Marie Louise Anderson Wenberg

– Political Activist, Teacher and Postmaster & Park Namesake
Marie Louise Anderson (SAHS 2001_132_07)

Born in Minnesota October 4th 1884, this photograph of a determined and serious little girl is the first in which she never smiled. In 1906 she graduated from Pacific Lutheran Academy in Parkland, Washington. She studied to be a teacher and taught at Parkland Parochial School. Following that she also taught in Tacoma, Port Madison, and Quincy and Arlington public schools until about 1910. In May 1911 Marie Louise Anderson and Oscar Wenberg married at the Parkland Lutheran Church and two years later in 1913 Marie and Oscar Wenberg bought a farm near Florence Washington.

That same year Marie became Matron of Josephine Old People’s Home*; Oscar was Superintendant for three years. In an account by Bertha Logan who was a one of the caregivers there “Mr. Wenberg was chaplain and tended the coal burning furnace and various task, while Mrs. Wenberg kept the books and took care of business and social jobs”…the home had a barn and cows on the 10 acres with a garden large enough to grow produce for the 18-19 residents.
In the 1920 Census Oscar is listed as a wheat farmer, he and Marie have two children, Marie and Johan. She was active in many organizations during these years including Stanwood’s Monday Study Club and the Stillaguamish Grange. She joined the Snohomish County Federated Womens Club as a founding member. She was also a member of the Snohomish County Legislative Federation and the Womens Christian Temperance Union. She and Oscar both became political activists.

Photo from the East Stanwood Press Nov. 1, 1922

In 1922 (the same year East Stanwood incorporated) she appears in a newspaper promotion advertising her candidacy as the Farmer – Labor nominee for the Washington State Legislature from the 49th District. Her slogan was “Dare to do right” and “Wring Out the profits and operate for service.” The Farmer Labor party was a small third party primarily representing workers and labor rights at a time when companies didn’t provide sick leave or worker’s compensation. It won about 19 percent of the vote that year. In 1936 there were strikes and walkouts threatened at the mills and canneries. The local companies did not recognize the union but in most cases they already paid higher than union wages in so union activism in Stanwood was short-lived (see Echoes Winter 2019). She lost to Alonzo Willhite and R. D. Deselle (both Republicans) at a time when the top two vote became the two representatives of the district.
Marie never ran for office again but worked for her husband and continued to advocate for her causes. As a member of the Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) she opposed amending the “dry law” to permit manufacture or sale of wine or beer, though it was upheld.
Marie and Oscar lived on a small farm near “Norman” in the Stillaguamish Valley through 1930. Oscar was farming and Marie continued teaching.

In 1929 Gunderson replaced his original Star Furniture storefront with a new building to house a new East Stanwood Post Office.  That building still stands with his name on it pictured above.**

In 1935 at the age of 50, Marie became postmistress in East Stanwood taking over from C. J. Gunderson who had established the East Stanwood Post Office in 1913. The post office building in East Stanwood was originally located in the building that later became a barber shop on the south side of the street. Later Gunderson, an influential businessman in East Stanwood moved it to his hardware / furniture / store (the Star Furniture Company building). Her husband Oscar had a partnership in the Gunderson’s hardware store at the time. Gunderson was also the local undertaker.
While working as Postmaster, in 1936 Mrs. Louise Wenberg was made President of the Snohomish County Rural Recreation Committee (Stanwood Story v. 2 p.90) In this role she began a campaign to purchase 20 acres on the east side of Lake Goodwin from C. D. Hillman for $1500 to be established as a park. 1939 Oscar elected to Washington State House of Representatives – served through 1952. His political platform included support for labor, pensions, the Grange program and the public utility. He also was influential in the effort towards funding the construction of the Stanwood Camano Mark Clark bridge and the new Camano Island State Park.

In November of 1939 Marie Wenberg, as President of the Snohomish County Rural Park Association dedicated the small County park at Lake Goodwin. Funds for the park came from the W.P.A. in the amount of $8,160 and the balance from the County. Though Rep. Wenberg’s standing as a legislator inevitably helped this cause an editorial in the Arlington Times Aug. 30, 1956 stated “It was Mrs. Wenberg who kept up a persistent campaign that came precariously close to failure until finally the plot became county property and was ad available to the State.” The Twin City News (Nov 9, 1939) reported that “the park will be known hereafter as Wenberg park, honoring Mrs. Louise Wenberg, through whose untiring efforts the work was carried on.”

Wenberg Park shelter – The Wenbergs (far left and second from right) and county officials who established Wenberg County Park named for Marie Wenberg. (photo from Wenberg files at the SAHS); Courtesy Stanwood Area Historical Society 2001_132_10

Various individuals and organizations also donated time and equipment for grading and graveling the road and building ball fields and picnic areas. The County park became a State Park in 1947 but went back to being a Snohomish County park in 2009.

After 10 years at the end of the ware in 1945 Marie Wenberg resigned as East Stanwood Postmaster at the age of 61. In 1952 her husband Oscar Wenberg died of a stroke where they lived with their daughter. Marie lived twenty more years and died Nov 15, 1972 at age of 84.

For more photographs and a slightly modified version of this story – see the Stanwood Area Echoes #64

Sources:
“Farmer Labor Candidate for lower House” East Stanwood Press, Stanwood News, Arlington Times and Everett Herald. “Will incorporate Recreation body” Arlington Times Apr. 2, 1936 “Credit where is due” Editorial August 30, 1956 Arlington Times; Wenberg Luce Family Records Stanwood Area Historical Society; “Mrs. Wenberg Active in Civic Affairs” [paid advertisement] Arlington Times, Nov. 2, 1922 “The Emergence of the Farmer-Labor Party in Washington Politics, 1919-20” Hamilton Cravens The Pacific Northwest Quarterly Vol. 57, No. 4 (Oct., 1966), pp. 148-157 (10 pages). Interview with Louise Wenberg Luce (daughter – in – law) 2008

[*later Josephine Sunset Home now Josephine Caring Community]

**The East Stanwood Post Office was located in this new Gunderson Building until 1960 when the new Post Office building was built (now the Stanwood Camano News offices).  About that same time the towns and post offices consolidated and the post office operated there until 1976 when the new current Post office building was completed.

Stanwood and East Stanwood post offices were separate until they were consolidated under Lars Sagen in 1961 soon after the two towns consolidated.
In 1965 Sagen retired and Ray Brandstrom became Postmaster. At that time postmasters were appointed by the President through a patronage system of appointing postmasters and rural letter carriers. In 1969 that was finally changed by President Richard Nixon. The Postmaster General then appointed all postmasters from within the competitive Civil Service.
In 1976 the new (current) Post Office building was completed.

Copyright  Karen Prasse & Stanwood Area Historical Society; WLP Story #84

 

 

Emma Serepta Yule

Emma Serepta Yule, Photograph courtesy Everett Public Library.

~ Legendary Educator
By Lawrence E. O’Donnell

She was young, single – and on this December day in 1891 she was more than 2000 miles from home to start a job in a place she never had seen before. Already a seasoned teacher, Emma Serepta Yule had traveled from her native Iowa to accept a teaching position in the fledgling industrial city of Everett, Washington. When Everett opened its first school house on December 14, 1891, she was there to greet the 26 youngsters who had trudged through the mud to school. Her willingness to tackle this challenge typified the adventurous spirit and independent pluck that marked life. She would stay in Everett for nearly a decade, keeping Everett in her heart the rest of her life.

A Yule family history prepared in 1975 by Robert B. Yule XIV tells us that Emma Serepta Yule was born March 25, 1863 at the family farm home in Red Oak Township, Cedar County, Iowa. She was the seventh and final child of Samuel Yule XII and Serepta (Clark) Yule. Four days after Emma’s birth, her mother Serepta died. The family history states that Emma was living with the Rigby family (presumably her older sister Delia who married Allen T. Rigby in 1867) and attending school in 1880. She is reported to have graduated from Iowa State Normal School and then to have taught in rural schools around Aurelia, Iowa.

At age 28, she came to Everett. The city, which had been founded just a few months earlier, was proud when the Broadway School opened in the winter of 1891. Yule was the lone teacher for those students who arrived that first day. (Note: Technically, Emma Yule was not Everett’s first teacher. In the spring of 1891, Henrietta J. Freer taught a 10 week session somewhere in the district.) In January, Miss Yule was joined by Nettie Boucher. Each of these teachers was paid $60.00 a month. School board minutes show that Emma Yule was appointed the school principal on February 19, 1892, thus making her the first school principal in the Everett School District. Before the school year was over, the Broadway building was overflowing and the district was renting space in several buildings around town.

On July 4, 1892, the school board of directors hired Professor J. W. Shepherd as the principal and Emma Yule to the “position next to principal”. In the white male dominated society of the era, it marked the first of three times the school board would “demote” Miss Yule in favor of a man.

In the fall of 1892, the school district started a high school program in the Broadway School. While the record is not totally clear, it appears that Emma Yule was affiliated with the high school for the remainder of her career in Everett though on December 23, 1896, Emma Yule was elected superintendent of the Everett Public Schools on January 7, 1897 at a salary of $85.00 per month. She was re-elected to the position for the 1897-98, 1898-99 and 1899-1900 school years. Again, it is unclear if she also was the high school principal during this period, although anecdotal records indicate she probably was.

School board minutes from the January 22, 1900 meeting indicate that Miss Yule may have been in disfavor with the board by this time. In response to a letter from teacher applicant Beth Banks, the board instructed its clerk to inform Miss Banks that “Miss Yule has nothing to do with the hiring of teachers and that her application would not be considered.” Whatever the case, on July 23, 1900, the school board named George St. John the superintendent of schools and Emma Yule the principal of Everett High School. Another “demotion” and this time she did not stay. On October 9, 1900, the school board rejected her request for an increase in salary and released her “without prejudice” to assume a position in the schools of Juneau, Alaska.

Despite the trials and tribulations, it is clear that Emma Yule was a remarkable individual who left an indelible imprint in Everett. Though she held administrative posts, it appears that she also taught during most of her time here. In her era, the school system grew from those 26 students to an average daily attendance of 1032 in 1900. There were five permanent schools by 1900, still at least one rented facility and nearly 40 teachers.

In a “Development of the Everett Public Schools” article for the February 6, 1902 edition of the Everett Daily Herald, Margaret Clark, the first graduate of Everett High School, describes Miss Yule as “our beloved friend and helper at all times.” When an Everett High School Alumni Association was formed in 1894, Emma Yule was unanimously elected an honorary member. In those early years of Everett High, with Miss Yule in a leadership role in significant academic and activity programs there is little doubt that Emma Yule had a key role in these Everett High School milestones and she held students to high standards. Insight is provided from an article in the February 9, 1898 edition of the Everett Times newspaper. After a high school program of readings and recitations by students – several of whom became community leaders – Miss Yule was unimpressed. The reporter stated that, “Miss Yule delivered such a scornful wrath at the close of the program that we were afraid we would be obliged to avail ourselves of the fire escape.” Apparently, it was in a student’s best interest to meet Miss Yule’s standards.

Several of Emma Yule’s relatives followed her to Everett but the record is murky as to exactly when they arrived. Her niece Alice Rigby (daughter of Emma’s sister Delia Rigby) applied for an Everett teaching job in 1893. She did become an Everett teacher and may have arrived that year or later. Alice’s sister Clara also came to Everett, as did their mother, Delia, who was divorced from Allen Rigby in 1895. Delia and Allen’s oldest son William was another who migrated to Everett. His son Donald, who stayed in Everett, provided a portion of the Rigby family information in the aforementioned Yule family history. Donald’s son Jim Rigby is still living in Everett as of this writing (2008) and has been a source of information about his great-great aunt Emma Yule. Also, he has given the Everett School District and this author books and other materials that belonged to her. Jim is a 1953 Everett High School graduate.

After leaving Everett, Emma Yule is reputed to have organized the public school in Juneau, Alaska and then to have taught in Japan. Eventually, she went to Los Banos in the Philippine Islands where she became a professor of English in the College of Agriculture of the University of the Philippines. After about 20 years at the University, she retired in the mid-1930s and moved to Los Angeles, California, one of two individuals who received the title Professor Emeritus from the University.

During her career she authored a number of books and papers, most relating to the history of Japan and the Philippines. She traveled extensively and took a number of now historic photographs on trips( s) to the part of southeast Asia known then as the “Orient”.

On at least one occasion she made a triumphant return to Everett. On Saturday evening, October 19, 1929 she was feted at a banquet in the Monte Cristo Hotel. The gala event was attended by about 50 of her former Everett High School students. On this occasion, she spoke about her experiences teaching in the “Orient” and her observations from visiting many of the world’s countries.

Emma Yule died in her home in Los Angeles on April 16, 1939. She was buried in Everett’s Evergreen Cemetery. Her grave marker identifies her as “Everett’s First School Principal.” She rests next to her nieces, Alice, who died in 1915 and Clara (Casperson), who died in 1953. An article in the Everett Daily Herald nearly five years after Emma Yule’s death reported that more than $20,000 from her estate had been given to the University of Washington. The Associated Press stated the money would be used to help girls at the University.

In terms of community history, it would be easy to judge Emma Yule on her obvious career landmarks – first teacher in the first school, first principal, first woman superintendent. But those observations would shortchange her real accomplishments. In a greater sense, she was a pioneer leader in a pioneer town. Arguably, the public school system is a community’s most important social institution. More than anyone else, she crafted a school system that was exemplary in serving the growing young city. Everett of yesterday and today owes a debt of gratitude to Emma Yule.

©2008 Lawrence E. O’Donnell;  WLP Story # 51

Blanche Edith Shannahan

~ Teacher and Historian of Pioneer Life, 1891- 1968

By Donna Perkins Wylie

Blanche Shannahan’s career as a teacher along with her strong sense of family and desire to preserve the pioneer stories she heard from her family and others motivated her to contribute two valuable pieces of research material to future generations. She compiled and wrote a family journal in 1964, We Were Eight. Her niece Margaret Strum Schmidt recently donated the unpublished family book to the Monroe Historical Society. Blanche also transcribed the November 1870 through 1888 diaries of Charles Harper Stackpole, an early pioneer, and donated her transcription to the Sno-Isle Regional Library.

The photograph above is the original Shannahan cabin where Blanche Shannahan was born in 1891. The cabin is still on exhibit at the Evergreen Fairgrounds in Monroe. Courtesy Monroe Historical Society.

She was born April 11, 1891, the first of eight children, in a log cabin on the Shannahan homestead near the Snoqualmie River at Mount Forest south of Monroe. May Stackpole Bradbury, the daughter of Charles and Anna Elizabeth Stackpole, was Blanche’s lifelong friend and the one who loaned Blanche the diaries of her father.
The Stackpoles lived north of the Shannahans. May told Blanche that she was welcomed into the family of John and Elizabeth Shannahan with four women assisting her birth while her father kept the fires going and the water boiling. The midwife was Auntie Stackpole, “Auntie” being her term of endearment for May’s mother. Also helping were Mrs. Ella Harriman, her mother’s close friend, and Mrs. E. Treen, the Shannahan’s closest neighbor. A native woman, the wife of Squire Brewster, sat in a rocking chair and sang softly in her native language at Blanche’s birth.

The image on the left is a 1901 photograph of the Mount Forest School. Blanche Shannahan is the second girl from the teacher and her sister Kitty is standing between her and the teacher
The Mount Forest District was south of Monroe toward Duvall on the west side of the Snoqualmie River near the King county line. [Photo reprinted from “We are Eight”]
Blanche went to school in a one-room log schoolhouse, the Mount Forest School in District 8.

Since Monroe did not have a high school at the time she lived with her grandmother so she could attend Snohomish High School. Her maternal grandparents, Robert and Louisa Smallman, had moved to Snohomish at 224 Avenue B in 1900 after living in the Tualco Valley for 30 years and her grandfather had died in February 1902.

Her mother Elizabeth Smallman Shannahan was born in a little cottage on the corner of Second and Cherry in Seattle in 1867 when Seattle was a mere village. Elizabeth’s mother Louisa Spencer Morrish Nowell was born in London, England on May 31, 1839 and her father Robert Jesse Enos Smallman was born December 1, 1837 near Maidenstone Kent, England.

Blanche graduated from high school with honors in 1909 and from Bellingham State Normal School in 1923. She had over four years accredited work at the University of Washington but never graduated because her responsibility of caring for her brother, Robert, a paraplegic, kept her from fulfilling the required years of campus credit. In 1929, Robert had injured his spine in a fall at age 14 and their mother died a few months later.

Blanche’s first teaching job was in a one-room schoolhouse, the Ben Howard School near Monroe. She went on to teach in elementary schools in Issaquah and then in the Seattle Public Schools. During that time she commuted from the family home just south of Monroe to Seattle so she could take care of her brother. After about 44 years of teaching she retired in 1956 and dedicated the rest of her life to preserving pioneer history.

Blanche’s grandfather joined the English navy at age 16 and was sent into the waters of Puget Sound. In the spring of 1855 at age 18, Robert Smallman left the British service through the “back door” and came to Washington Territory from Victoria, British Columbia. He had a claim on the Snoqualmie prairie from 1860 until he sold it in 1865. He returned to England for a visit and on August 19,1866 he married Miss Louisa Nowell in Kent.

Her grandmother Louisa had forebears who had been a higher class than she found herself in a country with definite class distinctions so Louisa pursued her education while working in the home of Lord Rothschild and saved her money so that one day she could own land. The Smallmans emigrated from England to Seattle by way of the Isthmus of Panama on railroad in the fall of 1866. When Elizabeth was about three years old her parents took up a homestead at the Forks, also known as Qualco. The area is now known as the Tualco Valley in unincorporated Snohomish County south of Monroe.

The United States Postal Department in Washington D.C. in response to her letter of September 30, 1958 confirmed that the records of the post office in the National Archives reflected that a post office was established at Tualco, Snohomish County on August 4, 1880 and it was discontinued on July 12, 1892. It confirmed Robert Smallman was the first appointed postmaster of the Tualco Post Office. The letter also reflected that Mrs Sarah J. Evans was the next Tualco postmaster on April 12, 1888, followed by Mrs Amelia J. Austin on July 12, 1889. The Tualco Post Office was discontinued when the town of Monroe was removed to its present site, one mile east of Park Place. When Mr Smallman applied for a post office the U.S. Postal Department changed the name from Qualco to Tualco. The earlier territorial maps show the town of Qualco above the forks where the Snoqualmie and Skykomish Rivers form the Snohomish River. Early settlers had interpreted the native name for the area as “Qualco” and also referred to this area as the Forks.

Blanche’s father, John Shannahan was born September 13, 1867 in Seaforth, Ontario. As a young man in 1883, he came west on the first Northern Pacific train to make an uninterrupted trip to the Pacific Coast. At age 22, he built the log cabin where Blanche was born in 1891. (The cabin was donated to the State of Washington and moved to the State Fairgrounds in Monroe where it now stands.) He married Elizabeth Smallman on December 12, 1889 at the Plaskett House in Snohomish. Blanche’s father made “ship knees” (spruce ribs from selected logs) and ferried them to ship builders across Puget Sound. He was also a road and bridge builder and was active in the establishment of local schools.

Shannahan Family in 1914 Standing at back from left to right: Elizabeth, Martha, Anne, Kathryn, Blanche, and Wallace. Sitting from left to right: Elizabeth holding Robert, John (Jack), Harriette, and Louisa Smallman (Elizabeth’s mother). Courtesy Monroe Historical Society #1157

Blanche gained a lot of her knowledge about such things from her father and inserted parenthetical clarifications and helpful information she learned from him and others in her Stackpole diary transcriptions. She also noted things that seemed important to her at the time such as, after Mr. Stackpole’s October 13, 1871 entry about the birth of Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Reeves’ son that morning Blanche wrote in parentheses “first white child born at the Forks”. Blanche wrote in the Preface that she hoped her transcription of the diaries and her inserts would help researchers in the future. She signed and dated the Epilogue on October 5, 1964. Blanche died August 24, 1968 at the age of 77.

Sources:
“We are Eight” by Blanche Shannahan, 1964, unpublished Margaret Strum Schmidt interview
The Stackpole Diaries transcribed by Blanche Shannahan, 1964, unpublished
Preston, Ralph N. Early Washington Atlas Overland Stage Routes, Old Military Roads, Indian Battle Grounds, Old Forts, Old Gold Mines. Portland, Or: Binford & Mort, 1981.
Snohomish Historical Society.   River reflections Snohomish City, 1859 to 1910 : a popular narrative history of Snohomish City. Snohomish, Wash: The Society, 1975.

© 2007 Donna Perkins Wylie, All Rights Reserved; WLP Story #47

Gwendolyn Shakespeare

Gwen Shakespeare ~1965; Miss Shakespeare, Photograph courtesy Everett Herald newspaper for November 2, 1942 and March 24, 1958.

~ A teacher forever remembered
By Betty Lou Gaeng – a grateful student

Every once in a while a certain person you meet during your lifetime inspires and influences you to such an extent, he or she is never forgotten. For me, it was Miss Shakespeare. Seventy-two years ago, at the age of 10, I entered her classroom at the old Edmonds Grade School. Miss Shakespeare was my fifth-grade homeroom and penmanship teacher. In the technological world of today, correct penmanship no longer seems important. Having earned three penmanship teaching certificates, Miss Shakespeare must have been appalled by this change.

When I was in her classroom, I didn’t realize, that Miss Shakespeare was teaching more than the proper writing technique. She instilled in me the concept that any chore tackled should be done to the best of my ability. Along with her regular lessons, her message was to do your best—if it is worth doing, do it right. Another truism I learned from Miss Shakespeare was that manners are important! I was small—she told me to always stand as if I was tall. I find I still do that.
Miss Shakespeare’s teachings have been a major influence in my daily life. Whenever I am working at some task, or have some decision to make, her words come to mind. My immediate thought is: Would Miss Shakespeare approve? I have often wondered, was it just me, or did she have this influence on the lives of others in her classroom. Robert Fulghum wrote that while he was in kindergarten, he learned all he needed to know. I learned some never-to-be-forgotten wisdom from Miss Shakespeare when I was in the fifth grade

Leaving elementary school behind, I lost contact with Miss Shakespeare. Decades later, no longer young myself, my husband and I stopped by the Edmonds Retirement Center to visit a friend residing there. As we walked down the hall, I glanced to my right; there on a door, a nameplate read, “Gwendolyn Shakespeare.” I just had to stop to see if she was home. The door was opened by a little elderly lady. I always remember her as tall. Now, Miss Shakespeare was no longer taller than I was. Well into her 80s, she was still slender and her posture erect. I recognized her immediately, and introduced myself. Just imagine, she remembered me!

My husband and I had a pleasant visit with her. She made a pot of tea and served some cookies, and we sat and talked a bit. She said to call her Gwen, but I just couldn’t. To me, she was, and always will be, Miss Shakespeare.

She was astounded when I told her the story of how her name and words have always remained with me. Miss Shakespeare’s eyes lit up—she seemed pleased. I am glad I had the chance to tell her before it was too late. Was I the only one ever to tell her that I thought she was a wonderful teacher? I hope not.
Gwendolyn Valentine Shakespeare was born on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1907 in Everett, Washington. She attended kindergarten at the old Jefferson School in Everett. After graduation from Everett High School, she attended and graduated from Bellingham Normal School, where her father was on the Board of Trustees. She received her BA degree from the University of Washington.

Miss Shakespeare then taught three years at Lake Stevens, and received a life certificate in teaching. She took a one-year vacation from teaching and just stayed home. Missing the children, she then took a teaching position at the Edmonds Grade School. In 1950, she transferred to the Everett School District where she taught third grade at Jackson Elementary. She remained with the Everett School District until retirement in the mid-1970s.Besides her valuable teaching on behalf of the young people of Snohomish County, Gwen Shakespeare was an active participant in the entire education field. She served on the Snohomish County Board of Education for six years. She was a member of the Washington and National Education Associations. Miss Shakespeare was a charter and life member of Delta Chapter, Delta Kappa Gamma, the teachers’sorority, serving as chapter president and state recording secretary. She was a long time member of the Auxiliary of the American Legion, where she specialized in children’s welfare programs. Gwen Shakespeare was also active in the Everett community. She was a member of the Everett Ladies’ Musical Club and a founder of the Snohomish County Museum Association. In the mid-1960s, she was appointed to the Governor’s Council for Women in Civil Defense.

Gwen Shakespeare was a very busy lady, however she found time for various hobbies. One of her favorites was travel. She traveled throughout the United States several times, visiting 48 states. She also toured Mexico and Canada. During the summer of 1955, she sailed on the United Fruit Lines to Panama. In addition to all her other activities, Gwen Shakespeare enjoyed the outdoors and sports—playing golf and tennis. During her teaching career, she took part in the sports at school, such as hockey, track and basketball. During summer months, she often served as a camp counselor for children. It is very noticeable that children were her love.Her father was Noah Shakespeare. He was born March 15, 1877 in Brierley Hill, England. His parents were Enoch Shakespeare and Margaret Griffiths. He came to this country in 1895 and was naturalized in 1899. He was a member of the United Spanish War Veterans having fought in the Spanish-American War. He was also an officer during WWI. Mr. Shakespeare was an attorney in private practice, a Justice of the Peace, and elected as a municipal judge in Everett in 1907, he served in that position for 15 years. Noah Shakespeare died in Everett on January 12, 1952.
Her mother, Lulu Shakespeare, was born Louisa Julia Riemann on 14 January 1880 in Dubuque, Iowa, and died in Everett on November 28, 1970. Along with her husband, she was also a practicing attorney in Everett., having been admitted to the bar in the State of Washington in 1911.
Lulu Shakespeare was very active in the community and in 1949 received Everett’s “Woman of Achievement” award. Gwendolyn Shakespeare had four siblings. Her eldest brother was William Stratford Shakespeare. Three were younger: Doris Vivian Shakespeare did not live to see her fifth birthday; Robert Enoch Shakespeare; and Margaret Alice (Shakespeare) Black. Miss Shakespeare survived all of them.

For a few years, Gwen Shakespeare lived in Edmonds where she shared a home with her lifetime friend, Frances Anderson. However, her main home was the family one located at 3131 Rockefeller Avenue in Everett. This had been the Shakespeare home since 1912. Miss Shakespeare remained there until she moved to the Edmonds Retirement Center approximately 1982. She died in Everett on March 5, 2002, at age 95.
Although, Gwendolyn Valentine Shakespeare never had children of her own, her life was devoted to the children of Snohomish County and the entire state.

Sources:
Everett Herald Obituaries, published January 14, 1952 and March 19, 2002.Washington State Digital Archives < http://digitalarchives.wa.gov/ >
Everett Herald newspaper for November 2, 1942 and March 24, 1958.U.S. Federal Census records for 1910, 1920 and 1930.
Whitfield, William (1926), History of Snohomish County, Washington Vol. II; Pioneer Historical Publishing Company: Chicago and Seattle.
Women in Public Life—Snohomish County, Washington. March 22, 1965, “Concern for Children Guides Career Activities of Miss Gwen Shakespeare” by Susan Heath. Collection of David Dilgard, Northwest Room, Everett Public Library
© 2009 Betty Lou Gaeng, All Rights Reserved; WLP Story # 59

Eva Bailey McFall

Teacher and Snohomish County School Superintendent
By Betty Lou Gaeng

One afternoon in the late spring of 1952, H. Phil Brandner, supervisor of the Mount Baker National Forest, and his wife, Beada, were spending a quiet Sunday afternoon visiting the old mining town of Monte Cristo. Tucked away in the Cascade Mountains on Barlow Pass, Monte Cristo had once been a rip-roaring camp. In 1952, half a century later, it was reduced to a few decaying buildings and rubble. Stopping at a pile of rotting boards, all that remained of what had once been a building, Mrs. Brandner read the posted sign. She turned to her husband in amazement; almost questioning what she was seeing:
THIS was a schoolhouse?
Fifty years and harsh mountain weather had left its mark on what was now a ghost town. Standing quietly nearby was a spry elderly lady; she was small, her long hair was white, and her face lined with a web of fine wrinkles. As she stood looking at the pile of boards, 89-year-old Eva Bailey McFall turned to Mr. and Mrs. Brandner and with just a hint of tremor in her voice told them:
Yes, this was the schoolhouse.
No one knew better than Eva Bailey McFall that this pile of rotting wood had indeed been just that. It was here the children of the mostly Welsh miners experienced the world of education under the tutelage of their teacher, Miss Eva Bailey. With many years of teaching already behind her in the Midwest, 33-year-old Eva Bailey had come all the way from Iowa to Everett. Monte Cristo had been her first teaching assignment since arriving in Everett. She also became the first accredited teacher in this isolated mountain-side one-room schoolhouse.

When Eva Bailey boarded the train in Everett on her way to Monte Cristo she may have been a little unsure of what she would find, but there can be no doubt she still looked forward to a new challenge. Raised in the flat lands in the mid-section of our country, she was sure to have been thrilled at seeing the farmlands change to valleys and imposing mountains. As the train began its steep climb, it went in and out of tunnels giving her glimpses of the snow-covered mountains peeking through the dark clouds. When the train arrived at the Monte Cristo camp and she walked along a rocky pathway, the sounds of men at work were all around her. Arriving at the school house, she found an unimposing twenty-four by thirty-foot building of unpainted boards.

On the first day, only six pupils came to register for school. However, more families were arriving each day, and soon she had 36 pupils, and at times more. Eva, found that in the mining camp more was expected of her than just teaching reading and writing. Eva organized picnics by the Sauk River, berry-picking get-togethers and even Sunday school classes.

Rosemary Wilkie in her book “A Broad Gold Ledge of Gold”, gives us a closer look at Eva Bailey—her appearance and her natural ability:

“When the mining companies brought in a doctor, they furnished him with a hospital, but no nurses. With the analytical exactness of his profession, Dr. Miles looked for someone who would serve in that capacity should the need arise. The school teacher’s fragile beauty and intellectual eyes told him she would keep her head under any emergency, and she found herself studying the rudiments of first aid and practical nursing.”
Eva learned to love the mountains, even though at first they intimidated her. She walked the trails, going further and further each time. With no place to go for amusement, she became appreciative of everything around her. She also learned to understand the people, especially their enjoyment of life, when they had so little. When the mine had to close for a while, she sympathized with these people as they struggled with the hardship of just hanging on. Mining was all they knew and they had no place else to go. She learned from them, and as the school teacher, they learned from her.

When she left Monte Cristo, Eva Bailey evidently taught for a short time at Snohomish where her brother was located. In 1901, she returned to Everett and her parent’s home; her next assignment was as a teacher at the old Jefferson School. She remained at Jefferson School until 1907 when she was appointed as the Superintendent of Schools for Snohomish County. Now 44 years old, Eva Bailey faced yet another challenge.

Without Missouri Hanna,* and her writings as the editor of the Edmonds Review, we may never have heard of the courage shown by Eva Bailey, nor of her incredible dedication:

“FORCED TO WALK: Miss Bailey, County Superintendent Walks 10 Miles Over Rough Roads

Miss Eva Bailey, county school superintendent, while pursuing her official duties last Friday, found it necessary to walk about ten miles through a wild region and over rough and sloppy roads. Miss Bailey had gone to Meadowdale to investigate the case of certain children who had been absent from school. Being unable to satisfactorily accomplish the object of her mission at Meadowdale, a further journey to the home of the children’s parents was necessary.
The course wound over rugged hills and through valleys obstructed by small lakes, bogs and brambles. The superintendent, however, persevered, finally reaching the locality sought and having transacted the required business, and being unable to procure conveyance to Edmonds, set out again through a densely timbered region toward the ranch of Hiram H. Burleson where she hoped to find some means of transportation to town.
Here again the tired traveler was disappointed. Mr. Burleson, with his horses and vehicle was away from home. After a short rest and refreshments, Miss Bailey continued her journey on foot to Edmonds, arriving very tired, but with a clear knowledge of the frightful and even impassable condition of some of the county roads heading out of Edmonds.”
This trip would have been rough for an experienced woodsman; definitely a real challenge for a woman all alone.

Eva Bailey was a strong advocate for education. On January 23, 1908, The Edmonds Tribune carried a warning from the superintendent that parents were required to send their children to school, otherwise warrants would be issued, such as the one served on one D. Hunter. The D. Hunter mentioned would have been Duncan Hunter, a well-known south county pioneer homesteader. Mr. and Mrs. Hunter must have heeded the words of the superintendent regarding education, as their four sons not only graduated from high school, but from college as well. Score a big win for Eva Bailey. In an age when women were expected to marry, stay at home, raise a family, answer to a husband, and just stay in the background, where on earth did this woman come from?

Eva Bailey was born in Carroll County, Illinois July 9, 1862. Her father was Ira L. Bailey, a farmer. Eva’s mother, Virginia Rupel, was born in 1833 while her parents were at sea aboard a ship from Germany. In 1895, the family lived in Grant Township, Page County, Iowa, and Eva now in her 30s was still living at home and teaching in the country school. In 1896, with the country in turmoil from an 1893 economic downturn, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey and their family, including 34-year old Eva, moved west to Puget Sound, settling in Everett. Mr. Bailey, now in his 70s, operated a nursery business at the family home at 3232 Oakes Avenue in Everett.

In December of 1911, Eva Bailey was still school superintendent when at the age of 48 she married a well-known and respected Everett business man, Elijah Palmer McFall, a 36-year-old widower with two children. Eva retired as school superintendent in order to help her husband with his business interests—mainly as a bookkeeper in his office. They lived at 1914 East Grand Street in Everett. Eva’s parents, now elderly, went to live with their daughter and her new family. The McFalls continued to live in Everett, where Elijah McFall died in 1941. Eva Bailey McFall died June 18, 1952, less than a month before her 90th birthday, and just a short time following her memory-filled journey back to Monte Cristo.

I would like to extend my appreciation to another remarkable lady, Rosemary Wilkie. Without her book telling of Eva Bailey’s personal attributes and life at Monte Cristo, Eva’s story would not be complete. Thank you, Rosemary.

Sources:
Rosemary Wilkie, A Broad Bold Ledge of Gold: Historical Facts, Monte Cristo, Washington (Seattle; Seattle Printing and Publishing, ca. 1958).
he Edmonds Review, Edmonds, Washington; January 8, 1908.
he Edmonds Tribune, Edmonds, Washington; January 23, 1908.
U. S. Federal Census Records 1870–1940.
Everett City Directories.
Washington Digital Archives, Death and Marriage Records of Snohomish County.
Charles P. Warne, “Missouri Hanna: Mother of Journalism in Washington State,” Women’s Legacy Project Story # 61, the Snohomish County Women’s Legacy Project at League of Snohomish County Heritage Organization website, www.snocoheritage.org/wlp_61_M_Hanna.html.
**Many thanks to Charles LeWarne for discovering the 1908 article about Eva Bailey and her noteworthy walk, and to Margaret Riddle for sending it to me.

© Betty Gaeng 2015 All Rights Reserved;  WLP Story # 81

Grace Kirwan

By Nellie Robertson
Of all the roles Grace Kirwan has played in her long life, the one she considers most important is that of babysitter for her great-grand niece, named for her. She’s also cared for, in turn, the tot’s two brothers. She reads to them and carries on conversations with them, providing a wonderful start in their young lives.

Her mother, Bertha Shrum, arrived in Monroe in 1903 and her father six years later. A family history of community service began with her great grandfather who served on the town council and her great uncles, also councilmen, one of whom went on to the state senate. Both her great-grandfather and one of his sons served on the town council when the town hall was built in 1908.

Kirwan’s father, Walter Camp, spent time on the town council and was mayor two different times. She followed his footsteps when she served on the council for four years then two terms as mayor of the town that had become a city in the late 1960s.

Camp and his brother, Bert, founded the Camp Brothers Drug Company. When Bert returned to Texas a couple of years later, William Guy Riley joined Camp and the business became the Camp-Riley Drug Company, Monroe’s only pharmacy for a number of years. Both graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy where each earned a doctorate in pharmacy. It was the premier pharmacy school in the nation. Kirwan’s first job was as a soda jerk at the pharmacy’s famous soda fountain. “I stirred the special chocolate sauce from the time it was put on the stove until it cooled,” she recalled. The fresh strawberry topping was made from Marshall strawberries only since they were red all the way through.

The Camps first lived in an apartment in the back of the pharmacy. Kirwan’s older sister was born there. Kirwan joined the family in the house on W. Main Street with a peaked roof across from the Nazarene Church. The family moved to a safer location on S. Blakely after a runaway team of horses crashed through the fence in 1914 while her sister Eileen played in the yard.

The family went back to Texas in 1928 because of Camp’s health but returned to Monroe four years later. Kirwan speaks of her father with the greatest respect and love. “He wanted everyone to get an education. Camp Riley provided scholarships for a number of students.”

Kirwan began her higher education at Texas Women’s University then continued at the College of Puget Sound in Tacoma now the University of Puget Sound in 1934. The college had no library science program so off she went to Texas again where she earned a bachelor of science degree in library science and a bachelor of arts degree in English. She wanted to work in Texas where any school over 200 students had to have a full-time librarian.

With the advent of World War II, Kirwan joined the Navy in 1943. She first attended aviation machinists’ school and became a machinist’s mate third class before being sent to Officer’s Candidate School at Smith College. As an ensign, she was assigned to the Office of Naval Personnel in Washington, D.C. After going on inactive status in January 1946, she retired from the Naval Reserve in 1970 with the rank of lieutenant commander.

In 1945, she married Gerald Kirwan and moved to his home town of Boston for a short period of time before the newlyweds returned to Monroe in 1946. Her husband said it was like the Northeast but king size. He worked as a cost analyst for the Air Force at the Renton Boeing plant.

Prior to that time, Walter Camp urged his wife to take over a ladies’ shop and in 1932, Milady’s Frock Shop was born. Grace Kirwan worked in the shop for 47 years first as a clerk, then manager, and finally as owner in 1961 when her husband died of lung cancer. As the years passed, merchandise turned over faster that spawned innovations in marketing to keep up with the demand. Many valley women shopped at the store and mourned its closure in 1993.

Kirwan received an appointment to the Monroe Library Board in 1950 and according to her entry in Who’s Who, she served on that body for the next 15 years. At the beginning of her tenure, Old City Hall housed the library upstairs. To match a federal grant, library board members and other citizens including Mayor Jack Law went door to door soliciting funds. They garnered enough to build the library at the corner of Hill and Blakely streets. Kirwan successfully urged the board to affiliate with the Sno-Isle Regional Library System.

She recalled the time when two men came to see her at Milady’s Frock Shop urging her to run for city council. “I didn’t really want to, but agreed to try.” She was elected and after serving as a councilwoman for four years, Kirwan’s fellow councilmen appointed her to act as mayor pro tem. Citizens elected her mayor for two terms and she served from 1973 to 1981. The present city hall is named for her. Then police chief, Chuck Nauman, spearheaded the movement. “I felt the police department and the utilities department needed decent places to work,” Kirwan said. “The chief didn’t forget that.”

Along with her other activities, the Public Hospital District No. 1 Board that oversees Valley General Hospital appointed her to serve out Irving Faussett’s term in 1970. After election in her own right, Kirwan served on the board for a total of 20 years, 10 years as chairman. Many improvements and expansions took place at the hospital during those 20 years.

As a world traveler, she’s trod the grounds of Southeast Asia including Fiji, American Samoa, Western Samoa, Tahiti, New Zealand, and Australia. That first tour director and she became good friends. She’s made four trips to Israel. On one of those trips, the tour group followed the route of St. Paul through Greece, Turkey Jordan and Syria. “I was very glad to see the Near East when it was at peace,” she said.

In 1987, she took a trip around the world, first flying to London. On the Orient Express, she passed through Europe and Bulgaria, ferried across the Black Sea, boarded a train and watched Turkey and the lower part of the then USSR pass by her window on her way to China. In all, she’s made five trips into China. Her other itineraries have included Siam (now Thailand), Nepal, a trip down the Amazon River in South America, Pakistan, India, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt. In 1979, she traveled to Iraq where she saw a partial restoration of the Hanging Gardens and the walls of Babylon

On the Latin side, she spent a month in Spain in 1973, went to Morocco and visited the Casbah made famous by actor Charles Boyer. She’s also been to Mexico several times.

“I’ve been to lots of places, but I’m always glad to get back to Monroe. It’s a wonderful place,” she added.

During her younger years, she was an accomplished violinist loving to play on the G string. She performed at assemblies and on the radio. She now keeps her fingers busy knitting caps for Valley General Hospital’s newborns. She also makes altar linen for her church.

One of Kirwan’s greatest contributions to Monroe’s history is her clear memory of people and events out of the past. She compiled photographs of many early buildings in Monroe along with their histories. The Monroe Historical Society received a Malstrom Award from the Snohomish County League of Heritage Organizations for the publication that’s available in the society’s museum and the Monroe Public Library.

Kirwan has continually supported the Monroe Historical Society serving as a board member and hosting at the museum in the past. Not only is she providing an excellent start in life for the little ones but gives meaning and voice to the past.

Resources: Personal interviews &
Who’s Who In Finance and Business – 2004-2005, 34th Edition (pub. 2004)
Who’s Who in America – 2000 – 2006, 54th Edition (pub. 1999)
Who’s Who in the West – 1996-1997, 25th Edition (pub. 1995)
Who’s Who in the World – 2001 – 2004, 21st Edition (pub. 2003)
Who’s Who of American Women – 1989 – 2007, 26th Edition (pub. 2006)
© 2006 Nellie Robertson All Rights Reserved;  Women’s Legacy WLP Story #34

Grace Wilcox Bargreen: The Career of a Twentieth Century Woman

Her life has been a medley with three themes—Family, Community and Music

by Ann Duecy Norman

What was amazing was that she got the job.
Grace Wilcox had just graduated from college. Her dream was a career in music. She’d starred in college musicals and won vocal competitions. She’d been the featured vocalist on one of the new live music request programs, broadcast via radio, the cutting edge communications technology of the day. But it was 1930, The Great Depression was eroding employment, and there were few jobs in her field. She had no teaching experience, but when she’d heard the Arlington School District was about to hire its first Music Supervisor, she’d sent her resume and a plan.

Music Supervisor was an enviable position, and it paid well. Her $100 a month salary was more than that of most women, including experienced classroom teachers. She spent her mornings teaching in the district’s seven grade schools and her afternoons experimenting with ways to capture the attention of bored rural high school students.

Grace was up to the challenge. She’d grown up on a farm with parents who had a passion for music. They’d made sure that their five children not only fed the chickens and attended the one-room school, but also took turns cranking the Edison phonograph while the family listened to classical records. Grace’s favorite times were the evenings when her family gathered around the piano and sang, and she hoped to inspire a similar love and knowledge of music in her students.

When she’d figured out that participating in regional music competitions sparked student interest, she’d felt she was making progress. As it turned out, her most difficult problem was not with the students, it was in dealing with one man—the high school principal. He felt musical competitions were a waste of time and, although the school district transported athletes to sporting events, he drew the line at transporting vocalists. Her selection of a Native American for the high school quartet had provoked even more strenuous objections. “Keep him down where he belongs.” he had insisted. When no one would support her in challenging him, Grace quit arguing and simply ignored him. For the most part her strategy was successful. The talented minority student was the star of the high school quartet. Parents provided transportation. The quartet won first place and the girl’s glee group placed second. Although the principal got his revenge by ignoring their victory and refusing to display the pennants they won, there were consolations.

Grace enjoyed teaching, had a growing circle of friends, and was dating some interesting fellows. Then she met Howard Bargreen. She was enchanted. So was he. According to Bargreen family lore, when Howard arrived home after their first date, he awakened his mother, showed her a picture of Grace, and said, “Look, this is the woman I am going to marry.”
Grace and Howard were engaged that spring, but for Grace, their relationship posed a painful dilemma: at that time, married women were not allowed to teach. It was a difficult decision, but romance prevailed. They were married in the summer of 1931.
Once the honeymoon was over, Grace was, in her words, “bored to tears”. Howard worked all day, and although she was pleased that his friends invited her to their teas and luncheons, she did not intend to fill her days with social functions. Did women attend these affairs, she wondered, “just to be busy”. Then, as if in response to her wishes, she received a telephone call offering her a part-time position as a vocalist in Seattle. She was elated, but Howard asked her not to accept it. “I’m afraid we’ll drift apart,” he had told her. Like her mother, when faced with a decision in which her desires differed from her husband’s, Grace chose the latter.

A few months later she became pregnant, and disappointment was replaced by delight. For Grace, parenting was rewarding, and household management became her occupation. “Instead of going out on my career,” she says, “I had four children.”
In time, she found other ways to pursue her love for music. She joined the Ladies Musical Club of Seattle and participated in an Everett women’s group that performed “Musical Readings” at social events and fundraisers. As she describes her life, it is clear that her participation in these activities was one of the keys to her happiness. As she says, “It let me sing.”

Once the children were in school, Grace began to address community problems. Throughout her life, she contributed in numerous, creative and often unsung ways, leading campaigns –sometimes clandestine, sometimes overt –to address needs ranging from passing school tax levies to clothing low income children, helping found a guild to support Children’s Hospital, and –along with her friend Neva Stuchell—successfully plotting to assure that Camp Fire girls got a much needed lodge.

Grace typifies her relationship with Howard as a partnership. “We were so different in many ways,” she says, “but we were a good pair.” He was a successful entrepreneur, served as a state senator for sixteen years, and played a major role in organizing the 1962 World’s Fair. She was the traditional homemaker and community volunteer, providing the support he needed for his successful career, and, from time to time, contributing in other ways. For instance, when the position of personnel director for merchandising at the World’s Fair was unexpectedly vacated, he turned to her to fill it. She enjoyed the challenge, but notes that her “working wardrobe” always included a couple of cocktail dresses hanging from a hook on the back of her office door. It is perhaps a metaphor for her life that when evening came, she easily made the transition from marshalling a diverse army of workers to being a supportive spouse, accompanying her husband as they entertained visiting dignitaries from around the world.
Grace’s life has been a medley composed of three themes: family, community and music. She experienced both great good fortune and profound personal tragedy. Her daughter, Teddy, a talented professional photographer, was killed in a tragic accident. Howard passed away. Shortly after that, her son Sam, died. Following these losses, and perhaps as a way of coping with them, her community volunteer role became more than a full-time job—it consumed her life. But, as she explains it, one day, she experienced a conceptual breakthrough. She realized she wanted more time with her family, she said “No” to volunteer activities, and, as she puts it, “I took up golf.”

While she occasionally sounds wistful when she talks about the musical career she didn’t pursue, Grace is quick to say, “I’ve no regrets. It’s been an interesting life.” However, as she talks about her granddaughters’ lives, she applauds their greater freedom to combine professional and family life, while also recognizing the extraordinary personal effort that choice still entails.

Having read Grace’s story, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that in 2002, a year after this interview, her son Howie reported that he and his mother had just completed a round of golf, that she had recently remarried, and that at the age of 94, she was beginning a new chapter in her remarkable career.
Sources:
Interviews with Grace Bargreen, September 2001
Videotape, Greater Everett Community Foundation, recorded September 2001
Conversations with Grace’s son, Howie Bargreen, September 2002; February 2007
Phone conversations with Grace Bargreen, January and February 2007

WLP Story Number 31 ~ 
© 2007 Ann Norman All Rights Reserved

Hazel Clark (1906 – 2000) – Everett Librarian

Photograph Courtesy Everett Public Library Northwest Room Staff

by Margaret Riddle

Hazel Frederici Clark lived a quiet but amazing life that included the roles of professional librarian, wife and mother, writer and historian, amateur musician and artist, devoted church leader, community activist and dedicated volunteer.

She was born in 1906 in Belltown, a district that is now part of downtown Seattle. “In those days,” Hazel said, “Seattle didn’t exist much above Pike or Pine.” The family moved next to Sunnyside, (now part of Capitol Hill), and were close to the University of Washington campus when it hosted Seattle’s Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909. Hazel’s father took photos of the family at that event.

The family numbered three, Mom, Dad and Hazel. They enjoyed reading books together and hiking Western Washington trails, two loves that Hazel continued throughout her life. Hazel’s parents encouraged her studious nature. Upon graduating from old Broadway High School in Seattle, Hazel entered the University of Washington, planning to become a teacher, but upon receiving a degree in education continued her studies, earning a second degree, a Bachelor of Science in Library Science. At that time the requirement needed for professional librarians extended through three college quarters— “short in comparison with the academic curriculum, because the general educational equipment of the librarian is of larger significance than the technical education, but neither is sufficient without the other.*”

In 1928, Hazel came to work for the Everett Public Library when it was in the Carnegie building on Oakes Avenue. Library patrons remember her during those early years as stern and intimidating, her tallness and large build adding to the persona. She spoke her mind. When Everett decided to build a new library during the Great Depression, prominent architect Carl Gould was chosen to draw the plans. Librarians and staff workers were asked to estimate how much book space they would need to grow. Gould, however, did not take their advice, and according to Hazel, the built-in shelving was full shortly after the new library opened.

Officially, Hazel worked at EPL from 1928 to 1975, taking only a few years off, during the 1940s, to raise her daughter Roxanne. Hazel had married millworker Roxor Clark, and the Clarks took up housekeeping in Lowell (now part of present-day Everett). Hazel became an active member of the Lowell Community Church which Lowell founders E. D. and Margaret Getchell Smith had built. Hazel knew many of Lowell’s senior residents and those she did not know personally, she recalled through stories she learned from elders. Hazel became a storyteller, sharing these stories with the younger generation. By the 1970s, Lowell residents considered Hazel their official historian. Hazel began writing Lowell history, and in 1977, the Lowell Civic Group published her short history called Lowell Remembered. Hazel later wrote and published Reminiscences of Sunnydale and An Informal History of the Everett Public Library.

Hazel officially retired from library work in 1975, but she did not really leave. She volunteered one day a week at the library, working on indexing the Everett Herald, a project started in September of 1971, upon the suggestion of another librarian. This, she felt, was important work, so she continued until The Herald began computer indexing in 1992.
To those who worked with her at the Everett Public Library, Hazel Clark was a faithful and constant presence, the most esteemed senior member of the library family, the one who was always there. Her health began to fail in 1998 and she decided to leave as a volunteer in the spring of 1999. Library staff said goodbye with a party that united present personnel with many retirees who came to wish her well.
Hazel Clark died February 14th , 2000, at the age of 93. In March of that year, Senator Jeralita Costa honored Hazel with a State Senate Resolution, read in Olympia. In addition to her library work, Hazel was honored for authoring books on local history, as well as for her volunteer hours with the Snohomish County Museum, the UW Alumni Association, Bethany Home and the Public Employees Retirement Association. As the resolution stated, “Hazel Clark was one who took on the role of promoting literacy and preserving the history of the great Northwest, with passion and dedication, both in her paid and volunteer careers.”

Hazel earned affection and admiration many times over. Hers was a lifelong commitment, to her calling, her family and to the library where she began her professional career back in 1928. She was a librarian, and for 70 years the Everett Public Library was her library. Only when she was physically unable to continue did she cease to serve. On a daily basis her legacy of works, such as the Everett Herald Index, continues to serve the public, and her example continues to motivate and inspire.
Sources

~Clark, Hazel. Lowell Remembered. Everett, Wash: Lowell Civic Group, 1977;
~Clark, Hazel. Reminiscences of Sunnydale: Early Days, School Days in Highline. Everett, Wash: Lowell Printing and Publishing, 1994;
~Clark, Hazel. An Informal History of the Everett Public Library. Everett, Wash: Lowell Printing and Publishing, 1996 ;
Interview with Hazel Clark by David Dilgard and Margaret Riddle, March 1, 1983 and 15 years of Wednesday chit-chats between Hazel Clark and Margaret Riddle.
© 2006 Margaret Riddle All Rights Reserved

Everett Woman’s Book Club

An Ongoing Legacy to Literacy

By Roberta Young Jonnet
“A room without books is like a body without a soul constant vigilance as stewards of the diverse cultures of our society.” – Cicero

Everett Womans Book Club group portrait
Everett Womans Book Club group portrait on the Monte Cristo Hotel steps

The women of Everett, Washington decided in 1894 that this was also true of the city and began plans for a public reading room. This was the genesis of the Everett Public Library. The women also founded the Everett General Hospital when the city was only three years old. The story of the Woman’s Book Club is the story of Everett and Snohomish County. Our foremothers saw a need, rolled up their sleeves and made it happen.

The women founded the Woman’s Columbian Book Club of Everett in 1894 and it still meets today. Now known as the Woman’s Book Club (WBC) with members from all over Puget Sound, there are over 300 members and 21 departments that gather to discuss the books they have read. The departments meet separately from September through May and gather monthly at the Everett Main library to hear speakers deliver talks on books like Trailblazers: The Women of Boeing by Betsy Case; or speakers from the Dawson Place Advocacy Center; or a hear a synopsis of books from local independent book sellers.

The organizational meeting in 1894 was held in home of Alice Baird. Those present decided it would include married women only (this is no longer the case). Mrs. Baird was elected the first president and she formed a committee to draw up a constitution. “We do not mean to let a year go by without doing at least one good thing for our city,” Mrs. Baird said. “We hope to have a library before a year.’ A resolution that was passed at the November 12 meeting of that year petitioning the mayor and council reads in part:

“The Woman’s Book Club of said city, being desirous of founding a free public library in said city, respectfully petitions your honorable body to aid in this direction and to take such steps as may be necessary to carry out the purposes herein set forth…”

Mrs. Baird’s leadership was so significant that a bronze plaque still hangs in the entrance hall of the library on Hoyt Avenue. It was presented by the WBC October 1, 1915, the year of Mrs. Baird’s death. Mrs. J.J. Clark spoke a tribute: “our lives are richer because of her.” Also in November of that year the women elected to join the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, made up of 450 women’s organizations. This is noteworthy because Mrs. Baird then wrote to these clubs asking for a donation of books. This garnered almost half of the nearly 1000 books for the first library. In an article from the Everett Herald, April 20, 1935, entitled “Pioneer Era Recalled as Everett Public Library Prepares for 40th Anniversary” traces the donations: “The response was generous, club women from Maine to California sending volumes…representative of the best authors of their respective districts and sets of works by standard authors.” The article states “At the time of its (WBC) resolution for a library in 1895, it was the only club in the general federation of women’s clubs to start a public library.” The goal of 1000 was reached in the summer of 1896. The city had committed to the idea of a library but gave it no funding. The WBC announced it was ready to turn over the books and the city accepted. It was February 1898 that the WBC decided to accept the offer of three rooms in City Hall for the books. The books were carried there an armful at a time by the women. The library formally opened April 21, 1898. The first librarian was Mrs. J.T. Lentzy, who had been appointed at the July 2nd meeting. By the April opening Alice McFarland, who was the daughter of Mrs. R. McFarland, was librarian. The donated books had been kept in the McFarlands home on Colby Avenue. Alice later married Leverich Duryee.

Frances Sears, a founding mother, wrote on the club’s 80th anniversary “Before you can understand the important function of the Women’s Book Club in the lives of the Charter members, and in the life of the community as well, you must visualize the new and crude Everett, that was our home prior to the advent of the Book Club. We had no street cars then, no paved streets, and scarcely any boardwalks…Stumps grew like sentinels around our houses; ferns grew luxuriously around the stumps…The saloon was everywhere in evidence. It was the chief social and political centre for the masculine population…our real privations were a dearth of amusements and lack of intellectual stimulus. So, we had amateur theatricals. It was a bookless town…Then the Book Club came; it sprang, it had no infancy. Renewing our youth, we went to school again. It is impossible to estimate the influence of the Book Club.”

Carnegie Library Everett Washington
Carnegie Library Everett Washington

The Carnegie library was opened October 3, 1905 at Oakes and Wall. Andrew Carnegie, the millionaire philanthropist, donated $25,000 for the new library in 1903. The city was required to pledge $2500 yearly. Checks of $5,000 each, were sent from the East, payable to Mrs. L.E. Thayer personally whenever the board required funds. She was the first woman member of the library board and its secretary for 12 years. The Carnegie building was the library’s home until the 1930s. One tradition that continues today with the WBC members is the Foremothers’ Luncheon, honoring those who founded the organization and created the library. The first banquet was held December 11, 1899. The members used a colonial tea party theme wearing caps and kerchiefs. They sang “Auld Lang Syne” at that meeting, a practice which is followed today.

A History of Service
During 1917 the WBC spent time at the Red Cross doing sewing. Also 8 dictionaries were purchased for the Reformatory in Monroe. In the 1920s and 1930s the women provided bus fare for poor children to attend Kindergarten; they advocated for the wrapping of bread; endorsed a proposal regarding meat inspection and narcotics control. Funds were given on a regular basis to Deaconess Children’s Home, Red Cross, General Hospital and Washington Girls Home. The WBC donated 405 dozen cookies to soldiers at Fort Lewis in 1941. By 1943 the Club began sponsoring students in nurses training at both hospitals. The USO presented a “Meritorious Service” certificate to the Club in 1946.

In 1945 a new tradition of donating a book to the library in honor of a deceased member was begun, in lieu of sending flowers. The Club donated $2000 in 1975 to the Northwest Room, at the downtown library. They also split a $3000 donation in 1987 between the city library and Everett Community College library, this being the year of the fire that destroyed the college’s library and in which firefighter Gary Parks lost his life. A recent donation was given earlier this year of $5000 to the Imagine Children’s Museum to purchase new books for the PJ’s Treehouse reading room. This purchase was to refresh the book collection originally donated by WBC in 2004.

In May of 2017, the Woman’s Book Club held a used book drive at their annual Spring Tea Luncheon. Hundreds of used books – both adult and children’s – were collected, sorted, and divided by book club volunteers, then hand delivered to local charities, including Housing Hope and the Reach Out and Read program in Monroe through the Providence Foundation. This book drive signified the ongoing commitment of encouraging literacy in the community.

© Roberta Young Jonnet 2018 All Rights Reserved

Margaret Mossford Barber

A Natural Educator

By Gail Dillaway

Margaret Mossford Barber

Margaret Mossford Barber, born on April 6, 1888, dedicated her life to the education of children. Her education career was primarily spent as a teacher in one room schoolhouses common at the time. However after a long career as a teacher, she earned a position as a principal at the Paterson, Washington elementary school just prior to her retirement in 1957. The story of Margaret Barber is the story of a woman who believed in the value of education and strived to provide to her students the tools which she knew would empower them. It is a story which spans 87 years and touches countless lives.

Margaret was born to English parents, Jess and Harriet Mossford who were territorial pioneers in the Stillaguamish Valley about a mile east of Silvana. Her father wanted her to pursue a life of farming but Margaret had other interests. She was particularly interested in the arts and eventually this led her to a career in teaching. After attending Jackson School, a pioneer school and Island School, she spent four years at Arlington High School where she graduated as valedictorian with the highest honors. Since her graduation from high school predated consolidated school districts and formal teacher training programs, Margaret was able to simply take a teacher’s examination which qualified her for a job as a teacher.

She began teaching in 1912 at the one room Higgins School in Hazel, Washington where she taught grades one through eight. One room schoolhouses provided a large challenge to the teacher in charge. Teachers were responsible for providing daily lesson plans for all grades in their school. For Margaret this meant plans for students in 8 grades and each lesson had to focus on 4 or more subjects. Although schools of this type played an important part in the education of the nation’s youth, there was no teacher training and the curriculum was dependent upon the background of the individual teachers. Uniform curriculum and curricular standards were something that would be introduced when school districts began to consolidate. For Margaret, this was exhilarating and she welcomed the opportunity to teach Latin, ancient history, algebra, physical geography and English or whatever she deemed important to her students’ education. While teaching at the Higgins School, she was able to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Western College of Education (then called Bellingham Normal School). She received her degree and a life-time teaching certificate by 1924. Margaret went on to teach at Sixprong near Goldendale, a school near Lake Washington and eventually the Tualco School near Monroe, Washington. All of these schools consisted of multi-grade classrooms.

The Tualco School was located on Tualco Road outside of the town of Monroe. The first Tualco School was built in 1876 and later replaced with the second school in 1908. Students matriculated into either the Monroe or DuVall school districts upon graduation from the Tualco School. Margaret taught at the second school which still stands today and is now home to the Tualco Grange. In 1924, the same year that she received her Bachelor of Arts degree, Margaret Mossford married Clarence Barber, a Knoxville, Tennessee architect. They purchased a home in Monroe where Margaret remained after the death of her husband in 1957 and until her death in 1975. Margaret gave birth to a son, Bruce, who subsequently went on to have three children of his own, two sons and a daughter. As a result of her many years teaching in one room schoolhouses, Margaret developed a strong philosophy of teaching. With a school full of students ranging in ages from 6 to 16 which was characteristic of one room schoolhouses, a teacher giving instruction in reading, writing and arithmetic had to prepare a variety of individualized lessons. Pupils were exposed to every lesson many times as “by rote learning” was the favored method of education in these settings. Students heard the lessons repeatedly as older children recited to the teacher in front of the room and then later read it for themselves from their texts. Each pupil worked at his or her own pace and was promoted from reader to reader when the teacher believed the pupil was ready. “Gifted” students had an opportunity to advance as they listened to the older students recite (after their own assignments were completed) and it was not uncommon for pupils in lower grades to have mastered practically everything presented to the upper grades. Margaret taught in just such a setting so it is understandable that she believed that learning of foreign languages could not be accomplished by ear. She believed a grammatical background was as important as phonics. She also believed that bookkeeping, word analysis and Latin should be taught to early elementary grades as a basic foundation for later learning. Perhaps Margaret’s most controversial theory lay in her belief that boys were not mature enough for education at age six and would develop bad habits and become discouraged if allowed to begin school at this age. In addition, she felt that she would rather start with students in the first grade “fresh for learning without having had kindergarten”. In 1966 she went on to say that she had “long pushed for raising the entrance age requirement for boys so that they are a year older than the little girls”.

After retiring, Margaret often reflected upon the changes in education. She believed that promotions for students should occur twice a year with two academic levels in each class and that student promotion into high school should be based upon satisfactory completion of eighth grade tests. She thought that having an eighth grade test would bring back the challenge for students that was necessary to promote learning. After years of teaching in one room schoolhouse settings, these ideas seemed obvious to Margaret and she knew that they worked effectively. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Margaret stopped teaching temporarily in order to become a resident student of the University of Washington where she tutored German. Languages had always been of interest to her and she actually majored in German at the university. In high school she was an excellent Latin student and had her translations exhibited at the Alaska-Yukon Exposition as a high school student. After retiring from teaching in the early sixties, Margaret became busier than ever. She wrote poetry and music, designed clothing and even ran for public office. Even in retirement, she showed an interest in helping others. Her legacy continues to be the many children that she provided with an education in settings where the bulk of the responsibility for that education fell upon her shoulders.

On October 28, 1975 Margaret Mossford Barber passed away leaving a legacy of students empowered by education.

Sources:
Barbara Rogers Minor, “No Time for Retirement,” Monroe Monitor 3 Nov. 1966.
Obituary. “For Margaret”. Monroe Monitor, 24 Oct. 1975.
Print. “Teddy Roosevelt’s Country Life Commission,” Rural West Initiative 2012 project, Stanford University at The Bill Lane Center for the American West website, http://west.stanford.edu/search/node/roosevelt.
© Gail Dillaway 2015 All Rights Reserved

Originally published as WLP Story # 78