Crabtree, B. C.
In nearly every community there are individuals who by innate ability and force of character rise above their fellows and win for themselves conspicuous places in public esteem. In this category is B. C. Crabtree, who has been identified with the history of Whatcom county for over thirty-five years, his mature life having been closely interwoven with the growth and development of the northwestern part of the county, while his career as a progressive man of affairs has been synonymous with all that is honorable and upright in citizenship. Mr. Crabtree is a native of Illinois, and he was born in 1864, a son of George and Jane (Fillmore) Crabtree. The family came to Lynden, Whatcom county, in 1889 and remained here six years.
B. C. Crabtree did not come in the family party. He accompanied a load of cattle and came by the way of Sehome, and it took him from nine o'clock in the morning until ten o'clock that evening the drive the cattle from that place to Lynden. In crossing the river he used the ferry which was located about a half mile below the present Guide Meridian bridge. He also brought a team of horses with him and for about six years after his arrival was engaged in teaming and freighting. The first day he was here he hauled sawdust for a Mr. Judson, and he was the only teamster here for some time afterward. Eventually he bought twenty acres of land where his present home is located, and while living in Lynden he made a number of improvements on the place, including the erection of a house and barn. About 1895 he moved out to the farm and has since remained there, operating the place and teaming when his services are required. When he came to this locality the Guide Meridian road had not been constructed, but he cleared the site of the road in order to reach his place. The timber had been burned from his land, but it was incumbered (sic) with young trees and brush, and a good deal of hard work was necessary before the tract was ready for cultivation. Mr. Crabtree now has eighty acres of good land all cleared and producing splendid crops. Altogether he has bought and cleared almost one hundred acres in Delta township, which land is owned by his children. He is giving his main attention to dairying, keeping thirty registered Jersey cows, comprising one of the finest herds in Whatcom county. He raises his own hay and grain and usually has several acres in potatoes. He also keeps two hundred Buff Orpington hens and has been very successful in the chicken business.
In 1888 Mr. Crabtree was married to Miss Mary Handy, who was born in Minnesota, and they became the parents of six children, all of who were born in this county, namely: Arthur, of Delta, who is married and has six children; Mrs. Laura Cole, of Great View, Washington, who is the mother of three children; Harry, of Delta, who is married and has three children; May, at home; and two who died in childhood. They also have adopted and reared two children, Henry and Katherine, to whom they have given the same careful attention that they have to their own sons and daughters. Mr. Crabtree is a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association, of which he was a director for three years; belongs to the Whatcom County Poultry Association and was a director and for a number of years president of the old Lynden Creamery. He is a good business man, exercising sound judgment in all of his affairs, and the success that he has achieved has been well merited.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 131
Craft, Simon J.
Simon J. Craft is proprietor of the largest shoe store in Bellingham and has the distinction of being the oldest merchant in continuous service in that city, having been engaged in business here from the days before there even was a Bellingham, his first store having been opened in 1889 in Fairhaven. In 1891, the year in which "new" and "old" Whatcom were consolidated under the name of New Whatcom, he moved his shoe store to the latter place and was there in 1901, when by legislative enactment this name lost its "New" and became simply Whatcom, a name that in turn was lost two years later, when in 1903 Fairhaven and Whatcom were consolidated and incorporated under the present name of Bellingham.
Mr. Craft thus has been a witness to and a participant in the various changes which have been made both in municipal and material development here and has been an influential and helpful factor in that progress, one of the real veterans in the commercial life of this favored region.
Mr. Craft was born in the city of Geneseo, McHenry county, Illinois, in 1868, and in that year his parents, S. J. and Elizabeth Craft, moved to Fairbault, Minnesota. The father has passed away and his widow is now a resident of Mason City, Iowa. Simon J. Craft was a thorough student in his boyhood and after preparing for college was sent to Notre Dame University, where he was graduated in 1889, the year in which he attained his majority. Attracted by the glowing reports then reaching eastern points regarding the development of the west he came to the coast immediately following his graduation and was employed as bookkeeper in a mercantile establishment in Seattle, but had not been there long until he and John O'Brien, attracted by the promise of rapid development in the Bay country came up here and in the fall of 1889 opened a shoe store in the Fairhaven settlement. The change to the Whatcom side two years later has been noted above, Mr. Craft's store there having been established at the corner of Holly street and Railroad avenue. In 1919 he moved his store to its present advantageous site at 126 East Holly street, where he has what is recognized as the largest and most complete line of footwear in the city. As the oldest merchant in continuous business in Bellingham Mr. Craft has the history of commercial development here "at his tongue's end," and when in a reminiscent mood has many a good story to tell of the changes he has witnessed during more than thirty-five years of mercantile experience here. As a matter of interesting historical reference it may be said that Mr. Craft was the owner of the first automobile brought to Bellingham, a two-cylinder Ford car he bought in 1905 and which was an object of great local interest until other cars presently began to come in and detract from that initial glory. Mr. Craft has done well in business and in addition to his store has other interests of a substantial character, including a fine ranch, and is one of the influential stockholders of the First National Bank of Bellingham.
On the 3d of September, 1890, at Waseca, Minnesota, Mr. Craft was united in marriage to Miss Mae Burke, who was born in Minnesota, daughter of John and Ellen Burke, whose last days were spent in Portland, Oregon. Mr. and Mrs. Craft have a daughter, Elizabeth, who married John N. Cox, Jr., of Waycross, Georgia, now in the United States navy, and has a son, Robert Cox. Mr. and Mrs. Craft are members of the Roman Catholic church and have ever been helpful in promoting local parish affairs. Mr. Craft is a veteran member of the local council of the Knights of Columbus and is one of the trustees of the Bellingham Golf and Country Club. He is an active member of the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Cougar Club and of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. Politically he is a republican.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 509-510
That period of the nineteenth century embracing the two decades between 1880 and 1900 was characterized by the immigration into Whatcom county of the pioneer element which has made the county very largely what it is today. These newcomers were heroic, study and sincere people, such as constitute the strength of the commonwealth. It scarcely appears probably that in the future another like period can occur, when such a solid phalanx of strong-minded, brawny-armed men and noble, self-sacrificing women will take possession of a new country. The period to which reference is made, therefore, cannot be too much or too well written up, and the only way to do proper justice to it is to record the lives of those who led the van of civilization and laid the foundations on which the present prosperous communities are built. Among these sterling pioneers stands William Crawford, Sr., who is still, at the age of eighty years, comparatively hale and hearty and holds an honored place in his community. Mr. Crawford was born in Ontario, Canada, on the 3d of January, 1846, and is a son of William and Margaret Ann Crawford, both of whom were of Scottish birth. They came to Canada about 1815, and there the father followed the carpenter's trade for many years, he and his wife dying in Ontario. Of the six children born to them, three are now living, namely: William, the subject of this sketch; Mrs. Margaret Ann McGuire, who lives in Lanark, Ontario, Canada; and Mrs. Sarah Ellen Derew, who lives in Kansas.
William Crawford, the immediate subject, received his education in the public schools of Lanark, Ontario, Canada, and then engaged in the lumber business, which commanded his attention until 1888, when he came to Whatcom county, Washington, and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land in Delta township, seven miles east of Blaine. The tract was densely covered with brush and stumps, the only improvement on the place being a small cabin. Mr. Crawford at once applied himself to the task of clearing the land and preparing it for cultivation, a tremendous task in view of the conditions which existed. His labors were finally rewarded and he developed the tract into a good farm, where he raised excellent crops of hay and grain. He kept eight good grade cows and about one hundred and fifty laying hens, and he enjoyed a satisfactory measure of prosperity. Eventually, feeling the weight of years, he sold a part of the homestead, retaining sixty acres, about twenty acres of which are cleared, the remainder being devoted to pasture. In 1893 Mr. Crawford built a fine house, containing nine rooms, bath and cemented cellar. In 1891 he built a good barn of split cedar lumber, cut from trees that stood on his place. At that time sawmills were scarce and the roads were too rough to permit the hauling of heavy loads over them. Mr. Crawford has rented his farm, and he and his good wife are living with their son, who is unmarried and is glad to have them with him.
On July 31, 1871, Mr. Crawford was married to Miss Eliza Ann Ferguson, who was born in Renfrew county, Ontario, Canada, a daughter of Robert and Mary Jane (Jenkins) Ferguson, the latter of whom also was a native of Canada. Her father, who was a native of Scotland, came to Canada in 1815 and settled in Renfrew county, where he followed the vocation of farming, being a pioneer of that locality, and there he and his wife died. Mr. Ferguson was twice married and was the father of seventeen children, twelve children being born to his first wife and five to the second. Of this large family, thirteen are now living, namely: Eliza Ann (Mrs. Crawford), George, Robert, Peter, John, James, Adam, Benjamin, Martha, Jessie, Laura, Agnes and Harry. Martha now lives on the old Ferguson homestead in Canada. To Mr. and Mrs. Crawford have been born two children: Mrs. Jane Eckford, who lives on a farm near Blaine, is the mother of three children; Henry, who is married and lives in Tacoma; Walter, who lives in California; and Roberta, who is at home. William, Jr., who was born in Canada, is now the owner of eighty acres of land in Delta township, fifty acres of which are cleared. He milks twelve cows and has been very successful and farmer and dairyman.
The senior Mr. Crawford has been a witness of and an active participant in the splendid development of Whatcom county in the last thirty-five years and is able to recite many interesting reminiscences of the early days here, when privation and hardship were the lot of all who pioneered in this locality. But none regrets those days, for the later years have compensated them for their early struggles and today none are held in higher esteem that are those "old timers," whose vision of the future held them true to their tasks. Mr. Crawford is a kindly and congenial gentleman, whose record in this community has been such as to gain for him the unbounded confidence and respect of all who know him, and he is clearly entitled to representation in the permanent record of the annals of his county.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 867-868
Creasey, William L.
William L Creasey, one of the pioneers of Whatcom County and proprietor of a well improved farm in Custer township, with residence on rural mail route No. 1 out of Custer, was former assessor of that township and is now acting assessor, and is one of the best known men in that section of the county. He is a native of England but has been a resident of this country since the clays of his young manhood and of Washington for more than forty years and is thoroughly American in spirit and interests. He was born in the coal mining region of Lincolnshire, England, October 1, 1858, a son of Henry and Mary (Skelton) Creasey, both of whom were born in Lincolnshire and whose last days were spent in Whatcom County, of which they became pioneers in 1882. Henry Creasey came to this country with his family in 1879 and located at Streator, LaSalle County, Illinois, where he and his five sons were employed in the coal mines. He was a coal miner in his home country and his sons also grew up familiar with mine operations. Two years later he moved with his family to the coal region of Colorado and after a season's residence there came to Washington with his family and homesteaded in Pleasant Valley in this county, where he spent the remainder of his days.
The year in which the Creaseys came to the United States was the year in which William L. Creasey attained his majority. He had had a hard and bitter apprenticeship at coal mining. His family was so ill circumstanced that it was necessary for all hands, from childhood, to do their part in family maintenance. When he was nine years of age his schooling stopped and he was put to work on a farm, doing "boy's work" and tending sheep. When he was twelve his parents moved to Derbyshire and he there worked on a twelve-hour shift down in the mines. When the family settled in Illinois he worked in the mines there, in Colorado the same, and when they came here he was employed in the mines at Carbonado, Pierce County. In the next year he and his brother, Walter Creasey, entered claims to adjoining homestead tracts in Custer township, this county, and he gave up mining forever. That was in 1883 and Mr. Creasey has thus for more than forty years been a resident of that section, during this time developing a good piece of property. When he took hold of the claim the land was undeveloped and the difficult task of clearing fell to him. Nor was there any road to the place then, his nearest outlet to the highway being at the present Edward Brown place. Wild game then was abundant and there was an ever present element of adventure in the job of pioneering which he had undertaken. Mr. Creasey has many interesting stories to tell of those early days. Several years ago he turned the old place over to his sons and built for himself and wife a new home north of the old one, where they are quite pleasantly situated. His chief attention of late years has been given to dairying and he has a fine herd of about fifteen dairy cattle. He also has a good orchard of about five hundred trees on his father's old homestead tract- one of the oldest and best orchards in that section.
Since taking up his residence here Mr. Creasey has given helpful attention to local civic affairs. He assisted in building the first schoolhouse in his district and was for years a member of the local school board. For several terms he served as township assessor and is now serving as acting assessor under appointment to fill the term to which his son, George E. Creasey, was elected but was unable to fill owing to illness.
Mr. Creasey has been twice married. In 1891, at Pleasant Valley in this county, he was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Clayton, also a native of England, and to that union were born four sons, Walter Henry, Cecil C., William Ralph and George Earnest, the last named living on the old home place, having recently been elected assessor of Custer township. Walter Henry Creasey, whose name adorns the "gold star" roster of Whatcom county's heroes in the World war, was born on the home place June 4, 1893, and was killed in action in France July 31, 1918, while serving as a soldier of the American Expeditionary Forces, a courier attached to Company A, Wisconsin Division of the army, and is buried in a military cemetery in France. Cecil C. Creasey, the second son, also enlisted and went to Camp Lewis, but was rejected on account of an accidental mutilation of one of his hands. He is taking part in the operations of the home farm. William R., the third son, also living on the old home place, married Miss Nettie Dodds and has three children, Wilma E., Ralph C. and Francis Lee. Mrs. Elizabeth Creasey died in November, 1918, during the prevalence of the dreadful epidemic of influenza which swept the country in that fateful year, and Mr. Creasey has since married Mrs. Minnie (Baker) Mathews, widow of John Mathews. Mrs. Creasey was born in Dodge County, Minnesota, and has been a resident of Whatcom County since 1900.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 443-444
Creek, Clyde B.
At an early age Clyde B. Creek manifested that spirit of self-reliance so essential to success in all lines of endeavor, and his energy and ambition, reinforced by natural ability, have place him with Bellingham's foremost business men. A son of Abraham and Elia Creek, he was born February 25, 1881, and is a native of Clinton county, Missouri. His father has passed away, and the mother still lives in Missouri.
Mr. Creek spent his boyhood on his father's farm and received a public school education. At the age of seventeen he left home and has since depended upon his own resources for a livelihood. He came to Whatcom county in 1898 and obtained work in a livery barn at Blaine. He was eager to advance and completed a course in the Wilson Commercial College. Subsequently he engaged in contracting and other lines of business and since 1918 has been president of the Model Truck & Storage Company. The other officers are J. K. Kruger, vice president, and A. G. Larson, secretary and treasurer. The business was established about 1895 by J. J. Larson, who in 1902 erected the present building at Nos. 1328-30 State street. This is a substantial brick structure, three stories in height and fifty-five by one hundred and twenty-five feet in dimensions. The upper floors are used for storage purposes and the firm operates a fleet of ten trucks, five of which are of the large type. The concern was conducted under the name of the Larson Livery & Transfer Company until 1918, when the present style was adopted. Mr. Creek is at the head of the oldest and largest corporation of the kind in Bellingham, and for eight years he has wisely and successfully guided its destiny, possessing the foresight, initiative, mature judgment and administrative power of the true executive.
Mr. Creek was united in marriage to Miss Cora Alice Brown, of Custer, Washington, a daughter of Edward Brown. Mr. Creek is a member of the Kiwanis Club and the Chamber of Commerce and is a republican in his political views. He is interested in all matters of public moment and is highly esteemed in business circles of Bellingham, for he has never deviated from the course of honor and integrity.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 741
Crombie, James McL.
One of the productive farms in the vicinity of Bellingham is the property of James McL. Crombie, for eighteen years a resident of this locality and a self-made man in the best sense of the term. He was born December 18, 1874, in Fort Glasgow, Scotland, and his parents, Thomas and Margaret (McLochlan) Crombie, are both deceased. In their family were ten children: Daniel, who makes his home in Scotland; James McL., John, Mary and Sarah, all of Scotland; Agnes, who has passed away; Elizabeth, who still lives in her native land; Robert, a resident of Ontario, Canada; and Thomas and Margaret, both deceased.
For eight years, Mr. Crombie attended the schools of Fort Glasgow, and after completing his studies he served an apprenticeship to the carpenter's trade. He worked in the shipyard at Fort Glasgow until 1901 and then came to the United States. He lived first in Syracuse, New York, going from there to Buffalo, and later to Toronto, Canada. Subsequently he returned to Buffalo and in 1908 came to northwestern Washington. He purchased a tract of twenty acres near Bellingham, ten acres of which had been cleared. He now has thirteen acres under cultivation and owns some of the richest soil in this section of the county. His farm produces hay, vegetables and fruit in abundance and he has also found poultry raising a profitable industry. He still works at his trade at intervals and has acquired the skill that results from years of practical experience.
Mr. Crombie was married, January 20, 1903, in Buffalo, New York, to Miss Elizabeth S. Thomas, whose father was shipping clerk for a large business corporation of that city. To their union were born three children: James, who aids his father in the operation of the homestead; Douglas, who died in 1921 as the result of an operation; and Annie, a student who resides with her parents. Mrs. Crombie is an officer in the Salvation Army and her husband and son are members of the local band of that organization. Mr. Crombie joined the Independent Order of Odd Fellows which in the east and is a republican in his political convictions but has never sought public office. Modest and unassuming, he has performed his duty as it appeared to him, and his genuine worth is recognized and appreciated by all with whom he has been associated in the varied relations of life.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 910
Cruikshank, Norman P.
In former years Norman P. Cruikshank was well known to baseball fans of the west, owning to his prowess in the national sport, and his name now figures prominently in business circles of Bellingham as a dealer in automobile accessories. A son of Andrew and Paulina (Franklin) Cruikshank, he was born January 6, 1882, in Delano, Minnesota, and in 1902 came with his parents to Bellingham, were the mother still resides. The father was a Union veteran and followed the trade of a carpenter as a life work. Norman P. Cruikshank received a public school education and afterward became a cigar maker. For fifteen years he devoted his attention to that line of work, in which he became very proficient, and later chose the career of a professional baseball player. His work in that connection took him to South Bend, Indiana; Waterloo, Iowa; Sioux City, Iowa; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon, and Saskatoon, Canada. He was regarded as one of the best players in the northwest, and he afterward conducted the Elks Baseball Club of Bellingham for two years. In 1915 he retired from the profession and joined Charles M. Tabor in the wholesale tire business, with which they were connected for two years. Since 1917 they have devoted their energies to the sale of automotive equipment, catering to the wholesale trade, and are now conducting a business of large proportions. The firm of Tabor & Cruikshank has established an enviable reputation for enterprise and probity and conducts the only business of the kind in Bellingham.
Mr. Cruikshank belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, and he is a thirty-second degree Mason and Shriner, now serving as worshipful master of Whatcom Lodge No. 151, F. & A. M. He is a member of the Bellingham Country Club and is serving on the board of directors of the Kiwanis Club. He is one of the earnest members of the Chamber of Commerce and his political allegiance is given to the republican party. Mr. Cruikshank is a man of high principles and possesses a pleasing personality which has won him many friends throughout the Pacific coast region.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 217
Culmer, Arthur Basil
Arthur Basil Culmer, deputy collector of internal revenue, with offices in the federal building at Bellingham, is thoroughly imbued with western energy an determination, and he also had to his credit a fine military record. He was born April 23, 1879, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and his parents, William H. and Mary Jane (Butters) Culmer, were natives of England. They were among the early settlers of Utah and the father became well known as a statistician, architect and builder. He located in Bellingham in 1899 and in September, 1901, his wife joined him in this city, bringing their two children, a son and daughter. The mother has passed away and William H. Culmer now makes his home in San Diego, California.
Arthur B. Culmer received his higher education in the Utah Agricultural College and was graduated with the class of 1900, winning the degree of Civil Engineer. After coming to Bellingham he was in the men's furnishing goods business for five years, after which he obtained a position in the office of the city engineer and was there employed until 1917, when his patriotic spirit prompted him to offer his aid to the nation in its hour of peril. He joined the Twenty-third United States Engineers, with which he went to the front, and spent sixteen months abroad. His term of service covered twenty-two months, and he now holds the rank of second lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps. In February, 1920, he was appointed deputy collector of internal revenue and has since filled this office of trust, having charge of Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties. He give to the government the best service of which he is capable and his reward is the reputation that results from duty well and faithfully performed.
On September 27, 1923, Mr. Culmer was united in marriage to Miss Jennie Shives, a native of Missouri and a daughter of William Shives. Mr. Culmer belongs to the American Legion and along fraternal lines is connected with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, while his political allegiance is given to the republican party. He loyally supports every movement destined to prove of benefit to the community and measures up to the full stature of American manhood and citizenship.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 43
Culver, O. H.
O. H. Culver, United States customs commissioner at Bellingham, has long been identified with this branch of government service and has also achieved prominence in other walks of life. A native of Vermont, he was born in 1862, and when fourteen years of age he went to Iowa with his parents, George Nelson and Diana L. (Akins) Culver, who later migrated to North Dakota. There the father entered the field of finance, becoming secretary of the North Dakota Loan & Trust Company. Later he engaged in merchandising in Idaho, and in 1890 he came to Washington and for many years operated a farm on Orcas island. He passed away in Bellingham.
O. H. Culver completed his studies in the University of Minnesota, and for two years was principal of the high school at Jamestown, North Dakota. He first came to Washington in 1884, on a vacation trip, and was much pleased with this section of the country. He was in northern Idaho from 1884 until 1889, devoting his attention to the publication of a newspaper, and in the latter year was appointed registrar of a United States land office. He resigned the position soon afterward and in June, 1890, arrived in Tacoma, Washington. In August of that year he located in Fairhaven, and he was made secretary of its first Chamber of Commerce. He was the first secretary of the Bellingham State Normal School, and he also purchased stock in the Bellingham Herald, of which he was manager for two years. Mr. Culver became connected with the United States customs department in 1897 and for three years was in charge of the port at Roach Harbor. He then returned to Bellingham and after a brief connection with journalistic interest reentered the customs service. He established the port at Friday Harbor, where he was stationed until October 7, 1920, and he has since been at the head of the department in Bellingham. He has a comprehensive knowledge of this branch of federal service and is one of the most efficient and trustworthy of the Washington body of government officials.
In 1894 Mr. Culver was married to Miss Mabel G. Smith, also a native of Vermont, and five children were born to them: Evelyn, now Mrs. Russell Watson, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Leda, the wife of George Hipkoe, a reporter on the Bellingham American; Carl, who is taking a course in the University of Washington; and Mary and Florian, both of whom are attending the State Normal School.
Mr. Culver is identified with the Masonic order and his political allegiance is given to the republican party. His work has been of a nature that has brought him a wide acquaintance, and his probity, ability and fidelity to duty are known to all with whom he has been associated.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 41-42
Cumings, J. C.
One of the leading citizens of the western part of Whatcom county is J. C. Cumings, who, after an honorable and successful career as a farmer is now living in retirement in his comfortable home in Bellingham. He is one of the connecting links between the pioneer epoch and the present, having come here when the country was wild and sparsely settled and wild game was in abundance. He has lived to see the country developed from its primitive state into one of the leading agricultural sections of the great commonwealth of Washington, and no one has taken greater pride in its upbuilding that he. Mr. Cumings is a native of the state of Missouri, born on the 18th of March, 1854, and is a son of John N. and Eleanor Cumings, the latter of whom also was a native of Missouri. The father was born and reared in Kentucky, whence in 1827 he went to Missouri as a pioneer, homesteading a tract of land, out of which he created a good home, and there spent the remaining years of his life.
J. C. Cumings attended the public schools of Missouri, and at the age of fifteen years he crossed the plains from Abilene, Kansas, to Montana on horseback, in company with two uncles, Nathaniel and William Woods, driving a band of fifteen hundred head of cattle. It was a slow and tiresome journey, requiring three months and eleven days. Mr. Cumings remained in Montana for two years and then returned to Missouri. He subsequently went to Iowa and there again attended school, completing his interrupted studies. After remaining there a few years, he once more returned to Missouri, where he lived a few years and then went to Monterey county, California, where he became foreman on a big dairy ranch, where seven hundred and fifty cows were handled. A few years later he went to Oregon, locating in the Umpquah valley, where he remained for two years. In 1887 he came to Washington and helped in the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad over the Cascade mountains. On the completion of that work he came to the Sumas valley, Whatcom county, and filed a homestead claim of one hundred and sixty acres, two miles southeast of Sumas. Here he built a log cabin and began clearing the land of the timber and brush which covered it. He lived there for six or seven years, and during that period he also gave considerable attention to the wild game, trapping beavers in the swamps and shooting numberless grouse, and he killed three bears one Sunday. In 1896 he sold that place and in 1908 bought twenty acres of land near Laurel, which he cleared and farmed until 1915, when he retired and moved to Bellingham, where he owns two good residence properties. Despite his years of untiring labor and the strenuous life of a pioneer, Mr. Cumings is still a man of remarkable vigor, never having been sick. He has been a keen observer and can tell many interesting stories of the early days in this county, as well as of those earlier years when he was on the great plans, where buffalo roamed in herds of thousands. He is a friendly and genial man, with whom it is a pleasure to associate.
On November 6, 1894, at Salem, Missouri, Mr. Cumings was married to Mrs. Alice E. (Bigelow) King, who was born in Missouri, May 31, 1853, a daughter of Rufus and Henrietta Elizabeth (Eversman) Bigelow, the former of whom was a first cousin of Daniel Boone, the noted frontiersman and Indian fighter. Mr. Bigelow was for many years successfully engaged in the mercantile business at Salem, Missouri, after which he turned his attention to farming, and later went to Oklahoma, where he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land. At one time the Bigelow family owned twelve hundred acres of land in one body there. In that state his death occurred July 10, 1908, at the age of eighty-four years, while his wife died June 30, 1908, at the age of seventy-eight years. They were the parents of ten children, namely: Granville O., deceased; Jonathan B., who lives in Oregon; Alice E., the wife of the subject; Louis A., deceased; Martha E.; Edwin Cuthbert, who lives in Oklahoma; Mrs. Adeline E. Huff, deceased; James R.; Mrs. Lena Drury, deceased; and Rudolph Augustus. Alice E. Bigelow was first married December 31, 1874, to Charles T. King, who was born at St. Louis, Missouri, January 6, 1846, and to their union were born three children, namely: Annas W., who died November 7, 1884; Virgil L., who died February 21, 1884; and Maud, who died August 28, 1884. Mr. King died November 6, 1884, and thus Mrs. King was bereaved her husband and three children within ten months. Mr. and Mrs. Cumings have a daughter, Mrs. Alice Jewell Gooding, who was born in Whatcom county, Washington, May 19, 1896, and is the mother of two children: Donald Paul, born July 22, 1919; and Lilah Mae, born April 19, 1925. Mrs. Gooding was graduated from the Laurel high school and from the State Normal School at Bellingham, after which she taught school for three years prior to her marriage. Mr. Gooding, who is a newspaper man and a writer of considerable note, has traveled extensively over the world and is now living in Bellingham.
Mr. Cumings is a man of sterling qualities of character, is deeply interested in the leading issues of the day, on which he holds decided opinions, and has long been held in the highest regard by his host of warm and loyal friends, who esteem him for his genuine worth as a man and a citizen.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 901-902
Curtin, Charles J.
A well equipped machine shop is the property of Charles J. Curtin, a man of ability, enterprise and determination and for more than twenty years a well known figure in business circles of the city. He was born August 6, 1875, and is a native of South Bend, Indiana. In 1890 he came to the state of Washington with his parents, Jerry and Lottie Curtin, who established their home in Olympia. About 1908 they moved to Whatcom county, in which the father spent the remainder of his life, devoting his energies to the cultivation of the soil. After his death the mother went to Oregon and is now residing in Bend.
Charles J. Curtin attended the public schools of Indiana, and he was fifteen years of age when the family made the journey to the Pacific coast. He learned the blacksmith's trade, which he followed in Olympia, and in 1905 come to Bellingham, opening a shop on Elk street. He later conducted business on Chestnut street, afterward returning to Elk street, and in 1921 moved to his present location at No. 210 Prospect street. He is the proprietor of the Automobile Spring Shop and an expert mechanic as well as an astute business man. He is one of the best known blacksmiths in the city and his services are in constant demand. He draws his trade from a wide area, and many who patronized his shop when he first located in the city are still numbered among his customers, for his work has always given the highest satisfaction.
In 1899 Mr. Curtin was united in marriage to Miss Martha Springman, of Olympia, and two children were born to them, namely: Florence, who is the wife of Charles Plumb, of Bellingham; and Charles L., who resides with his parents. Mr. Curtin votes the republican ticket but has never entered politics. He is active in fraternal affairs, however, and is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the United American Mechanics, the Eagles and the Woodmen of the World. He is also a Scottish Rite Mason and has taken the fourteenth degree in that order. His life has been one of unceasing application and all that he now possess has been earned by honest labor. Each day's tasks have been performed with thoroughness and fidelity, and the citizens of Bellingham speak of Mr. Curtin in terms of high regard, estimating him at his true worth.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 701