One of the public-spirited citizens of Ferndale township, Whatcom county, who withholds his cooperation from no movement which is intended to promote public improvement, is L. J. Brunhaver. What he has achieved in life proves the force of his character and illustrates his steadfastness of purpose. His advancement to a position of credit and honor in his locality is the direct outcome of his own persistent and worthy labors, and he is well deserving of the esteem which is accorded him by his fellow citizens. Mr. Brunhaver is a native of Plymouth county, Iowa, where his birth occurred on the 5th of March, 1881, and he is a son of John and Jane (Boterman) Brunhaver. His father was born in Germany, died in 1923, and his mother, who is still living, is a native of this country.
L. J. Brunhaver received a good, practical public school education in his home neighborhood and when old enough took charge of his father's farm, which he ran until it was sold in 1904. He then went to Big Bend, Washington, where he established a livery barn and engaged in breeding horses. In 1908 he homesteaded three hundred and twenty acres of land in the Big Bend and bought enough more to make a total of eight hundred acres, all of which he planted to wheat. He operated that place until 1917, when he sold it and spent a year on the coast. He next bought one hundred and sixty acres of land in the Methow valley, Washington, where he ran a dairy farm for three years, when he traded that property for one hundred and forty acres at Maple Falls, Whatcom county, where he remained one year but still owns the land. In June, 1923, Mr. Brunhaver bought eighty acres in Ferndale township, sixty acres of which was cleared, and he also leases one hundred and eighty acres adjoining the Claud Graham ranch. He has gone into the dairy business and has achieved a pronounced success. He keeps between fifty and sixty head of cows, leasing part of them, some of which are pure-bred Holsteins. He cultivates one hundred and fifty acres of land, and also has five acres in sugar beets, five acres in mangoes, four acres in silo corn, and he plants peas and vetch clover. He has a nicely improved ranch in every respect and is now very comfortably situated, with a gratifying income.
In October, 1909, Mr. Brunhaver was married to Miss Dora Howell, who was born and reared in Kentucky, a daughter of Henry and Alice Howell. They are the parents of five children, John, Harold, George, Roy and Alice. Mr. Brunhaver is a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association, the Whatcom County Farm Bureau and is closely in touch with all phases of community life, being an earnest advocate of all proposed measures for the advancement of the public welfare. He began life practically at the bottom of the ladder, which he has climbed to the top unaided, and has earned the enviable place which he now occupies in the ranks of the leading men of his community.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 597
Bruns, E. H.
This well known citizen is an excellent representative of the better class of farmers in Whatcom county and comes of an ancestry that was an honored one here in pioneer days. When this region was covered with an almost interminable forest of great trees and the woods filled with wild animals, he and his people came west and began to carve homes from the primeval forests, to assist in building schools and churches and to introduce the customs of civilization in the wilderness. They were genuine pioneers, willing to endure hardships in order that they might redeem the soil. It has been this spirit that has caused the great west to be reclaimed, until today the old east looks to it with admiration and respect.
E. H. Bruns was born near Chicago, Illinois, on the 21st of December, 1865, and is a son of B. H. Bruns, a native of Westphalen, Germany, born February 22, 1823, and whose death occurred September 24, 1909, when in the eighty-seventh year of his age. The father was reared and educated in his native land and on July 4, 1843, at the age of twenty years, he came with his father and other members of the family to the United States. One of the chief incentives for the family emigration was the fact that he had reached the age of compulsory military service in Germany, and the only way to evade it was by leaving the country. The party, eight in number, took passage on a sailing vessel, which required nine weeks and four days to make the passage to New Orleans, and during the voyage Grandfather Bruns died and was buried at sea. The party proceeded to Illinois, locating at Dunkel's Grove, eighteen miles from Chicago. B. H. Bruns was a tailor by trade, going from house to house, and whenever his services were required he stayed at that house until his work was done. Later, sensing the greater needs of the people, he became a sash and door maker, and also made coffins. In April, 1870, he left Chicago and came to Whatcom county, Washington, with Governor Solomon's party, and located the land now owned by the family. He then returned to Illinois and on the first day of the ensuing November started with his family for their new western home. They traveled by rail to San Francisco, thence by boat up the coast to Portland, Oregon, where he hired a farmer's light wagon, into which the party of seven, with their most necessary baggage, crowded, and they drove to Olympia, the journey requiring a week. The subject's uncle had established a home on Fidalgo island and thee the members of the family remained almost two months while the older members came onto the homestead and built a house, into which the family moved February 22, 1871. Mr. Bruns bought one thousand and twenty-two acres of "offered" land on Birch bay, comprising the present Bruns land, for which he paid one dollar an acre. This land had been to some extent occupied during the Frazier gold excitement, the former tenants leaving two small log cabins, but the Bruns family were among the very first permanent settlers in this locality. On the north side of Semiahmoo lived a man named Harris, who had an Indian wife and several children. He tried to dissuade Mr. Bruns from settling near him, as he wanted to be alone, but eventually the two families became well acquainted and he proved a good friend.
To B. H. Bruns and his wife were born four children, namely: Wilhemina S., who became the wife of E. P. Julien and died in 1923; F. A., who lives at Semiahmoo; Mrs. Emma A. Morgan, of Semiahmoo; and E. H., the immediate subject of this sketch. B. H. Bruns was a man of fine public spirit and contributed in every possible way to the development of his locality and the advancement of its best interests. With his neighbors he helped to build the first log school house in the district, and they also constructed desks, benches and other requisite furniture. He was a man of rugged character, sterling integrity and a neighborly and hospitable spirit that gained for him the respect and good will of the entire community. His never-failing interest in the welfare of his neighbors, his generous attitude toward all worthy causes, his success and his likable character elicited the admiration of all, and his death, in 1909, was a cause of sincere regret throughout his wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
E. H. Bruns, who now controls and operates five hundred and sixty-eight acres of the old homestead, was reared here and received his education under the somewhat unfavorable conditions which existed in those early days. He was compelled to walk four miles to his first school at California creek, where about ten pupils were in attendance. Later he walked three miles to another school at Drayton bay; then, at the age of sixteen years, he was sent to a private school at Ferndale, which he attended for five months. In 1883 he had six months of attendance at the territorial university, and in 1886 he attended a semi-private school at Birch bay for five months. He worked hard for his education, which has through the subsequent years been liberally supplemented by much close and thoughtful reading, which, with his keen observation of men and events, has made him a man of wide and accurate information. He has three hundred acres of his land cleared and in cultivation, almost one hundred and eighty acres of his holdings being tide land. He has spent practically all his life on the home farm, assisting his father up to the latter's death, and is numbered among the enterprising and successful farmers of the locality. He carries on a diversified system of farming, raising the usual field crops and vegetables, and he keeps some sheep, a good herd of dairy cows and a fine flock of Barred Plymouth Rock chickens. The farm is well improved in every essential respect and is a most desirable property.
On April 20, 1892, Mr. Bruns was married to Miss Jane Shields, who was born at Manson, Calhoun county, Iowa, a daughter of Henry and Sophia (Herbst) Shields, who are referred to at length in the sketch of R. J. Shields, on other pages of this work. Sophia Herbst was born in Lubtz, Mecklenberg, Germany, September 20, 1832, and died August 25, 1925. On October 2, 1851, she was married to Henry Shields, who preceded her to the United States. Mrs. Bruns arrived in this country in 1876, when five years old, and received her education in the public schools of this country. She came to San Francisco by rail, going thence by boat to Bellingham, Washington, being transported from the steamer to the shore in an Indian canoe. To Mr. and Mrs. Bruns were born four children, namely: Gladys, who became the wife of Walter Cowderoy, of Blaine; E. Bernhardt, who lives on the home place and who was married to Miss Gold Burr, of Iowa; Elaine, who became the wife of P. J. Shintaffer, of Semiahmoo, and has two children; and Helen, who is unmarried and lives in Bellingham. Mr. Bruns has always taken a deep interest in everything pertaining to the progress and welfare of the community in which he lives, having served two terms as township supervisor and several terms as a member of the school board. He is a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and the Whatcom County Poultry Association. A man of splendid character, steady and industrious habits, fine public spirit and a likable personality, Mr. Bruns has long enjoyed an enviable standing among the enterprising and influential men of his locality.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 215-216
Bruns, John R.
John Reese Bruns, who represents one of the old and highly esteemed families of Acme township, is devoting his energies to the cultivation of the soil and ably continues the work begun by his father. He was born in Whatcom county in 1893 and his parents, John and Sallie (Cox) Bruns, were married in Acme township. The father was a native of Germany and the mother's birth occurred in Tennessee. John Bruns came to Whatcom county about 1883 and took up the first homestead on the south fork of the Nooksack valley. He hewed a farm out of the wilderness and with the assistance of Julius Ulrick [Ulrich] made the first trail in this locality. He possessed the true spirit of the pioneer, looking ever beyond the trials and difficulties of the moment to the opportunities and possibilities of the future, and eventually brought his land to a high state of development. He served on the school board and was actuated at all times by unselfish motives and high ideals. He was removed from his sphere of usefulness in 1907 and is survived by the mother. Their daughter, Anna Meta, is the wife of H. N. Lints, who is operating a portion of the Bruns homestead.
John R. Bruns was educated in the public schools of Whatcom county and has always lived on the home farm, of which he now has charge. He is thoroughly familiar with agricultural conditions in this section and knows the best methods of coping with them. He brings to his daily tasks an intelligent, open and liberal mind and keeps in close touch with all new developments in his line of work. He follows an independent course in politics, voting according to the dictates of his judgment, and is a young man of progressive ideas and exemplary character, esteemed and respected by the residents of this locality, with whom his life has been spent.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 668
Bruns, O. J.
O. J. Bruns owns and operates a fine ranch in the vicinity of Everson and is one of the progressive agriculturists who are the hope and strength of the state. He was born in Iowa, March 9, 1863, and his parents, U. I. and Catherine (Feizman) Bruns, were both natives of Germany. They were pioneer settlers of Iowa, establishing their home in the state in the early '60s, and in later life migrated to Washington, where both passed away.
O. J. Bruns was reared on his father's farm and received a public school education. When thirty-two years of age he embarked in merchandising at Lake Park, Iowa, and conducted the business for about four years. In 1899 he came to Washington, opening a store at Lopez, and also operated a sawmill. He was very successful in his undertakings and at one time was the owner of several farms in San Juan county. In 1920 he disposed of his holdings in that section and came to Whatcom county, purchasing a tract of fifty-eight acres in Lawrence township. He has since lived on this place and the rich soil produces abundant crops. He is an expert agriculturist and brings to his occupation an intelligent, open and liberal mind that takes cognizance of all modern developments in the lines in which he specializes. He is engaged in general farming and also has a fine dairy.
In 1895 Mr. Bruns married Miss Myra Adkins, a native of England and a daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Gates) Adkins, early settlers of Iowa. To Mr. and Mrs. Bruns were born four children: Ethel, the wife of Russell Scull; Leslie, a resident of Tacoma, Washington; Sarah, the wife of L. E. Dillman, also of Tacoma; and Oliver, at home. Mr. Bruns is allied with the republican party, and while living at Lopez he filled the office of postmaster, also serving as justice of the peace. He has faithfully discharged every trust reposed in him, whether of a public or private nature, and stands deservedly high in the esteem of his fellowmen.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 545-546
Brunson, George A.
George A. Brunson, one of the well established landowners and dairymen of Mountain View township, owning a well kept place on rural mail route No. 2 out of Ferndale, is a Nebraskan by birth but has been a resident of the coast country since the days of his childhood, being a member of one of the pioneer families. He was born on a farm in the vicinity of Omaha, May 19, 1877, and is a son of Franklin and Elmira Olive (Cook) Brunson.
The father, one of the honored pioneers of Mountain View township, was married in Nebraska after previous experience in farming in Canada and in Illinois, and continued to make his home in Nebraska until 1883, when he disposed of his holdings there and with his family came to Bellingham, Washington, then known as Sehome. In that year he entered his claim to a quarter section in what now is Mountain View township and on that place, then in its primitive wilderness state, established his home and settled down to the difficult task of clearing and improving his land, in time making a good piece of property of it. He later sold this tract and took over an "eighty" lying partly in Mountain View township and partly in Custer township, which following his death was distributed equally among his four surviving children. Franklin Brunson was one of the influential citizens of his township and ever took an interested part in local public affairs. For several years he was a member of the school board and at one time was his party's nominee for county commissioner, losing out by but ten votes. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He died on his farm April 25, 1923, and is survived by his widow who is now Mrs. D. C. Haynes. To him and his wife were born seven children, of whom George A. is the eldest, the others being: Ralph, who is now engaged in the grocery business at Anacortes; Harry, who died when a child, not long after the family came to this county; Nannie, who married Frank Cook and died in Pennsylvania; Frank, a veteran of the World war, now engaged in farming in Mountain View township; Lloyd, a homesteader in Montana, who died there during the prevalence of the influenza epidemic in 1918; and Pansy, who married Robert E. Tucker and is now living at Glendale, California, where she is engaged in community welfare service.
George A. Brunson was but six years of age when his parents with their family settled here in 1883 and he thus was reared in this county, attending the Custer, Pleasant Valley and Enterprise schools. He remained with his father on the farm until some time after he had attained his majority and in 1901, took up the trade of machinist and in that capacity became employed at Baker, Oregon, where he was employed at his trade until the time of his father's death in 1923. He then returned to Whatcom county and has since been engaged in dairy farming on that portion of the home place to which by inheritance he came into possession. He has a good herd, Jerseys and Guernseys, and is developing a good dairy plant. He also has a well developed orchard of three acres, apples and pears, and his place is otherwise well improved. Mr. Brunson is a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and is also affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Woodmen of the World.
In 1904, at Baker, Oregon, Mr. Brunson was united in marriage to Miss Cleora McMurren and they have two daughters, Helen and Edith, both of whom (1926) are students in the high school. Mrs. Brunson was born at Baker and is a daughter of William McMurren, one of the pioneers of Oregon, who had crossed the plains as a young man in the late '60s and in time became established at Baker.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 884
Bryant, Bernice (Foster)
Mrs. Bernice Foster Bryant, widow of Harry W. Bryant and for years a resident of Whatcom county, now residing at 2515 Meridian street in the city of Bellingham, was born at Gualala in the state of California and is a daughter of C. R. and Jennie M. (Albee) Foster, both of whom were born in Machiasport, Maine. The former, now a resident of Bellingham, is a veteran of the Civil war, his service having been rendered in the navy. In 1866 C. R. Foster came to the coast by way of the Isthmus, and settled in Mendocino county, California, where he engaged in the lumber business until 1880, when he came to Washington Territory and located in Seattle, where he was employed as a stationary engineer. In 1904 Mrs. Bryant's mother died and in 1909 her father came to Whatcom county and bought a small tract of land about two miles out of Bellingham, there making his home until his retirement in 1921 and his removal to Bellingham, where he now lives. They had two children, Mrs. Bryant and a sister, now deceased. Mr. Foster is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and also is affiliated with the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
Bernice Foster was but a child when her parents took up their residence in Seattle and she was there reared, receiving her education in the public schools. On April 3, 1899, she married Harry W. Bryant, a railroad man (locomotive fireman), connected with the train service of the Great Northern Railroad Company, who later became shipping clerk in the dock offices of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company in Seattle, and who died April 24, 1904. Mrs. Bryant has two children, a son, Clyde F., a veteran of the World war, and a daughter, Nina Q., who married Roy A. Foster, of Bellingham, now has two daughters, Loretta Jean and Florence Irene. Clyde F. Bryant, now serving as fourth officer on the steamer "President Jackson," out of Seattle in the Orient trade, rendered service in the navy during the time of this country's participation in the World war. He is a member of the Masonic order. Mrs. Bryant is a member of the Congregational church and is a republican.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 310
Brys, Charles L.
There are few farmers of western Whatcom county who have met with more encouraging success here than has Charles L. Brys, of Ferndale township, who has contributed largely to the material welfare of the community in which he resides, being a modern agriculturist and as a citizen public-spirited and progressive in all that the terms imply. Mr. Brys is a native of Normandy, France, and he was born June 5, 1870, a son of Joseph and Philemena (Buscort) Brys, both of whom were natives of Belgium. The father brought his family to the United States in 1871 and settled in Michigan, where he remained until 1874, when he went to Nevada, and he was employed in the gold mines at Virginia City, being there at the time of the great fire of 1874. He remained there until 1882, when he came to Ferndale, Whatcom county, and took up a homestead three miles north of that place. His land was densely covered with brush and timber, but he cleared off a good part of it and lived there until 1902, when he retired, and he now makes his home with his daughter, Mrs. Charles F. Timerman, of Ferndale township, being at this time eighty-eight years of age. His wife died in November, 1900. They became the parents of six children: Frank, Emily, Charles L., and John and two who died in infancy in Belgium. The three children first named were born in France.
Charles L. Brys was but a baby when brought to this country, and he secured his education in the public schools of Virginia City, Nevada. He came to Ferndale with his parents in 1882 and assisted his father in the clearing of the farm. He then went to Seattle and was employed as a carpenter for two years, at the end of which time he returned to Ferndale and acquired forty acres of his father's farm, all being heavily timbered. He cleared this land, developed a good farm and is still living there, having been successful in his farming operations. Twenty acres of the tract are entirely cleared, the remainder partly so. The cultivated land is devoted to hay, grain and root crops, and he also maintains a fine garden. He keeps eight fine, pure bred Jersey cows and several young animals. He has been an untiring worker, doing thoroughly whatever he undertakes, and the prosperity which has crowned his efforts has been well deserved. He exercises sound judgment and discrimination in all of his business affairs and has earned a reputation among his fellow agriculturists as an up-to-date and progressive citizen. He is not neglectful of his duties to the community, giving earnest support to every measure for the betterment of the public welfare and cooperating in all good work in the locality. He is a man of friendly manner, accommodating to his neighbors, and is extremely popular among those with whom he associates.
On November 28, 1896, Mr. Brys was married to Miss Elizabeth C. Batstone, who was born in Line county, England, a daughter of James and Caroline (Bond) Batstone. Her parents were also natives of England, and they brought their family to the United States in 1872, locating in Detroit, Michigan, where the father followed the cabinetmaking trade until 1874. In that year he went to Oakland, California, where he remained for two years, and then went to Melbourne, Australia, where he also lived for two years, followed by a similar period in England. In 1880 he returned to California, where he remained but a short time, going thence to Victoria, British Columbia, where he lived one year. He next went to Seattle, where he superintended the construction of a large building, and remained in that city three years. He then came to Ferndale and bought forty acres of land, to which he later added eighty acres across the road. It was all covered with timber and brush, and he cleared about two-thirds of the tract, building a fine house and substantial barn. He kept that ranch until 1903, when he moved to Vancouver, British columbia, building two houses there, and retired. He lived there until 1913, when he went to Kent, Washington, and bought a small ranch, on which he built a splendid home, and there he spent his remaining days, his death occurring March 17, 1924. He is survived by his widow. He was a man of marked force of character and was one of the organizers of the Young Men's Christian Association in Seattle. He was a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal church and was a man of prominence and influence. To him and his wife were born thirteen children, namely: James E., who lives in Alaska; Charles R., of Port Angeles, Washington; Elizabeth C., Mrs. Brys; Horace J., of Puyallup, Washington; Mrs. H. Collins, of Seattle; George, deceased; Mrs. Gertrude B. Rossell, of Kent, Washington; Mrs. R. N. Leezer, of Seattle; Alice, deceased; George H., of Kent, Washington; Frank H., deceased; Roy C., of Washington; and Mildred, deceased.
To Mr. and Mrs. Brys has been born a daughter, Mrs. Merl C. Frisbie, of Bellingham, where Mr. Frisbie is in the employ of the Diehl Motor Company. they have two children: Dale L., born June 28, 1923; and Allene M., born June 26, 1925. Fraternally Mr. Brys is a member of the Knights of Pythias at Ferndale, and he also belongs to the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and the Whatcom County Farm Bureau.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 939-940