Lillian Sylten Spear

Lillian Spear 1941

~ Public Power Advocate
By Margaret Riddle

Her Early Years

Lillian E. Anderson Sylten Spear was an important player in Snohomish County’s public power movement. An educator and persuasive speaker, she once told the press that she loved tackling issues that helped to better democratize her community. Public power sparked her interest, a cause supported by the Washington State Grange. Lillian began working for the Grange in 1936 and never looked back.

Lillian was born in Portland, Oregon on July 26, 1897 to Norwegian immigrant parents Oline Mahlen and Alexander Anderson and was next to the youngest of thirteen children. In the early 1900s the Andersons moved to Everett where Lillian attended city schools. She earned a teaching certificate from Ellensurg Normal and worked as Principal of Silver Lake Elementary, which is now part of the Everett School District. Already married by this time, Lillian was able to serve as a school administrator but would have been discouraged from teaching as a married woman. Wed in 1920 to Arne Sylten, a lumber inspector, the couple had three daughters, Olene, Daphne and Joann. This marriage eventually ended in divorce. Lillian remarried in 1944, this time to Harrison George Spear, a marriage that lasted five years.

Public Power for Snohomish County

Passage of the Washington State Grange Power Bill on November 4, 1930 spurred action to create public power districts in those areas that had not already done so. With the 1932 election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and public power advocate Homer T. Bone as Washington State Representative, the state seemed ready for public utility ownership. Both Grant and Spokane counties created public utility districts that year.

Snohomish County’s struggle took longer. Puget Sound Power & Light had organized a farm electrification department in 1924 and, despite high and unfair rates, they dominated Snohomish County.   The Grange aggressively opposed Puget Power’s hold and placed a measure on the 1932 ballot to create a Snohomish County public power district. But ten Snohomish County mayors and the Everett Herald, worked to defeat the initiative. Herald editorials warned that the law would give PUD commissioners power to condemn and confiscate property, thus reducing tax revenue. An organization called the Snohomish County Tax Reduction Association implied that this measure was an effort to seek public payroll jobs. Underlying their opposition was a fear of socialism or, as some perceived it, communism. The measure was defeated by a two-to-one margin.

The Tri-Way Grange in Silver Lake

The federal government’s creation of the Grand Coulee Dam in Eastern Washington and the Bonneville Dam near Portland gave momentum to organize for public power since public utility districts were given priority to receive electricity generated from the two facilities. With this incentive, Snohomish County PUD was formed by county vote in 1936. But the struggle to acquire Puget Power’s Snohomish County properties—so that the district could begin selling electricity—continued for over a decade.

Becoming Involved

Lillian adult life began as a mother and an educator. In addition to serving as the Silver Lake Elementary principal, she was also president of the Snohomish County Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). Her organizational skills quickly led her to a position on the PTA’s state board. Lillian also worked actively in the Democratic Party but it was the Grange and their support of public power that interested her most. In a newspaper article Lillian stated that she had to learn about public power. At the start she still cooked on a wood range and didn’t even have a refrigerator. But Sylten soon was a knowledgeable spokesperson. In 1936 she ran for Public Utility Commissioner and, although she did not win, her name became known. She quit her job as school principal to actively work for public power. From 1940 to 1946 Lillian served as District Auditor for the Snohomish County PUD.

She became an influential public speaker and in 1941 told a reporter:

“We had two bad years when our county was pointed to as a bad example. We had inefficient commissioners. The only way we could educate people about the power projects was to go out and talk to them and answer their questions. That was my work.” (Spear, Seattle Post Intelligencer)

Everett Herald editor and publisher Gertrude Best was an outspoken opponent of public power. Without Herald support, the Grange relied on speaking campaigns. Lillian spoke to clubs and organizations, particularly taking the message to Snohomish County women. She also helped organize distribution of literature and when it came to fundraising, she often simply passed the hat. In telling her story later to historian Richard Berner, Lillian recalled her battles with Gertrude Best, saying that the only time she received front-page coverage in the Everett Herald was when she was ticketed for speeding. The headline had read: “Mrs. Sylten Arrested”.

More Organizing
In 1939 Snohomish County PUD joined six other Washington State public utility districts to buy Puget Power. Lillian Sylten became secretary of the negotiating group named the Puget Sound Utility Commissioners’ Association (PSUCA). The group soon realized that Puget Power was not bargaining in good faith and were attempting to stop the buyout. A Washington Public Ownership League (WPOL) was formed and Sylten became its secretary.

Negotiations stalled then were renewed many times in efforts to establish a fair price. Snohomish County PUD joined other PUDs in filing a condemnation procedure against Puget Power. Boxes of Lillian S. Spear material in the University of Washington’s Special Collections attest to her involvement in Initiative 12, sponsored by the WPOL. Passed by the legislature, the initiative allowed for joint suits by PUDs. Lillian also supported Referendum 25 which put the measure to public vote in 1943. But by this time factionalism was developing among the ranks of public power advocates. Some disliked the WPOL for their socialist bias. Sylten—a Democrat, not a Socialist—served as the president of the Women’s Committee for Referendum 25. She wrote articles in favor of the measure in Public Power News, a journal issued by the WPOL. Referendum 25 was narrowly defeated. Now with no joint suit possibilities, the PSUCA once again became active.

Squabbles continued to divide public power advocates and Lillian (now Spear) became disenchanted with the movement and resigned in 1947, two years before publicly owned power truly came to Snohomish County on September 1, 1949.

Lillian Sylten Spear moved to Santa Rosa, California in 1953 where she continued her activism working to rid the state of pollution. In her final years, she struggled with bone marrow cancer and died in California in 1963 at 66 years of age. A plain headstone marks her grave in Everett’s Evergreen Cemetery.


Wendy Brush, “Lillian Sylten Spear, Outspoken Advocate of Public Power”, University of Washington Women Studies Class 283, December 12, 1984, Lillian S. Spear files, Everett Public Library;
“Biographical Note”, Guide to the Lillian S. Spear Papers 1931-1963, University of Washington Manuscript Collection No. 0381; Boxes 2, 5 and 7,
Lillian S. Spear Papers, 1931-1963, University of Washington Manuscript Collection No. 0381;
“Woman Is a Power In P. U. D. Movement”, Seattle Post Intelligencer, February 26, 1941.

© 2008 Margaret Riddle, All Rights Reserved; WLP Story # 55

Grace DeRooy VerHoeven

~ An Everett Childhood
By Phyllis Royce

“Housework is so much easier here. “ Clazina DeRooy wrote in a letter to her family in Holland. “Almost everyone has electricity.”

It was 1926 when Clazina, her husband and their six children first arrived in Everett. Although the new house did indeed have electric lights, it lacked the other labor-saving electrical appliances she had heard so much about.

According to her daughter, Grace, her mother’s first electrical appliance was an iron. Wrinkle free ‘wash and wear’ fabrics did not yet exist. Clazina, like other respectable homemakers, had, until that time, pressed almost every article of her family’s clean clothes with a heavy flat iron that had to be continually reheated on her wood stove. Her new appliance was light enough for a child to use, and it heated itself with the flick of a switch.

It was an even greater triumph, when, a few months after she acquired the electric iron, Clazina was able to write to her family in Holland that she now had: “a maid who never talks and who, when she works, murmurs softly. She washes everything completely clean, and if I just flip a little thing she wrings everything out. This servant is an electric washing machine. Oh Mother, that thing is such a delight. ‘Til now I’ve had to stand the whole day rubbing on my washboard. Now I can finish up completely—the washing, the bluing, and everything, in two hours or less.”

Although Clazina did have an electric washer and an iron, she continued, much as her foremothers had done for generations, to clean house with mop, broom and dust rags, to sew clothing, not with a sewing machine but with needle and thread, to cook on a wood stove, and to try to protect food from spoiling in a “cool” corner chest or—later—in an icebox. It was 1947 before she finally acquired a real refrigerator.

The following are vignettes of growing up in Everett as a member of a Dutch immigrant family during the 1930s and 1940s:

My nine brothers and sisters and I all had our jobs. As we grew, we progressed to various duties. We enjoyed and begged to do them when we were little, but when the work became a regular assignment, the novelty quickly wore off. Our ‘entry-level’ assignment –about age five—was to dry the silverware. For twelve of us, this wasn’t a small job. From drying silverware we progressed to setting the table, peeling the potatoes, drying the dishes, and apparently a more responsible job, washing them. Serious ironing commenced with ‘doing the hankies’ (small square clothes used for blowing one’s nose before Kleenex was invented). One child would iron the dozens of hankies and carefully place them on a stack to one side; another stood by to fold and sort. Checking stockings for holes and rolling them into pairs was another job. For a family of twelve there would be several dozen pairs a week.

By the time we were seven or eight, we were helping with the annual spring cleaning and with the canning, taking peas out of pods, looking for worms, taking strings off the beans, shucking the corn, peeling and coring apples, etc. And always, Mom was around and on top of what we were doing….

Spring housecleaning began the day school was out. It meant completely emptying every room, stripping it of bedding, curtains, pictures….even the clothes from the closets. We washed what could be washed, including walls and woodwork and ceiling. We painted and varnished and wallpapered, as necessary and affordable. We never had a vacuum cleaner, so we took the living room rug— $3.00 at the Salvation Army—out to the yard and hit it with sticks. We cleaned the ceilings, beat the mattresses and the pillows and sometimes changed the ticking, washed blankets, furniture and bedsprings (which at the time were bare metal) —and then replaced everything where it belonged.

The work went on for two or three weeks, usually one room a day. Everyone was assigned chores. The boys moved the furniture and mattresses, carried ladders, took the beds outside, things like that; the girls washed and polished and remade the beds. I always thought that the boys had it a little easier than the girls, though the boys carried wood. We burned a lot of wood. Spring cleaning was usually completed—sometimes interrupted for a day or two when fruits ripened early—just in time for the jam and jelly making and summer canning.

When I was twelve in 1938 (the older girls were now in junior and senior high school), I inherited the responsibility of hurrying home at lunch time on Mondays to help hang out the laundry. Before the boys left for school, they would have helped carry the double boilers of hot water from the stove to the back porch and poured it into the washing machine and the large round tubs used for rinsing and bluing (bluing is a mild blue dye which counteracts the cream/gray color in white cloth).
Mom began the laundry early, and two large baskets were usually ready and waiting. After a very quick lunch of either cocoa and dried bread crusts or fried potatoes and rhubarb sauce or applesauce, I was in the yard, wiping the fine gray residue from the mills off the clotheslines with a damp cloth.

Mom would not permit haphazard hanging of the laundry. We hung the sheets together on the outside lines on either side of the yard. Towels, shirts and dresses hung on inside lines, and underclothing was hung on the very middle, far away from prying eyes. I figured our neighbors had more to look at than our clothesline, but it was important to Mom that our laundry look as neat as possible to the neighbors. She was always careful about appearances. With all this work, our house should have been spic and span. It wasn’t. But if it wasn’t neat, it was clean. With twelve people in the house, Mom did a remarkable job, especially without many electrical appliances. Of course she was home all day and had ten lackeys to do her bidding. But she must be given a good deal of credit for supervising ten apprentices and keeping us as organized as she did.

Religion was another important aspect of the DeRooy family’s life. Grace’s parents, Arie and Clazina, joined the Christian Reform Church immediately after they arrived in Everett. The entire family attended both morning and afternoon services on Sundays, Arie read to them from the Bible after supper, and the children attended Saturday catechism.

We were taught by example that life’s most important institution after family, is the church. We might misunderstand; understanding it, we might become angry with it, but we didn’t take it lightly. The entire family was active in the church.

We often congregated in the living room on Sunday to sing hymns as Tina (one of Grace’s sisters) played the piano. We also sang popular songs, but had to be selective to avoid Mom’s coming in and quietly but decisively picking up the piece and placing it aside or closing the piano. She liked to sing and often joined us, but to her, some songs were appropriate for Sunday, some were not.

Women were not permitted to vote in church matters, but were active in the Ladies Aid and undoubtedly advised their husbands in church matters they did know about. Church matters were often discussed at home, but kindly. We did not “serve up” the minister for Sunday dinner.
Movies were strictly forbidden, except for those offered free by local merchants just before the beginning of the school year. The ‘back to school’ movie was usually a cowboy movie and a cartoon—not something guaranteed to lead us down the path to sin. Ice cream was forbidden on Sunday, “verboten op Sundog”, and we were not allowed to play cards. I don’t think we had a lot of time to play games except during long summer evenings when we played out in the street with the neighbor kids.

At the end of our block stood a Roman Catholic Church, “Our Lady of Perpetual Help”, and the Catholic school. We played with our Catholic neighbors, but at times we would bicker, throw mud at each other and call each other names—never, of course, in our parent’s hearing. It had nothing to do with the difference in religion—it was just that we were different. We were Dutch; the Soriano family across the street, with almost as many children as ours, was Italian. They were recent immigrants, too…vocal and demonstrative…. Had it not been for the law, there would have been serious altercations at times. A final thrust at the end of a disagreement, always first checking carefully to see whether Dad or Mom was within hearing was our catcall: “If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much.”

Phyllis Royce on left.

© 2007 Sources: Grace DeRooy Spillman VerHoeven interviews with Phyllis Royce. DeRooy family journal and letters. Ten Little Dutchmen, Second Edition, Everett Washington, GVD Publications, 1998. Abstracted and edited from Phyllis Royce’s manuscripts and notes by Ann Duecy Norman
All Rights Reserved; WLP Story # 42

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

Siastenu ~ Ruth Sehome Shelton

Ruth Shelton

~ Good Will Ambassador for her People

By Betty Gaeng

As a young woman Ruth Shelton was first a wife and a mother. Later with her third and final husband, Tulalip tribal chief and totem carver, William Shelton, she became a good will ambassador for the people of the Puget Sound Indian tribes. Following her husband’s death in 1938, she continued as a well-known and respected spokesperson working for the welfare of her people.

Siastenu Ruth Sehome’s birthplace was Guemes Island, Whatcom County, Washington Territory. The Indian Agency had no records regarding her birth.. The year of her birth was given by Ruth’s elder sister Julia. Julia had been present at the signing of the treaty in 1855 and told Ruth that she was born two years following the signing. Thus, 1857 is the date given as her birth date in all government records and on Ruth’s grave marker.

Ruth’s father was Chief Sehome one of the chiefs of the Clallam Tribe in the Port Angeles area. Her mother Emily Sehome was a member of the Samish tribe, owners of all of Samish, Guemes and Orcas Islands. Both parents were full-blood Indians. In the early days, a portion of what became Bellingham in Whatcom County was named Sehome in honor of Ruth’s father. Ruth Shelton had two sisters Julia (Sehome) Barkhausen, born between 1840-1841; and Sarah (Sehome) Oshan, born 1852.

Ruth and all the tribal members lived in a longhouse about 500 feet long and 70 feet wide. In order to manage this close living life-style, the people were expected to respect each other. Discipline and orderliness were necessary. Children enjoyed fun times, but were taught to obey their elders. During her young years, Ruth Shelton learned all the skills that Indian girls were expected to know before their marriage. She excelled in basket weaving, blanket making and cooking. As a mother she taught these same skills to her daughters.
Ruth married three times—first to a white man in Bellingham and then to William Coy, a full-blood Indian from the Tulalip Indian Reservation. In 1878 Ruth moved to Tulalip with her new husband. This became her home for 80 years. When the 1889 census for the Tulalip Reservation was taken on June 30th, Ruth was listed as a widow. She was left with three young children: Hubert, age 10; Daniel Martin, age 7; and Susan Ann, age 6. Hubert was the only one to survive childhood. He became a leader and successful in business. He built and operated the Mission Beach Resort at the head of Tulalip Bay. Hubert Coy died March 5, 1958 at the age of 79, his mother Ruth Shelton surviving.

Her third husband was William Shelton also a member of the Tulalip Indian Reservation. Together they established not only a stable and good marriage, but also a working relationship promoting interest in the rich history of the native people. Their home on William Shelton’s allotment land was a treasure trove of artifacts of museum quality. Many of the items in the family’s living-room collection were given to *Chief Shelton by admirers from various reservations, and even though the family experienced some tough times, they never sold any part of the collection.

Ruth and her husband William Shelton were a handsome couple and in her youth Ruth Shelton must have been a striking woman. Along with other family members the couple became well known. They appeared at many events in the region, including Seattle, usually dressed in native attire. Ruth and her family created a bridge between the two cultures.

Her daughter Harriet Dover commented that her mother was always patient and understanding with a philosophy that life should be calm and unhurried. She expected her children to live their own lives in this same fashion. She did not believe in moodiness, but rather friendliness toward everyone from the time of arising in the early morning until retiring at night. Ruth taught her children that “Good manners were important.”

Ruth and William Shelton had six children: Robert E., Mary, William Alphonsus, Thelma, Ruth, and Harriet. Harriet (Shelton) Williams Dover was the only child to survive her mother. Harriet was a well-known representative for her people in her own right. A beautiful painting of Harriet hangs in the Tulalip Tribal Council Chambers. She died February. 6, 1991 at the age of 86.

Even though Ruth’s husband William Shelton went back to the ancient Indian religion, Ruth Shelton remained a devout Catholic her entire life. She spoke of the time when as a child living on the Swinomish Reservation at LaConner she took singing lessons from Father Eugene Casimir Chirouse, the renowned early-day Catholic missionary and teacher to the Indians of Puget Sound.

On November 16, 1940, 83 year-old Ruth Shelton made a trip to Seattle to talk to the Ed Dalby, the marine editor for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Speaking in the Chinook dialect, she gave a warning that the area would experience a long and hard winter. The following day the paper published an article regarding her visit under the caption “Klonas mika wasa Chinook?” A picture of Ruth Shelton accompanied the article which also stated “chief’s widow knows the answers.”

On Saturday, October. 4, 1958 death came to Siastenu Ruth Sehome Coy Shelton at Providence Hospital in Everett, Washington. She was 101 years old. Ruth Shelton lived to witness the coming of the white settlers throughout the Puget Sound area, skirmishes between the Indians and white settlers, and the ratification of the treaties. She witnessed the evolution of travel from the gliding of canoes on Puget Sound and along the river waterways to the arrival of steamboats, ferries, automobiles, railroads and airplanes (both prop and jet). Satellites circling the earth must have seemed a miracle to Ruth.

Ruth Shelton’s obituary stated that Requiem Mass was held at St. Anne’s Catholic Church on the Tulalip Reservation. A quartet of Indians, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Joe and Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Bobb of LaConner, sang two hymns in the Indian language which had been translated by Father Chirouse a hundred years before. In keeping with Ruth’s inherited native culture, graveside ancient Indian traditional services were conducted at Mission Beach Cemetery with speeches and the singing of Indian hymns until the casket was lowered to its final resting place next to the grave of her husband William. Indians came from Nooksack, Clallam, Lummi and LaConner reservations to pay their last respects to a long-time beloved friend.


Siastenu “Gram” Ruth Sehome Shelton; The Wisdom of a Tulalip Elder. Transcribed by Vi Hilbert and Jay Miller, recorded by Leon Metcalf. Lushootseed Press (2005).

Everett Daily Herald—Sept. 1, 1958; Sept. 5, 1958, p. 5; Sept. 14, 1958, pp. 46-47; Aug. 25, 1961, p. B20.

Affidavit by Julia (Sehome) Barkhausen dated April 13, 1918 requesting enrollment into the Clallam Tribe by virtue of her birth (1919 Roblin Rolls). National Archives and Records Administration, Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle).

Census schedule of the Tulalip Reservation of the Tulalip Agency, W.T., taken by W. H. Talbot, United States Indian Agent, June 30, 1889.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Nov. 17, 1940, p. 24.

Marysville Globe—Oct. 9, 1958, p. 1.

Washington State Digital Archives.

* Before the Indian Reorganization Act of 1936 there was no official tribal status as a chief. On the other hand, the tribe–and more so the white community–truly called William Sheldon and Chief Sehome that and certainly they deserved the status. In effect William Shelton was a Tulalip cultural leader though the other title is not totally wrong and he was Chief of Police. The Indian Reorganization Act of 1936 allowed the tribes self governence. Shelton died in 1934 so he just missed the chance to actually govern.

© 2009 Betty Lou Gaeng, 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.”


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

Tillie Winkler Robinson’s Letters Home

HOW WE ARE PROGRESSING: Tillie Winkler Robinson’s Letters Home
Edited by Ann Norman

Late in 1889, at about the time President Harrison was declaring Washington a state, Tillie Winkler and Tom Robinson were planning their wedding. In January of 1890, the newly weds boarded a train and, like hundreds of others, headed for “Oregon Country” and the opportunities they hoped to find. Tillie corresponded regularly with her family during that journey and the following years, sharing her perceptions and describing events that were important to her. Remarkably, several of these letters have been preserved.

Thanks to the generosity of the Robinson family and the archives of the Everett Public Library, we have access to this rare first person account of one woman’s journey from Germantown, Pennsylvania to the newly declared state of Washington. Through her letters, Tillie gives us her first impressions of Port Gardner where the “magic city” of Everett was about to emerge and she provides us with glimpses of turn-of-the-century everyday life..

A portrait of Tillie as a young woman, probably taken at about the time of her marriage and trip to the west coast. Courtesy Robinson family

The following excerpts from her correspondence focus on her journey across the country, her first glimpses of the Pacific Northwest and her early attempts at homemaking. They illustrate Tillie’s unique experiences and reveal some of the realities of late nineteenth-century frontier life as well as showing what the journey to Everett may have been like for other Snohomish County foremothers.

Jan 22, 1890: “Dear sister … We are doing bravely. There is a fine cook stove on the train and we bake potatoes & make tea & coffee. We saw the Allegheny Mts & it was lovely going through…. Cold last night but we are going south right soon now. Love to all and a big share of it from Tom & Till.”

Jan 24: “We stopped at Chattanoga & bought a coffee pot…The potatoes were the best thing we had, tell Kate & the butter was so good we have it all eaten but a little bit. The potatoes were finished last night. Tell mother the pears were splendid. They are half gone. We will soon be in New Orleans….The journey is not half as bad as I expected but every thing is black in the morning. The dust gets in at the windows….”

Jan 27: “We are still traveling over prairie land and it is very dusty. It is too warm to keep the windows shut so we must have the dirt. We are 187 ft below the level of the sea & see some lovely mirages…You might think you saw lots of water & trees & cattle, but for miles around there is no water or anything but cactus & grease wood & mesquite. It will be dark tonight when we get to Los Angeles.”

Jan 28: “ We have to go to San Francisco…we can’t get a car to Portland. There has been a wash out & we will quite likely go by steamer….You should have seen our car yesterday and day before….nothing…but dust all over everything. Now it is all right…. We hear very good accounts of Portland all along the route….The mountains are something I shall never forget so long as I live. It was grand, for hundreds of miles…. If I had time I could tell you so much… “

January 29 [San Francisco]: “We…are nicely fixed, a lovely room with red plush furniture and …marble top table, at which I am writing… Brussels carpet on the floor & and an open fire place all for $1.00 or.$2.00, we don’t know which yet…We have seen lots of Chinamen….I must keep all the folks informed about our doings. Tom don’t write. He did all the cooking on the train so we are square….”

February 5: “We are now in the great Portland and have still to find out if it is as great as represented….It is very wet…the river is very high up into some of the streets… we saw a cabin washed down the river yesterday….The trip up the Pacific was stormy and rough. We were tossed about dreadfully and after the first meal… did not appear at table until Monday breakfast, in our berths all day Sunday…poor Tom, he fared badly…. We could not get to see each other. We were very sea sick, but if I had known that the steward neglected him I would have crawled over to him….

…we dream of you as well as think of you often. We are not going to get home sick of course, we have enjoyed every thing (except the sea voyage) ever so much. The trip on the Columbia & Willamette was something lovely….the sun shone…we saw a rainbow very low & then reflected in the hills…. I would not have missed it for a great deal, the trip over the mts & prairies, it was something grand….There are some folks came on the boat with us….They want us to go to Tacoma with them. It is a better place than Portland & not so wet…. I wish we could hear from you, it has been such a long time now all of two weeks…”

May 21: “I have been to the [Tacoma] P.O. so much that I am getting tired of it and will be so glad when all my letters come…Tom is going to make a table right away & on Saturday we are going for the stove & some other things for our kitchen & as we have our blankets & sheets we may possibly manage to get a bed to sleep on until ours comes…” Later letters boast of their two large rooms, enumerate their growing possessions and lovingly praise the wooden china closet Tom is building (a piece of furniture that still remains a cherished Robinson family heirloom). Tillie marvels at the mountains and the mild climate and describes bouquets of wild roses and weekend excursions in a borrowed rowboat. In November, she announces baby Willie’s birth and later notes when Tom takes the baby to the grocery store to weigh him, that he’s doubled his birth weight to 22 pounds.

She outlines her husband’s dreams of owning a mill. When Tom abruptly loses his job, she tells about their moving to a remote “shanty” and marvels at how Tom repairs its badly damaged stovepipe. “Everything is topsy turvy, but as soon as Tom gets some shelves & pegs up, I will get things fixed up a bit.” She covers the floor with paper and a carpet to make it “warm and cozy”, loyally contends the tiny cabin will eventually “look much nicer that those two immense rooms” and brags that she is helping Tom cut down and saw the immense trees around the house. “We have a 6 foot double handed cross cut saw & it was such fun…. Tom and I are eating as heartily as we used to at picnics….” Willie is put in front of the window or bundled up and taken outside “to watch the sawing & he likes it immensely too.”

Tillie and Tom’s first Everett house can be seen in the center of this early 1892 photo, next to Parminter Robinson & Co. (sash and door factory,) at the foot of 24th Street Bayside. King and Baskerville photographers. Courtesy Everett Public Library

Two years later in August, Tillie writes about their first excursion to Snohomish County: “…we had a delightful trip.,,, a very large & new boat went up the Sound to Port Gardner, where Tom has two friends who are putting up a factory there. He thought he would go to see them & take them some stuff to eat, as they are doing their own cooking & don’t have things of the best & not much time to cook, it being a new town & only one store & a few houses….”
When the boat arrives at Port Gardner, they can’t land. “The wharf was not quite finished…we were very much disappointed, but we saw the place where the new city is to be. It is a beautiful town site. Did not see the men & had to bring our things back…” She reports they stopped briefly in Mukilteo and Willie “played with the pebbles & enjoyed himself for all he was worth….”

In her next letter, Tillie tells her sister they plan to go to Port Gardner “as soon as possible…”. Existing correspondence does not indicate when that was, but the next letter in the collection, the only one written by Tom, was mailed from Everett on October 30, 1892. It was to Tillie’s sister Laura, announcing the arrival of their second son and assuring the family that Tillie and the baby were “resting nicely”. It was written on Parminter, Robinson & Co. letterhead.

Subsequent letters and family stories indicate that in addition to caring for her babies, cooking, sewing, gardening and maintaining a frontier home, Tillie became an active force in her church and ran a boarding house to supplement the family’s income. Eventually, as hoped, some of her sisters joined her in Everett. Later letters describe their active social lives and many suitors, along with her perceptions of Everett’s early economic and natural disasters. Tillie lived until 1957 and is fondly remembered as the beloved grandmother and matriarch of her extended family.

Tillie Winkler Robinson and grandchildren. Courtesy Robinson family

Sources: Tillie Winkler Robinson’s Letters and Postcards in Everett Public Library archives; Interview with Tillie’s great grandchildren, Dick Robinson and Terry Fithro.

© 2007 Ann Norman All Rights Reserved;  (WLP Story #41)

Ida Noyes McIntire, M. D.

By Sandra Schumacher
Ida Noyes could have easily moved into the eastern blueblood society that enticed so many young women who were in her position. Instead she chose a life of human service both in education and in medicine. By the time she was born in Rhode Island in 1859, her family had been in this country over two hundred years settling first in Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1634. Her paternal ancestors numbered several who chose the life of Minister and most graduated from Harvard University. The Rev. James Noyes, also a Harvard Graduate, was one of the first trustees and founders of Yale University.

It should come as no surprise that there is little written about the accomplishments of her maternal ancestors, except for the poor Margaret Noyes who was declared a Witch. This fate would not fall upon Ida Noyes whose parents were on the move: by 1860 they were in Stowe, Maine and by 1864, Detroit Michigan where she attended primary school, high school and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1881.

Ida Noyes experienced a pivotal moment while a student at the university. Her chosen field was Journalism, but while studying the Latin/Scientific course, she became interested in the field of medicine. Following her graduation, she taught in the Detroit public schools for five years while she continued studying medicine at the Michigan Medical College.

Soon she married B.N. Beaver and they moved to Dayton Ohio. There she became active in the W.C.T.U. and became an important public speaker on their behalf. She was one of three women who helped found ‘Bethany Home’….a refuge for “repentant and outcast women.” Ida had not forgotten her love of medicine and her desire to heal, so she entered Woman’s Hospital Medical College in Chicago, a department of Northwestern University, and received her M.D. degree in March 1891. She interned at the Woman’s Hospital for a few months, then moved to Denver Colorado and began the practice of medicine where she specialized in the diseases of women.

It was Denver’s altitude that provided the impetus for her to move after divorcing Mr. Beaver and remarrying the ex-governor of Colorado, Albert W. McIntire. They spent a few years in Cleveland Ohio before settling in Everett Washington in 1901, where Dr. McIntire opened her medical practice and private hospital at 3129 Colby. She actively worked in the successful Washington women’s 1910 campaign for suffrage. McIntire spoke to groups, helped gain continuing press coverage for the cause and frequently opened her clinic office for meetings of the Everett Suffrage Club.
Ida Noyes McIntire was known as a highly gifted woman, active in local charities who considered human service life’s highest calling, just as many of her New England male ancestors had two centuries before. Her decision to serve in the medical field was courageous considering the era in which she lived. When she died in 1932, it was no surprise that she left the bulk of her estate for the welfare of retired Congregational Church ministers in the state of Washington. It was her final tribute to her remarkable family and the last act of human service from a woman who lead the way for other female doctors in our community, and a person who exemplified leadership qualities that all can aspire to.

1860 Federal Census, Stowe, Maine

Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs: Noyes, Schenectady NY History

Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, by Shiach, Eilliam Sidney eds. pub 1906 page 905

Issues of the Everett Daily Herald, and the Labor Journal and Votes for Women, 1909-1910.

Obituary, The Everett Daily Herald, June 29, 1932

© 2008 By Sandra Schumacher All Rights Reserved;  WLP Story #49

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.

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,
**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

Anna Agnes Maley

Anna Agnes Maley 1872-1918

Anna Agnes Maley, an author, journalist, and lecturer of national reputation, arrived in Everett in September 1911 to become the third editor of the most successful of these papers, The Commonwealth, Washington state’s official Socialist newspaper.   For the rest of the story, please see an updated version in

Earlier version published as Women’s Legacy Story # 40

Dorothy Otto Kennedy

Travel the world? Yes!   Supermarket? No Way!

Dorothy Otto Kennedy at 100 years old.

She saw the first automobiles come to Puget Sound, and she witnessed the birth of the Internet. She dined with a sheik in a Cairo nightclub, met aborigines in Australia, saw magnificent waterfalls in South America and enjoyed symphonies in Vienna and Berlin. She talked for hours in Nepal with the Sherpa guide who climbed Mt. Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary. In Tehran she saw the Shah of Iran’s crown jewels. She traveled to every country on earth but Antarctica.  But she never set foot in a grocery store.

Not once. In all her 102 years, Dorothy Otto Kennedy, one of the state’s first female pharmacists, a woman whose family endowed a scholarship and distinguished professorship in her name at Washington State University, never set foot in a supermarket.

Everything she needed – bread, milk, vegetables, ice to keep things cold – was delivered. “Dorothy explained forthrightly, “I never liked to cook so why bother going to the store for fancy foods?”
Dorothy Otto Kennedy at 100 years old.
An articulate, expressive woman with a sweet disposition and ready smile, Dorothy was born July 15, 1895 in Tacoma and moved to Everett when she was five. Her decision to travel to Europe after graduation from Everett High School in 1912 was summarily vetoed by her mother. Dorothy wanted to attend Stanford, but there wasn’t enough money, so she set off for WSU with hopes of becoming a physician. University officials told her flatly that because she was female, there was no way she would be allowed to be a doctor.

“They shuffled me off to pharmacy school,” she said. “There were four women and 35 men, and it was rough right from the start.”

Thanks to hard work, good professors and a head for numbers and equations, Dorothy graduated in 1916 and immediately went to work at a pharmacy in Reardon, and then one in Seattle, always working 15-hour days. After finding out her friend made considerably more managing a major department store, Dorothy began to wonder if a career in pharmacy was worth it.

And so, in 1920, Dorothy went to Harvard to study wholesale merchandising. Graduate work allowed her to travel to stores throughout the east coast. When she got her degree, she was offered a management job at Macy’s. “It was cold, cold, cold, and they wanted me to say four years!” she recalled indignantly. “I said no and went to Baltimore to become personnel manager of a large department store.”

A friend in that city insisted on introducing Dorothy to her cousin, a young lawyer named David Duff Kennedy. Dorothy was not impressed. “I was such an awful tomboy, too busy doing my own thing to pat attention to men,” she said. “I didn’t like anything he said, anything he did, anything about him.” With an impish grin, she added, “But he did have a car.”

Love would find a way and David and Dorothy married in 1922. Five years later they moved to Everett with son Robert in tow. Before long, daughter Mary was born. “Everett was busy, busy, busy,” Dorothy said. “We saw this little old house on Grand Avenue and bought it, thinking we would only be there a couple of years.”

Losing all their money in the 1929 stock market crash ended their plans for a larger home so the Kennedys remained in the little house as Duff, and then Bruce came along. By 1939 it was clear Dorothy would have to return to work. She passed the state exam for license reinstatement and went back to putting in 15-hour days in local drug stores.

World War II brought a shortage of pharmacists and Everett General Hospital asked Dorothy to operate its pharmacy. That meant she had only to run (she never walked) two blocks to work. And, it was only an 8-hour day! She also taught pharmacology at the hospital’s nursing school. She worked alone at General for 22 years until her retirement in 1962, when she was replaced by three people. Her hard work paid off. She put all of her children through Stanford University.
Finally free to travel, Dorothy tried cruises and tours, but eventually flew off to foreign climes on her own schedule, going wherever curiosity took her. “All my men were in the services,” she said proudly, “so I went to visit them.”

Bob was stationed in Taiwan with the Air Force, Duff was in Germany with the Army, and Bruce was sailing up and down the coast of Africa as a Navy doctor. Dorothy went to all those places and beyond, returning to some again and again.

“You have no concept of the size of Africa,” she said. “It’s so beautiful.” She held a smooth stone sculpture in her hands and reminisced about India and the Orient. She spoke of an elephant picking her up by its trunk and of staying with a friend in Greece for several months. She was 86 when she last visited China.

For the last eight years of her life, Dorothy lived independently in an apartment at Washington Oakes, a retirement home that was once Washington Elementary School, the very school all of her children had attended. She kept in touch with people she had met in her travels, went to the opera and the symphony, gardened, played bridge, served as a deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Everett, mentored a group of nurses and had great fun with her family.

When she became nearly blind, she got a computer that greatly magnified print and kept on reading. “I think it’s too bad some older people just sit and don’t have any interests,” she said. “They can keep up on things, on history, on politics. People need to do something, not just sit.”

And with that, Dorothy excused herself to prepare to go out to lunch. She loved going out – as long as it was not to the grocery store!

Sources: Personal interview with Dorothy Otto Kennedy, June 1995

© 1995 Theresa A. (Teri) Baker, All Rights Reserved;  WLP Story # 45