Among those persons who have by virtue of their strong individual qualities earned their way to a high standing in the esteem of their fellow citizens, having by sheer force of character and persistent effort won their way to places of influence in the community stands Shapleigh Geiger, of Ten Mile township, who enjoys well deserved popularity throughout his section of the county. He was born in Lincoln county, Missouri, in 1850, and is a son of Jacob and Martha (Dudley) Geiger, both of whom also were born in that county, their respective families having been pioneer settlers in that locality.
Shapleigh Geiger received his education in the public schools of his home neighborhood and was reared on his father's farm. Later he acquired a farm of his own there, to which he devoted his attention until December, 1892, when he came to Bellingham, Whatcom county, where for seven years he had charge of the coal bunkers for the Blue Canyon Coal Company. In 1899 he bought one hundred and twenty acres of land in Ten Mile township, none of which was cleared. He at once devoted his energies to the task of clearing the land, all of which he logged, and he cleared about six acres. He gave his attention largely to dairying and to the raising of chickens and horses. Mr. Geiger has always been greatly interested in horses and has raised many fine animals since locating here. In 1925 he sold all the land excepting one acre, on which he erected a store building and residence, and here he is now living. He carries a complete and well selected stock of such goods as are demanded by the local trade, in connection with which he also conducts an oil and gas station. He has been very successful in this enterprise, and all his dealings with the public have added to his reputation as a man of honor and fair dealing.
On March 2, 1879, Mr. Geiger was married to Miss Abiah Jenkins, who was born and reared in Lincoln county, Missouri, though their marriage took place in St. Charles county, that state. She is a daughter of John and Elvira (Ervin) Jenkins. Her great-grandfather, Malcolm Henry, was the first territorial governor of Missouri and was a colonel in the Revolutionary war. He was a Scotchman by birth and immigrated to North Carolina, afterward coming to Missouri when the latter was a territory, and he was a member of the convention that organized Missouri into a state in 1820. He is buried in Lincoln county, Missouri. To Mr. and Mrs. Geiger have been born six children, namely: Walter S., who was killed by an accident in the coal bunkers at Bellingham when he was seventeen years old; Grace; Lindley, who is married and lives as La Conner; Shapleigh, Jr., who died in 1921; Hugh B., of Gold Bar; and Mrs. Ora Nichols, of Cordova, Alaska. Mr. Geiger has witnessed and has had a part in the splendid development which has characterized this section of the state. When he came here the public highways were largely but trails, and some of them were impassable in bad weather. He gave a half mile of the East-West road and has himself done a good deal of free work on the building or roads throughout this locality. Essentially public spirited, he has in every way cooperated with his fellow citizens in all efforts to build up the community, and he has been a vital factor in its development. In his individual affairs he has manifested a spirit of enterprise and progress that has enabled him to accomplish much, and today he enjoys to a great measure the sincere respect and confidence of the people of his locality generally. Mr. Geiger is a man of strong character, patriotic and loyal, and he takes justifiable pride in the fact that he is a great-grandson of Betsy Ross, to whom is credited the making of the first flag of this country.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 334-337
George, William A.
William A. George is a successful roofing contractor with a background of nearly twenty years of experience in this line of work and ranks with Bellingham's substantial business men and most valuable citizens. He was born February 16, 1874, in Warsaw, Illinois, and his parents were Jacob and Mary (Truxel) George, the former a brewer. The son received a public school education and completed his studies in Baker City, Oregon, in which he resided from 1886 until 1893. He learned the upholsterer's trade, which he followed in Portland, Oregon, for three years and in 1896 went to Alaska. He was very successful in his undertakings in that country, in which he spent three years, and then made a trip to the east. He afterward visited Seattle and Portland and next entered the employ of the Collier Publishing Company, filling the position of traveling auditor. He returned to Seattle in 1906 and in 1907 embarked in the contracting business in Bellingham. He specializes in roofing and pipe covering and his skill has enabled him to win and retain the leadership in this line of endeavor. He has laid the roofs on most of the principal buildings in Bellingham and never slights a contract, adhering to the spirit as well as the letter of an agreement.
On February 16, 1911, Mr. George married Mrs. Florence M. Leitch, of Bellingham, Washington, and they have a daughter, Virgina Rose. Mr. George is a thirty-second degree Mason and Shriner and is also connected with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He belongs to the Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club, while his political allegiance is given to the republican party. He has traveled extensively and regards Bellingham as an ideal place of residence. He has proved his loyalty to the city by effective efforts in its behalf, and his daily life records the esteem in which he is held.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 581
Gerard, F. F.
The business career of F. F. Gerard, a popular and successful merchant at North Bellingham, is one that should encourage others to press on to greater achievements, for when but a boy he started out on his own account, by persistent industry and indomitable perseverance surmounted all obstacles in his path to success, and his present high standing in his community is the logical result. Earnest labor, a laudable ambition and able management are the elements by which he has ascended the ladder of success. Mr. Gerard was born at Ludington, Michigan, on the 23d of December, 1881, and is a son of William and Ida A. (Lux) Gerard. The father, who was a native of Michigan, died in 1922, and the mother, who was born in Germany, passed away in 1905. William Gerard was a lumberman and farmer for many years in his native state, remaining there until 1895, when he came to Whatcom county and settled in Bellingham, where he spent his remaining years. His wife died on her son's ranch.
F. F. Gerard received his educational training in the district schools of Michigan and at the age of fourteen years accompanied his parents on their removal to Washington. Three years later he left home and was employed at various occupations until 1905, when he bought a cigar store at Concrete, Whatcom county, to the operation of which he applied himself for two years. He then went to Friday Harbor and bought a business, which he ran for six years, at the end of which time he sold out and went to Coos Bay, Oregon, where he lived a year, going from there to The Dalles, Oregon, where he engaged in business. About a year later he came to North Bellingham, Whatcom county, and opened a general merchandise store, and his ten years experience here has been very satisfactory from every viewpoint. He carries a large and well selected stock of such merchandise as is demanded by the local trade, and he is courteous and accommodating in his relations with all who have dealings with him, so that he has won the general confidence and good will of the community. He is favorably located in a thriving and growing community and also operates an automobile service station, carrying gas, oil, and a good line of accessories. He has prospered since locating here and is numbered among the community's progressive and successful men. He and his wife own eight and a half acres of land adjoining the store on which they have erected a fine, modern bungalow, and on this tract they have established an auto parking space, which is very greatly appreciated by the traveling public. They also own forty acres of land in Ferndale township, five acres near the city of Bellingham, and a fourteen-acre subdivision near Coos Bay, Oregon.
On January 25, 1916, Mr. Gerard was married to Miss Caroline Miller, who was born and raised in Wisconsin, the daughter of John and Margaret (Richley) Miller, the former of whom came to Washington in the '80s. To Mr. and Mrs. Gerard have been born three children: Edward F., born February 28, 1917; Margaret, born October 15, 1918, and Phyllis, born January 25, 1922. Mrs. Gerard was educated in the district schools of Whatcom county and the State Normal School at Bellingham, which she attended three years. Prior to her marriage she taught school for three years, being the first primary teacher of the North Bellingham school. Fraternally, Mr. Gerard is a member of Bellingham Lodge, No. 194, B. P. O. E. He is a gentleman of genial and friendly manner, frank and candid in all his personal relations, and enjoys a well-deserved popularity among his associates.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 608-609
Henry Gerke, a representative and honored citizen of Ten Mile township, has been distinctively the architect of his own fortunes. True and loyal in all the relations of life, he stands as a type of that sterling manhood which ever commands respect and honor. He is a man who would have achieved success in any locality where fate might have placed him, for he possesses sound judgment, coupled with great energy and upright principles, by reason of which he has won and retains a host of friends.
Mr. Gerke was born in Germany in 1865 and is a son of B. and Theresa (Hoppe) Gerke, also natives of that country where both spent their entire lives. Henry Gerke was reared under the parental roof and secured his education in the public schools of his home neighborhood. At the age of seventeen years he left home and went to sea, and he was thus engaged for a number of years, being employed about New York harbor until he reached the age of twenty-one, when, in 1886, he came to California. Until 1893 he was employed in steamboat service on the Sacramento river, starting as a deck hand, and he was a mate when he gave up that work.
Because of ill health, Mr. Gerke had come up to Whatcom county in 1891 and had spent a few months here, becoming fairly well acquainted with the country, and in the spring of 1893 he bought his present place of eighty acres in Ten Mile township. The land had been logged but was otherwise uncleared, the only improvement on the place being part of an old house which had been built by old Major Corwin, and the only highway was a trail. Mr. Gerke has devoted his efforts to the improvement and cultivation of his land and has been rewarded with a very satisfactory measure of success. For several years he was engaged in the wood business, hauling many loads to Bellingham, where he found a ready sale, and he now has about ten acres of his land cleared and in cultivation, raising hay and grain for feed. His attention is given mainly to the dairying business, for which purpose he keeps twelve cows. He has made many splendid improvements on his place and has a very comfortable and attractive farm, in the management of which he has shown fine judgment and untiring industry.
Mr. Gerke has been twice married, first, in 1895, to Miss Kittie Busby, who died in 1901, leaving two children, Charles H., at home, and Gladys, who died in 1918. In 1904, Mr. Gerke was married to Miss Phoebe A. Hopkins, who was born at Kent, Washington, and was brought to Whatcom county in 1887, when but a baby. Her parents, who were pioneers in this state, were Madison and Alice Martha (Rogers) Hopkins, both of whom are now deceased. To Mr. and Mrs. Gerke have been born three children: Eugene Madison, Alice Martha and Roger Paul. On the maternal side Mrs. Gerke is descended from old Mayflower stock. Both are well known throughout this community and are numbered among the popular members of the circles in which they moved, Mr. Gerke having gained a well established reputation for his business ability, his indomitable efforts and his desire to contribute in every possible way to the well being and progress of his section of the county.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 31-32
Germain, W. A.
Thoroughly imbued with western enterprise and energy, W. A. Germain is directing his labors into constructive channels and is well known in business circles of Bellingham as the founder and head of the Northwestern Auto Electric Company. He was born in 1894 and is a native of Everson, Whatcom county. The father, W. T. Germain, was a native of Nova Scotia, Canada, and came to Washington in 1885, settling in Everson. His widow, Rose (Harkness) Germain, was born in Chehalis, Washington, and now resides in Bellingham.
W. A. Germain completed a course in the Whatcom high school and received his higher education in the University of Washington, from which he was graduated in 1917 with the degree of Electrical Engineer. He responded to the call to the colors, serving for six months in the United States army, and then went to Portland, Oregon, where he taught school for one term. On his return to Washington he located in Bellingham and in 1919 organized the Northwestern Auto Electric Company, of which he has since been the president. Robert Cousins acts as secretary and treasurer and Richard Hammond is also financially interested in the business. It was started on Elk street and in 1920 was moved to its present location at No. 1215 Commercial street. The company occupies the ground floor and basement of a building sixty-two by one hundred and fifteen feet in dimensions and has storage accommodations for thirty-six cars. This is one of the most complete electrical shops in the city and carries U. S. L. batteries, automobile lights, generators and other appliances. The firm employs an experienced bookkeeper and has three capable men in the shop. Mr. Germain has a thorough understanding of electrical science and this knowledge is supplemented by business acumen and executive force. Expert service is furnished to patrons of the shop, and since its inception the business has enjoyed a rapid growth.
In 1918 Mr. Germain married Miss Clara Cantwell, of Vader, Washington, and the children of this union are: W. A., Jr., and John Robert. Mr. Germain is a member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and his political views are in accord with the principles of the republican party. He is an able exponent of his profession and is a "live wire" in the city with which he has allied his interests.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 699
Giarde, Peter T.
In every community death is ever taking its toll from the living, and in the passing of Peter T. Giarde on January 11, 1916, Lawrence township lost one of its progressive agriculturists and a broadminded, public-spirited citizen, whose unselfish disposition and kindly nature drew to him many sincere friends. A native of Norway, he was born in 1864 and when a youth of eighteen responded to the call of the new world. He lived in Wisconsin for a time and migrated from that state to Minnesota. He next went to Canada and for several years was employed as a cook in mining camps. He wisely decided to invest his savings in land and in 1903 came to Whatcom county, purchasing a tract of sixty acres in Lawrence township. Through arduous labor he removed the stumps from his place, clearing twenty acres, and as the years passed the soil became rich and arable. He built a good home and remained on the ranch until his demise, constantly adding improvements to his property. His standards of farming were high and as agriculture progressed as a science he advanced with it.
In 1888 Mr. Giarde was united in marriage to Miss Gena Langaas, also a native of Norway. She went to Michigan as a girl and later to Minnesota, where she was married. They were the parents of seven children. Bertha, the eldest, is the wife of Frank Strum, of Bellingham, and the mother of three children. Paul is engaged in ranching near the homestead and has been called to public office, serving as supervisor of Lawrence township, while he was formerly a member of the school board. He married Miss Lois Collins, and they have a family of three children. Edward, the second son, is a resident of Auburn, Washington. Gilbert is operating a farm in this district and has a wife and child. The others are: Ella, at home; and John and George, twins.
Mr. Giarde was an earnest member of the Lutheran church, with which the members of his family are also affiliated, and his political allegiance was given to the republican party. He was elected township supervisor, filling that position for a number of years, and also served on the school board for some time. He had the welfare of his district deeply at heart and was always ready to further any plan for its improvement. He was scrupulously honest in all his dealings with his fellowmen and left to his family the heritage of a good name - a possession which is more to be desired than great wealth.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 577-578
Gilday, J. S.
J. S. Gilday is a native son of Whatcom county and a member of one of its honored pioneer families which has figured in the growth and development of this favored locality. He himself is one of the public-spirited men of the vicinity where he lives, not only laboring for the successful promotion of his individual affairs but also cooperating in all movements or measures for the betterment of the community along material, civic or moral lines.
Mr. Gilday was born at Blaine in 1892 and is a son of Robert and Alice (Bowey) Gilday. His father came to Whatcom county in 1890 from Leeds county, Ontario, Canada, and for a number of years was employed in the sawmills of this locality, also doing considerable logging. He then engaged in the feed business, and he is now engaged in the chicken business in partnership which his son-in-law, J. V. Erickson, in Custer township. His wife is a native of Plymouth, England. To these worthy parents were born two children: J. S., the subject of this sketch; and Cora, the wife of J. V. Erickson, who is principal of the Birch Bay public schools.
J. S. Gilday attended the public schools and then had two years of work in the State Agricultural College at Pullman, after which he engaged in the garage business, and he followed that line until the United States entered the World war, when he enlisted in the Machine Gun Company of the Thirteenth Division, with which he was in training at Camp Lewis for six months. After his discharge from the service, in 1919, he returned to Blaine and established the Blaine Auto Company, in the management of which he has met with splendid and well deserved success. He carries a full line of accessories, sells gas, oil and other supplies and maintains an efficient service department, where repairs are quickly and carefully made. He has gained a splendid reputation because of the painstaking and reliable work turned out of his repair shop, and all his relations with the public have been conducted according to the highest business ethics.
In 1918 Mr. Gilday was married to Miss Jennie Olson, who was born in Stanwood, a daughter of John Olson, of Ferndale, this county. To their union has been born a son, James Stanley, Jr. Fraternally Mr. Gilday is a member of the Knights of Pythias and the American Legion. He is a man of earnest purpose and upright life, who keeps in close touch with the leading issues of the day, on which he holds definite opinions, and he is regarded by his fellow citizens as a man of more than ordinary ability and worth.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 32
The best history of a community is that which deals with the life work of those who by their own endeavor and indomitable energy have earned for themselves the title of "progressive," and in this sketch will be found the record of one who, instead of being subdued by the obstacles which he has encountered, has made them stepping stones to higher things. He came to Whatcom county more than thirty-five years ago and, having the sagacity to foresee the great future of this locality, wisely decided to cast his lot here. During the subsequent years he has gained not only material success but also the sincere respect of all who know him. Robert Gilday was born in Leeds county, Ontario, Canada, in 1860, and is a son of Thomas and Ellen (Gardner) Gilday, both of whom were natives of Ireland, the former born in Shilago. In his young manhood the father came to America, locating in Ontario, Canada, where he engaged in farming, which pursuit he followed during his active life. Both he and his wife are now deceased.
Robert Gilday secured his education in the public schools of Canada and at the age of fifteen years went to North Dakota, during the land boom. He was too young to take up a claim, but a claim was taken up by his brother, Gardner Gilday, and our subject remained on that claim until he was old enough to take up land for himself. He remained on his homestead for ten or twelve years, raising wheat, but finally a succession of early frosts destroyed his crop prospects, and he left there, financially ruined. In 1889 he came to Seattle, Washington, where he spent the winter, and then bought a restaurant outfit, which he took to Anacortes, but he remained there only a short time. In 1890 he came to Blaine and during the ensuing ten years worked in the sawmills of this vicinity. He then engaged in the draying and trucking business with Lewis Montford, and later these two engaged in the feed and grain business. In 1920 Mr. Gilday sold his interest in the business, owing to poor health, and for two years was with his son, James S., in the garage business. In 1923 he engaged in the chicken business in partnership with his son-in-law, J. V. Erickson, and they have gradually built up the enterprise until they are now numbered among the largest poultry farmers of this section of the county. They have between two thousand and three thousand laying hens, of the White Leghorn variety, and plan to increase their flock to at least five thousand hens. They have made remarkable progress in the three years that they have been in business, have erected a fine set of henhouses and other necessary buildings, installed water and electric light systems and have made other essential improvements, being now well equipped for the conduct of the business along up-to-date lines, and which will insure maximum results.
While living in North Dakota, Mr. Gilday was married to Miss Alice Bowey, who was born in Plymouth, England, and came to Canada when eight years old, with her parents, who settled in Ontario, where the father became a successful building contractor and where he and his wife died. To Mr. and Mrs. Gilday were born two children: Cora is the wife of J. V. Erickson, who was born in Illinois, is a graduate of a normal school in Michigan and has been a resident of Whatcom county about fourteen years, being at this time the principal of the public schools at Birch Bay. They are the parents of two children, Robert John and Russell Gilbert. James Stanley is mentioned in a personal sketch on other pages of this work. Mr. Gilday has been a member of the Modern Woodmen of America for twenty-five years, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows about the same length of time and of the Knights of Pythias for twenty-one years. He has taken a commendable interest in local affairs and served for ten years as a member of the Blaine city council. Politically he has long been an active supporter of the democratic party and took an effective part in the election of Woodrow Wilson to the presidency. Among his prized possessions is a personal letter from Mr. Wilson thanking him for his efforts and efficient work during that campaign. He is a member of the Whatcom County Poultry Association and of the feed association. Mr. Gilday tells many interesting reminiscences of early days in this locality, one of which is that during the hard times that prevailed here one year he and a number of other men rented a shingle mill for eight dollars a day. They made shingles but could not sell them and would have been in a bad way but for the generous attitude of John Elwood, who took the shingles off their hands in exchange for food. Mr. Gilday's career has been marked by hard work and persistent effort, but he has finally realized the fruition of his labors and is enjoying a well merited measure of prosperity. He has also gained what is of far more importance, the unbounded confidence and esteem of the entire community, where his splendid personal qualities are fully appreciated.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 418-419
Charles Gilkey is the manager of the Gilkey Brothers Towing Company, Vancouver, Tacoma, Anacortes and Bellingham, and is a resident of the latter city. A native of Washington, he was born in the village of Edison in the neighboring county of Skagit, February 20, 1886, three years after that county was cut off from Whatcom, and he is a son of William E. and Hannah (Thomas) Gilkey, the latter of whom, a native of Swansea, Wales, is still living here, being one of the real pioneers of Whatcom county. She is a daughter of David P. Thomas, a Welsh coal miner, who in 1872 landed at Bellingham bay to take part in the coal mining activities then being conducted on the present site of the city of Bellingham by the Bellingham Bay Coal Company and who later became the owner of a tract of government land in the Edison neighborhood in what now is Skagit county.
The late William E. Gilkey likewise came into this region in 1872. He was a son of Frank E. Gilkey, who in that year came here with his family from Pennsylvania, the family arriving on one of the coal barges from San Francisco. They found a location in the Stanwood settlement, later moving to what is now the Edison neighborhood in Skagit county, and there Frank E. Gilkey became engaged in logging, having been one of the pioneer timbermen of that section. He was serving as a member of the board of commissioners in and for Whatcom county when in 1883 Skagit cut loose from the parent country and became an independent unit. William E. Gilkey became engaged in the mercantile business at Edison as the proprietor of a general store there and he was thus engaged for many years or until his death, August 19, 1922. He is survived by his widow and their six sons, Mark E., Charles, Walter W., Frank, David R. and William E., all of whom are engaged in the towing business. Mark E. Gilkey, the eldest son, is the manager of the Tacoma office of the Gilkey Brothers Towing Company and makes his home in Tacoma. Walter W. Gilkey is the outside representative of the company and resides in Bellingham. Frank Gilkey is the manager and a director of the International Towing Company and resides in Vancouver. David R. Gilkey is the manager of the Anacortes office of the Gilkey Brothers Towing Company, and William E. Gilkey, the youngest of the brothers, is port captain for the firm on the Anacortes docks.
Charles Gilkey grew up at Edison and, together with his brothers, was educated in the schools of that place, supplementing this by a course in Wilson's Business College in Bellingham. He was variously engaged in commercial and dock operations during the days of his young manhood, becoming thoroughly familiar with shipping conditions in the Sound district. On January 14, 1918, he and his brothers Mark and Walter concentrated their operations by organizing as the Gilkey Brothers Towing Company, and they were presently joined in this enterprise by the other brothers. In 1923 it was formally incorporated, and it has been developed into a strong and growing business, with Charles Gilkey as general manager. This company now operates no fewer than sixteen tugs and eighty or more Drummond lighterage barges, with offices at Vancouver, Bellingham, Anacortes and Tacoma, and gives employment to about one hundred and fifty people, doing a general towing business, logs, barges and ships, and it is definitely established in the commercial and industrial activities of this region.
On October 15, 1922, at Anacortes, Charles Gilkey was united in marriage to Miss Freda Layton, and they have two children: Thomas Wayne, born in 1923; and Richard Charles, born December 20, 1925. Mr. and Mrs. Gilkey are members of the Bellingham Golf and Country Club and of the Yacht Club and are in other ways interested participants in the social activities of the community. Mr. Gilkey is a member of the Masonic order and has attained to the Lodge of Perfection in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of that order. In addition to their other interests he and his brothers are the owners of considerable tracts of fine farm land in Skagit county, besides valuable realty in Bellingham, and have long been accounted among the substantial citizens of both counties, worthily maintaining the sterling traditions of the two pioneer families of the Gilkey's and the Thomases, now represented here in the fourth generation.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 446-449
Gill, John R.
Among the men of enterprise, foresight and ability who have aided in making Whatcom county one of the greatest poultry districts in this this country in numbered John R. Gill, a resident of Marietta township and one of the desirable citizens whom Canada has furnished to the United States. He was born in October, 1870, in the province of New Brunswick, and his parents, Henry and Susan Gill, are both deceased. The father was also born in that province and come of English lineage. He was a lumberman and was also connected with the steamboat business.
John R. Gill received a public school education and was first employed in a sawmill in Wisconsin, becoming an expert saw filer. He came to Bellingham in 1914 and opened a grocery store, in connection with which he operated a meat market. At the end of a year he sold the business and turned his attention to the poultry industry, purchasing a tract of one and a half acres in Marietta township. He has built a good home on the place, adding other improvements from time to time, and his equipment is thoroughly modern and up-to-date. He has installed a steam plant for heating his incubators, which have a capacity of ten thousand chickens, and he now has about two thousand laying hens. He has made a scientific study of the business, on which he is exceptionally well informed, and brings to the performance of his daily tasks an intelligence and efficiency which never fail to produce the best results.
In 1892 Mr. Gill was united in marriage to Miss Nellie E. Douglas, of Pennsylvania, a daughter of Lyman Douglas. Mr. Gill is one of the valued members of the Whatcom County Poultrymen's Association and exercises his right of franchise in support of the candidates and measures of the republican party. A man of progressive ideas and mature judgment, he has aided in advancing the standards of poultry raising in northwestern Washington, and his genuine wirth has won for him the unqualified esteem of all with whom he has been associated.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 197
Gillies, John C.
The office of biography is not to give voice to a man's modest estimate of himself and his accomplishments, but rather to leave upon record the verdict establishing his character by the consensus of opinion on the part of his neighbors and fellow citizens. In touching upon the life history of John C. Gillies the writer aims to avoid fulsome encomium and extravagant praise; yet he desires to hold up for consideration those facts which have shown the distinction of a true, honorable and useful life - a life characterized by perseverance, energy and well defined purpose. To do this will be but to reiterate the dictum pronounced upon him by the people who have known him long and well.
Mr. Gillies was born in Kent county, England, in February, 1868, and is a son of Peter and Annie (Milne) Gillies, the former of whom was born at Berwick-on-Tweed, Scotland, January 11, 1831, and the latter at Elgin, Scotland, in 1830. The father went to England in young manhood, and as a machinist, took charge of the mill construction for the Nash Machine Company, large manufacturers of paper mill machinery. In 1869 he emigrated to the United States, locating in Clay county, Kansas, where he homesteaded a tract of land, to the operation of which he devoted himself until 1881, when, in company with his son, Peter, he came to Whatcom county, Washington. The family took up three claims, amounting to four hundred and eighty acres, in the Sumas valley, one and a half miles north of Nooksack. The land was covered with a heavy growth of good timber and they erected a sawmill, and later a grist mill on Sumas creek, which was the first grist mill in Whatcom county. It was operated for several years, was later rebuilt on a larger scale and was run until 1910, when they sold it. The father died in 1897 and the mother in 1900. They were the parents of five children, namely: Mrs. Annie McGrath, who died in Bellingham, August 27, 1925, at the age of sixty-six years; Peter, who now lives in Seattle, Washington; George, of Sumas; William Milne, who was a successful merchant of Seattle for many years and died there February 26, 1918; and John C. of Seattle.
John C. Gillies received his educational training in the public schools of Kansas and Whatcom county. After completing his studies, he remained at home for a time and then went to New Westminster, British Columbia, where he worked for two years. Returning to Nooksack, he farmed in partnership with his brother George and engaged in the sawmill business, buying more land in order to insure a good supply of timber. He was successful in this enterprise but in 1898 turned his attention to the undertaking business, in which he has continued to the present time. He has gained a high reputation in this line because of those who require his services and his friendly and sympathetic disposition, qualities which are especially appreciated in his particular profession. In 1923 Mr. Gillies built a fine new mortuary in Sumas, complete in all its appointments and one of the most modern in Whatcom county. His brother George has remained identified with him in business affairs and, in addition to the undertaking business, they also own a large and well stocked hardware store in Sumas, as well as several hundred acres of land in the Sumas valley. For the past twenty years he has also carried on his undertaking work in British Columbia and in 1922 was honored with the presidency of the British Columbia Funeral Directors Association. After serving in that position for one year, he was elected secretary of the organization and filled that office two years.
In June, 1899, John C. Gillies was married to Miss Alice R. Bumstead, who was born in Kent county, England, a daughter of George T. and Cordelia (Hall) Bumstead, also natives of that country and now deceased. To Mr. and Mrs. Gillies have been born four children, namely: Mrs. Ethel B. Bristol, of Lynden; Mildred A., who is now teaching school in Glacier, this county; Clayton Oliver, who died October 20, 1907, at the age of three and a half years; and Wilma C., who is now a student in high school. The two eldest daughters are graduates of the State Normal School at Bellingham.
In Mr. Gillies' makeup are evidenced the sterling characteristics of his Scottish ancestry, and his career here has been such as to gain for him a place among the representative men of his county. He has at all times stood stanchly for all that is best in community life, supporting all measures for the advancement of the public welfare and giving generously to local benevolent and charitable organizations. He has not been an idle spectator of the great changes and wonderful development of his section of the county, but has been an active participant in the work of upbuilding this favored locality. He is a man of wide general information and holds decided views on the great questions of the day; has exerted a beneficent influence in his community and everything affecting the material, civic or moral status of the people receives his earnest consideration. Because of his business ability and success, his fine public spirit and his forceful personality, he has long enjoyed an enviable standing in the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens throughout this section of the county.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 692-697
Faithfulness to facts in the analyzation of the character of a citizen of the type of Alexander Gillis, of Nooksack township, is all that is required to make a biographical sketch interesting to those who have at heart the good name of the community, because it is the honorable reputation of the men of standing and affairs, more than any other consideration, that gives character and stability to the body politic and makes a community respected in other localities. Among the substantial and influential citizens of Nooksack township none take precedence over the subject of this sketch, for he has not only been successful in his own affairs but he has been an important factor in the development and prosperity of the community with which he has been long identified. Mr. Gillis is a native of Prince Edward island, Canada, and his birth occurred on the 8th of May, 1856. He is a son of John and Catherine (Fraser) Gillis, the former of whom was born on the island of Skye, Scotland, and the latter a native of Prince Edward island. After coming to Prince Edward island the father followed the occupation of farming during the remainder of his life, and he and his wife died there. They were the parents of eight children, namely: James, who lives in Canada; Murdock, who lives in Seattle, Washington; Alexander, the subject of this sketch; Christina B.; Flora, deceased; John A., deceased; Annie; and John, who lives in Canada.
Alexander Gillis was educated in the Bell River school in his native island and remained at home until 1881, when he came to the United States. He first located in North Dakota, where he remained for a few months, and then went to work for the Northern Pacific Railroad out of St. Paul, Minnesota. He was thus employed about a year, helping to construct the road through Montana, and then came to Tacoma, Washington, and went to work for Ezra Meeker, the old pioneer, working in the hop fields until 1887. He then came to the Nooksack valley and bought sixty-seven acres of land, three miles north of Everson. At that time only a few acres of the land were cleared and on this a small orchard had been planted, the remainder of the land being covered with timber and brush, the only improvement besides the orchard being a small log cabin. Mr. Gillis went to work vigorously and eventually cleared practically all of the tract. In 1910 he bought twenty acres adjoining on the south and now owns eighty-six acres of good land, practically all in cultivation. He raises good crops of hay and grain and in the cultivation of the land uses a tractor and two horses. He gives considerable attention to dairying, milking twenty good grade Jersey cows, and also owns a pure-bred Jersey bull. In 1891 Mr. Gillis built a comfortable and substantial house and later erected a commodious barn. The farm is well improved in every respect and is numbered among the valuable ranches of this locality. In April, 1891, Mr. Gillis was married to Miss Mary Beaton, who was born on Prince Edward island, a daughter of Murdoch and Christa (McLeod) Beaton, both of whom were also natives of that island. Her father is now dead, but the mother is living, at the advanced age of ninety-four years. They had nine children, namely: Angus, deceased, John, deceased, Aleck, Daniel, John James, deceased, Mary, Katie, Sarah, and Belle, deceased. To Mr. and Mrs. Gillis have been born four children: Mrs. Flora Hatch, who is a mother of two children - Lloyd, born July 26, 1913, and Mary Ethel, born June 25, 1918; John, who was married to Miss Lucile Eker; Beaton, who is at home and who is a veteran of the World war, having served for twenty-six months in the Wagon Train; and Abbie, who was graduated from the Nooksack high school and the State Normal School at Bellingham, and is now teaching school at Charleston, Washington. Fraternally Mr. Gillis is a member of Bellingham Lodge No. 202, Independent Order of Foresters, and Everson Camp No. 435, Woodmen of the World. He also belongs to the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association. He is a progressive and up-to-date farmer, an enterprising, public-spirited citizen, a courteous and accommodating neighbor and a loyal and dependable friend, for which splendid reasons he has attained an enviable place in the confidence and good will of the entire community in which he lives.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 566-569