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Whatcom County
Washington
Genealogy and History


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Blank, George H.

    There is no positive rule for achieving success; yet in the life of the successful man there are always lessons which might well be followed. The man who gains prosperity is he who can see and utilize the opportunities that come across his path, and among the prominent and successful farmers of Lynden township is George H. Blank, who has long commanded the unbounded respect of his fellow citizens. The qualities of keen discrimination, sound judgment and executive ability enter very largely into his makeup and have been contributing elements to the material success which has come to him. Mr. Blank was born in the state of Illinois in 1862 and was taken by his parents to Iowa at the age of two years. They were Thomas and Charlotte (Lippard) Blank, the former of whom was born in Pennsylvania and was reared to the life of a farmer, while the mother was a native of Germany, whence she was brought to the United States at the age of eleven years.

    George H. Blank secured but little school training, his experience embracing about one term in an Iowa school. His father died in 1885 and he remained on the home farm in that state until his mother's death, in 1896, when he sold the place, a large part of which he had cleared. He then went to Port Angeles, Washington, remaining in Clallam county about seven years. While there he bought sixty acres of raw land for three hundred dollars, cleared about twenty-five acres and otherwise improved the place, and then sold it for sixteen hundred dollars. Then, going to Skagit county, he bought twelve acres of land near Burlington, on which he did some clearing, residing there for four years, at the end of which time he sold it and bought two smaller places near by in Skagit county. It was virgin land and he cleared about twelve acres, built a house and barn and made a number of other improvements. In all these operations he was associated with his brother, John H., from whom he has never been separated for more than six weeks. He subsequently sold those places, took a contract to clear land at Lynden, Whatcom county, beginning in 1914, and cleared sixty-two and a half acres of an eighty acre tract within a period of two and a half years. He also assisted in building the barn and making other improvements, and also took care of the stock on the place on shares. After clearing the land he rented the place for five years, renewed the lease for two years longer and then, in 1923, bought the farm, which is now considered one of the most desirable in this locality. He is devoting his attention mainly to dairy farming, keeping from thirty-five to forty cows, as well as a registered Holstein sire. He has given close and constant attention to his business affairs and has met with well merited success.

    On March 25, 1899, at Port Angeles, Mr. Blank was married to Mrs. Annie (Smith) Weir, who was born in England, a daughter of John Smith. She came to Port Angeles in the '80s and was the second white girl to locate in that place. By her union with Mr. Weir she had four children, namely: Mrs. Laura Bjerstedte, of Burlington, Washington; John, of Anacortes; Mrs. Mamie Johnson, of Seattle, Washington; and Ben, of Sumas. John and Ben both rendered valuable assistance in the clearing of the present homestead. Mr. Blank has long taken an active interest in public affairs and has served a number of times on county juries. While living in Iowa he was a member of the Iowa Legion of Honor but dropped his membership when he left that state. He belongs to the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association, of which he was one of the first members while Mrs. Blank is a member of the Whatcom County Poultry Association, having about two hundred and fifty White Leghorn hens, in the handling of which she has been very successful. Mr. Blank is a close observer of modern methods and is a student at all times of whatever pertains to his life work, throughout the community enjoying a high reputation as a progressive man. He is genial and friendly in his social relations, gives generously to all worthy benevolences and holds to a marked degree the confidence and good will of all who know him.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 882-883


Blankenforth, Henry

    In the death of the late Henry Blankenforth, Whatcom county lost one of its earliest pioneers and representative citizens. As the day, with its morning of hope and promise, its noontide of activity, its evening of complete and successful efforts, ending in the grateful rest and quiet of the night, so was the life of this honored man. His career was a long, busy and useful one, and although he devoted his attention primarily to his individual affairs, he never allowed the pursuits of material things to warp his kindly nature but preserved his faculties and the warmth of his heart for the broadening and helpful influences of human life, being to the end a kindly, genial friend and gentleman. Because of his fine public spirit, splendid business success and upright life, he long enjoyed the unbounded confidence of his fellow citizens, and his death was considered a distinct loss to the community.

    Henry Blankenforth was born in Oldenberg, German, September 27, 1842, and his death occurred September 21, 1925, when almost eighty-three years of age. He received his education in the public schools of his native land and was reared to the life of a farmer. Later he learned the trade of a ship carpenter and sailed on the high seas to practically every part of the globe. In 1870 he left the sea and came to the United States, going at once to Arizona, of which he was one of the earliest settlers, and was engaged in farming for a few years. He was located seventy-five miles from Phoenix, the nearest point where he could secure provisions. Eventually he left there and went to San Francisco, form where he went up the coast by boat to Astoria, and thence to British Columbia, on a visit. About 1875 he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land in Lynden township, Whatcom county, Washington, and that was his home during the remainder of his life, a period of fifty years. Thus he was an eye witness of the settlement and development of this locality and took a part in all the affairs of those early days looking to the organization of the community and the advancement of measures for the public welfare. He settled in the  midst of a veritable wilderness, his land being densely covered with timber and brush, while around him roamed wild animals, such as bears, deer, cougars, and other denizens of the forest. There were no roads, and the early settlers were compelled to endure untold hardships and privations for a number of years after coming here.

    Eventually Mr. Blankenforth cleared eighty acres of his land and created one of the best farmsteads in this locality. He was during his active years an untiring worker and exercised sound judgment and discrimination in his operations, doing well whatever he undertook and earning a reputation for enterprise and progress. During his earlier years here he worked at other employment, in order to earn ready cash to carry him through while he was getting his land in shape for cultivation, but at length fortune smiled on him and he became on of the solid and substantial farmers of Lynden township. He devoted himself very largely to dairy farming, keeping twenty-five cows, mostly good grade Holsteins. He raised good crops of hay and grain and had also established a nice orchard, the trees of which were grown from seeds of his own planting. It was a far cry from the early days here, when there was but little communication with the outside world and trading had to be done at Bellingham - all day being required to make the round trip, owing to the almost impassable roads - to the comfortable and convenient surroundings of his later years, and his reminiscences covered practically the entire period of the settlement and development of his community.

    In 1887 Mr. Blankenforth was married to Mrs. Margaret (Salor) Mayer, whose first husband, Peter Mayer, died in 1875. To that union were born three children, two of whom are deceased, the survivor being a married daughter. Mrs. Blankenforth was born and reared in Germany, a daughter of George and Victoria (Rapfer) Salor, farming folk, who spent their lives and died in Germany. The daughter came to the United States in 1871, locating in Michigan, where she remained until 1883, when she came to Whatcom county. To Mr. and Mrs. Blankenforth were born two children: Hannah who is the wife of Carl Rinehart, of Lawrence, and has four children; and Gilbert, who rents the home place from his mother. He was married to Miss Annie Radder, and they have one child, Howard. Mr. Blankenforth was a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and was active in his support of all measures looking to the best interests of the farmer. His religious affiliation was with the Lutheran church, of which he was a liberal supporter. He was active in the public affairs of his locality, having served for eleven years as a member of the school board and for a number of years as road supervisor. Through the long years of his residence in this locality he was true to every trust reposed in him and his reputation was unassailable. Kindly and generous, he possessed to a marked degree the love, admiration and respect of all who had the honor of his acquaintance, and his name in eminently deserving of perpetuation among the representative and honored citizens of Whatcom county.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 249-250


Bloedel, J. H.

    The Fairhaven boom was shattered, in 1891, when it was decided to make Seattle the terminus of the Great Northern. The reaction from the high tide of speculation was severe and was accentuated by the hard times which followed throughout the nation during the '90s. But while many of the stranded Fairhavenites met the changed conditions simply by bemoaning their fate and filling the columns of the local papers with doggerel attacks upon J. J. Hill and C. X. Larrabee as the authors of all their misfortunes, there were a few brave spirits who "carried on" and who, in time, wrested victory from defeat, not only for themselves but for the lasting welfare of Whatcom county and the cities of Bellingham bay. Among these men was J. H. Bloedel, and during the dark days, from 1891 to 1898, the Blue Canyon Coal Mining Company, with its associated railroad and lumber interests, formed almost the only ray of hope to a panic stricken community; and since those days the industry in which he has played so large a part has been a constant and perhaps the largest factor in the growth and prosperity of Bellingham.

    Mr. Bloedel was born at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, March 4, 1864, a son of Henry and Helen Bloedel. While still an infant, death deprived him of a mother's love and care, and he was reared in the home of his aunt at Sheboygan. Here he passed his younger days, graduating from the high school, and finally entering the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, with the class of 1885. Even before graduating from this institution he had entered the real estate business at Sheboygan, thus earning his way through the university. He remained in Sheboygan until 1889, when the great prosperity of the west attracted him, and his first visit to the Pacific coast took him to Tacoma where he had friends and acquaintances. The Fairhaven excitement wa just beginning. There was good ground for the belief that it was to be the terminus of the Great Northern and a city of large importance. Mr. Bloedel went to Fairhaven in September, 1889, found it good, returned to Wisconsin to close up his affairs and made Fairhaven his home in March, 1890. His first work was as manager of the logging interests of the Samish Lake Lumber & Mill Company, of which J. F. Wardner was the principal stockholder.

    Mr. Wardner was a miner more than a lumber man, and an organizer rather than a manager of business institutions. Within a few months he had interested Mr. Bloedel in a prospect which developed into the Blue Canyon coal mine. One claim was purchased from Clarence W. Carter, and a second claim was filed upon by Mr. Bloedel. The claims were involved in litigation, which was finally decided favorably to the Wardner-Bloedel interests, and they at once began the work of development. Mr. Bloedel invested almost his entire capital in the undertaking, in which he had great faith, as the coal seemed abundant, and the quality has never been surpassed on the Pacific coast. Accordingly, when Wardner sold his interest to what was known as the "Montana syndicate," of which Governor S. T. Hauser, John T. Murphy, A. M. Holter, M. E. Downs and Peter Larson were members, Mr. Bloedel retained his interest, resolved to make the mine a success. The sale to the Montana capitalists was made in July, 1891, and they secured J. J. Donovan, whom they had learned to know and trust through his work as assistant chief engineer of the Northern Pacific Railway, to represent their interests.

    The plans of the concern were ambitious and necessarily included some method of getting its product to tidewater. J. F. McNaught, of Seattle, was one of the owners. He was also largely interested at Anacortes. For this reason he wished the proposed coal road to connect with the Northern Pacific at Wickersham, from which point the coal could be transported to Anacortes. Both Mr. Bloedel and Mr. Donovan favored making Bellingham bay the shipping point, and their plans prevailed. The history of the Blue Canyon Coal Company, the building of the Bellingham Bay & Eastern Railway and the coal bunkers at Whatcom; the many reverses met by the mining concern and the gradual transformation from a coal company to a great lumber industry, has been told in the preceding volume of this history. It was largely due to Mr. Bloedel's sagacity and enterprise and sheer will power that the disastrous mining venture was made a success as a logging and milling company. He encouraged Lake Whatcom timber owners to carry on logging operations, acted as their agent, found markets for them and incidentally became acquainted with every phase of the lumber industry on Puget sound and with the men connected with it. From transporting the logs for others, he soon directed the company, first toward logging and then toward milling for itself. In a few years the members of the Montana syndicate had disposed of their holdings, with the exception of Peter Larson, and He and Mr. Bloedel and Mr. Donovan became the virtual owners of the interests directly descendant from the Blue Canyon company. After securing extensive timber rights in the vicinity of Lake Whatcom, the Lake Whatcom Logging Company was formed, July 23, 1898, operating under this name until 1901, when the Larson Lumber Company was organized and a mill erected on Lake Whatcom. A second mill was built in 1906, and in 1913 the large plant of the Bellingham Bay Lumber Company - better known as the Cornwall mill - was purchased and all the interests were consolidated as the Bloedel Donovan Lumber Mills. Peter Larson died in July, 1907, but his heirs retain their interests. In 1917 a large addition was made through the purchase of the mill and holdings of the Skykomish Lumber Company located on the Great Northern Railroad, east of Everett, and a second, still more important purchase, was that of large timber interests, with twenty-five miles of logging railroad, in Clallam county - thus lengthening the life of the Bellingham plant for many years. In 1918, in order to make containers for the government, a box factory was installed at Bellingham. This was burned down, September 30, 1924, but with characteristic energy, it was rebuilt and in operation by May, 1925. During the war days, both Mr. Bloedel and Mr. Donovan gave their first and most loyal service to the government. Mr. Bloedel was chairman of the fir production board, under the war industries department, and it was his business to allocate the orders that they might be promptly filled and shipped for the use of the army, the navy and the shipping board. When the building of wooden ships was abandoned, in the spring of 1918, his duties became less arduous, but until then they demanded a large part of his time. The one dollar bill which he received for his services is a framed memento on his office wall today. Mr. Donovan was, at the same time, a director of spruce lumber production, as well as a member of the county defense board of Whatcom county.

    The interests of the Bloedel Donovan Lumber Mills are now among the largest in the state of Washington. For many years it has been the largest concern on Bellingham bay and has been the backbone of Bellingham's industry. It now operates four sawmills, four shingle mills, a box factory, a sash and door factory, and one hundred miles of logging railway, with twelve locomotives, three hundred and fifty cars and necessary logging equipment. It gives employment to an average of two thousand persons, and its business, in 1925, aggregated more than six million five hundred thousand dollars.

    It is always a red letter day for Bellingham friends when J. H. Bloedel comes to town, and he regards it very much in that way himself, for his heart is there; he has been one of the builders of the city and has grown with it and has helped it grow since the very darkest days of its history. Business convenience led him to make Seattle his home in 1911, but he intimates that this was not a matter of choice but of necessity, and that he feels himself to be first a Bellingham, Whatcom county, man.

    It was in old Fairhaven, in October, 1898, that J. H. Bloedel and Miss Mina Prentice, of Saginaw, Michigan, were married, and it was there that they lived for many years, forming ties of friendship which never can be broken. Three children have come to bless their home; Prentice, Lawrence and Charlotte. Lawrence is married and makes Bellingham his home, thus adding one more tie toward making Whatcom county "home" for all the Bloedel family.

    J. H. Bloedel is one of the best informed men in the lumber industry on the Pacific coast. When knotty problems arise, he is one of the first called on for counsel. He is a man of great energy and business capacity. In his business ventures he has shown that rare combination of daring, tempered with good judgment, which spells success. And with it all, so his Bellingham friends are fond of telling, he is the same, unassuming, kindly friend that he was when all Fairhaven and Whatcom dug clams together in the panic days of 1893.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 671-673


Blom, Karl O.

    Among the numerous farmers and dairymen of the Scandinavian stock which form a substantial element of the population of Whatcom county, Karl O. Blom, a dairyman of Mountain View township and proprietor of a well improved place on rural mail route No. 2, out of Ferndale, is entitled to consideration, for in the twenty years and more of his residence here he has brought about the development of a good piece of property and has become a useful factor in the community in which he elected to make his home. He was born in the Norrland province of Sweden, July 15, 1878, and is a younger brother of Peter Blom, one of the pioneer farmers of this county, who became established here in 1888 and is mentioned elsewhere in this work. Their mother is still living in the old country but the father, B. O. Blum, died there in 1922, at the age of seventy-six years.

    K. O. Blom was reared on the home farm in his native place and was there married, after which he took charge of the home place and was thus engaged until 1903 when he closed out his holdings in Norrland and with his wife and their two children came to America, proceeding to Washington and here rejoined his elder brother, Peter Blom. During the first season following his arrival here Mr. Blom took a part in the activities of his brother's farm and then bought a tract of twenty acres, the place on which he now is living, and established a home of his own. When he got that improved he bought an adjoining forty and now has a well improved place of sixty acres. His original tract of twenty acres is cleared and under cultivation and a good start has been made on the second purchase, the two making an admirable dairy farm. Mr. Blom is a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and his operations are carried on in accordance with the best standards of the industry. He formerly was a member of the local grange of the Patrons of Husbandry.

    Mr. Blom has been married twice. In his home land he was united in marriage to Miss Hannah Oland and to this union were born Gertilda, who married W. Neilson and is now living in Seattle; Christina, who married Tom Reed and is now living in Bellingham; Amelia, who married Earl Hitt and is also in Bellingham. Mrs. Hannah Blom died in 1907. In 1911 Mr. Blom took a trip back to his native land and there married Miss Mary Linderman, who also was born in Sweden. To this union six children have been born, Oscar, Hannah, Carl, Violet, Leonard and Bettie. The Bloms have a pleasant home and take a proper part in general community affairs.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 850-851


Blom, Peter

    Peter Blom, one of the substantial and well established pioneer farmers and dairymen of Mountain View township, proprietor of a well kept place there on rural mail route No. 2 out of Ferndale, is of European birth but has been a resident of this country since the days of his young manhood. When he settled on his homestead in 1888 the highway had not penetrated that far into the wild and his approach to the place was by way of the old woods trail. Much of the year this trail was practically impassable by reason of the mud and when he was building his first cabin he had to wait for three weeks to get nails from the village on account of the mud. His first stove he carried on his back to the cabin.  He started in a long cabin of his own construction and with an ox team to use in his clearing operations. "Varmints" still were numerous in that section and he had to be on a constant lookout for bears and wildcats. For more than twelve years Mr. Blom carried on there alone, a bachelor, cooking his own meals and giving a woodsman's care to the cabin, and then he married and put up a better house. By that time he had cleared his original "forty" and had bought an adjoining tract of ninety-one acres, the place on which he and his family are now very pleasantly situated. Mr. Blom has seen that neighborhood grow to its present thriving state and knows just how every step in this amazing progress was made, for he is one of the community builders. When in a reminiscent mood he has many a good story to tell of the days when the wilderness was being brought under the claim of civilization and being made responsive to the needs of the settlers. These stories are very entertaining to the young people of the neighborhood, who can only wonder how the pioneers got along amid the conditions which he so graphically describes.

    Mr. Blom was born in the Vesterbotten district of Norrland in the kingdom of Sweden, September 11, 1864, and is a son of Bruer O. and Sarah Gustava Blom, the latter of whom, daughter of Bertel, is still living in her native Sweden home at the age of eighty-five years. B. O. Blom, a Swedish farmer, died in 1922, being then eighty-six years of age. Peter Blom grew up to farming, attended the schools of his home village and remained on the farm with his father until he was in his twenty-third year when, in 1887, he came to America and proceeded to Seattle, which at that time was giving glowing promise of its later wonderful development. In the following winter he worked in a brickyard in the city and then, following his impulse to get onto the land, came to Whatcom county and bought a timber "forty" in Mountain View township and settled down to clear the place and make a farm out of it. With willing hands and a stout heart he entered upon that task, "baching" in his lonely cabin, and in time got the place cleared and found himself in a position to take on more land. In 1899 he bought the tract of ninety-one acres on which he now makes his home and he now has a well developed farm of more than one hundred and thirty acres, improved in up-to-date fashion and profitably cultivated. In addition to general farming Mr. Blom has long been giving much attention to dairying and poultry raising and is doing well along these line, his products being disposed of through the Whatcom County Dairymen's and the Poultry Association, of both of which influential cooperative bodies he is a member. He has about two thousand White Leghorns and clears from his place more than twenty cases of eggs a week.

    It was on October 13, 1901, that Mr. Blom was united in marriage to Mrs. Mary Marta (Ericson) Braunlund (sic), who had become a resident of Bellingham in 1891. She was born in Sweden and is a daughter of N. E. and Anne Helen (Lundeen) Ericson, both of whom died in their native country and the former was a member of the police force in the town of Harrison. Mrs. Blom was first married in Sweden and in 1886 came with her husband and their little daughter to the United States, landing at New York with fifty-five dollars remaining out of the savings they had counted on setting them up in a new home on this side. They purposed to join kinfolk in Iowa but when they reached Chicago they had but five dollars remaining. Through the aid of the Scandinavian Colonization Society they were enabled to proceed to Iowa and settled at Arthur, Ida county. In 1891 they came to the coast country and located at Bellingham, where Mr. Braunland  (sic) died in 1895. By her first marriage Mrs. Blom was the mother of five children, namely: Lillian A., who married George Taylor and died in 1907; Margaret J., wife of John Phillips of Seattle; Elroy, who also is living in Seattle; Esther, with of Henry Roeder of Bellingham, and Arthur Braunland, who is farming on Anderson creek. Mr. and Mrs. Blom are members of the Lutheran church and stand for progress and advancement in all that pertains to the social, material, civic and moral interests of the community.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 852-853


Blonden, Frank

    Frank Blonden, proprietor of a well established automobile service station on Elk street in Bellingham and dealer in a general line of automobile accessories and supplies, has been a resident of this county since his boyhood. He was born in the state of Michigan, March 29, 1880, and was but three years of age when in 1883 his parents, Rasmus and Anna Blonden, came to Washington with their family and settled at Tacoma. In 1889 Rasmus Blonden moved with his family to Whatcom county and established himself on a farm in the Lynden neighborhood. He later became engaged in the real estate business in Bellingham and is now living retired in that city, being one of the county's well known pioneers. Mrs. Anna Blonden is deceased.

    Frank Blonden finished his education in the Lynden schools, and he early became familiar with conditions based on the clearing of a woods farm, doing his part in developing the home place. As a young man he became engaged in the confectionery business in Lynden in association with his brother George and was thus engaged until 1918, when he sold his interests in that business to his brother and was for two years thereafter engaged in the poultry business. In September, 1920, Mr. Blonden opened the service station and automobile accessory store he has since been operating at the corner of Elk and Chestnut streets, this station having become one of the most popular in this section.

    Mr. Blonden was united in marriage, in Bellingham, to Miss Ruby McCay, a daughter of Ebenezer McCay, the pioneer stage driver, and they have two children: Margaret and Kenneth Roland. Mr. and Mrs. Blonden are republicans and have ever taken a proper interest in local civic affairs and in the general affairs of the community.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 894


Bloom, Frank M.

    In the record of the laborious struggle for an honorable competence and a solid career on the part of the average man there is little to attract the casual reader in search of a sensational chapter; but to a mind thoroughly awake to the reality and meaning of human existence there are imperishable lessons in the career of an individual who without other means than a clear head, true heart and strong arms, directed and controlled by correct principles and sound judgment, conquers all obstacles and finally wins not only pecuniary independence but, what is far more important, the respect and confidence of those with whom his active years have been spent. In this class stands Frank M. Bloom, of Lynden, whose record since coming to Whatcom county, forty years ago, has been a worthy and honorable one, and for many years he has stood in the front rank of the representative men of his locality. Mr. Bloom was born at Dayton, Ohio, on the 1st of February, 1858, and is a son of Frank and Mary Ann (Altarmatt) Bloom, both of whom were born and reared in Switzerland, where they were married. The father was a wheelwright by trade, and in 1852 this worthy couple came to the United States, locating in Dayton, Ohio, where they spent their remaining years and died.

    Frank M. Bloom secured a good education in the public schools of Dayton, after which he worked with his father for a time. He learned the shoemaker's trade, at which he worked until 1881, when he went to Denver, Colorado, where he was engaged in the shoe business until 1886. In that year he came to Whatcom county and entered a homestead at Northwood (Lynden), the land being heavily timbered and without road or good trail. For nearly two years after locating there he was compelled to pack in all provisions and other necessaries. Wild animals, such as bears, deer, cougars and beavers, were numerous, and the country about him was a veritable wilderness. Mr. Bloom applied himself with vigor to the task of clearing the land and getting it in shape for cultivation, and about forty acres are now cleared. Fortunately, the land was not very wet and but little ditching had to be done. Many years ago Mr. Bloom wisely planted a good orchard, comprising about five hundred trees of apples, pears, cherries and other fruit, and in the course of time they proved a splendid source of income. During the years of his active farm work, however, dairying and gardening were his principal occupations, and he made a distinct success in these lines also. He made many fine improvements on the place, including a comfortable and attractive house and a substantial barn, as well as a good deal of ornamental shrubbery and other items that contributed to the appearance and value of the property. Mr. Bloom's success is remarkable from the fact that before coming here he had never had any experience in farming, and he started under very adverse conditions. At the outset he did not own a team and in clearing his land was compelled to use a team of oxen belonging to a man four miles away. At that time there was only one house between his place and Lynden. In 1920, being a sufferer from rheumatism, Mr. Bloom sold the eighty acres which included the buildings and moved to Lynden, where he is now living, practically retired from active business. Of the eighty acres which he retains, about twenty are cleared, and he is planning to have more of it cleared.

    In 1884, in Denver, Colorado, Mr. Bloom was married to Miss Aline Egley, a native of Switzerland and a daughter of Henry C. and Francisco (Leibe) Egley, also natives of Switzerland, where the father had followed the trade of a blacksmith. They came to Whatcom county about two years before our subject arrived and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres adjoining the Bloom farm. Prior to coming here they had been part of a Swiss colony which had located in Tennessee, but not liking it there they came to Washington. To Mr. and Mrs. Bloom have been born three children, namely: Homer A., of Northwood, who married Miss Freda Boslund and has one child; Frances M., who is the wife of R. C. Richard, of South Bellingham, and has one child; and Wendal M., who is a student in the State Agricultural College at Pullman. Mr. Bloom has long taken an active part in public affairs, having served for many years as road supervisor, while for twenty years he was a member and clerk of the Northwood school board. He was a member of the first board of supervisors of Lynden township and was one of those who built the first school house in this locality in 1889, the building being erected by donated labor. Politically he has been a lifelong democrat and has taken an active part in the councils of that organization, having served as chairman of the democratic state convention in 1904. He was master of Northwood Grange for many years and is now on its executive board, while he is also an officer of the county Grange. He keeps in close touch with the leading issues of the day and is a constant reader and a man of positive opinions, wielding a beneficent influence throughout the community. Courteous and accommodating, kindly and genial, he has long enjoyed an enviable standing throughout the community honored by his citizenship, and he has a host of warm and loyal friends.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 718-719


Blowers, W. J.

    Among the earliest settlers in northwestern Washington was the Blowers family, of which the subject of this sketch is a worthy representative. He himself has had an active part in the development and progress of this locality, and because of his accomplishments, fine public spirit and excellent character, he has long held a high place in the esteem and regard of the entire community. W. J. Blowers was born in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, on the 21st of October, 1853, and is a son of George W. Blowers, who was a native of Washington county, New York, where he carried on farming operations. In 1871 the father brought his family to Washington, locating on Whidbey Island, where he remained until 1900, when he came with the subject to the present homestead, where his death occurred in 1905, at the advanced age of ninety-three years. His wife, whose maiden name was Lydia E. Merritt, was a native of Pennsylvania. Her family had come to this locality in an early day and located at Oak Harbor. George W. and Lydia Blowers had three children - the subject of this sketch; A. D., of Seattle; and Mrs. Ruby Watson, now deceased.

    W. J. Blowers received his education in the public schools of his native state and then devoted himself to working on the home farm. He accompanied the family on their removal to Washington in 1871 and soon afterward located on his maternal grandmother's farm at Oak Harbor, which he operated until the owner's death, when he received the farm by inheritance. He remained there about thirty years altogether, though in later years he also gave some attention to the land on which he now lives and which, comprising one hundred and sixty acres, he had preempted in 1884. At that time there were no roads or other improvements, and his land was in the midst of a wilderness of timber and brush, in which roamed bears, deer and cougars, while there were also plenty of wild geese. He finally proved up on this place and in 1900 came here to live, from that time on devoting himself closely to it. He cleared about eighty acres of the land, which was rich and fertile bottom soil but which required considerable ditching and draining before it was in shape for cultivation. During the war period Mr. Blowers rented his place for about five years but returned to it in the fall of 1918. About 1923 he rented one hundred acres of it to his son, retaining about forty acres for himself, which he cultivates in order to have something to do, though he is now practically retired from active labor. He made many good improvements on the place, which is one of the best farms in this locality, and he has always enjoyed the reputation of a man of progressive and up-to-date ideas.

    In 1898 Mr. Blowers was married to Miss Sarah A. Ferris, who was born in Wisconsin, and they have one child, Alvah Ellis, who lives on the home farm and who was married to Miss Doris Bailey, of Lynden, a sketch of whose family appears elsewhere in this work. To the latter union was born a son, Robert. Mr. Blowers is a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and the Whatcom County Poultry Association. He relates many extremely interesting incidents of early days in this locality and vividly describes conditions as they then existed. Speaking of traveling accommodations, he recalls that on one occasion, desiring to go to Seattle, he walked to Bellingham but arrived there five minutes too late for the boat and had to wait a week for the next boat. In those days he did the most of his trading at Ten Mile or Everson, seldom going to Lynden. He is a man of alert and vigorous mentality and has always kept closely in touch with the public affairs of his community, cooperating at all times with his fellow citizens in all worthy movements and at every opportunity advocating and working for the improvement of local conditions. Because of his public spirit, hospitality, friendly disposition and excellent character, he had held a deservedly high place in the confidence and esteem of all with whom he has come in contact.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 369-370


Blythe, Arthur J.

    Arthur J. Blythe, one of Bellingham's well known business men, has made his home in the city for more than twenty years and throughout this period has been intimately associated with building operations, enjoying an enviable reputation as a plumber. A native of England, he was born in 1881 and is a son of Arthur J. Blythe, Sr. He left the land of his birth when a boy of eleven, going to Canada, and lived for seven years in Montreal. He attended the public schools of that city and in 1903 came to Bellingham. He served an apprenticeship to the plumber's trade and in 1909 was able to start a business of his own, opening a plumbing shop on West Holly street. His trade increased rapidly and in 1920 he sought more commodious quarters, moving to his present location at No. 1313 Railroad avenue. His establishment is twenty-seven and a half by one hundred feet in dimensions, and he employs fifteen experienced men in the busiest season. He carries a full line of plumbing, heating and oil burning equipment, which he has installed in many of the best buildings of Bellingham, and is considered an expert in his line. Mr. Blythe has ever recognized the fact that true commercialism rests upon the foundation of integrity, and on this basis he has developed the largest business of the kind in the city.

    In 1905 Mr. Blythe married Miss Stella Shumway, of Bellingham, and the children of this union are Stewart Steward and Helen. Mr. Blythe is a thirty-second degree Mason and Shriner and is also connected with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He belongs to the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce and exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party. Possessing intelligence, a self-reliant nature and the capacity for hard work, Mr. Blythe has attained his objective, and in winning success he has also gained the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens, for his record is unblemished.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 198


 

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