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Whatcom County
Genealogy and History




O'Neil, Edward

    The history of Whatcom county is not a very old one. It is the record of the steady growth of a community planted in the wilderness scarcely more than half a century ago and which has reached its magnitude of today without other means than those of unceasing industry. The people who redeemed it were strong-armed, hardy sons of the soil who hesitated at no difficulty and were not appalled at hardships. Their resultant efforts have been fully appreciated by those who came at a later period and builded on the firm foundation which they laid. Among these old pioneer is Edward O'Neil, one of the best and most favorably known citizens of Lynden township, who has long been closely identified with the community now honored by his citizenship. Mr. O'Neil was born in Columbia county, Wisconsin, in August, 1854, and is a son of Francis and Rose O'Neil, the latter of whom died when her son Edward was but twenty months old. Francis O'Neil was born in Ireland in 1812 and was reared in Scotland. He came to the United States with his family, locating first in Wisconsin, and in 1867 he moved to northwestern Iowa, where he remained until his death.

    Edward O'Neil secured his education in the public schools of Wisconsin and Iowa, attending school about three months each year. He remained on his father's farm until 1874, when he came to the present site of Lynden, Whatcom county, and during the ensuing eleven years he worked in the woods around British Columbia and Puget sound. In the late '70's he homesteaded a tract of land in Lynden township, of which his present farm is a part. While continuing his work in the woods, he returned to his land from time to time until he had proved it up, and in 1883 he located permanently on this place. His first trip to this tract was on foot over the old Telegraph trail by way of Everson. The land was densely covered with timber and brush and the surrounding woods were filled with wild animals, such as bears, deer, wild cats and cougars, and so bold were they that at one time a cougar killed a heifer belonging to Mr. O'Neil's brother-in-law. During his first year here Mr. O'Neil had to go to Bellingham to trade and, there being no roads, he had to pack in his provisions. Indeed, he made the first trail leading to his land. The second year after he came here a Mr. Hawley opened a small store at Lynden, which was a great accommodation to the settlers in this locality. Mr. O'Neil spent many days in hard and unremitting toil before his land was in shape for cultivation, but in the course of time he developed a good farm and a comfortable home. He now has about forty acres cleared, the remainder being in timber. During his second year on the place he was burned out by a forest fire, but he immediately began to rebuild. He has made many splendid improvements on the farm, including a good set of buildings, and now has a very attractive place. He has carried on general farming operations, in connection with which he has kept a good herd of milk cows, and is now engaged in the chicken business, both of which lines are profitable in this section of the state. Mr. O'Neil is enterprising and up-to-date in his methods and has attained a very comfortable station in life as the result of his persistent and well directed efforts.

    On August 23, 1883, Mr. O'Neil was married to Mrs. E. (Walker) Lewis, who was born in upper Canada, a daughter of James and Margaret (McMillan) Walker, both of whom were born in Ireland, though the father was reared in Scotland. The daughter came to the United States with the family in 1875, locating in Lynden township, where her brother, James L. Walker, homesteaded a tract of land on what is now the Haynie place. Her father homesteaded land in British Columbia. She made her home with her brother, and during her first year here she did not see another white woman. She was a real pioneer, having been the first woman to come into Lynden over the Benson trail. She had come to Nooksack with Mr. Caldwell, the mail carrier, and on the way from Nooksack to Lynden, by canoe, she was compelled to walk more than a mile around a big jam which had formed in the river. To Mr. and Mrs. O'Neil have been born five children, namely: Edward, who is married and lives at Fullerton, California; Grace and Allie, who are at home; Mrs. Etta Price, who lives on the home farm and is the mother of a son, Billie; and Loren, at home. By her former marriage Mrs. O'Neil became the mother of two daughters - Annie, who is the wife of Henry Karnon, of Seattle; and Mary Jane, who died at the age of fourteen years. Mr. O'Neil is a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and the Whatcom County Poultry Association. Measured by the true standard of excellence, he is an honorable, upright gentleman, true to himself and to others, and his influence in the community has always been potent for good. Generous and big-hearted, kindly in disposition, he has never lacked for friends, and he is held in high esteem generally in this community.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 97-98

O'Neil, Robert

    Robert O'Neil came to Lynden with his parents in 1874, a boy of eleven years.  His father took as a homestead what is now known as the C. B. Bay place, and here the boy grew to manhood.  He and R. E. Hawley were close boyhood friends, and shortly before his death in 1941, he wrote a letter to Mr. Hawley, stating that he was planning a visit to his old home in Lynden.

    During the very early pioneer days Robert O'Neil carried the mail between Lynden and Everson.  In 1897, he was appointed postmaster of Lynden, which position he held for fourteen years.  At one time he also acted as teacher in the local school.  he was one of that hardy group of early pioneers, that blazed the way for those of a softer fiber, that came into the country later, and profited by the privations of those that came before.  

Skqee Mus, R. E. Hawley, pub. 1945, pgs. 182-183

Oordt, Herman

    Among the leading and most successful chicken and egg men in Whatcom county is Herman Oordt, who after many years of persistent effort and untiring industry is now practically retired from active business and in the splendid home which he has recently built is enjoying the leisure which he has so richly earned. He has always been known for his enterprising and progressive spirit, and throughout the community of which he is an honored citizen his is held in the highest esteem. Mr. Oordt was born in Holland in 1869 and is a son of Andrew and Anna (Pen) Oordt, both of whom also were natives of that country. In 1890 they came to the United States, locating in Iowa, where the father died that some year, the mother's death occurring in 1906.

    Herman Oordt attended the public schools of his native land and remained with his parents during his youth, working at various employments in the neighborhood. Three of his brothers were called into the military service of his country, but he was not called. In 1890 he came with the family to this country and was employed on the Iowa farm during the two following years. In the fall of 1892 he came to Florence, Oregon, where for about a year he was variously employed, principally in the sawmills. In 1893 he went to Seattle and for about six months was employed in a mill in South Seattle. He then went to oak Harbor, Whidbey island, where after working around for a time he started peddling groceries from a wagon, which business he followed for two years. In partnership with D. Zylstra he next started a store in the Kildahl building, which they conducted for two years and then sold. Mr. Oordt then went into the woods and for several years was employed in getting out shingle bolts. In 1900 he bought ten acres of his present farm, moving onto it in May of the following year. Later he bought ten acres adjoining, and he has cleared all the land excepting one acre. When he located on this tract the brush was so dense that he could not see the road from the front of the house.

    In 1901, with commendable foresight, Mr. Oordt engaged in the chicken business, his initial start being with a hen and nine chickens, which he bought from Al Northern for one dollar. From this modest beginning he kept increasing his flock until in the course of time he found himself on the road to success in this line, and through the subsequent years he steadily progressed until eventually the "Lynden Poultry Yards" became one of the best known establishments of the kind in the county. Some idea of the growth of the business may be gained from the statement that he now has a hatching capacity of twenty-three thousand eggs a setting, and that in the spring of 1925 he sold between forty thousand and fifty thousand chicks. He keeps about five thousand laying hens, the eggs from which amount to an average of between thirty and thirty-five cases a week. He has twenty-two thousand square feet of cement floor, which is greatly responsible for the splendid sanitary condition which prevails here. No straw or cleaning from the houses is permitted to accumulate about the buildings but when loaded is immediately removed from the premises and spread on the fields for fertilizer. All the chicks sold from the Oordt place are from their own eggs, carefully selected for size, shape and color, and are from hens two years old and older. The plant represents an investment of about thirty-five thousand dollars and includes nine buildings devoted to the stock, not including the feed and storage buildings, barn or garage. Besides the subject and his two sons, two other men are constantly employed. The business is strictly independent of any association, the products of the plant being sold to the Fox River Butter Company at Seattle, a New York concern. Recently Mr. Oordt sold the business to his two sons, who are now running it under the name of Oordt Brothers, though Mr. Oordt still assists in the operation of the business. The ranch is well improved in every respect and includes one hundred and seventy fruit trees, such as cherries, plums and apples, which are now in fine bearing condition. Four milk cows are kept on the place, and most of the grain and green feed required for both poultry and cattle is raised on the farm.

    In 1897 Mr. Oordt was married to Miss Hattie Veleke, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Veleke, and to them have been born eight children, namely: Anna, who is the wife of S. Louws, of Lynden, and has two children; Grace, the wife of Herman Heusinkveld, who lives on the old Peter Benson place, near Lynden; Arthur, who is one of the members of the firm of Oordt Brothers, and who was married to Miss Martha Houg;  Maggie, the wife of Richard Biesheuvel, of Lynden; Andrew, who is Arthur's business partner; Elizabeth, at home; and two who died in infancy. It is noteworthy that, excepting Mr. Veleke, Mr. Oordt was the first Hollander to locate in this part of the county. Mr. Oordt is a member of the First Christian Reformed church, of which he was one of the organizers and to which he gives liberal support. He has for sixteen years been a member of the board of the Christian Primary Instruction free school. He is regarded as a good business man and an excellent manager, possessing sound judgment and keen foresight, and has ever enjoyed the respect and esteem of those who know him, for his friendly manner, upright life and public-spirited interest in the welfare of the community, being recognized as one of the foremost citizens of his locality.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 349-350

Orvis, Austin

  Few improvements were of more importance, than the starting of the ferry service across the Nooksack, at the crossing of the Guide Meridian, below Lynden.  The individual who instituted that valuable convenience was Austin Orvis.

    Born in Ontario, Canada, in 1812, he moved to Minnesota early in life; took part in the California gold rush of '49, crossing the plains by oxteam; then returned east to Iowa.  There he married, and went to Minnesota, where he took a homestead, and lived there until 1184, when he came with his family to Lynden.  Mr. Orvis rented a piece of school land about three-fourths of a mile below the Guide, where he built a small log house and outbuildings.  Soon after he secured a license from the County Commissioners to establish a ferry at that point, thus connecting the north side of the river with the road from Whatcom, which followed the route now known as "The Old Guide" road.  As this shortened the road to Whatcom by one-half, the ferry was popular from the start.  Mr. Orvis brought his lumber up the river on the steamer Edith, and built a scow thirty feet long, twelve feet wide and two and one-half feet deep, which was capable of carrying a four-horse team and wagon.  A high cable was stretched across the river, and from a heavy pulley, which ran on the cable, short cables descended to wither end of the ferry so that the angle of the side to the current of the river could be changed, thus driving the ferry back and forth across the stream.

    About five years later, when the bridge was built across Wiser Lake, Mr. Orvis moved his ferry up the river to the Guide, and operated it there until the bridge was built, some years later.  Skqee Mus, R. E. Hawley, pub. 1945, pg. 182

Osgoodby, Ralph

    The true measure of individual success is determined by what one has accomplished, and taken in contradistinction to the old adage that a prophet is not without honor save in his own country, there is particular interest attached to the review of the subject of this sketch, since he is a native son of northwestern Washington, having been born in Skagit county, and his life, which has been passed in this part of the state, has been so ordered as to gain for him recognition as one of the worthy citizens of this section. Ralph Osgoodby was born in Mount Vernon, Skagit county, in 1884, and is a son of George and Ann Osgoodby. The father was born in England and came to the United States in young manhood. Coming direct to the Pacific coast, he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land near Mount Vernon, in the '60s, being the first white man to locate there, and he slashed a large part of the land on which now stands that thriving town. He made a fine farm of the raw land which he acquired and lived there continuously until his death, which occurred in 1910. He was twice married, his first wife, whom he married in England, dying there. To the second union were born four children, namely: Ralph, the subject of this sketch; Mrs. Lena Jarvis, of Mount Vernon; Edward, who lives in Seattle; and Andrew, of California, all of whom are living.

    Ralph Osgoodby was reared on the old homestead and secured his education in the district schools of that neighborhood. He remained on the home farm until his father's death, when he came to Lynden, Whatcom county, and located on the Will Jennings farm, now occupied by L. A. Williamson, where he remained for three years. He then bought eighty acres of land, comprising his present farm, which had been cut over by loggers but was in no sense cleared land. He now has all of the land cleared and has erected a fine, modern home, a good, substantial bar, a large silo and other up-to-date improvements, which have greatly enhanced the value of the property. Mr. Osgoodby is carrying on dairy operations, keeping fifteen good cows, and has been very successful along that line. His fields are well cultivated and produce an abundance of hay and grain, and he is justifiably proud of the splendid farm which he has here created.

    In 1906, on the old homestead in Skagit county, Mr. Osgoodby was married to Miss Katherine Williamson, who was born at La Conner, Skagit county, a daughter of J. and Eliza (Bradley) Williamson. Her father was born February 14, 1844, in Scotland, and was brought to Victoria, British Columbia, when nine years old. In young manhood he came to Washington, locating at Dungenese (sic). In the late '60s he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres at La Conner, now known as the John Peth place. It was mostly tide land, but he built dikes and otherwise improved the tract, which he developed into a good farm. He was progressive and assisted in erecting the first telegraph line in that county. He went to Frazier river at the time of the great gold rush and later went to Port Townsend, where for a number of years he was connected with the United States customs service. In 1905 he came to Lynden township, Whatcom county, and located on the farm now occupied by his son, Lee A. Williamson, and there his death occurred April 25, 1915. His wife was born in Missouri and her death occurred in 1902. She was one of the early settlers of Skagit county and met her future husband on Whidbey island. To Mr. and Mrs. Osgoodby has been born a son, Lawrence, who is now a student in high school. Lawrence is a wide-awake, progressive boy and is already assuming responsibilities of his own, owning a nice flock of  chickens, as well as three cows and three head of young stock, all of which he is handling with commendable success.

    Mr. Osgoodby is a member of the Whatcom County Poultry Association and the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association. He takes a deep interest in local public affairs and has rendered effective and appreciated service as a member of the Northwood school board. He is a close and thoughtful reader, well informed on matters in general, and is a man of large influence in his community. He heartily cooperates with his fellow citizens in the advancement of all measurers calculated to benefit the general welfare and is held in high esteem by all who know him.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 429

Otly, George M.

    George M. Otly, a capable and successful carpenter and building contractor of Custer, has been a resident of this county since he was ten years of age and thus has been a witness of the progress that has been brought about here during the past forty years. A member of one of the pioneer families, he took a part in the development of a pioneer farm and retains the most vivid recollections of some of the hardships attending such a process, these recollections carrying him back to the days when it was no unusual thing for him to be followed through the woods from the settlement to his home by a hungry cougar. In those early days, due to the delay in the arrival of the boat, food supplies were sometimes cut off for a period and he experienced hunger that he has not forgotten. For three weeks the total subsistence of the family was oat meal sparingly served and he hasn't forgotten that he was a pretty hungry boy when his first square meal was served following the arrival of the long overdue supplies.

    Mr. Otly was born on a farm in Pierce county, Wisconsin, April 14, 1878, his parents being John and Emma (Stoopes) Otly, who came to Whatcom county with their family in 1888 and settled on a farm tract in the Haney neighborhood. Honored pioneers of this county, now living in Custer, they will celebrate their golden wedding in the summer of 1927. They are mentioned elsewhere in this work. George M. Otly's early education was received in the schools of his native county and was finished in the somewhat primitive school building that was erected in the district in which his parents settled in the late '80s. That schoolhouse was a building of slabs and clapboards and Frank Griffin was the first teacher. Reared on the farm here, George M. Otly early learned the carpenter trade, at which his father was proficient. He married when twenty-four years of age and established his home on the tract of ten acres in the immediate vicinity of Custer on which he now is living, having to pull the stumps there to clear a site on which to erect his house. Though continuing to make this place his home, all now nicely cleared and improved, Mr. Otly does not farm, his attention being devoted to his building operations. He has long been one of the best known carpenters and builders in that section of the county.

    It was in the fall of 1902 that Mr. Otly was united in marriage to Miss Robie Maxwell, and they have two children: Hazel, who married R. E. Nash of Lake Whatcom and has two sons, Robert and Maurice; and Maxwell, at home. Mrs. Otly was born in Wisconsin and is a daughter of Martin and Anna (Holt) Maxwell, who were married in that state in 1866, The Holts were among the early homesteaders in Wisconsin. Martin Maxwell, a veteran of the Civil war, was born in Williamsburg, Pennsylvania, and when the war between the states came on enlisted in behalf of the cause of the Union and went to the front as a member of Company C, One Hundred and Tenth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, with which command he served for three years and six months. Upon the completion of his military service he established his home in Wisconsin and became a substantial farmer there. Mr. Maxwell died in 1904. Mrs. Maxwell died in Wisconsin in 1914.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 380

Otly, John

    John Otly of Custer is one of the pioneer farmers and landowners of Whatcom county. He has been a resident here since 1888 and has thus seen this region develop from its primeval state, for when he came here little had been done in the way of agricultural development. When he took his farm lands in Custer township there was no roadway into that section and he had to pack his goods and chattels over the trail from Semiahmoo. In the winter of 1889 he and the Porters and some others of the scattered settlers cut a road through the woods into that district. Mr. Otly's dwelling house there was the first permanent home erected in that section of the wilderness. He started there with a "forty" and after he improved that bought an additional tract of twenty acres and to this later added a tract of fifteen acres. Mr. Otly has devoted himself to general farming, dairying, poultry and hog raising and his operations have been profitable, he long having been recognized as one of the substantial farmers of his section of the county. For nearly forty years he has given himself to the promotion of the interests of the community and in the pleasant "evening time" of life has a right to view with calm satisfaction the accomplishments of his busy and useful life.

    Mr. Otly was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in October, 1851, and is a son of George and Henrietta (Lansing) Otly, the latter of whom was born in the kingdom of Holland and came to this country with her parents when seventeen years of age. George Otly and his wife spent their last days in Whatcom county, the former dying in 1896 and the latter in 1906. George Otly, a native of the state of New York, was a veteran of the Mexican war, and was a trained millwright. For some time after his military service he worked at his trade in Michigan and then settled in the immediate vicinity of the growing city of Milwaukee, buying there eighty acres of land that now is within the city limits. He later made his home in Dodge county, Wisconsin, and after awhile homesteaded a tract of land in Pierce county in the extreme western part of that state, which he developed. Upon his retirement from business he and his wife came to Whatcom county, where they spent their last days.

    Due to the changes of residence made by his parents during the days of his youth John Otly's education was from time to time interrupted by having to change schools, but he was a good student and these interruptions did not materially interfere with the progress of his studies. In young manhood he was for some time employed in railway construction work and after his marriage settled down to farming in Pierce county, Wisconsin. He also did considerable carpenter work, for there was a continual call for carpenters throughout that region in those days of the late '70s and early '80s when settlers were arriving in considerable numbers. In the spring of 1888 Mr. Otly disposed of his holdings in Wisconsin and came to Washington, joining his brother-in-law, C. F. Stoops, who had settled in Whatcom county some time before and had sent back word concerning the possibilities of settlement here. Mr. Otly bought forty acres of land in the Haney settlement from his brother-in-law and settled down to clear the tract and make a farm out of it. He has since been a resident of this county and has never had occasion to regret the choice which caused him to come here. In 1895 he bought more land and in time had one of the best farms in the neighborhood. He has ever operated along the lines of diversified farming, raising "anything that pays," and has done well.

    It was on June 13, 1877, in Wisconsin, that Mr. Otly was united in marriage to Miss Emma Stoops and they are now hoping to celebrate their golden wedding, in the summer of 1927 in which their many friends throughout the county will join in a general congratulation and felicitation. Mrs. Otly was born in Wisconsin, and daughter of John and Elizabeth (Seward) Stoops, pioneers of that state, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Illinois. John Stoopes [Stoops] had mining interests in Pennsylvania prior to his removal to Wisconsin. To Mr. and Mrs. Otly five children have been born, namely: George, now living in Custer, who married Roby Maxwell and has two children, Hazel and Maxwell; Ray of Bellingham, who married Anna Salshrom and has two children, Lloyd and Cecil; Elsie, who died at the age of five years; Roy, who was killed by an accidental gunshot when nine years of age; and Elgie who devotes his time to music and farming and continues to make his home with his parents. The Otlys have a pleasant home at Custer and have ever taken an interested and helpful part in the general social activities to the community of which they so long have been a part.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 374-377

Otter, Frank

    To a great extent the prosperity of the agricultural sections of our country is due to the industry, perseverance and economy which so prominently characterize the people from Holland who have become citizens of our country and are now numbered among our best farmers. In this class may be mentioned Frank Otter, a worthy representative of the land from which he came and now a loyal and steadfast citizen of this country. Mr. Otter was born in Holland in 1885 and is a son of Jan and Geertje (Vanderwall) Otter, both of whom also were born in Holland, where the father, who is now deceased, followed farming for many years. His widow is till living in that country, at the age of seventy-nine years.

    Frank Otter secured a good, practical education in the public schools of his native country and remained under the parental roof until he was twenty-two years of age, when he emigrated to the United States. He came direct to Whatcom county, locating at Lynden, where for about two years he was employed at various occupations. Then, in association with his brothers, Harry and John, he started to farm independently. In 1912 he and Harry acquired forty acres, near the present farm, which tract they bought together, the land at that time being densely covered with brush and logs, necessitating a vast amount of the hardest sort of work to clear it off. In 1915 they bought the present farm of forty acres, on which they located in 1917, in addition to which they also bought twenty acres adjoining. Mr. Otter is giving his attention largely to the dairy and poultry business, keeping sixteen good grade Holstein cows and a splendid flock of laying hens. He has made a number of good improvements on the farm, which is one of the most desirable of its size in this section of the county.

    Mr. Otter was married, in June, 1918, to Miss Stella Boersma, who also was a native of Holland, a daughter of John and Grace (Bousstra) Boersma, the former of whom died in California. To Mr. and Mrs. Otter have been born four children: Johannas, Gertie, Grace and Frances. Mr. Otter is a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and the Whatcom County Poultry Association. He has taken an active part in local public affairs and is now rendering effective service as constable of Lynden township. His is the story of a life which has made good in all its relations with the world, for he had not only been eminently successful in the management of his own affairs but he has also had due regard for his obligations to the community, giving hearty support to all measures for the advancement of the public welfare. He is courteous and accommodating in his dealings with his neighbors and socially is genial and friendly. Because of these commendable qualities, he has won and retains an enviable place in the esteem and good will of the entire community in which he lives.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 442

Otter, U. J.

    The United States is greatly indebted to the little country of Holland for having sent to this country so many of her best citizens, who have contributed in a very definite measure to the development and prosperity of this nation. Indeed, they began coming in early colonial days and are established in every section of our country, successful in business and interested in all lines of endeavor, while at the same time they have been loyal to our national institutions and ever ready to defend our flag in times of peril. U. J. Otter, one of the enterprising and successful farmers of Lynden township, was born in Holland in 1887 and is a son of J. G. and Gertrude (Vanderwall) Otter, the former of whom, a farmer, died in his native land in 1914, being survived by his widow. Our subject was reared under the paternal roof, attending the public schools of his home neighborhood, and remained with his parents until he was sixteen years old, when he went to Germany, where he was employed at various occupations for about four years.

    In 1907 Mr. Otter emigrated to the United States and came direct to Lynden, Whatcom county, to which locality had previously come two of his brothers, Harry and Henry Otter. For a few years he was employed at various kinds of work in this vicinity, but in 1912 he entered on an independent career by buying thirty acres of land in Lynden township, comprising the nucleus of his present farm. No clearing or improvements of any nature had been made on the property, and the only entrance to the tract was by a narrow trail. He devoted himself earnestly to the task of getting the land cleared and in cultivation and now has twenty acres under the plow and producing splendid crops of hay and grain. He is giving the major portion of his attention to dairy and poultry farming, keeping eight good milk cows and eight hundred chickens, in both of which lines he has met with a very satisfactory measure of success. He has made a number of good improvements, including the building of a nice house, substantial barn and other necessary farm buildings, and the general appearance of the place indicates him to be a man of good judgment and excellent taste. He knows no such word as idleness and devotes himself closely to his work, in which he is practical and up-to-date.

    In 1911 Mr. Otter was married to Miss Dena Mersbergen, who also was born in Holland, a daughter of John and Minnie (Vos) Mersbergen. Her parents brought their family to the United States in 1890, locating first in Nebraska, where they remained until 1901, when then came to whatcom county and settled at Lynden, where the mother is now living, her husband having died in 1923. Mr. and Mrs. Otter are the parents of four children: John Garrit, Wilhelmina, Gertrude and Dorothy Johanna. Mr. Otter is a member of the Whatcom County Poultry Association and has always taken a keen interest in the progress of his locality, having rendered effective service as road supervisor of district No. 3. His religious affiliation is with the First Christian Reformed church of Lynden, of which he has long been an active member, having served as treasurer of the society and being now a member of its official board. He is a man of earnest purpose, a close observer of men and events, keeps closely in touch with the leading issues of the day and holds sound opinions on matters affecting the general welfare. He is kindly and generous in his attitude toward all benevolent objects, genial and friendly in his social relations and enjoys a high standing among his friends and neighbors.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 449-450

Ottestad, Louis    

    The progress of any section of the country depends upon the individual success of its citizens, and through his activities in the hotel business the late Louis Ottestad contributed his quota toward Glacier's advancement, at the same time winning the legitimate reward of well directed labor. Of sturdy Norwegian stock, he was born May 15, 1854, and his demise occurred February 25, 1926. When a boy of thirteen he came to the United States with his parents, O. B. and Anna Dorothea Ottestad, who settled in Minnesota. In 1879 the migrated from that state to South Dakota and were the first to locate in Moody county. They came to Washington in 1891, establishing their home in Whatcom county, in which they spent their remaining years.

    Louis Ottestad arrived in the county in 1889 and for about three years was engaged in merchandising at Whatcom afterward known as Bellingham. In the spring of 1891 he opened a store in Everett and there resided until August, 1893, afterward becoming connected with commercial operations in various parts of Washington. In June, 1921, he purchased a hotel at Glacier and thereafter devoted his attention to its management. He put forth every effort to promote the comfort and well being of his guests and was a popular host, maintaining a well conducted hostelry. He was the owner of valuable property at Blaine, and he displayed foresight and good judgment in placing his investments.

    On July 2, 1882, Mr. Ottestad was united in marriage to Miss Anna T. Johnson, of Minnesota, and six children were born to them, namely: J. W., who is living at longview, Washington; Lucy Amanda, the wife of P. M. Larson, of Bellingham; Clarence Norman; Harold F., a resident of Odessa, Washington; and Eunice D. and Lewis Edward, who are still at home. Mr. Ottestad was nonpartisan, casting his ballot for the candidate whom he considered best fitted for office. He took a keen interest in politics and was registration officer. He regarded Glacier as a very desirable place of residence and was in hearty accord with all projects destined to prove of practical good to the community with which he had allied his interest. He rose through the medium of his own efforts, and his genial disposition and courteous bearing won him many sincere friends, who deeply regret his passing.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 711-712

Oxford, Charles

    Charles Oxford, proprietor of a well kept poultry ranch in the Noon neighborhood, is a native son of Whatcom county and his interests ever have centered here. He was born on a pioneer farm in the Ferndale neighborhood in 1882 and is a son of Thomas and Maria (Wynn) Oxford, the latter a daughter of Thomas Wynn, one of the real pioneers of this section of Washington, mentioned elsewhere in this work. Thomas Oxford, also a pioneer of this county and a substantial landowner in the Ferndale neighborhood, is a native of Australia, born at Victoria, in December, 1843, a son of Thomas and Eliza (Chymouth) Oxford, natives of England, who became residents of Australia about 1840. The elder Thomas Oxford became one of the substantial men of the Melbourne settlement, owning there a section of land that now is included within the limits of the city. The junior Thomas Oxford grew up at Melbourne, had is schooling there and as a young man engaged in gold mining operations. In 1876 he came to the United States, landing at San Francisco on the Fourth of July of that year, and was for two years employed in mining operations in California and in the Black Hills field. In 1878 he came into the Bay country and entered a claim to a quarter section of land in the Ferndale neighborhood and settled down to the task of clearing and improving it. In the summer of 1879 he married Maria Wynn and established his home on that place, where he and his wife are still living, honored pioneers of that region. They are the parents of nine children, all of whom are living save one, and the family is quite well established in this county.

    Reared on the home farm in the vicinity of Ferndale, Charles Oxford, the eldest son and second in order of birth of the family was educated in the Ferndale schools and from the days of his boyhood was an active and helpful factor in the labors of improving and developing the farm, remaining there until 1921, when he established his home on the ten acre tract on which he is now carrying on his poultry business. This was a tract of stump land when he took it over and he has improved it in admirable shape, building up a plant there in which he now is able to accommodate no fewer than one thousand hens. He is a member of the Whatcom County Poultry Association and his operations are carried on in accordance with the best methods of modern poultry raising, so that he is meeting with substantial and well deserved success.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 805

Oxford, Thomas, Sr.

    The history of Whatcom county is not a very old one. It is the record of the steady growth of a community planted in the wilderness, practically its entire development occurring during the last fifty years, and its present splendid condition has been reached without other means than those of steady and persistent industry. The people who redeemed its wilderness were strong-armed, courageous men who hesitated at no difficulty and for whom hardships had little terror. Their efficient efforts are appreciated today by those who have come here later and builded on the foundation which they laid so broad and deep. Among these hardy old pioneers stands Thomas Oxford, Sr., who came here in the formative period, contributed his full quota to the development of the country and through all the subsequent years has performed his full duty as a citizen of this favored locality. Despite his advanced years, he is still comparatively hale and hearty and is veritably one of the grand old men of Whatcom county.

    Mr. Oxford was born at Victoria, Australia, on the 25th of December, 1843, and is a son of Thomas and Eliza (Chenouth) Oxford, both of whom were natives of England. The father went to Australia about 1840 and took up a section of land on which a part of the city of Melbourne now stands. Later for a number of years he engaged in mining, and his death occurred there in 1855, his wife passing away in the following year.

    Their son Thomas was educated in the public schools of Melbourne and at the age of fourteen years he went to the gold mines, and during the ensuing twenty-one years he devoted himself to mining. He then came to the United states, landing at San Francisco, California, July 4, 1876, and soon afterwards went to the Black Hills of South Dakota, where he engaged in mining for about a year. Returning to California, he located at Sonora, Tuolumne county, where he worked for a few months, but in 1878 came to Whatcom county, Washington, and filed on one hundred and sixty acres of land adjoining the town of Ferndale, the tract at that time being covered with dense timber and underbrush. Mr. Oxford cleared one hundred and twenty acres of this land and later bought twenty acres adjoining, being now the owner of one hundred and eighty acres comprising as fine a ranch as can be found in this section of the state. He and his three sons {unreadable} the place in conjunction, the partnership being a particularly happy arrangement {unreadable} of their efforts in every possible way and they are realizing a very gratifying measure of success. They keep fifteen good grade Jersey cows and a pure bred bull, and have one thousand laying hens. They devote the land to diversified crops, principally hat and grain, with a fair sized tract in sugar beets, and also have a very fine bearing orchard. The improvements on the ranch are all of a substantial character including a fine new home, comfortable in arrangement and attractive in appearance, which was built in 1924.

    Mr. Oxford is a member of the Whatcom County Poultry Association and takes a keen interest in everything pertaining to agriculture or farm work. Though an octogenarian, he refuses to be shelved, but takes an active part in certain work on the farm. In his younger days he was an expert musician, playing the violin and cornet, and was a member of the first band organized at Ferndale. Genial and friendly, kindly and generous, courteous and accommodating, no man in the community stands higher in the affection and admiration of his fellow citizens than he, for in all the relations of life he has shown the essential qualities of true manhood and upright citizenship.

    On August 7, 1879, Mr. Oxford was married to Miss Maria Wynn, a native of Whatcom county and a daughter of Thomas Wynn, who is referred to in the sketch of T. B. Wynn, which appears on other pages of this work. To Mr. and Mrs. Oxford have been born nine children, namely: Mrs. Hannah Escritt, born June 6, 1880, is now living in Seattle, Washington; Charles, born January 8, 1882, owns a ranch at Noon Station, Washington; Mrs. Clara McAlpine, born November 17, 1883, died leaving one daughter, Celeste, born October 11, 1914; Mrs. Lydia Brazee was born April 26, 1886; Thomas Jr., born May 11, 1888, is married and has three children, Harriet, born September 17, 1913, Echo, born December 1, 1918, and Thomas III, born April 20, 1923; Harry, born September 14, 1890, married Iva Bailey and has a son, Harry, Jr., born January 23, 1924; Mrs. Wynne Grimson was born December 13, 1892; Bennett was born November 12, 1894; and Mason, born August 31, 1897, married Barbara Schneider and has a daughter, Alice May, born May 15, 1925. Harry served in Company B, Seventy-sixth Infantry until the close of the World war and was honorably discharged. Mason served in the regular navy as a second class seaman and also received an honorable discharge.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 684-687


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