’s large dining hall.
Anna was always there to meet special needs. She continued running the hotel with no further crises until 1925, when after 31 years of service to the community she decided to hang up her apron and sold the hotel to the “Sons of Norway” for their lodge building, renamed “The Viking Hall.”
The lodge removed the partitions on the upper story and made it into a dancehall with a stage at one end. The lower portion continued as a dining hall and office space.
During the next 27 years the hall was frequently used for smorgasbords and Scandinavian dances. By 1952 it began to sway when 150 or more Norwegians began to dance the schottische and polka. In the interest of safety it was taken down and replaced with the present Viking Hall.

Upon retirement at age 60 Anna built a small house at the west end of Silvana and enjoyed another 20 years of traveling, visiting and entertaining old friends. She stayed active in the “Daughters of Norway, “and founded the Camilla-Collett Lodge No. 25 in Silvana.
With Anna’s passing Jan. 1, 1946, just short of her 81st birthday, many heads were bowed in respect. Anna was known throughout the district for her hospitality and generosity. All her life she quietly performed many acts of charity, and it was said no worthy person was ever denied her assistance. The hardships of frontier life were cheerfully born by this witty, neighborly woman whose kindness and sympathy in the sickness and sorrow of others was typical of her early days. She was a woman of energy and talent, who was very influential in the early development of the social and cultural aspects of the Silvana community, leaving it a far better place than she found it sixty years earlier.

Note: Anna’s brother, John O. Blacken, became proprietor of a hotel and general store in Lakewood, Washington. Her niece, Marie (great-aunt of the author), became the farm wife of Alex Spoerhase and lived to become a centenarian.
Reference credits to:
The Arlington Times
Wilma Warner (grand-niece)
Mildred and Margaret Spoerhase (grand-nieces)

© 2010 Loren Kraetz, All Rights Reserved

Idamae Schack

Idamae Schack ~”I Just Did It”

by Ann Duecy Norman

In 1964 Idamae Schack became manager of a sand, gravel and concrete business. She also joined what was at that time an extremely rare breed—women in construction.Looking at Idamae, it is difficult to believe that for 20 years, she succeeded in a competitive, often rough and occasionally cut-throat business. Her white hair softly frames her face. She smiles often, listens carefully, and responds to questions with the quiet dignity and comforting manner of a beloved grandmother.

John and Idamae Schack, Courtesy Community Foundation of Snohomish

What made her decide to go into the construction business? Her analysis reflects her gift for making the solutions to complex problems seem quite simple. Her husband died suddenly. She had three young children to support. As she saw it, she had three choices. She could sell the business, she could let the bank run it, or she could manage it. In her mind, the answer was simple. “I felt I knew a lot about the business…I had helped develop it.”

Following two years in the Business School at the University of Denver, Idamae had married Walter Miles, a civil engineer, and in 1936, they moved to Tacoma. She was a traditional homemaker and mother. He worked for the large construction company that was building the Tacoma Narrows bridge. In 1943 he purchased a gravel pit in the Auburn area, and they moved into a small cabin next to it. “I had thought I was going to continue to be just a housewife,” she says, but in fact she quickly became involved in his new business.

“When your husband is out in the yard working on a machine, and he needs a part, and you know how to drive a car, what do you do?” she asks. Her answer was, you put the baby in the car, head for Seattle, and find the part. Since the new business was using an assemblage of old equipment and used trucks, Idamae made numerous trips. “After a while,” she says, “the suppliers all knew who I was.” One has to smile, imagining their response to the unusual sight of a woman in their shop with a child in her arms.

She not only survived and learned from her crash course in purchasing machine parts, but she also began keeping the books and doing the billing for their growing business. Her husband built her an office, a shack covered with tarpaper a few yards away from their house. “My daughter Pat claims I raised her by intercom. I’d bathe her, feed her and put her down. Then I’d walk over to work and turn on the intercom. I could hear her. She’d take her nap, and I’d do my work.”

What prepared her for her role? Perhaps it was fate. Or maybe it was her seventh grade teacher. In her Junior High School, the sewing room was on one side of the corridor and the business class was on the other. On the first day of the school year, Idamae went to the sewing room with the rest of the girls, but, after a couple of weeks, for reasons she still insists are unclear to her, the sewing teacher suggested she go across the hall and try the business department. It was a short walk, but the teacher’s decision turned out to be a big step in the right direction for Idamae.

Strangely enough, it seems never to have concerned her that she was the only girl the sewing teacher sent across the hall or that the class she went to was composed mostly of boys. “When I told my mother what had happened, she just laughed, so I never really cared.” Maybe another factor contributing to her independent attitude was that her father, a miner, had died when she was only eight years old, and her Mother, Anne Lawrence, had supported her three children by managing small hotels in the Denver area . Idamae’s childhood was itinerant and not easy; in fact she remembers having attended 13 different grade schools. “I think what’s important,” she says of those difficult times, “is I always knew, no matter what, Mom was behind me.”

Whatever the explanation, despite being one of the few girls in the business classes, Idamae thrived, and after she finished high school, although she was only 16 years old, it seemed natural to her to get a job and begin attending classes in business law and accounting at the University of Denver.

What other factors contributed to her success? As she tells it, it was not only her academic training and her mother’s support, but also her husband’s attitude. “He never said in words, ‘You can do this.’ But he had a heart condition, and we were aware of it. Then he died. Maybe it was just dumb, but I felt I could make it.” When questioned about other factors that contributed to her success, she lists loyal employees, helpful bankers, an established clientele, a supportive community, and her hardworking, responsible children. She brags that her son and her daughters all helped out by loading trucks and driving graders. “They all learned to be independent.”

Although she occasionally attended meetings of construction industry organizations like the Washington Aggregate Association, she also found it helpful to be part of a group of supportive women representing a wide range of business backgrounds. “I joined Soroptimist, a group of 18 business women. I enjoyed being part of it and learned from it.” She is now an emeritus member and her granddaughter, Lisa, has served as chapter President.

Sometime after Walter’s death, Idamae met John Schack, a widower who was in the concrete business, and they were married in 1966. “We had a lot of fun together.” They moved to Everett and she commuted to Auburn to work for nearly a decade. In 1985, she sold her business to her son Frank; at the time of this interview, he was retiring and her grandson Walter and granddaughter Lisa were about to take over its management.

When Idamae is asked about her accomplishments and legacy, she never mentions the substantial contributions of time and money that John and she have made to the Greater Everett Community Foundation, Everett Public Library, The Children’s Museum, Everett Symphony, Historic Everett Theater, and other community projects. Rather, she speaks with pride about her family.
As for her decision to run a sand and gravel company, her response is a masterpiece of understatement: “I just did it.” And, while it is clear she is happy that two of her grandchildren will continue to manage the company she and her husband established, what really brought a warm smile to her face was when she told me about her granddaughter Lisa and how—when she entered Business School at the University of Washington—she told her: “Grandma, I’m going to be just like you.”

Sources:

Interview with Idamae Schack by Ann Duecy Norman and Robyn Johnson, June 2001
John Bellows Schack, Obituary, Herald, April 28, 2004
Brochure, The Everett Central Lions Club International Medal of Merit Award: John & Idamae Schack, November 10, 2000.
With appreciation to editors Robyn Johnson and Louise Lindgren and to Idamae’s daughter, Patty DeGroodt for suggestions and additions

© 2007 Ann Duecy Norman. All rights reserved; WLP Story #50

Minerva Healy Lucken

~ Keeper of the family flame

By Tammy Kinney

Minerva Healy Lucken, devoted daughter and wife, exemplified the resilient women of the early 20th century who experienced tragedy early in life, accepted it with grace and quietly carried on. Minerva’s life in Monroe – from 1909 until her death in 1997 at age 94 – mirrors the town’s growth and development both in population and industry. Minerva’s history also provides an example of the life and times of women who worked outside the home and found fulfilment there. Her succession of jobs shows the variety of employment options available to single and married woman of her generation.

Minerva’s parents were Bartholomew and Minerva Illif Healy. They married in Minneapolis in January 1900 and came west, settling in Tolt, Washington. Bart was a partner in a logging operation with John Joyce named Healy & Joyce. After that, he ran a logging operation of his own and owned a lumber yard in Tacoma called Healy Lumber Company.

Minerva’s mother took a position as a teacher in Tolt soon after they arrived, and they welcomed their first child in 1901, a daughter named Mildred. In September 1903, a second daughter arrived who was named Minerva after her mother. Next followed a stillborn boy and in 1907, twins Marjorie and Marguerite. In 1909, son Harold arrived. Minerva’s mother contracted tuberculosis (called consumption in those days) a common and deadly illness. The family moved from Tolt to Monroe in 1909, to a new two-story home, to help her recover. Minerva’s mother struggled valiantly in their new home, as she recounted in a 1989 interview.

“We moved because there was no one in Tolt to take care of my mother. Dr. Cox was here in Monroe to take care of her. Treating TB now is different, but he wanted her to get up early, go to work and stay busy all the time, which is the opposite of now. She died the next year. We were having breakfast one morning. I remember the nurse came down the hall and into the dining room and she looked at Papa and said ‘she’s gone.’ I understood immediately. I jumped up and ran up the stairs but she wasn’t quite gone because when I knelt down by the bed, she said ‘You be a good girl, won’t you?’ “

By the time Minerva’s mother died on March 11, 1910, the family had already experienced tragedy. First-born daughter Mildred passed away three months before her mother in January of 1910 and the year before, six-month-old son Harold died. Bart was left alone to raise young Minerva and the twins. He devoted his life to them and never remarried.

“Mildred was my mother’s pride and joy. After she died, her class from school came to the house and they stood in the front room next to the casket and all the children were singing.”

Despite losing her mother and siblings, Minerva persevered, displaying the positive attitude and sunny disposition that was a hallmark of her personality. She remembers a carefree childhood of playing hide and seek with her sisters and neighborhood friends in the big white house on Hill Street and Bart allowing just about anything, as long as the children were at home.

“We would run up and down the stairs and hide in the attic and under the beds and ride and play with the horses, Dolly and Bill. We climbed all over those horses and no one ever got hurt. Marjorie beat all the boys at (the knife game) Mumbley Peg. I wasn’t much on that but I played marbles a lot. My husband picked some of our marbles out of the garden years later.”

Bart sold his business interests in 1906 and focused on raising his three daughters. As the oldest, Minerva also shared this duty, doing well in school, helping out at home and graduating from Monroe High School with high marks in 1922. After high school, she attended Washington State University in Pullman for two years.

During breaks from college, Minerva worked for J.D. Woods in Monroe, which became a full-time job after college. She also worked at the Frye Lettuce Farm in 1933, one of the major sources of employment for Monroe residents in the 1930s.

“I remember Elizabeth Nelson came by and said that our friends were going to work at the lettuce farm and asked if I wanted to go. We earned a dime an hour. She picked me up and brought me a pair of boy’s overalls. We crawled around weeding and I almost wore my trousers out in the knees. One day, Pauline Oster came out (she did more cussing than speaking ordinary English) and said ‘Everybody get busy, here comes Charlie Frye.’ We were working like the dickens and all of a sudden along came Charlie Frye and I saw those shiny shoes down in front of me. He said ‘What’s your name?’ and I said ‘Minerva Healy.’ He said ‘You’re not Bart Healy’s daughter?’ And I said ‘Yes, I am, Mr. Frye.’ I came home that night and asked my father why he didn’t tell me he knew Charlie Frye. He said he thought it was better that I didn’t!”

After discovering her tie to Charlie Frye, Minerva was moved into the office at the lettuce farm and then went to work for the Frye’s meat packing plant in Seattle. She lived with a family during the work week and took the bus home to Monroe every weekend to take care of her father and sisters.

Minerva’s work life also included teaching Works Progress Administration (WPA) adult education classes in “sewing science” in 1933-34, working as a freelance seamstress in the community, as office manager for Pictsweet Foods in the 1940s and for Monroe physician and surgeon Dr. Percy Cooley in the 1950s. But the job that most people associate with Minerva was at Dever’s Furniture store in Monroe. Over 40 years, she served as office manager, salesperson and became the face of the business to countless shoppers and local residents. She retired at age 75.

Minerva married Even Lucken on Sept. 1, 1940 and the couple lived at the family home with Bart and Marguerite. Even Lucken died in 1986 and she followed on Sept. 4, 1997.

Minerva’s family history lives on in the 1885 oak pump organ that was donated to the Monroe Historical Society Museum from her home. It came west with her mother from Minnesota and stood in the house for almost a century. The family home at 321 Hill Street, that saw both tragedy and joy, is being restored by a local Monroe businesswoman intent on preserving the Healy-Lucken memories and pioneering spirit.

Minerva’s memory also lives on in the many Monroe residents who knew her. “Minerva was a very good friend of my mother’s and we would go visit her at her home,” says Monroe native Harriett (Ohlsen) Barr. “She was a very happy person and a pillar of the community – always well dressed and immaculate. The house was the same way; beautifully kept with a lovely yard. She was a gracious lady and well-respected by everyone.”

In November of 1989, Minerva was recognized as a Pioneer of Snohomish County by the Snohomish County Centennial Committee.

Sources:

David Abbot letter to Monroe Historical Society. 6 January 1989.

Tami Kinney interview with Harriet Ohlsen Barr, January 2015.

Minerva Healy and Bartholomew Healy personal papers.

Amy Beavers interview with Minerva Lucken, (on CD), January 27,1989.

Nellie Robertson, “Minerva Lucken House Filled with Antiques and Family Memories.” Monroe Monitor, October 1, 1986.

H.L.Squibb. Letter of Recommendation for Minerva Healy to Snohomish County Centennial Committee.

© Tami Kinney 2015 All Rights Reserved

Missouri Hanna

Missouri Hanna

“Mother of Journalism in Washington State”

By Charles P. LeWarne

Pioneer newspaper publisher Missouri T. B. Hanna (Mrs. M. T. B. Hanna) was born in Galveston, Texas, on February 17, 1857, but grew up in Arkansas. She married J. C. Hanna and they moved with three children to Spokane Falls, Washington Territory, in 1882, but her husband died in an Idaho boating accident five years later. In 1904 she settled in Edmonds and shortly purchased the weekly Edmonds Review which she published for five years, acknowledged as the first woman newspaper publisher in Washington.  For an updated and more fully documented version of this story, please see historylink article.

Mary Webb Duryee

Small Town Girl, Big Time Communicator

A young fireman on a fund drive in North Everett approached a little lady out sweeping her front porch. She asked bright pertinent questions, was kind, reassuring and happy to donate. However, by the time he walked away, he had volunteered to help raise money for her latest cause, the Imagine Children’s Museum. He had met a veteran fund-raiser, Mary Webb Duryee.

Born in 1918, Mary Webb was the only child of “O.T.” and Mandy Webb, whose modest house stood in a North Everett neighborhood where everybody knew everybody. Back in the early 1920s Mary could be found sweeping the porch of her back-yard playhouse or fixing sandwiches for the neighborhood kids; she hated being an only child, but not one to brood, surrounded herself with friends. School gave her more friends and bigger groups to organize, and in the eighth grade she won a Rotary Achievement Award. The awards luncheon proved to be a watershed event in her life: her interest in people had led her to community service, and she met Daniel Duryee Sr., who would one day be her father-in-law and real estate mentor.

Mary’s father, O.T. Webb, an Everett attorney, instilled in her a desire to take initiative, work hard and appreciate what she had. The Webbs were Norwegian immigrants from Wisconsin who had come to the Everett/Lowell area by boxcar in 1899. O.T’s sisters (Mary’s aunts) all had put themselves through nursing school. He had worked his way through University of Washington Law School, graduating in 1905. O.T organized and became Grand Lodge President of the local branch of Scandinavian Fraternity of America (SFA) and often gave long speeches encouraging members to help the needy, respect women, and be kind to mothers! Mary often accompanied her father to SFA events, such as a picnic in June 1930 where she heard him give one of his rousing speeches to 600 Scandinavians. She was embarrassed when he introduced her to people as his “promising daughter”, but it also made her realize he had great confidence in her.
Mary was a natural leader. Like her father, she had a knack for public speaking. But leadership itself was not her goal, she just wanted to be INVOLVED. She was President of her 9th grade class, and later Everett High School Girl’s Club president, but her 1935 commencement speech was titled “The Homemaker”. Mandy, Mary’s mother, the daughter of Swedish immigrants, had had little education herself but it was she who made sure Mary learned to sing, dance, speak in public, sew, cook, garden, and, of course—entertain, important in the world of organizing community functions.

At the University of Washington, Mary seriously considered a degree in law, something much promoted by her father. But the depression was in full swing and the five year law course was expensive. Instead, she majored in history, became president of her sorority and in 1938 represented her sorority at their national Convention. After college, Mary moved home, enrolled in Mrs. Rogers’ Business School and got a job at a bank.
Her marriage in 1941 to Dan Duryee, Jr. was the beginning of a great partnership, a love affair that lasted until his passing in 1990. When they married, Mary was welcomed into an “old” family, which had been in this country for 8 generations, and included women of great strength and character. One of Danny’s grandmothers, a single parent and businesswoman, had staked a claim in Alaska during the Gold Rush. His other grandmother, an Everett pioneer, well-educated for her time, had been a founding member of the Everett Women’s Book Club back in 1894. And Mary had suddenly acquired siblings: Danny’s two dynamic and creative older sisters.

In return, Mary cherished her role as Mrs. Dan Duryee Jr. In Danny, she had found a soul-mate: both found PEOPLE endlessly fascinating. Like Mary, Danny was an early-riser, a list-maker, problem-solver, and good organizer; like Danny, Mary loved children, animals, sentimental movies, popular music, dancing, and bringing people together. They were both absolutely committed to Everett and exceptionally unselfish and low-profile about their good works.
Dan and Mary were just beginning their lives together when Pearl Harbor was bombed and the United States entered World War II. Assuming he would be drafted, Dan asked Mary to join the staff of the family company, D.A. Duryee and Co., learn the real estate business, and get the credentials to run the company. Thus, in 1942, Mary became one of the first women in Washington State to have her own real estate license and, at age 24, when Danny joined the army, she began coordinating every aspect of the business.

Real estate was very different then from what it is now. Multiple Listing Service and office computers didn’t exist. She opened and closed the office seven days a week, inspected property, showed houses (being careful not to compete with the veteran salesmen), wrote and posted ads, handled escrow, banking, payroll, rents, bills, repairs, and leases, and loyally chauffeured her father-in-law.

She gave pep talks to boost morale and mediated staff, tenant, and family dramas. But, somehow, she found time to read and answer the long, detailed letters her husband wrote during the war…love letters of a unique kind because they focused on Everett, on the challenges Mary faced, and on their future together.

Mary Duryee at Lake Bosworth on a bright day, Feb. 22, 1944. Daniel Duryee, Sr. took photo. “The person in the picture is so enthused, I assume, that she is already practicing her gestures to emphasize to a customer at some later date, some of the attractive points of this property.”

Mary adored her father-in-law, Daniel Sr. and while working along side him during the war years, she learned as much about community service as she did about real estate. Dan Sr. had grown-up with the town, graduated from EHS in 1898, and personally helped rescue the struggling YMCA in 1900. He understood and actively supported the town’s backbone of human services. In his quiet, hard-working way, Dan Sr helped Mary see how much a single individual could contribute to strengthening a community.

When Dan returned home in 1946, Mary handed over the big stack of nearly completed contracts that happened to be on her desk and became “the Homemaker”. Within a year, Dan Sr had passed away, Mary was pregnant, and Danny was re­invigorating his company; DA Duryee & Co went on to grow and prosper for 50 more years, but Danny used to say of the war years: “we couldn’t have done it without Mary”. She gladly became a full-time housewife, and then Mom to her two daughters, but she was never really out-of-the-loop of her husband’s working life. She had enjoyed the action of real estate, its potential for meeting people’s wants and needs, and for several decades she kept her real estate license current…..just in case.

While Danny worked 12 to 15-hour days both at his office and with various community boards, Mary kept her desk at home piled high with to-do lists, agendas, and her ever-growing card file of names. Like many others, she began soliciting door- to- door for Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and then worked with their North Everett Guild for many years. She served for 13 years on the YMCA board, worked as fund-raiser and board member for UGN (later United Way) and helped organize and run her church bazaars, for which she’d spoon 10-gallon kettles of mincemeat into jars every November for decades. She was a life member of the Children’s Foundation at Everett General Hospital, organized many charity auctions and fund-raisers for the local Junior Club and supported Volunteers of America and Campfire USA.   A highlight of her life was her decade as Campfire group leader for each of her daughters. “Miss Mary” held meetings in a cabin-like room above her garage. It had plain wooden floors, an upright piano, a big table for art projects and a special row of coat hooks, each with a little girl’s name on it. While it may have felt like a “play-room”, one wall was also covered with a big map of the world, and while Mary wanted the girls to find fun and friendship, her primary goal was to teach them to be responsible. She was just as comfortable helping the shy Campfire girl earn her first service beads as she was when speaking to a big crowd at a charity banquet.
Mary continues to live just three blocks from the house where she was born. Her own Everett Women’s Book Club group, now down to eight women, has been meeting regularly since 1947. Her Campfire girls stay in touch and still call her “Miss Mary”. She quietly supports many charities and non-profits around town, including the Emma Yule Society. However, when the opportunity came to help organize support for the Imagine Children’s Museum in the early 1990’s, she put on her old walking-shoes, and went, with cane, to the meetings, thrilled once again, to be making lists and stuffing envelopes.
In September 2007, at the United Way Spirit of Snohomish Co Breakfast, Mary was given the Reeves/Sievers Award for Lifetime community service. The keynote speaker that day, Lou Tice, said about people like Mary: “You can’t control how much you get, but you can control how much you give.”

Sources: Personal remembrance and family photographs, Maureen Duryee.
© 2008 Maureen Duryee All Rights Reserved

Madame Luella Boyer

Madame Luella Boyer:
Everett’s Pioneer African-American Businesswoman

By Margaret Robe Summitt

Luella Ruth Brown Boyer, probably the first African-American businesswoman in Everett, arrived here about 1902 with her husband John C. Boyer. Soon after they arrived, their marriage broke up, and Luella supported herself and her adopted daughter Esther Marie as a hairdresser, styling herself “Madame Boyer,” and later established a salon in Everett’s theater district.

Luella Ruth Brown was born in either October 1868 or September 1869 in Keosauqua, Van Buren County, Iowa, to Lewis and Elizabeth (Henderson) Brown. Her parents had come from Missouri to Van Buren County in about 1864. Lewis Brown traced his family lineage to the first 20 slaves brought to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619. Elizabeth Henderson Brown performed housework for white families, including several lawyers. Her son Samuel Joe Brown, Luella’s younger brother (1875-1950), fulfilled his mother’s dream that he would become a lawyer and went on to a distinguished career as an attorney and civil rights leader. Her mother’s dreams for her children likely also inspired Luella. Both parents, however, were dead by about 1889. Samuel Joe Brown, Lawyer

More information is needed about Luella’s life between the ages of 12 and 26; i.e., between her appearance in the 1880 Census and her first marriage around 1896 to John C. Boyer. She was 25 years younger than her first husband. Born in 1844 to free blacks in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, John C. Boyer moved westward with the frontier seeking business opportunities as a barber, and likely networked with black barbers in the East. He worked in Dakota Territory and in Kansas, and possibly met Luella in Iowa. By 1900 the couple, now married, was living in Lewiston, Idaho. Two years later they arrived in Everett.

Around the time they came to Everett, John and Luella Boyer legally adopted baby Esther Marie. Polk’s 1902-03 Everett Directory lists John as a traveling salesman–probably of hair care products—and Luella as the proprietress of a ladies’ hair emporium at 2928 Colby Ave.; this address was also their residence. After this John C. Boyer disappears from Polk’s Everett Directory. He turns up again in the 1920 Census for Seattle; nonetheless Luella, in the 1910 Census, maintained the polite fiction that she was a widow.

As a single mother in a new town, Luella, however, was not without resources. She must have turned to John Boyer’s business connections, and to her own schooling. The Polk’s Directory entries for the years 1902 through 1912 show how she established and expanded her business:

1902: Boyer, Mme. Luella, ladies’ hair emporium, 2928 Colby Ave., residence same. John C. Boyer, a traveling salesman, res 2928 Colby.

1903: Boyer, Mme. Luella, ladies’ hair emp, 2928 Colby Ave., res same.

1904: Listed in the business section of Polk’s Directory under Hair Goods: Boyer, Mme. Luella, 2928 Colby Ave., Everett.

1905: Boyer, Mrs. Luella, hair gds 2928 Colby Ave., h 3816 Wetmore Ave., res 3615 Lombard Ave.

1906: Boyer, Mrs. Luella, hair gds 2006 ½ Hewitt Ave., h 3818 Wetmore Ave.

1907: Boyer, Mrs. Luella, hairdresser 2006 ½ Hewitt Ave., h 3818 Wetmore Ave.

1908: Boyer, Mme. Luella, Hairdresser and Dermatologist, 1910 ½ Hewitt Ave., home same, Tels Sunset 1645 Ind 521Y

1909: same address, Tel Main 1645

1910: same address, Tels 1645 Ind 521Y

1911: Boyer, Mme. Luella, Hairdresser and Dermatologist, 2923 ½ Oakes Av, home same, Tels Sunset 1645 Ind 521Y

1912: Boyer, Mme. Luella, Hairdresser and Dermatologist, 11 Eclipse Block, Tel Ind 1948Y, Sunset 1645, h 5 Eclipse Block.

Madame Boyer’s obituary indicates that she was well known in the community, yet I suspect that she was following trends developing elsewhere. According to historian Tiffany Gill, “Madame” was frequently adopted by black women hairdressers and came to signify them almost exclusively. The most famous of these “Madames” was Madam C. J. Walker of Indianapolis, who was developing her line of hair care products at the same time that Madame Boyer was establishing her business. One might speculate that Madame Boyer knew, or knew of, Madam C. J. Walker, and may even have sold her products.

Luella also worked as a housekeeper. The Everett Public Library has the receipts that she signed, for $1.00 a night, for occasional backstage housekeeping at the Everett Theatre at 2911 Colby, nearly across the street from her business address. She may also have done hairdressing backstage.Receipt for custodion services for Luella

A peak event in her life must have been the performance, on January 16, 1905, of the first all African-American musical comedy, “In Dahomey,” at the Everett Theatre. The touring company featured show business legends George Walker, his wife Aida Overton Walker, and Bert Williams, song and dance comedians who had recently entertained the King of England in London. Meeting them was a rare opportunity to network and maybe inspired her to expand her business.

Just before she remarried, Luella Boyer was enumerated in the 1910 Census. She was age 42, with her own hairdressing parlor, and she employed a black maid. Her husband-to-be, Bertrand Brent, who was white, was born about 1878 in Missouri, and was working in 1910 as a waiter in a restaurant. In 1911 his occupation was a janitor at the Everett Public Library. They were married just after the census was taken, on April 20, 1910, by Father H. P. Saindon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. Presumably Bertrand Brent was Catholic, but Luella was not, and as a condition of their marriage she agreed to have her daughter Esther raised Catholic. At about this time Esther began boarding at St. Dominic’s Academy, adjacent to the church.

At the time of her remarriage, Luella Boyer Brent was at her most prosperous. It may have been about this time that she and her husband began buying property in Snohomish and King Counties. At the time of her death, they owned in Pinehurst Lot 13, Block 14, and Lots 23 & 24, Block 23; in the Climax Land Co.’s Addition to Everett, Lots 24 & 25 in Block 2, and in Interurban Heights in King County, Lot 13, Block 14. For the Pinehurst lost Luella paid $100 out of her own funds out of a total of $143.95. These were unimproved lots except for those in Everett, for which was paid $894.41, of which the Brents recouped $500 paid by their insurance company for loss due to fire.

Luella Boyer Brent died December 18, 1912 from diabetes. Upon her death Bertrand Brent began the long (1912-1918) and frustrating process of administering her estate. Luella’s only will, drawn in 1909, was outdated; Mr. Brent therefore had Luella declared to have died intestate, and petitioned to be named administrator. After he had paid all her creditors, and the attorneys and appraisers, he declared to the court the necessity of selling Luella’s real property in order to pay his costs and expenses. But none came forward to buy either the real property or the remaining salon fixtures and hair goods. Finally, Mr. Brent declared that since no sale had been made, the balance of the estate should be distributed between the heirs, i.e., him and Esther. On June 14, 1918, the estate was fully and finally settled and closed.Gravestone of Luella Boyer Brent

At this point Madame Boyer disappears from the public records. I am still looking for a photo of her. Her former residences on Hewitt Ave. are now lost to the complex of the Everett Performing Arts Center and Comcast Arena. At the address where her salon was located on Colby Ave. there is today a nail salon.

Sources:
Thanks to David Dilgard of the Everett Public Library for the image of Mrs. Boyer’s signed receipt from the night “In Dahomey” played at the Everett Theatre. Thanks to my husband Christopher Summitt for the photo of the grave marker.

  • 1850 and 1860 Censuses, Woodward Township, Clinton County, Pennsylvania.
  • 1870 Census, Crawford Township, Clinton County, Pennsylvania.
  • 1880 Census: Keosauqua, Van Buren County, Iowa; Central City, Lawrence County, Dakota Territory.
  • 1900 Census, Lewiston, Nez Perce County, Idaho.
  • 1910 Census, Everett 3rd Ward, Snohomish County, Washington.
  • 1920 Census, Seattle 230th Ward, King County, Washington.
  • Polk’s Everett and Snohomish County Directories, 1902-1912.
  • Marriage Certificate of Luella Boyer and Bertrand Brent, Snohomish County, Washington.
  • Death Certificate for Ruth Brent, Everett, Snohomish County, Washington, registered no. 213.
  • Probate file of Luella Ruth Brent, 1912-1918, Washington State Archives, Northwest Regional Branch, Bellingham.
  • Tiffany Gill, Black Beauty Shops: African American Women’s Activism in the Beauty Industry, University of Illinois Press, 2010.
  • Biographical Dictionary of Iowa (2008), entry for Samuel Joe Brown.© 2010 Margaret Summitt, All Rights Reserved

Jane Berry ~ First Businesswoman of Monroe, Washington

Jane Berry bears the distinction of being the first woman business owner in Monroe. Her saloon on East Main Street proved to be a focal point for both gatherings and controversy.

Aunt Jane Berry, as residents called her in later years, was both picturesque and peculiar but not one among the earlier settlers was better known than she. She was born in Newry, county of Down, Ireland in 1843. She came to America as a young woman at the age of 22. She sailed from New York for San Francisco around Cape Horn. In 1869, she arrived in the Monroe area. During her long residence in town, she prospered and acquired eleven different parcels of land. Her estate at the time of her death in 1925 amounted to nearly $40,000, a fortune in those days.

Controversy seemed to follow Aunt Jane. In February 1900, thirty-one citizens signed a petition to the county commissioners citing Berry for using obscene language between 5 and 6 p.m. on January 29 in the presence of women and children, brandishing a gun, and allowing loud and abusive language along with boisterous noise to emanate from her saloon. The petition asked that her license be revoked for the sake of decency in Monroe. It appeared the petition fell on deaf ears since Berry continued to operate her saloon.
Aunt Jane Berry owned a number of property parcels and had built a brick building on her East Main Street site. Rumor had it that she ran a house of ill repute on the upper floor of her building. At one time, mothers petitioned the school board to change the route of the school bus carrying their children past Berry’s saloon to protect them from the seamier side of life. The school bus at that time was a horse-drawn wagon.
Aunt Jane’s next battle occurred when Snohomish County sheriff‘s deputies discovered a large quantity of booze in Monroe. A big crowd dolefully watched the confiscation of the liquor and its trip out of town. Sheriff Donald McRae and Prosecuting Attorney O.T. Webb arrested Berry on the charge of violating the state prohibition law in 1917.
Newspaper accounts said that county officials staged one of the best-attended raids ever held outside of Seattle and they had located 26 bottles of contraband. The officers arrived unannounced and searched the Berry place. They arrested her and the news spread throughout the community. Within a few minutes several hundred people called around to have a look at what the sheriff had in his wagon.
Officers searched several other buildings owned by Berry but located no additional caches. At the time of the raid, Berry had been a resident of Snohomish County for more than forty years, and had arrived in Monroe before the town’s incorporation.
She married Frank Donahue 13 years before her death. He helped look after her properties during the last years of her life. Aunt Jane had a generous, and in her own quaint way, a good heart. She never forgot a friend nor overlooked a slight. She was generous to her friends when they were in need. To point up the respect the community had for this controversial woman, Mayor Bascom asked businesses to close during her funeral services.

Aunt Jane’s death created a legal stir when her relatives contested her will that left most of her assets to her husband. They claimed she was mentally incompetent. In the end, Aunt Jane defied them. In early 1926, the court ruled her will valid.

There was no more colorful character in Monroe than Aunt Jane Berry. For a slight woman, she cast a huge shadow that remained in the community for years. Her building still stands on the north side of East Main Street.

From left to right: Stretch Chop House at the very edge of the photo, Dolloff’s Store, Sanders Hotel, railroad tracks, Mrs. Berry’s saloon, and Vanasdlen’s Store and Post Office, which had been moved from Park Place. Running through the middle is the Great Northern mainline with engines under steam with railroad cars. The current Main Street crossing would be roughly at the center of the photo. The view is looking south and slightly east across the site of what is now the old Monroe Shopping Center.
Photograph Courtesy Monroe Historical Society, Monroe WA.

Nellie Robertson A Lifetime of Writing

By Teri Baker

From the time she was little, Nellie Robertson has been enchanted with the way words could bring color and drama to life. Her father wrote wonderfully descriptive letters and read them to her, instilling in her a desire to write that has never diminished.

At age 12 she went door-to-door “getting the news,” rushed back to her grandmother’s house to write the stories, then produced a “newspaper” that kept the neighbors informed and entertained. In high school she wrote short stories and worked part time at the library. Author of Monroe: The First 50 Years, Nellie maintains, “I’ve always written. I probably always will.”
Another skill, conducting meetings, eventually brought her into the life of Bill Robertson. They met through a citizens band radio organization while Nellie, a certified teacher of parliamentary law, was working on the group’s bylaws. The Robertsons, who have been married 30 years, moved to Monroe in 1972, and a year later, Nellie began her career at The Monroe Monitor. She started out composing ads, but within two weeks was writing a recipe column. “I hate recipes,” she confides, adding that while she admires the culinary skills of others, she finds cooking “quite boring,” and was “much happier describing it than doing it.”

Her duties soon included writing the “social page.” A feature about a pilot earned her a bonus and was so well remembered that for years Nellie was known as “the girl who went flying.” When Bill took a job in Petersburg, Alaska, in 1976, Nellie went to work for The Petersburg Pilot as feature writer, typesetter and circulation manager rolled into one. “It was an incredible experience,” she says. “The messy, physical work of producing a newspaper was offset by the joy of writing.”

The couple moved to Dillingham, Alaska, where Nellie managed the dock for the city and was office manager for a couple who owned five diverse businesses: a hotel, hardware and lumber store, restaurant, marina and fur buying operation. She also taught parliamentary law for the University of Alaska. On a lark, she agreed to run for mayor against two men, both lifelong residents of Dillingham. She says she didn’t really care if she won until the radio station had a debate, and her opponents called her a politician.

“I was outraged,” she recalls. “I told them the only reason I was running was because I knew how to conduct the meetings.” Voters, tired of the haphazard way city meetings were held, responded by electing her outright in the primary. Dillingham lost its new mayor eight months later when Bill’s health forced him to resign as head of maintenance for the school district, and the couple returned to Monroe, where they still owned a home.

In 1982 Nellie found herself back at The Monitor, where she remained until she retired ten years later with five writing awards to her credit. She wrote a lot about local history, started a health page and wrote a column called “Nellie’s Knick Knacks.” She says, “I always included people. That’s what I think newspapers are all about.”

While her fiction is based on historical events, Nellie’s book about Monroe, Monroe: The First 50 Years, is a factual, chronological account of that city’s beginnings. Filled with information and insights into everyday life on farms, in mills and logging camps, along the river, etc. Attitudes about business, civic responsibility, education, social life and morality are recorded, as are accounts of community celebrations, church news, “current” fashions, entertainment and sports.

“I wrote the book because it had never been done, and I felt it needed to be,” Nellie says. “It soon became apparent that I couldn’t do the entire history, so I decided to do the first fifty years. The Monroe Historical Society kindly let me keep their film and reader here at the house, or it would have taken me forever to get this written. As it was, it took four years.”

Nellie says she enjoyed the research, but “had the most fun including vignettes that make it human.” She writes of Sam the Hugger, so named for breaking into homes to hug the lady of the house before dashing out again, and Louisa Smallman, a pioneer who successfully fought off claim jumpers, but jumped up on a table whenever she saw a mouse.

These days, Nellie concentrates on writing fiction four hours a day. Careful to maintain a balance in her life, she plays computer games while she eats lunch, cross-stitches designs on sweatshirts and spends as much time as she can.

For Nellie, the accolades that meant most came from her husband and children. A warm smile spreads over her face as she tells of a speech her daughter gave before a service organization. The message that age should not make a difference was focused on “the best mom in the world, Nellie E. Robertson, who published a book shortly before her seventieth birthday.”

Nellie’s writer’s mind is always seeing possibilities, always figuring out the best way to string words together. It is part of who she is – and part of the world her father showed her when she was just a little girl.

Nellie Robertson now lives in Olympia Washington and is still writing. She has since completed Monroe: The Next Thirty Years, Kathryn’s Courage, Wellington Wisdom and its sequel, Beyond Wellington. Even though she decided that “Discoveries” wouldn’t sell that well she had it printed rather than published, selling out twice. Her newest book is titled “Hannah.” For more about her see the Monroe Historical Society page.

Source: Interview with Nellie E. Robertson, 1997 and 2006.
© 1997 – 2006 Theresa A. (Teri) Baker, All Rights Reserved

Alice White Reardon

Newspaper Publisher 1867 – 1951

By Nellie Robertson

Ink ran in the veins of Alice White Reardon nearly from the time of her birth in 1867 until her death in 1951. Born in Ft. Dodge, Iowa of pioneer stock, she was the second daughter in a family of five children. When she was two years old, her father established the first newspaper in Soda Bar, Iowa. Her newspaper heritage followed her throughout her life.

In 1890 Alice married John J. Reardon. The couple had six sons, one of whom died in infancy, and one daughter. In 1893 Reardon entered into partnership with Alice’s brother in the newspaper business. When John left the partnership, the family came to Washington in 1911 and to Monroe in 1913. Reardon bought the Monroe Independent and settled down to report on life in the small town. It became Monroe’s official newspaper. Ten years later the Reardons bought the Monroe Monitor and merged the two publications.

Alice helped in the newspaper office and still managed to take good care of her family.
When tragedy struck, not once, but twice, in a matter of weeks, Alice responded with courage. Her husband died on March 20, 1928, and on May 18th of the same year, John and Alice’s oldest son, Joseph, who had served in France in World War I and had been associated with his father in the Monroe Monitor, died in an automobile accident.

Alice White Reardon, circa 1945? Born in 1867 at Fort Dodge, Iowa, the second of five children, she died in 1951. Photographer: Bruno Art Studio, 416 SW Alder, Portland, Oregon. #506504 Photograph Courtesy of the Monroe Historical Society, Monroe, WA
Alice White Reardon, circa 1945?
Born in 1867 at Fort Dodge, Iowa, the second of five children, she died in 1951.
Photographer: Bruno Art Studio, 416 SW Alder, Portland, Oregon. #506504
Photograph Courtesy of the Monroe Historical Society, Monroe, WA

Alice bought her daughter-in-law’s interest in the Monitor, and her son Keiron, who would later serve in the state legislature, joined her as editor. Newspapers often spawn confrontational episodes, but Alice did not allow herself to become embroiled. She handled the business part of the publication with equanimity. She published the newspaper until she sold it in 1943.

Descendants and friends characterize her as a kind person, always busy. Great-niece Catherine Hammond said, “I never saw her mad or cranky.” She made crazy quilts out of velvet and embroidered with silk thread. Her family treasures those quilts. She also crocheted and knitted.

Alice was a well known and beloved member of the community. Of the things she is best remembered for, donuts top the list. When the goodies appeared at the Congregational Church bazaars, they disappeared before they hit the shelves. She generously shared her confection – but not her recipe. Not even her descendants learned how to make her donuts. A gifted storyteller, Alice did, however, share her life experiences with her family and friends such as former Monroe mayor Grace Kirwan, who sums up Alice Reardon in five words: “She was a wonderful lady.”

Sources: Monroe Monitor, Interviews with Grace Kirwan and Catherine Hammond;
WLP Story Number 17 ~
© 2002 Nellie E. Robertson

Mae Randall Parkhurst Swanson

Hard-working Businesswoman 1879-1952
WLP Story No. 6 ~ By Sandra Schumacher
Mae Randall Parkhurst’s role as breadwinner was thrust upon her by the death of her husband in 1915. She was already working, but as a young widow with three small children to support, Mae knew life would not be easy. Determination, perseverance and love would be required to keep her family together, but these Mae had in abundance.

She had come to Everett at age 26 around 1905 with her parents, William and Rose Ellen Randall, and Mae’s sister, Lydia Randall, from Cedar Falls, Iowa, where William, previously a farmer, had studied for the ministry. Rev. Randall was to become the pastor of the First Baptist Church on Lombard. Mae attended business college, then promptly went to work as a court reporter.
Mae recalled that it was a challenging job because it was difficult for her to understand the testimonies of people with Scandinavian accents, a sound new to her ears. She had a good head on her shoulders, and before long was working for the county treasurer at a time when most transactions were done in cash.

Still close to her parents, Mae took a trip to Portland, Oregon with her father. There she met Paul Parkhurst, who had left a comfortable life in Templeton, Massachusetts to mine gold in the Klondike with several friends. The adventure was not successful, but they did not return to the East Coast, choosing instead to remain out west. Paul and Mae married in Everett around 1907. She continued to work for the county and was promoted to County Cashier. It was a good job and convenient since the couple lived a few doors away from the courthouse.
Throughout the marriage, Paul had never been well, due to an illness he contracted in the Klondike. His death left Mae with three children under the age of seven. Mae’s daughter Helen Parkhurst Sievers remembers her mother as a very resourceful, generous and hard working woman. Helen remembers, “She stepped out in the world at a time when most women were in the background.”

Mae recognized that she needed more income in order to raise her children, so she opened Vanity Bazaar, a variety store on Hoyt Avenue in Everett. Later she would open opening The Variety Store in Snohomish. She counted Pilchuck Julia as one of her many customers, and, because of Julia’s recurring leg problem, often had to drive Julia home. By 1925 Mae decided that she would ply her business skills in the Delicatessen business and opened Parkhurst Deli in Everett with her sister Lydia.
Her retail business may have continued for years were it not for a late rent payment on her Lake Stevens home that resulted in the loss of her home and all of her household belongings. She and the children were forced to start over with the help of Mae’s father. May applied for a position in the cashier’s office in Everett again, and was gladly rehired due to her fine work record over the years.
In 1928 she remarried Everett’s beloved Fire Chief, Charlie Swanson, a long time family friend. During her retirement years, Mae enjoyed fishing and boating with her husband, and divided her time between Everett and Baby Island Heights. Emphysema took its toll on Mae, who said that she “probably contracted it by talking too much!”

In December 1952, the city of Everett lost one of its earliest female business owners, as well as a respected employee. Never the victim, she rose from adversity and built both a strong family and a successful career.

Source: Helen Parkhurst Sievers

©2006 Sandra Schumacher, All Rights Reserved

To learn more about Mae Randall Parkhurst, see the story of her daughter, Helen Parkhurst Sievers, on this web site.