Henry Shagren, one of the officers of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association, is the owner of a fine farm but resides in Lynden, and he represents one of the pioneer families of this section of the state. He was born March 26, 1877, and has always lived in this county, in which he is widely and favorably known. His father, August Klocke, was a native of Germany and came to Whatcom county in 1872, which year also marked the arrival of A. N. Shagren. Mr. Klocke took up a homestead, cleared the land and eventually transformed the place into a productive farm, on which he spent the remainder of his life. He responded to the final summons in 1912 and had long survived his wife, who passed away in 1886. To their union were born seven children, the youngest of whom was but a year old when the mother died.
Their son Henry was adopted by A. N. Shagren who is a native of Sweden and now makes his home with the subject of this sketch. The latter received a public school education, and he has always lived within a quarter of a mile of his birthplace. He was reared on a farm and early became familiar with the work of plowing, planting and harvesting. On starting out in life for himself he chose the career of an agriculturist and brought to his occupation an intelligent, open and liberal mind, adopting the most modern methods of farming. He worked diligently and systematically, bringing his land to a high state of development, and also raised Ayrshire cattle, his herd being composed of blooded stock. From time to time he increased his holdings, eventually becoming the owner of a valuable ranch of two hundred acres, which he has rented for a period of five years. He is now devoting his energies to the promotion of the interests of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association, of which he has been treasurer and a director since 1921, contributing largely toward its success, and he is also a director of the People's State Bank of Lynden. He is a business man of high reputation and his cooperation is a valuable asset to the organization with which he is connected.
In 1905 Mr. Shagren was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bonesen, a native of North Dakota and a daughter of Peter and Margaret Bonesen, who settled in Whatcom county in 1900. Mr. and Mrs. Shagren have become the parents of four children: Roland, Margaret, William and Henry. Mr. Shagren has served on the school board, also as county commissioner, which office he filled from 1913 until 1919, and has demonstrated his public spirit by both word and deed. His fraternal connections are with the Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he is also a member of the Grange and the Kiwanis Club. Mr. Shagren has always directed his energies into constructive channels and combines in his character all of the qualities of a useful and desirable citizen.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 460
Sheets, J. W.
By instinct a journalist, J. W. Sheets has achieved noteworthy success in the newspaper business, which has constituted his life work, and is widely known as the owner and publisher of the Blaine Journal-Press, a valuable news medium. A son of A. W. and Ella (Closson) Sheets, he was born September 25, 1879, and is a native of Minnesota. His father was one of the founders of the Todd County Argus, which he owned and operated for thirty-five years, developing one of the best papers in central Minnesota, and was highly esteemed in journalistic circles of that state. He is survived by the mother, who is now a resident of Florida.
J. W. Sheets was educated in the public schools of Minnesota and at an early age was fascinated by the printer's art, learning to set type when a child of eight. He received thorough instruction from his father and as he advanced in years was of much assistance in the operation of the plant. In September, 1903, he arrived in Tekoa, Washington, and purchased the Blade, which he conducted for a year. He then moved to Snohomish and for two years was engaged in farming in that locality. In 1906 Mr. Sheets came to Blaine and purchased an interest in the business which he now controls.
The Journal-Press was formed January 24, 1924, combining the Journal, founded April 23, 1885, and the Press, which was established in 1909 by Jack Thompson. The Journal is the oldest paper in Whatcom county and was started by George Cain and his brother. Louis R. Flowers was the first editor and the position was afterward filled by Orville Espy. Cain Brothers disposed of the business to Joseph W. Dorr and George D. C. Pruner was the next owner and editor. The plant was afterward purchased by E. E. Beard and later the paper passed into the hands of Montfort Brothers. In 1905 they were joined by Floyd C. Kaylor, publisher of the Blaine Reporter, which had been started July 1, 1904. In the fall of 1906 J. W. Sheets purchased a half interest in the business and on July 1, 1908, he acquired the holdings of F. C. Kaylor. Mr. Sheets has since owned the Journal and took over the Press on January 24, 1924, consolidating the two papers, which he is now operating as an eight-page weekly. He has installed a linotype machine, a cylinder press and power folder and has one of the best equipped newspaper plants in this section of the state. He is publishing a paper of high standing, filled with good reading matter and embodying the best elements of modern journalism. Under his expert management it has gained steadily in power and influence and now has a circulation of one thousand.
On May 2, 1898, at the age of eighteen years, Mr. Sheets enlisted in Company K, Fourteenth Minnesota Volunteers, at St. Paul, Minnesota, for service in the Spanish-American war, and was mustered out as a sergeant late that year, terminating a spotless record. This regiment spent most of its existence at Chicamauga Park, Georgia, and Knoxville, Tennessee, in training, and saw no active service.
In April, 1899, Mr. Sheets married Miss Grace G. Richardson, of Long Prairie, Minnesota, a daughter of S. S. and Minnie Richardson, who are now living in Blaine. To Mr. and Mrs. Sheets were born six children: Earl, who has passed away; Leora and Ruth, at home; Rex also deceased; and Paul and Hugh, who are still with their parents. The family are members of the Methodist church and in politics Mr. Sheets is an independent republican. He is of the progressive type, both as a journalist and as a citizen, and has always supported moral interests, fair dealing and the cause of good government without reference to party or personal considerations, winning the respect of the entire community for the courage with which he defends his conviction. He has always been a "booster" and through the columns of his paper is wielding much influence in furthering civic growth and advancement.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 558-561
Born in Indiana in 1824, Mr. Sheffer reached California during the gold rush of 1849. He traveled by ox team, and at Salt Lake City was married. Leaving his wife at Salt Lake, he went on to California, where he wandered around for some time, and on returning to Utah found is wife had deserted him and married another man. Undaunted, he married again, and being of a restless disposition, he wandered around through Oregon and eastern Washington for a number of years, when his second wife becoming tired of his peregrinations, they were divorced.
For a third time, he went to Salt Lake in 1867, and there for the third time launched forth upon the sea of matrimony. To this union six children were born, Lydia, Vance, Lula, Bert, May, and Goldie. But the Sheffer roaming disposition kept the family on the road much of the time. They shifted up and down the coast of Oregon and California in their covered wagon, and finally wound up at Whatcom in 1883, where his wife refused to follow his travelings any further. Seemingly they could not get along harmoniously under her decision, for in 1890 they separated. Now free to follow his own inclinations, Mr. Sheffer took his old buckboard and one horse, and set off once more down the coast, going as far as into Mexico. Not finding things ideal there, he turned about and straggled back to Lynden, where he made his home with his daughter, Lydia, who had married R. E. Hawley. But the "rolling stone" could not stay still for long. When the Alaska gold rush came on, the wanderlust came over him, and off he went to the north. Crossing the divide to the headwaters of the Yukon, he built a boat and descended that stream, and finally landed at Nome, where he worked for a time at carpenter work. Having accumulated a little money, he decided to return to the States and eventually landed back in Lynden with the Hawleys.
Mr. Sheffer now decided to settle down, so he built a small house and appeared to be getting along well, when suddenly the fever hit him again, and at the age of 80, with the old mare and buckboard, he set off for California, and wandered about the southland for two years. But age was beginning to put on the brakes of his restless soul, so he trundled back to Lynden, and once more made his home with the Hawleys, for the remainder of his life. He died in 1910.
Skqee Mus, R. E. Hawley, pub. 1945, pgs. 180-181
Shelton, James Frank
James Frank Shelton is secretary-treasurer and manager of the Peoples Fuel Company of Bellingham, manufacturers of medicinal charcoal and by-products, and formerly engaged for years in the practice of law in Oregon. A native of that state, born at haystack, December 20, 1874, he is a son of James M. and Nancy E. (Scott) Shelton, both of whom were born in Oregon, members of real pioneer families in that state, the latter a daughter of John M. Scott, a son of Levi Scott, one of the signers of the Oregon constitution in 1857. Mrs. Shelton died in Beulah in 1904 and Mr. Shelton is now living retired in Portland. He is a son of Solomon Shelton, who was a member of that same party to which Levi Scott was attached which came over the old Oregon trail in 1844.
Reared in Oregon, J. F. Shelton was educated in the schools of that state and early gave his attention to the study of law, being admitted to the bar in 1898. He engaged in practice at Portland until 1922, when he aided in the organization of the Peoples Fuel Company of Bellingham, was elected secretary-treasurer and was made manager of its affairs. Coincident to this transaction he took up his residence in Bellingham, where he has since made his home. C. A. Riggs is president of the company, which is capitalized at three hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars and has a well equipped plant at 3500 Meridian street, with six acres of land adjacent on which to expand its operations. It is said that the plant of the Peoples Fuel Company is the only one of its kind in the world. It manufactures charcoal out of sawdust, using the by-product of the local lumber mills, its specialty being a highly processed charcoal used as a mixture in chicken feed. It has a present yearly capacity of three hundred and fifty tons and in view of the constantly increasing demand for the product is now making preparations greatly to increase the output. The process used by this company is so economical that it has brought about a reduction of the wholesale price of this grade of charcoal from fifty to forty dollars a ton. The product used for chicken feed also is said to be quite equal to the commonly exploited medicinal charcoal that is sold in the market for two hundred and fifty dollars a ton and the process inaugurated by the Bellingham plant, it is thought, will revolutionize the whole charcoal industry as applied to this grade of the product. The company has its own spur tracks connecting by railway with the lumber mills and is otherwise well equipped for the expeditious handling of its raw material and its finished product. One of its valuable by-products is a pyroligneous acid which has proved particularly effective as a destroyer of Canadian thistles and other noxious weeds and for which an active demand has been created among agriculturists.
On October 9, 1905, at Echo, Oregon, Mr. Shelton was united in marriage to Miss Ethelyne Atkinson, who was born at Echo, daughter of Isaiah and Anna M. (Edmonson) Atkinson, both members of pioneer families in that state. Mr. Shelton is a democrat, while Mrs. Shelton is a republican, and during the years of his residence in Portland he took an active interest in political affairs. He is a member of the Masonic order and is also affiliated with the Woodmen of the World and with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 766-767
Shenenberger, Floyd A.
Floyd A. Shenenberger has concentrated his energies upon the achievement of a definite end, never losing sight of his objective, and his life record is a chronicle of continuous progress that has brought him to the fore in mercantile circles of Bellingham, which for over twenty years has claimed him as a citizen. A native of Iowa, he was born July 8, 1875, and is a son of S. A. and N. E. Shenenberger. His father was engaged in the transfer business and at one time conducted a grocery store. He was also connected with railroad operations, and he is now living retired in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
After completion of his high school course Floyd A. Shenenberger became a teacher and followed that profession for four years. In 1896, when a young man of twenty-one, he secured a position in the establishment of the Bell Clothing Company, a well known mercantile house of Cedar Rapids, and in 1902 he came to Bellingham, entering the employ of the Gage-Dodson Company in May of that year. He soon demonstrated his worth and has continued with the firm, working untiringly to promote its interests. The business was continued under the form of the Gage-Dodson Company until January, 1924, when a reorganization was effected and the name was changed to that of the Gage-Dodson Clothing Company, Inc. George Dodson succeeded his father, L. T. Dodson, in the office of president and Victor Roth was made vice president. Harley Dodson was elected treasurer and Mr. Shenenberger has since been secretary of the firm, which conducts a large business in men's furnishings, handling the Hart, Schaffner & Marx overcoats and suits. They carry only high grade stock and their patronage is composed of a most desirable class of customers, whose support and confidence they have won by superior service and honorable, straightforward methods.
On October 4, 1905, Mr. Shenenberger married Miss Lillian Kimbro, a daughter of J. W. Kimbro and a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The children of this union are Lowell and Lola, aged respectively eighteen and thirteen years. Mr. Shenenberger is a Mason, belonging to Bellingham Bay Lodge No. 44, F. & A. M., of which he is worshipful master. He has taken the thirty-second degree in the organization, and he is also identified with the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He votes the republican ticket and is affiliated with the Garden Street Methodist church. He shapes his conduct by its teachings, and his probity, ability and devotion to duty are well known to the residents of Bellingham, who speak of him in terms of high regard.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 261-262
Sheppard, Osmond M.
Osmond M. Sheppard, secretary of the Tulip Creamery Company of Bellingham and proprietor of "Sheppard's," recognized in the trade as the finest ice cream parlor and confectionery store north of Seattle, is a native of faraway Florida but has been a resident of the Pacific coast country since the days of his young manhood. He is familiar with every step of the amazing development that has taken place in and about Bellingham since the late '90s of the past century, his first acquaintance with this now flourishing and progressive community having been made in the days when local activities were largely confined to the operations of the sawmills and the fishing camps. He also took part in the initial "rush" into Alaska in the days of the gold excitement, had a hand in the adventures of the gold miners, helped in the survey of the railway into that country and in other ways became thoroughly familiar with conditions in the developing stage of this section of the great northwest. He also served for some time as a pilot in the Sound, adding to his experiences in seafaring in Atlantic waters in his youth, and to his stock of stories of Alaskan adventure he can add not a few good stories of the sea.
Mr. Sheppard was born on a fruit farm in Liberty county, Florida, in 1876, and is a son of Bowen and Ada (Roan) Sheppard, both of whom are now deceased. Upon completing his schooling he began working on steamships in the Atlantic coastwise trade and was thus engaged for six years or until 1898, the year after he had attained his majority, when he came into the northwest and in that same year made his first acquaintance with the Bellingham settlements, going from here up to Alaska, where he spent five years mining and aiding in the railway surveys. For five or six years thereafter he was employed as a pilot on vessels of the Puget Sound Lumber Company and then, in 1908, the year following his marriage, settled down in Bellingham and has since been a steady landsman, quite content to let others lead the adventurous life if they are so inclined, while he is pursuing the peaceful paths of commerce. It was in 1908 that Mr. Sheppard opened at Bellingham an attractive and somewhat distinctive place of business, to which he gave the name of "The Cave," an ice cream parlor and confectionery shop which quickly attained a popularity that made it widely known throughout this section. In 1921, after some notable improvements to this place, he changed the name to "Sheppard's" and this name became so distinctly a part of the business, representing a high standard of service and quality, that in September, 1923, Mr. Sheppard had the name registered in the United States patent office and has thus protected his exclusive right to its use in such a connection. In addition to this flourishing commercial interest Mr. Sheppard has other interests of a substantial character, including a partnership interest in the Tulip Creamery Company of Bellingham, of which concern he is the secretary, as is related elsewhere in this work, together with fitting mention of the establishment and development of that progressive industry.
In 1907 Mr. Sheppard was united in marriage to Miss Melissa Ireland, who was born in Iowa but was reared in Florida, to which state her parents had moved with their family when she was a child, and they have three children: Margaret, Marion and Monte William. The Sheppards have a pleasant home in Bellingham and Mr. and Mrs. Sheppard have ever taken an interested and helpful part in the city's general social activities. Mr. Sheppard is one of the active and influential members of the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce and of the Rotary Club and has a well established reputation as one of the town's most enthusiastic "boosters." He is a Knight Templar, Royal Arch and Scottish Rite thirty-second degree Mason and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine and has for years taken an earnest interest in Masonic activities. He is a past generalissimo of the local commandery of the Knights Templar and is past worshipful master of the local lodge (No. 151) of the Free and Accepted Masons.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 175-176
Shetler, John F.
Among the strong and influential citizens of Whatcom county the record of whose lives have become an essential part of the history of this section, is John F. Shetler, who has exerted a beneficial influence throughout the community where he resides. His chief characteristics are keeness of perception, a tireless energy, honesty of purpose and motive and every-day common sense, which have enabled him not only to advance his own interests, but also to largely contribute to the moral and material advancement of the county. John F. Shetler is a native of Indiana, where his birth occurred on the 24th of February, 1854, and he is a son of Hezekiah and Nancy Ann (Sutton) Shetler, the former born in Pennsylvania in 1821, and the latter in Indiana, April 8, 1827. They brought their family to Washington on October 7, 1882, and spent the remainder of their days in Whatcom county, the father dying September 24, 1886, and the mother January 16, 1900. They were the parents of nine children, namely: George F., deceased, Aaron J., John F., Mrs. Julia A. Argo, Jacob M., William Henry, Marshall M., Mary Ellen, deceased and Etta Isabel. Hezekiah Shetler was a hard and industrious worker and was progressive in his methods. He and his sons cut the first lumber and shingles by steam power in Whatcom county, the sawmills prior to that time having been operated by water power. They also cut and donated the lumber used in the building of the first church in Ferndale. In these and many other ways Mr. Shetler was an important and appreciated factor in the early development of his section of the county and he enjoyed to a marked degree the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens.
John F. Shetler was educated in district schools of Kansas, where the family lived for a number of years prior to coming to Washington. After leaving school he ran cattle there until the family came to the coast in 1882. He has been identified with Whatcom county continuously from that time to the present and has done his part in the great work of transformation that has taken place here. All the men in the family took up homesteads of one hundred and sixty acres each in the Ten Mile district, all of the land being heavily covered with timber. They built a sawmill on Deer creek and here sawed the timber from their land. Here they established their homes, followed general farming and stock-raising, and lived there until about 1900. In that year John F. Shetler bought the interests of the other heirs in his mother's estate and lived on that place two years longer. During the following five years he worked in a sawmill, his wife doing the cooking for the crew, and at the end of that time he bought thirty acres of land on the highway, one mile south of the county farm. He cleared and now farms it, raising great crops of hay. He is a good manager, an indomitable worker and exercises sound judgment in all his operations, so that the success which has rewarded his efforts has been well earned. At the same time he has gained the hearty respect and the unbounded confidence of his fellow citizens, who have recognized in him the essential qualities of good citizenship. Mr. Shetler had a number of unusual experiences during his early years in this country, some of which bordered on the thrilling. Soon after he came here he started through the woods one day, when he heard a blood-curdling noise, which he at first thought was the scream of a panther. As he had no gun with him, he picked up a big club and expected to have to battle for his life, but to his joy the animal proved to be a loon. At that time many wild and vicious animals roamed through the forests of this locality and a person was hardly safe without a trusty weapon. He possesses a rose bush that was planted in 1882 by Charles Cowden. Mr. Shetler has taken it with him on his various moves over the state, and it is now growing nicely on his present place. It is the oldest blooming rose bush in Whatcom county and he prizes it highly.
In Kansas, August 15, 1882, Mr. Shetler was married to Miss Angelia Bentley, who was born in Fulton county, Illinois, daughter of Robert and Nancy Elizabeth (Berry) Boyer. The father was a native of Ohio and the mother of Indiana, but their last years were spent in Illinois. Mrs. Shetler was first married in 1875 to David Bentley, who was born December 4, 1848, and they had four children, Charles, Nathan, Minnie and Thomas, the last named being deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Shetler have one child, Leota, who ws born in Whatcom county, and was married, August 17, 1901, to John L. Dickerson, and they are the parents of four children, Birdie, John, Ernestine and Jessie.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 598-599
Conrad Shields enjoyed distinctive prestige among the enterprising citizens of Whatcom county of a past generation, having worked his way upward to a prominent position in the community, and in all relations of life his voice and influence were on the right side of every moral issue. He was always interested in every enterprise for the welfare of the community and liberally supported every movement calculated to benefit his fellowmen. Although the last chapter in his life record has been brought to a close, his influence is still felt for good in the community long honored by his residence, for he was a man in whom the utmost confidence could safely be reposed, scrupulously honest in all his dealings, kind and obliging and a man whom all respected and admired. Conrad Shields was born in Germany on the 18th of December, 1830, and received his education in the schools of his native land. In 1849 he came to the United States, making the journey in a sailing vessel, and located in Brooklyn, New York, where he remained about eight years. He then went to Minnesota, where he engaged in farming for seventeen years, and was also to some extent employed at his trade, that of carpenter. In 1874 he moved to California, stopping at Santa Rosa for about six months, and then came to Whatcom county. On his arrival here Mr. Shields homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land in Ferndale township, near the town of Ferndale, the land being densely covered with timber and brush. With the help of his sons, one hundred acres of this land was cleared and developed into a good farm, and here Mr. Shields lived during the remainder of his life, his death occurring October 29, 1901. When he first came to this locality it was a veritable wilderness, the only highways being mere trails through the forest and it was necessary to pack all the provisions afoot. Later, when roads were cut through, they hauled supples by oxen and sled. Mr. Shields not only cleared and improved his home farm, but he also contributed in many ways to the development of the community. He helped to build the Anatole school building, the first school in the district, and for fifteen years was a member of the board of school directors. He was ever a friend of education, encouraging it in every possible way, and also earnestly advocated good roads. A hard-working, industrious man, preserving in the accomplishment of whatever he set his hand to do, he so managed his affairs as to reap a splendid reward for his efforts. He was especially distinguished for his honesty and firmness of character. Unostentatious, open-hearted and candid, his record stands as an enduring monument, although his labors have ended and his name is a memory.
Mr. Shields was married to Miss Ernestine Fuhrman, who was born at Belgarde, Germany, on April 4, 1849, and who death occurred April 24, 1922. To this worthy couple were born eight children, namely: Mrs. Minnie Weide, who was born in Minnesota, is now living in Seattle, Washington, and is the mother of two children, Gretchen Jane, born June 9, 1900, and Elwyn, born February 26, 1911; Henry, born at Santa Rosa, California, February 13, 1873; Frank, born on the present homestead, December 26, 1876; Mrs. Annie Morningstar, born November 17, 1878, has seven children, Vera, born December, 1909, Ethel, born in August, 1911, Floyd E., born in August, 1913, Gertrude, born in August, 1915, Irene and Clifford, twins, born in April, 1918, and Nadine Florence, born in November, 1923; Mrs. Mary Wilson, of Seattle, born in February, 1880, has a daughter, Mildred Mary, born December 6, 1913; Clarence A., born March 16, 1882; George, born February 4, 1884, and John W., born June 26, 1886, who lives in South Bend, Washington, was married to Maud Carroll, and they have an adopted son, Carroll Jean. Four of the sons, Henry, Frank, Clarence and George, are still living on and conduct the homestead. They have one hundred acres under cultivation, raising all the crops common to this locality mainly hay, grain and potatoes, and also keep twenty-five cows of the Holstein breed and a pure bred bull. They are up-to-date and enterprising in their methods and are carrying on in splendid shape the work so well inaugurated by their father. The Shields homestead, one of the oldest in this section of the county, is a familiar landmark and has always been recognized as one of the most valuable farms of this locality. The brothers are men of stanch character, steady and industrious, public-spirited in the support of all worthy enterprises for the betterment of the public welfare, and enjoy to a marked degree the confidence and good will of the entire community.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 755-756
Shields, J. A.
There could be no more comprehensive history written of a community and its people than that which deals with the life work of those who by their own endeavor and indomitable energy have attained success and the honor of their fellow citizens, and in this sketch will be found the record of one who has made of the obstacles which he has encountered stepping stones to higher things, so that he now stands among the prominent and substantial citizens of Whatcom county. J. A. Shields, well known retired farmer and successful contractor of Ferndale, was born near St. Peter, Minnesota, in November, 1866, and is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Shields, the former a native of Germany and the latter of Sweden. The father came to the United States about 1844 and lived in New York city for some years, and about 1858 he went to Minnesota and took up a homestead, to the improvement of which he applied himself. He also worked at the carpenter's trade there until his enlistment in the Union army. He served up to the close of the war, receiving an honorable discharge, and then returned to Minnesota, where he remained until November, 1872. Going to California he remained there until the spring of 1873, when he came to Washington and took up a homestead located one mile north and a half mile west of Laurel, where he established a good home and spent the remainder of his life. To him and his wife were born nine children, namely: Albert, Charles, deceased, J. A., Henry, Frank, Annie, Mary, Clarence and George.
J. A. Shields secured his education in the country schools and after leaving school worked in the lumber camps of Washington and British Columbia for ten years. Then, in 1890, he bought ten acres of land near Ferndale, to which he later added twenty acres. He devoted himself closely to the cultivation of that farm, making many permanent and substantial improvements, and about 1900 he traded it for forty acres, buying eighty acres additional, in Ferndale township. He also bought seven acres of land about a half mile west of Ferndale, which he cleared, improved and sold. After developing and improving the one hundred and twenty acre tract, he sold that also. About 1912 Mr. Shields bought four acres of land about a half mile west of Ferndale, on which he built a fine home, and there he is now living, having retired from farm labor. He is also the owner of a fine and well improved ranch south of Ferndale. Though he has relinquished the hard labor of the farm, Mr. Shields does not know the meaning of idleness, and he is now following the contracting and building business, in which he has been eminently successful, having built several county bridges and having done a good deal of road construction during a long series of years, taking up this line of work before his retirement from the farm. He believes in doing well whatever he undertakes and has gained a fine reputation for the excellent character of the work turned out by him and the square dealing that has characterized all his transactions. Mr. Shields has long taken an active part in public affairs, especially such as affect the welfare of his own community. In 1911 he was elected township supervisor and has been retained in that office continuously since, now acting as chairman of the board. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic order and of Ferndale Lodge No. 141, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is vice president and a director of the Citizens Bank of Ferndale.
In January, 1892, Mr. Shields was married to Miss Susan Ramsay, a daughter of Robert and Agnes (McAllister) Ramsay, both of whom were born and reared in Scotland. Robert Ramsay came to California in 1870 but after spending one year there moved to Whatcom county, Washington, and took up one hundred and sixty acres of land in Ferndale township. In 1878 he moved to the city of Evansville, Indiana, where he remained for twelve years. Returning then to Ferndale, he cleared a government homestead of one hundred and sixty acres, on which he lived and conducted farming operations until his death, which occurred in January, 1910. He was survived for a number of years by his widow, whose death occurred October 14, 1924. They were the parents of eight children, namely: Elizabeth; Agnes, who became the wife of George Slater, now deceased; Susan, the wife of the subject of this sketch; John, deceased; Mrs. Belle Pepper, and three who died in infancy. To Mr. and Mrs. Shields have been born nine children: Margaret Grace, Archie, Alice, Elwyn, Howard, Stanley, Agnes, Florence and Francis. Margaret Grace is the wife of Bert Sorensen, and they have a son, Roger Dale; and Alice E. is the wife of I. Blaine Stevens and is the mother of a daughter, Virginia. They reside in Nashua, N. H. Mr. Shields is a man of unassuming manner but possesses a forceful personality, is candid and straightforward and holds strong opinions. He is friendly and affable in his social relations and enjoys marked popularity throughout his community, being esteemed for his genuine worth as a man and a citizen.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 470-473
Shields, Henry and Robert J.
Robert J. Shields, one of the well established farmers, landowners and dairymen of Mountain View township, his home there commanding a wonderful view of majestic Mount Baker, is a member of one of the pioneer families of that neighborhood and has been a witness to and a participant in the development of that region since early settlement days. Though a Canadian by birth Mr. Shields has been a resident of this country since his infancy and of Whatcom county for more than fifty years and thus counts himself as much an American as though indeed "to the manner born," for all his conscious recollections have to do with this country.
His birth occurred on a farm in the province of Ontario, July 2, 1864, and he is a son of Henry and Eliza Jane (Wallace) Shields, the latter also born in Ontario, her parents having located there upon coming from Ireland in 1840. The Wallaces were County Cavan folk in Ulster.
Henry Shields, one of the pioneers of Whatcom county, was born in County Kerry, Ireland, and became a resident of Ontario in 1847. In 1865 he moved with his family to the United states and settled in Pocahontas county in northwestern Iowa, homesteading a farm there twenty-five miles from the nearest town and eighteen miles from his nearest neighbor. In the next year the Wallaces joined him in that locality and the two families were thus reunited in that pioneer settlement. In 1876 Henry Shields, having proved up on his homestead tract and brought the same to cultivation, sold the place to advantage and following his pioneering instinct came with his family to Washington and homesteaded a quarter of a section of land in Mountain View township, this county, and there established his home, he and his family taking up the task of clearing and improving this. That was in the days of "the forest primeval" in that section of the county, when Indians still were in the country and wild game abounded. On that pioneer farm Henry Shields spent the remainder of his life, his death occurring in 1913, he then being seventy-three years of age. His wife died in 1925, when eighty-three years of age. They were the parents of nine children and their descendants in the present generation form a quite numerous family connection.
Robert J. Shields was but an infant when in 1865 his parents established their home in Iowa and he was twelve years of age when in 1876 the family came to Whatcom county, where he has since resided, now properly accounting himself one of the pioneers of the county. He here attended school and he grew to manhood, familiar with the labors of clearing and developing a timber farm. After his marriage he continued to reside on the home place and is now the owner of half of the original quarter section there, his eighty being well improved and profitable cultivated, with sufficient of the native timber standing to add to the picturesqueness of the place. In addition to general farming Mr. Shields gives considerable attention to dairying and poultry raising and has long been recognized as one of the substantial and progressive farmers of the neighborhood. On this place still is standing the old home, erected by his father in 1877 and which is now treasured as a fitting relic of pioneer days in that region. Mr. Shields is a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and of the local grange of the Patrons of Husbandry and he and his family are affiliated with the Congregational church.
It was on the day before Christmas, in 1891, that Mr. Shields was united in marriage to Miss Isabella Sinclair Brown and they have two daughters, Jessie Lillian, wife of A. W. McKinney of Pleasanton, California, and Genevieve Alice, who is at home with her parents. Mrs. Shields was born in Pocahontas county, Iowa, and is a daughter of David W. and Isabella (Sinclair) Brown, the latter of whom is still living, now making her home just over the line in British Columbia. She was born in the Orkney islands, off the coast of Scotland, and was three years of age when in 1848 her parents came with their family across the water and settled in the province of Ontario, Canada, where she grew to womanhood and was married. In 1865, the year in which the Shields family settled in Pocahontas county, Iowa, the Browns also settled in that county and in 1877 came to the northwest. After a year spent in the Mountain view neighborhood they moved to British Columbia and settled in the Hull's Prairie neighborhood, where Mr. Brown died in 1912 and where Mrs. Brown is now living. To them were born eleven children and their descendants in the present generation comprise a numerous family.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 829-830
Shumway, R. C.
Not only does R. C. Shumway represent one of the old and well known pioneer families of Whatcom county, but he himself has had a hand in the development and improvement of the county and is now numbered among its enterprising and successful dairy and poultry farmers. Mr. Shumway was born at Anoka, Minnesota, on the 7th of September, 1887, and is a son of S. T. and Maggie (Fleming) Shumway, the latter of whom was born in Nova Scotia and died in 1922 at Lynden.
S. T. Shumway was a native of the state of Maine, whence he moved to Minnesota, where he followed farming until 1889, when he came to Whatcom county, locating at Blaine. There he engaged in logging for a time, and he then came to Lynden and bought the Sam Force place. While engaged in clearing and improving this tract he also worked out in order to earn money to carry him through until his land should become productive. Eventually he developed a good farm there, to which he devoted himself until he retired, when he moved to Lynden, where he remained for a couple of years, but he is now living with his daughter, Mrs. C. O. Thomas, in Bellingham. To him and his wife were born five children, namely: R. C., the subject of the sketch; William, of Omak; Stella, the wife of A. J. Blythe, of Bellingham, and the mother of two children; Minnie, the wife of C. O. Thomas, of Bellingham; and May, the wife of George Elder, of Lynden.
When Mr. Shumway bought his homestead of one hundred and sixty acres in Lynden township it was practically uncleared, the land being densely incumbered with timber and brush, and the only highways of travel were trails. At that time he did most of his trading at Bellingham, to which place he carried his eggs, butter and other farm products. There was then plenty of wild game, including bears, deer and wild cats, and ducks and geese were also plentiful. He cleared eighty acres of his land, much of which was also ditched and drained, and he made other improvements of a permanent and substantial nature.
R. C. Shumway came to this state with his family in 1889, at which time he was but two years old, and here he was reared, securing his education in the Roeder public school and the high school at Everson, also attending the State Normal School at Bellingham for a short time. In partnership with his brother-in-law, he then engaged in the plumbing and steam fitting business, in which he continued for about two years. At the end of that time he came to his father's farm, which he rented, and he remained there about six years, clearing a considerable part of the land. Mr. Shumway then came to his present farm of ninety acres, part of which was cleared when he bought it and all of which is now in cultivation. Here he is devoting himself mainly to dairying, keeping thirty to thirty-five high grade milk cows and a full blooded Guernsey sire, all of the young stock on the place being full bred. He is likewise giving some attention to the chicken business, which he has found to be a profitable source of income, and he is preparing to increase his flocks materially. His fertile fields produce good crops of hay and grain and an excellent vegetable garden keeps the table well supplied in season.
In 1910 Mr. Shumway was married to Miss Louise Muerer, who was born at Rock Springs, Wyoming, a daughter of Fred and Lizzie (Endart) Muerer, natives of Germany and both of whom are now deceased, the father dying in 1905 and the mother in 1922. The Muerers are numbered among the early settlers of Lynden, having come here about thirty-two years ago. Mr. Muerer immigrated to the United States in the early '80s, and he was for many years employed as an accountant, finally turning his attention to farming. To Mr. and Mrs. Shumway have been born four children, namely: Ione Geraldine, Lois May, Howard C. and Ray C., Jr., all of whom are in school.
Mr. Shumway is a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and the Whatcom County Poultry Association, while fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is a man of sterling qualities of character, and his career in this locality has been marked by indomitable energy, his operations being conducted along up-to-date and progressive lines, so that the splendid success which has crowned his efforts has been well merited. He gives hearty support to all measures for the advancement of the general welfare of the community and generously supports all worthy benevolent objects. Socially he is genial and friendly and enjoys a wide acquaintance throughout this section of the county.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 87-88
Siemons, Henry J.
Henry J. Siemons, who has been an active factor in Bellingham's industrial circles during the past thirty-five years, is successfully engaged in business as one of the six brothers conducting the Siemons Lumber Company, extensive shingle manufacturers. He is a native of Illinois and was active in the hardware trade in that state, in association with his father and brothers, prior to removing westward to Washington in 1891. He established a shingle mill on the Bellingham flats, which was burned, and a few years later he lost another mill by fire. The building occupied by the Siemons Lumber Company of Bellingham was erected a number of years ago and the six brothers conducting the enterprise have developed a business of gratifying and profitable proportions.
On the 6th of February, 1907, Mr. Siemons was united in marriage to Miss Jean McAlpine, a native of Skagit county, Washington, and a daughter of Edward and Jane (Ewing) McAlpine, both of whom are deceased. Mr. Siemons belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and enjoys an enviable reputation in social as well as business circles of his adopted city.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 915
The fruits of victory are for those who dare. Possessing courage, confidence in his own powers and tenacity of purpose, Anton Sievi has accomplished what he has undertaken and is now numbered among the prosperous agriculturists of Van Wyck township. He was born January 23, 1862, on the upper Rhine, and is a native of Switzerland. His parents were Lou and Catherine Sievi, the former of whom was engaged in farming, cattle raising and butchering and always resided in the "Land of the Alps."
Anton Sievi attended the schools of Switzerland for seven years and in 1882, when a young man of twenty, sought the opportunities of the United States. He followed the occupation of farming in Illinois for two years and also engaged in the butchering business. He next went to Iowa and thence to Colorado, where he rode the range, following the life of a cowboy for some time. He engaged in the butchering business in Wyoming and subsequently resided in the states of Iowa and Wisconsin. He was connected with the meat business in St. Paul, Minnesota, and journeyed from that state to Washington, spending two years in Colfax. He located at Bellingham in 1888 and for twelve years devoted his attention to the butchering business. In 1900 he purchased his present ranch, a tract of one hundred and thirty-five acres, and now has thirty-five acres under cultivation. He raises choice varieties of fruit and also operates a dairy. He follows scientific methods and his well directed labors have brought him good returns.
In 1886 Mr. Sievi married Miss Mary Marz, who father was one of the pioneer farmers of Minnesota, and nine children were born to them: Lue, who married Miss Lena Osson and has one child; Clara, the wife of Howard Evans, of Los Angeles, California; Francis, who is a bachelor and also lives in that city; Victor and Walter, who were drowned a number of years ago while skating on Lake Squalicum; Albert of Los Angeles; Antone, who married Miss Josephine Schroeder and also makes his home in Los Angeles; Cecil, who is engaged in teaching in that city; and Marion, a student at the University of California. The sons are in the employ of a Los Angeles oil company and all hold good positions.
Mr. Sievi is a faithful communicant of the Catholic church and a stalwart republican in his political views, unswerving in his allegiance to the party. He is identified with the Woodmen of the World and his public service covers eight years of work as a member of the school board of Van Wyck township. He has a wide acquaintance in this district, in which he has resided for more than a quarter of a century, and during this period has thoroughly demonstrated his worth as a citizen.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 626-627
Simonson, W. C.
The career of W. C. Simonson is too well known in Whatcom county to require any formal introduction, for he has long been prominently identified with the farming interests and the public affairs of his locality. He is progressive in all that the term implies and yet is straightforward and unassuming in the various relations of life.
Mr. Simonson was born in the state of Ohio in 1860 and is a son of Jesse R. and Mary B. (Moore) Simonson, both of whom also were natives of the Buckeye state. When he was four years old the family moved to Illinois, and in that state they lived for a number of years, the father dying when our subject was about sixteen years of age. During the Civil war the father enlisted in the militia but was never called into active service.
W. C. Simonson attended the public schools in Illinois and completed his studies in Mount Morris College. He then engaged in teaching in that state, later going to Missouri, where he taught school and also ran a country newspaper for a time. His next move was to Walnut, Crawford county, Kansas, where he was engaged in the newspaper business for about two years, and at the end of that time he returned to Missouri and turned his attention to farming, which occupation he followed until 1911, when he came to Whatcom county.
On his arrival here, Mr. Simonson bought forty acres of land in the vicinity of Ten Mile. None of the land was cleared and the only improvement on the tract was a small house. He has devoted himself indefatigabley to the improvement of the place and now has ten acres cleared, with a considerable part of the remainder partly cleared. Mr. Simonson is giving his attention largely to the dairy business, keeping six good grade milk cows and several head of young stock, for which he raises his own feed on the farm. He is a wide-awake, hustling farmer who does well whatever he undertakes, and he has so improved the property that he now has a very comfortable and attractive place.
While living in Missouri, Mr. Simonson was married to Miss Lena Rowan, who was born and reared in that state, a daughter of T. M. and Virginia Rowan, and to this union were born two children, C. L. and Donald S., the latter dying in childhood. C. L. Simonson was born September 15, 1895, in Crawford county, Kansas, and secured his education in the public schools of Nevada, Missouri, and in this county, attending the Laurel school. He then taught in the Sunrise school, in Custer, for two years. When the United States entered the World war, he enlisted in Company K, Three Hundred and Sixty-first Infantry Regiment, Ninety-first Division, with which he served nineteen months, ten months of that time being spent overseas. He took part in the St. Mihiel and Argonne offensives and was wounded in action, and he subsequently received an honorable discharge with the rank of first sergeant. On his return home C. L. Simonson entered the State Normal School at Bellingham, where he attended five quarters during 1922 and 1923. He the returned to his father's farm, where he has since resided, and he is now engaged in the chicken business, having a fine run of Barred Plymouth Rock hens, in the handling of which he is meeting with splendid success. He is at present also filling out an unexpired term as township treasurer by appointment of the board of county commissioners. A young man of splendid qualities of character, he stands high in the esteem of the entire community. On June 15, 1924, he was married to Miss Hazel Hawk, of Bellingham, a daughter of L. B. and Eva B. Hawk.
Mr. Simonson has devoted himself closely to his individual affairs but has never permitted them to interfere with his obligations to the community or his duty toward his fellowmen. He served for five years as assessor and is now serving his third year as township clerk. He is a man of pleasing and kindly manner, being friendly and courteous in all of his social relations, and he holds an enviable place in the confidence and good will of his friends and acquaintances.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 30-31
John Simpson, one of the honored pioneers of northwestern Washington, has done much to develop the rich agricultural resources of Whatcom county, in which he has resided for forty-two years, and is now enjoying a well deserved period of leisure. He has filled township and county offices and in every relation of life has acquitted himself with dignity, fidelity and honor. He was born February 7, 1860, in Ontario, Canada, and his parents, Peter and Jessie (McDonald) Simpson, were natives of Scotland. The father, who was a miller by trade, made the voyage to Canada about 1856 and in that country his marriage occurred.
John Simpson was educated in the public schools of his native province and worked for his father until 1879. He then went to Victoria and thence to Granville, British Columbia, which was then called "Gastown." In February, 1880, he arrived in the locality where the city of Vancouver is now situated and in December, 1883, came to Whatcom county, Washington. He purchased a tract of one hundred and sixty acres, which property is now the site of the town of Everson. By patient toil he cleared the place of timber and brought the land under the plow. He was one of the early settlers in this section of the state and experienced many of the phases of frontier life. His well tilled fields yielded abundant harvests and from time to time he added modern improvements, eventually developing one of the finest farms in the county. Mr. Simpson was also the owner of a freighting outfit, which he operated from Bellingham to his ranch, using horses to transport the goods. He remained on the farm until 1920, when he sold the property, and has since lived retired in Everson.
In 1888 Mr. Simpson married Mrs. Annetta Harkness, a widow whose parents were Carl and Katherine Krohm, the former of whom died during her infancy. She was born in Australia and came to Whatcom county about 1878. She conducted a general store, established by her first husband at Nooksack Crossing, and in 1891 the business was moved to Everson, a distance of one mile. Mr. and Mrs. Simpson started the first store in the town and continued the business until 1900, when it was sold. Mr. Simpson is the father of two children: Jessie, who lives in Seattle; and Bertha, the wife of Jens Backer, of Everson.
Mr. Simpson is allied with the republican party and has been very active in public affairs. He was county commissioner during 1911-1912 and has been township supervisor. He is particularly interested in educational matters and was a member of the school board for nine years, in which connection he aided in starting the first schools in his neighborhood. He displayed rare qualities as a public servant and his work was highly commended. He is a Mason and also takes a prominent part in the activities of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His wife is connected with the Rebekahs and he is also a member of the local camp of the Woodmen of the World. Mr. Simpson is affiliated with the Presbyterian church of Everson, which he aided in founding, and carries his religion into his daily life, possessing the true spirit of Christianity.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 862-865
Simpson, R. S.
R. S. Simpson is well known as one of Bellingham's pioneer real estate dealers and his work has been of much value to the city, in which he has made his home for thirty-five years. A son of George W. and Martha J. Simpson, he was born April 5, 1860, and is a native of Pennsylvania. His boyhood was spent on his father's farm, and after the completion of his high school course he entered the Pennsylvania State Normal School, from which he was graduated in 1885. He was a high school teacher for some time and in 1891 came to northwestern Washington. He embarked in the real estate business at Sehome, now known as Bellingham, and was among the earliest in this field. In 1897 he was made principal of the Sehome school, acting in that capacity for three years, and recognition of his ability led to his selection for the important office of county superintendent of schools, of which he was the incumbent for five years. On the expiration of that period he withdrew from the profession and has since given his undivided attention to the real estate business, in which he has been very successful. Nothing escapes him concerning the realty market and his judgment in the selection of property is regarded as infallible. He acts as secretary-treasurer of the Bellingham and Whatcom Realty companies and is president of the Northwestern Loan & Investment Company, all of which have benefitted by his executive capacity, broad vision and keen intelligence.
In 1894 Mr. Simpson married Miss May Hutchinson, of Pennsylvania, by whom he has a daughter, Elinor, now a teacher in the Bellingham schools. Mr. Simpson is a member of the local Real Estate Association and casts his ballot for the candidates of the republican party. He is affiliated with the Presbyterian church and closely follows its teachings. He has aided in transforming Bellingham into a prosperous and beautiful city and at the same time has earned the reward of useful and honest labor. Mr. Simpson is highly esteemed in business circles of the city and his influence is one of broadening activity and strength in the field in which he is operating.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 709
In reviewing the career of Jacob Sinlan, one of the best known farmers of Ten Mile township, who holds a position of honor in the community where he lives, it is only just that proper tribute should be paid to his earnest accomplishments, for he has long stood among the enterprising citizens of his community.
Mr. Sinlan was born in Norway in 1882 and is a son of C. J. and Trina (Field) Sinlan, both of whom also were natives of that country. The father immigrated to the United States, locating in Tacoma in 1886, and was employed at his trade, that of a carpenter, up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1900. His widow later became the wife of William Eglington, of Bellingham. Jacob Sinlan came to this locality in 1889, and he received his education in the Columbia school at Bellingham. He subsequently obtained employment on the steamers plying the sound, being employed in the engine rooms for about fifteen years, though during that period he also worked in the woods at odd times.
About 1915 Mr. Sinlan bought his present place, comprising forty acres of timber land, of which about eight acres had been cleared, and he has since devoted himself closely to the improvement and cultivation of the tract. About thirty acres of the land are cleared and under the plow, producing fine crops of hay, and grain and corn, the latter being used mainly for ensilage. He is giving his attention chiefly to dairy farming, for which purpose he keeps fourteen fine Guernsey milk cows, with a registered sire, and he is also planning to engage extensively in the chicken business. An enterprising and up-to-date farmer, he thoroughly understands his business and is meeting with well deserved success in all that he undertakes.
In 1911 Mr. Sinlan was married to Miss Carrie Myers, who is a native of Whatcom county, having been born in what was at that time called Yeager but is now Ten Mile. She is a daughter of W. M. and Carrie (Titus) Myers. Her father was born in Iowa in 1846 and in young manhood made the long trip across the plains with ox team to California. He was married in Seattle, March 22, 1874, his wife being a daughter of J. H. Titus, who also was a pioneer of California, coming by way of Cape Horn in the days of the historic gold rush. W. M. Myers drove a horse team from California to Washington territory for Mr. Titus in the early '70s. He remained in Seattle, or near there, until 1887, and during his early years there he followed market gardening, peddling his produce over that city. He then went to Kent, near Seattle, where he followed the dual occupations of farming and carpentering, and during that period he also operated a ferry across the White river. In 1888 he took his family to the present Myers homestead in Ten Mile township, having bought one hundred and sixty acres of land, practically none of which had been cleared. The first building which they erected was a combined house and barn, both being under one roof. They entered immediately upon the task of clearing the land and putting it into cultivation, and in the process of getting rid of the timber many magnificent logs were necessarily burned, as they had no other way of disposing of them. When the ground was ready for the plow, they engaged in general farming, raising hay, grain, vegetables and fruit, as well as hogs and chickens, and when the roads were improved they also sold many cords of cedar logs and shingle bolts.
Mr. Myers was one of the first chicken raisers in Whatcom county, keeping about three hundred hens, and all of his chickens were hatched under the hens. He was also the first man to deliver winter eggs in Bellingham. He took an active interest in local public affairs, serving for many years as a member of the school board, and in his early years in this state he rendered effective service as deputy sheriff of King county. He contributed freely of his time and labor in the building of early roads and in every possible way cooperated in all movements for the improvement of local conditions. During the Civil war he enlisted for service, joining the California troops, with which he was sent into Arizona during the Indian troubles there. His death occurred May 12, 1912, and that of his wife April 12, 1893.
To Mr. and Mrs. Sinlan have been born four children, Doris, Vernon, Edith and Marion. Mr. Sinlan was formerly a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and he is a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association. He possesses the characteristic energy and thrift of his race, of which he is a creditable representative, and he has proven himself a splendid citizen of his adopted country.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 77-78
Sinnes, E. J.
The admirable traits of his Norwegian ancestors are manifest in the life of E. J. Sinnes, a Whatcom county pioneer and for many years an acknowledged leader of agricultural advancement in Rome township. A strong constitution, a self-reliant nature, intelligence and ambition were his youthful patrimony, and with these he has worked and won. He was born June 16, 1868, in the "land of the midnight sun," and his parents, Jacob and Joren (Nesset) Sinnes, were lifelong residents of that country. The mother enjoyed the priceless possession of perfect health and reached the advanced age of ninety-four years. To Mr. and Mrs. Sinnes were born six children: Sven and Torjus, who are living in Norway; George, whose home is in Tacoma, Washington; Louis, of Laurel; E. J. and Audne, a resident of Mount Vernon, this state.
E. J. Sinnes attended the public schools of Norway and in 1886, when eighteen years of age, sought the opportunities of the United States, completing his education in this country. He worked for two years on a minnesota farm and in 1889 started for the Pacific coast, with Whatcom county, Washington, as his destination. He preempted land in Acme township, becoming the owner of a farm of twenty-four acres in the vicinity of Saxon, and later sold the place for a large sum, which he was offered for the valuable fir trees on the property. Going up the river in 1896, he homesteaded a quarter section and proved up on the ranch, which also contained some fine timber. This tract he later sold to advantage and then bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres across the river. He also derived a substantial profit from the sale of property, and in 1898 he joined the rush of good seekers to Alaska. He was engaged in prospecting in that country for six years and was successful in his mining operations. In 1904 Mr. Sinnes returned to Whatcom county and bought a tract of one hundred and sixty acres on Squalicum lake, in Rome township.. There was a small house on the ranch, which was undeveloped, and he was confronted with the difficult task of clearing the land and preparing it for the planting of seed. He now has about sixty acres under cultivation and the balance is in pasture and timber. He has fifteen Holstein cows of good grade, and the head of the herd is a valuable animal of high pedigree. His dairy is well equipped and its products are of the best quality. His soil is very productive and his principal crops are hay and grain. He built a new barn in 1905 and his home was completed in 1906. It is lighted by electricity and supplied with all modern conveniences. The residence is surrounded by a beautiful lawn and shrubbery and the farm is one of the show places of the township, being a model institution in every respect.
On November 6, 1906, Mr. Sinnes married Miss Annie Christine Ostbey, a daughter of August and Beate Ostbey, who have always resided in Norway. Mrs. Sinnes was called to her final rest December 3, 1912, and left a family of four daughters, of whom Beatrice is the eldest. She was born October 11, 1907, and is a graduate of the Harmony high school. She also attended the State Normal School at Bellingham and is at present a teacher in the Van Wyck school. Her sisters are Ellen, who was born in 1908 and is a student at the state Normal School; Myrtle, who was born October 8, 1909, and is attending high school, and Edna, born March 5, 1911, and also a high school pupil. On October 31, 1913, Mr. Sinnes married Annie Sophia Smedsrud, also a Norwegian, and a daughter of Ole and Siri (Dyven) Smedsrud, life long residents of that country. Her parents reared a family of five children, four of whom survive, and two have remained in Norway. Mrs. Sinnes has lived in the United States since 1892 and is thoroughly Americanized. She has been a devoted mother to her step-children, to whom she is deeply attached, and combines in her character all that is most admirable in woman. Mr. Sinnes champions every project for good roads, better schools and general improvement and his influence upon the life of his community has been of the highest order. He served continuously for thirteen years on the Harmony school board, was for two years a member of the first township board and is now filling the office of justice of the peace. He belongs to the Grange at Rome, to the Grange Warehouse Company, the Poultry Raisers and Dairymen's Associations of Whatcom county, the Cow-Testing Association and the Potato Growers Association. He is actuated at all times by the enterprising spirit of the west, and as agriculture progresses as a science he advances with it.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 634-635