One of the best known and most highly esteemed citizens of Whatcom county is Charles Solberg, an enterprising farmer of Ten Mile township and a pioneer who has done his full share in the development of the western part of the county, which he has honored by his citizenship for nearly forty years. During his residence here he has given his hearty support to all measures for the public good, and his name has ever been synonymous with honorable dealings in all the relations of life. Mr. Solberg was born in Norway in 1857 and is a son of Lars and Sophia Solberg, both of whom spent their lives and died in that country, where the father followed the vocation of a tailor. Our subject secured his education in the public school of Christiania, and at sixteen years of age he went to sea on a schooner as cook. He followed the sea until 1882, during which period, by faithful and intelligent performance of duty, he rose to be an able seaman and then first mate, in which capacity he served on four ships. Finally, after being off in London at the end of one of his voyages, he decided to quit the sea, and took passage for the United States. He came at once to Chicago, Illinois, where he went to work for the Wabash Railroad as a section hand. He followed railroading until 1888, the last three years and three months of his service being as a section foreman on the Oregon Short Line Railroad.
In the spring of 1888 Mr. Solberg went to Olympia, Washington, from there to Seattle, and thence to Snohomish city on a small steamer, which became stuck on the bar. From there he came to Whatcom county and soon afterward bought the rights to his present place, comprising one hundred and forty-six acres of heavily timbered land, located on the Guide Meridian road. On this road the brush had been cut but no logs had been removed when our subject come here, and for three days he was compelled to pack in his provisions and tools. He then got in touch with his neighbors, Messrs. Richardson, Adams, Lawrence, King and Allen, and each contributed twenty dollars toward the removal of the logs from the road, also contributing of their personal labor in this work. On his own place Mr. Solberg first cleared a small lot, on which he erected a split-log shack, which afforded him shelter for some time, a neat and substantial house later superseding this humble home. In those early days he put in many long days of hard and untiring labor to improve his place, during which period he cut many cords of shingle bolts from his land, also doing some trading in that article. Wild game, such as bears, deer and cougars, were numerous, as were pheasants and grouse. As soon as he had sufficient land cleared, Mr. Solberg set out fruit trees, comprising apples, pears and cherries, mainly of the first named, and how has a fine, bearing orchard. He has cleared about twenty-five acres of his land and is giving his main attention to dairy and poultry farming, in which he has met with very gratifying success. He keeps seven high grade Jersey cows, for which his land produces a plentiful supply of food, while a large part of his land affords fine pasturage. In the big forest fire of 1918 Mr. Solberg's home and some of the other farm buildings were destroyed, entailing quite a loss, but he has replaced them with substantial structures and now has a very nicely equipped farm.
Mr. Solberg is a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association. During his early years here he was one of the most active and successful in affecting improvements in local conditions, his efforts along the line of community progress being fully appreciated by his fellow citizens. He and Mr. Richardson put through the present Smith road soon after Mr. Solberg came here, and the latter did a vast amount of free road work on this and other roads in this locality. At that time his nearest neighbors were Richardson and King, a half mile away. He did his early trading in Bellingham, the trip to that place and return requiring a full day. In getting his land in shape for cultivation it became necessary for him to do much ditching in order to secure proper drainage, but his efforts were well rewarded, for the land is now exceptionally fertile and productive. Because of his public-spirited efforts, his splendid individual success and his upright character he has long enjoyed the unbounded esteem of the entire community.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 844-845
SoRelle, George M.
At the time of his passing in 1921 the late George M. SoRelle, a well known realtor at Bellingham, had resided on the Pacific coast for nearly thirty-five years and had been an active and influential factor in the development of Bellingham. He was a native of the Lone Star state, born in the year 1858, his parents having moved to Texas from Georgia, being members of old families in the latter state. The SoRelles are of French descent and have been represented in this country since colonial times.
George M. SoRelle was reared in Texas and was sent to Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, to finish his education, being there graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science. On his return to Texas he engaged in teaching school until the spring of 1887, when he came to the coast and cast in his lot with the settlers of the Bay colony. During his first year here Mr. SoRelle was employed as a teacher in the Whatcom school, his associate in teaching there having been Miss Austin. He then became actively engaged in the general real estate business, a line in which he did very well and in which he continued until after the "boom" days carrying on through the '90s. His activities later carried him into enterprises in California and Alaska, for several years being engaged in the realty business in the Golden state. Failing health at length compelled his retirement and his last years were spent in Bellingham, but he died in Los Angeles, October 29, 1921.
On September 26, 1887, at Whatcom, now Bellingham, Mr. SoRelle was united in marriage to Miss Belle Hammer, and to this union were born four children. Lillian and Vivian, born July 24, 1888, were the first white twins born in the City of Whatcom, and Lillian, who died in infancy, was the first baby buried in Bay View cemetery. Vivian, who was graduated from Washington University, married Ruskin Williams, an artist, now living in New York, and has a daughter, Dorothy Ann. Mildred, who was graduated from the State Normal School at Bellingham, married H. E. Barnhart, now living at Okanogan, Washington, and has four children, James G., Robert W., Arthur SoRelle and Elizabeth Jane. Wiley A. SoRelle, the only son, is a veteran of the World war with a record of twenty-seven months of service and is now living in Deming. He married Minnie Bell Austin and has one child, Barbara Gene.
Mrs. SoRelle, who for years has been connected with the operations of the South Bellingham postoffice, has been a resident of this community for forty years and is one of the best known women in the county, quite active in affairs here since her coming to the Bay settlements in 1887. She was born in West Virginia, and is a daughter of Captain A. B. and Emma R. (Miller) Hammer, also natives of that section of the Old Dominion which under the stress of war times split off as West Virginia in 1862. Her father was a veteran of the Civil war, going into the service as a private and coming out with a captain's commission. He was a member of one of the old colonial families of Virginia and was a grandson of a veteran of the Revolutionary war. His wife was a member of an old colonial Quaker family of northwestern Virginia. Captain Hammer who was a lawyer by profession, moved with his family to Christian county, Illinois, when his daughter Belle was but a child and later was engaged in practice at Mound Valley, Kansas. When the lands now comprising the state of Oklahoma were taken over from the Indians in 1889 he began practice in Oklahoma City and was elected the first judge of the court under territorial jurisdiction there. Mrs. SoRelle received her education in the schools of Kansas and Texas and in the latter state was engaged in teaching school for three years. She came to Whatcom county, Washington, in September, 1887, and during the following winter was employed as a teacher in the old Sehome school house, which was the first school house erected in what now is the city of Bellingham. She continued as a teacher for some time, her last term being conducted in that building in the year in which it was abandoned for school purposes. In 1904 she became connected with the operation of the local postoffice and since 1907 has held a permanent position, being stationed in the South Bellingham office. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and is affiliated with the Daughters of Rebekah and with the Order of Yeomen.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 878-881
One of the best remembered and most highly respected citizens of the past generation in Whatcom county was the late T. Sorensen, a man whom to know was to respect and admire, for he led an exemplary life and aided in all movements looking to the material, civic and moral welfare of the community. He came to us from Norway, which fair country has sent so many enterprising and progressive citizens to our shores and who have aided us in pushing forward the wheels of civilization. Mr. Sorensen was born in Norway in January, 1852, and was a son of Soren and Karen Sorensen, both natives of that country. The father came to the United States in 1889 and after a few years died in Kansas. His wife died in Norway about 1900. Of the nine children born to them but two now survive: Goneris, who lives in Santa Cruz, California, and Beatrice, who lives in Norway.
T. Sorensen secured his education in the public schools of Norway and was then employed in the woods and in sawmills there. In 1871 he came to the United States and took up a homestead in Wabaunsee county, Kansas, of which locality he was a pioneer. He lived on that homestead until 1905, when he sold out and went to Montana, where he spent one summer. He then came to Nooksack, Whatcom county, and bought twenty acres of land two miles east of Everson. He also bought forty acres two miles east of Nooksack and later secured twenty acres adjoining. He cleared about twenty-five acres, erected a good house and a barn and devoted himself closely to the operation of the place until his death, which occurred March 14, 1914. About a year prior to his death he had also bought another tract of eighty acres adjoining his home farm, and Mrs. Sorensen is now the owner of one hundred and thirty-six acres of fine land which she cultivated with the assistance of her youngest son until leasing the land. She continues to give her attention to the dairy business, keeping nineteen good grade milk cows. The principal crops raised on the farm are hay, grain and peas, with a small acreage of sugar beets. Sufficient roughage is raised to provide for the cattle, while a good vegetable garden provides the table with everything in the way of vegetables.
On September 20, 1882, Mr. Sorensen was married to Miss Blenda Peterson, who was born in Sweden, a daughter of Peter and Anna (Andersen) Peterson. The father, who was a farmer, died in Sweden about 1902, while his widow lived until 1922, when she passed away at the age of ninety-three years. They were the parents of nine children, all of whom are living, namely: Christine, Blenda, Signild, Samuel, Engrid, John, Jemie, Lilda and Amanda. To Mr. and Mrs. Sorensen were born seven children, as follows: John A., who is married and has four children, Metta, Mary, Floyd and Barney; Floyd, who is married and has a son, Gordon; Samuel, who is married and has two sons, Helmer and Belford; Mrs. Anna Dodsworth, who has a daughter, Ruth Anna, and who is a missionary in the Methodist Episcopal church, for the past five years having been working at Malaysia, India, in the Straits settlement; Harry, who is married and is superintendent of the schools in Charleston, Washington; Theodore, Jr., who is married and has two daughters, Phyllis and Betty, and Otto M. L., who has been graduated from high school and expects to enter the State Agricultural College, at Pullman. Mrs. Sorensen and her son Otto are members of the Swedish Lutheran church at Clearbrook, Washington.
Mr. Sorensen is well remembered throughout this community as a man of rugged honesty, public spirit and a healthy interest in the welfare of those about him. He was kindly and generous in his attitude toward benevolent and charitable objects and gave freely of his means and his time in the furtherance of any worthy movement for the advancement of the public welfare. Friendly in manner and candid and straightforward in all his social relations, he earned and retained a high place in the confidence and esteem of all who knew him, and his memory remains as a blessed benediction on his family. Mrs. Sorensen possess tact and business judgment and is managing her affairs in a manner that has won for her respect and admiration.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 942-943
Sorensen, K. A.
K. A. Sorensen, who has resided within the borders of Whatcom county for more that a third of a century, is well known as the efficient manager of the Grange Warehouse of Bellingham, which he assisted in organizing in 1920. He was born in Norway on the 21st of June, 1866, and was a young man of twenty-four years when in 1890 he crossed the Atlantic to the United States. He first located in the state of Nebraska but at the end of a year came to Whatcom county, Washington, settling at Lawrence in 1891.
Mr. Sorensen worked in the mills and in the woods for a number of years and subsequently opened a general store at Lawrence in 1902 but eventually sold the business. He is the owner of a dairy and poultry farm in the vicinity of Lawrence. In 1920, as stated above, he aided in the organization of the Grange Warehouse of Bellingham, which is a cooperative store handling groceries and hardware and is located at No. 501 West Holly street. Mr. Sorensen became manager of the establishment in June, 1923, and has since directed the business very successfully.
In 1891 Mr. Sorensen was united in marriage to Miss Margaret C. Hoff, a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of H. C. and Caroline Hoff, who in that year had established their home at Lawrence, Washington, where they spent the remainder of their lives. to Mr. and Mrs. Sorensen have been born ten children, five sons and five daughters, two of whom are deceased.
In politics Mr. Sorensen maintains an independent attitude, supporting men and measures rather than party. He has rendered effective service to the cause of education in the capacity of school director for a period of fifteen years, during ten of which he filled that position in Lawrence township. He also made a commendable record as justice of the peace and as clerk of Lawrence township. Fraternally he is identified with the Modern Woodmen of America and the Grange. Mr. Sorensen has never regretted his determination to seek a home in the New World, for here he found the opportunities which he sought and through their wise utilization has won a place among the prosperous and highly esteemed citizens of the community in which he resides.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 96
Sorensen, Nels Peter
Nels Peter Sorensen, state legislator, first president of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association, for several years president of the Farmers Mutual Telephone Company of Whatcom county and one of the county's leaders in agricultural development and other interests affecting the farmer, died at his home in Laurel on the 24th of December, 1925, when sixty-seven years of age. His birth occurred in Denmark on the 27th of April, 1858, his parents being Soren and Bertha (Fredricksen) Nelsen, who were also natives of that country. It was in 1875 that they emigrated to the United States and settled in Minnesota. The father acquired a farm of eighty acres, to the operation of which he devoted himself until his death, which occurred in 1895. The mother passed away in 1900. They became the parents of seven children: Mrs. Sophia Anderson, who is still a resident of Minnesota; Mrs. Margaret Nelson, also living in Minnesota; Nels Peter, of this review; Mrs. Mary Hanson, who likewise makes her home in Minnesota; and three who died in infancy.
Nels P. Sorensen was a youth of seventeen years when he came to this country with his parents. His education, begun in the public schools of Denmark, was continued in Minnesota. He remained at home until eighteen years of age, when he bought forty acres of land from the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, which he planted to wheat. The first crop was so bountiful that it paid for the land, and Mr. Sorensen made good improvements on the place and sold it a few years later. He then bought a homestead right to one hundred and sixty acres fro two hundred dollars, but fire destroyed his buildings and other improvement, and during the following two years he worked out at threshing, using his own team. Subsequently he bough eighty acres of land in Freeborn county, Minnesota, to which he added one hundred and twenty acres two years later. He improved the place and lived there for eleven years, when he sold it and bought an improved ranch comprising one hundred and sixty acres at Albert Lea, Minnesota. To this farm he later added one hundred and sixty acres and for a number of years devoted himself to its operation. He also bought a wood and coal business in Albert Lea, which he conducted for five years, and likewise owned a successful livery business. Mr. Sorensen was very comfortably established in Albert Lea, Minnesota, where his children were educated. He took an active part in public affairs and served as alderman-at-large in that city for several years, while for a period covering two decades he rendered effective service to the cause of education as a member of the school board. It was in the year 1907 that he sold his farm in the Gopher state and made his way westward to Washington, taking up his abode in Ferndale, township, Whatcom county, where he purchased one hundred and five acres of land, to which he later added twenty-three acres and then five acres, and finally a fraction of an acre. On the latter tract he built a fine home a few years ago and thereon spent the remainder of his life. He also had twenty-six and two-thirds acres along the river, which he purchased in 1923. Mr. Sorensen carried on general farming operations, cultivating about sixty acres of his land, raising hay and grain principally. He also did some dairy farming, keeping twenty pure-bred Holstein cows and a pure-bred bull. He was a good manager and an indomitable worker, doing thoroughly and well whatever he undertook, and was considered an up-to-date farmer in every respect. In addition to his other business interests he operated creameries at Laurel and Lynden for a time.
Mr. Sorensen was best known for his efforts in behalf of the dairymen of the county and of the state, but he was one of the principal builders of the Farmers telephone system and was at all times a tireless community worker, serving his own community and the county as a whole in various capacities. He was very active in the Laurel Grange, whose master he was when he died, and he was for years a director of the Meridian high school district. As a member of the state legislature in 1922 and 1923 he worked diligently to protect the dairy industry, which in this county has become the leading business, aside from the lumber industry. As president of the Dairymen's Association, of which he was one of the chief organizers, Mr. Sorensen overlooked no opportunity to promote it and to build up the dairy interests as a whole. He served it faithfully, at a personal sacrifice of time and his own interests, for years. He was a director in the association when he died. Mr. Sorensen was an active member of the Baptist church at Laurel and held membership in Rising Star Lodge No. 202, I. O. O. F., of Bellingham, and in the Modern Woodmen of America and the Maccabees at Albert Lea, Minnesota. He was a strong supporter of all institutions and improvements that tend to elevate the standing of a community, giving his earnest support to public education and to churches, while he was an ardent advocate of good roads. While at Albert Lea, Minnesota, he was one of the organizers of the Citizens National Bank, of which he remained a stockholder to the time of his death. In 1913 Mr. Sorensen built a fine, modern home, which is now occupied by his son, Leslie S., and the former lived in another very attractive and comfortable home which he built on another part of the ranch in 1923. He was universally regarded as a good business man, an excellent manager, possessing sound judgment and keen foresight, and because of his friendly manner, his business ability, his interest in public affairs and his high personal character, he stood deservedly high in the estimation of his fellow citizens.
The following is an excerpt from a review of his career which appeared in a local publication at the time of his passing: "Although Mr. Sorensen's death had been expected for several weeks, it has been a shock to his hundred of friends throughout Whatcom county, because of his long and close association with the county's progress, particularly in an agricultural way. It has been hard for them to realize that one who was so active and widely known had finally severed his connections with the county he had done so much to upbuild since his arrival here in 1907."
Below is part of an article
which appeared in a local newspaper after the funeral services: "Auditorium, galleries and the Sunday school
room at the First Baptist church were filled Sunday afternoon by seven hundred friends of Nels Peter Sorensen,
of Laurel, former state legislator, for years head of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and one of Whatcom
county's principal community builders, for whom last rites were spoken by three Baptist ministers. It was one of
the largest public funerals Bellingham has seen in years. All parts of the county and many interest were represented
by those who came to pay their respects to one so long and generally admired * * * Beautiful tributes were paid
Mr. Sorensen by the officiating minister, the Rev. T. M. Marshall, who was assisted by Mr. Storgaard and Mr. Baker.
The keynote of his eulogy was that Mr. Sorensen invested his life in behalf of others. He was always a very active
community worker, he asserted, and his community interests were many, including church, school, neighborhood, county
and state * * * On Saturday the directors of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association, in which Mr. Sorensen held
a directorship at the time of his death, adopted a resolution of regret over his passing and the sympathy for the
widow, Mrs. Minnie Sorensen, and her children. The resolution described Mr. Sorensen as a splendid executive and
stated that his death will be seriously felt by the association and the citizens of Whatcom county and the state
at large. The resolution follows:
"Once more the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association mourns on account of the death of a fellow member - N. P. Sorensen. He departed this life on Christmas Eve, 1925. Mr. Sorensen was one of the pioneers among the farmers in the cooperative movement in this county and state. He was a director of this association from the time it was organized in 1919, and for several years was its president. He was a splendid executive and generously devoted his time and energy towards the upbuilding of the dairy interests of the state; and he did this not only for the Dairymen's Association, but for all movements for the benefit of the farmers. It is only a fitting tribute to the memory of Mr. Sorensen to say that he was a leader among us and that his passing will be seriously felt not only by our association, but by the citizens of this county and the state at large. We sincerely extend to Mr. Sorensen and their children our deepest sympathy in this hour of their bereavement."
On July 4, 1883, Mr. Sorensen was married to Miss Minnie Ottesen, who was born in Denmark, the daughter of Chris and Mary Ottesen. He parents came to this country in 1872, settling in Minnesota, where they spent the remainder of their lives, the mother dying in 1895 and the father in 1911. Mr. and Mrs. Sorensen became the parents of eight children, namely: Robert L, of Laurel, who is married and has two children, Robert L., Jr., and Margaret; Mrs. Hannah Satterthwaite, of Lynden, who is the mother of a daughter, Hazel Alice; Bert N., of Laurel, an electrical engineer by profession, who is married and has a son, Roger; Captain Edgar P. Sorensen, also married, who was a captain in the Aviation Corps during the World war and is now attached to the flying field at San Antonio, Texas; Ernest M., who is married and lives at Chehalis, Washington, where he is manager of the plant of the Lewis-Pacific Dairy Association; Leslie S., of Laurel, a graduate of the State Agricultural College at Pullman, now living on the home farm, who is married and has a son, Philip Howard; Howard, who is married and is employed in a hardware store at Lynden; and Mrs. Hazel A. Minor, of Everett, Washington, who has a son, Hugh. All of the children are high school graduates, two graduated from the University of Washington at Seattle and one from Washington State College. Four of the sons served in the World war, three of them being commissioned officers.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 190-196
William Southern, veteran theatrical man of the Pacific coast and president of Bellingham Theaters, Incorporated, for years a recognized leader in amusement enterprises in this section of the state, is a native of England but has been a resident of this country since the days of his young manhood and of Bellingham for more than twenty years and is thus thoroughly familiar with conditions here. He was born in Lancashire, England, October 8, 1861, youngest of the seven sons of Wright and Alice (Kugan) Southern, and was there reared, early becoming employed in the coal mines. In 1881, he then being twenty years of age, Mr. Southern came to the United States and was employed in the coal mines at Streator, Illinois. Eighteen months later he went into the mines at Lucas, Iowa, and in 1886 was married in that state. He later had mining experience in Montana and Wyoming and in 1889 was made manager of the theater at Rock Springs in the latter state.
From that year Mr. Southern dates his theatrical career. He remained at Rock Springs until 1904, when he went to San Francisco and helped organize a stock theatrical company, playing a repertoire of popular plays, which with high promise "took the road" as the Southern-Armour Company. Hopes and promise exceeded income, however, and before the season was ended the company found itself stranded on the rocks of adversity, leaving its founder and manager practically "broke." With this company Mr. Southern had "played" Bellingham and his impressions of the city and his belief in its development led him to establish his here following that unhappy dashing of his stock-company plans. He presently was made manager of the Grand Theater in Bellingham and not long afterward bought that popular playhouse and set about improving its service with a view to giving the people of Bellingham and Whatcom county the best amusement features obtainable and devoting the house to high class vaudeville and motion pictures. In 1916 he installed in that theater an eighteen-thousand dollar Kimball pipe organ, one of the best instruments at the time on the coast, and in other ways rehabilitated his playhouse and brought it up to that high standard demanded by the community's growing appreciation. In the summer of 1922 Mr. Southern brought about a consolidation of theatrical interest in Bellingham, he and his associates in this enterprise forming a company known as Bellingham Theaters, incorporated on August 10 of that year with William Southern as president, F. B. Walton as vice president and general manager, W. S. Quimby as treasurer and C. C. Keplinger as secretary. This company took over the Grand, the American, the Egyptian, the Rialto and the Dream theaters and with the exception of the Rialto, which they closed and rented for restaurant purposes, rehabilitated and improved them in thorough up-to-date fashion and have since been operating them on a basis which insures to the people of the community the best amusement obtainable. The Grand, with a seating capacity of nine hundred and fifteen, is devoted to road shows, stock companies, musical comedies and high grade motion pictures. The American, with a seating capacity of twelve hundred, is devoted to vaudeville and pictures. The Egyptian, with a seating capacity of seven hundred, and the Dream, with three hundred and fifty seats, are given wholly to pictures. The corporation spent more than one hundred thousand dollars in the improvement of these theaters, remodeling, refurnishing and the like, and by this consolidation of interests has been able to give the people of Bellingham and of the fine area of which that city is the social center the best obtainable in the way of wholesome entertainment.
It was on October 6, 1886, in the neighborhood of Keokuk, Iowa, that William Southern was united in marriage to Miss Effie May Foster, who was born in that state, daughter of James Foster, and to this union four children have been born, three sons, Earl, Wesley and George, the latter of whom is deceased, and a daughter, Mildred. Earl Southern, an experienced electrician, who is associated with his father in the latter's theatrical enterprises, general electrician for Bellingham Theaters, Incorporated, married Miss Rose Merriam (now deceased) and has two children, Clarence and William. He married, second, Jeane Hayes and they have one child Mary. Wesley Southern is also connected with the operations of the theaters as general property man. Mr. and Mrs. Southern are members of the Protestant Episcopal church and Mr. Southern is a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 251-252
Among the leading citizens of the western part of Whatcom county is Jerry Sova, who is one of the connecting links between the pioneer epoch and the present, having come here when the greater part of this section was wild and sparsely settled and wild game was in abundance. He has lived to see this locality developed into one of the finest farming sections of Washington, and no one has taken greater pride than he in this splendid transformation, for he is of a progressive and enterprising spirit and has contributed his full share to the improvement of local conditions. Mr. Sova was born near Windsor, Ontario, Canada, on the 22nd of August, 1868, and is a son of Henry and Virginia (Kenville) Sova, both of whom were natives of Canada. The father, who was born near Montreal, was taken to New York state when seven years old but eventually moved back to Ontario, where he made his permanent home.
Jerry Sova secured his educational training in the public schools of Ontario, attending a French school most of the time. Then, after working a while on a farm, he went to California and obtained work with a logging crew, following that line until the early '80s when he came to Bellingham. Here he became a timber feller for the mill that has since become the E. K. Wood Lumber Company, and he was engaged in the timber industry for about nine years. About 1885 he bought a preemption right on the west side of McKechnie road and later took up a homestead on the east side of that road. He proved up on both of the properties, living about six years on the homestead and three years on the preemption tract. None of the land had been cleared when he acquired it, but he now has fifteen acres of the homestead cleared, on which he has set out a thousand fruit trees, while on the preemption land he has cleared ten acres and has set out between four hundred and five hundred trees. He has a variety of fruits, but apples, cherries, pears and prunes are his main crops. When he came here the only north and south road was the Telegraph road and he had to pack in all his provisions. Wild game, such as bears, deer and cougars, roamed the woods, and native pheasants were plentiful, while fishing was all that could be desired. About 1901 Mr. Sova bought sixty acres of his present fine farm, about forty acres of which he has cleared. The land was originally very wet, but he has put in a good deal of drain tile and the farm is now in a fine arable condition. He is devoting this farm largely to dairying, for which purpose he keeps seventeen head of registered Ayrshire cattle. He has been very successful in the breeding and raising of this breed of cattle, for which he has gained a wide reputation, and has sold much stock throughout this locality, one cow having been shipped to Massachusetts. He raises his own feed, such as hay and oats, and has the business on a prosperous and profitable basis.
Mr. Sova has always taken a good citizen's interest in the public affairs of the community, having in the early days contributed a good many days' labor in the construction of roads, while he helped to build the first school houses at Weiser Lake and at Greenwood. A man of great energy and rare judgment, he has devoted himself indefatigably to the advancement of his individual affairs, in which he has met with well deserved success, and has been equally earnest in his support of the best things in community life. Successful in business, respected in social life and discharging his duties in a manner becoming a liberal-minded citizen, he has long enjoyed an enviable place in the confidence and good will of the entire community.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 890-891
Sparr, John R.
With diligence and perseverance as his outstanding qualities, John R. Sparr has pressed slowly but steadily toward the goal fixed by his ambition, regarding each obstacle in his path as a spur to renewed effort, and he is now numbered among the leading shoe dealers of Bellingham. A son of John and Susan Sparr, he was born in 1865 and is a native of Williamsburg, Pennsylvania. The father died in 1865, leaving a widow and nine children, five sons and four daughters. In 1872 the mother brought her family to the west, taking up a homestead in Kansas, and with the assistance of her sons developed and improved the property. They started a store at Rolling Green, Kansas, and also conducted the village post office. Later John R. Sparr and his brothers engaged in merchandising at Millerton and Wellington, Kansas, and in 1897 the subject of this sketch opened a clothing store in the latter place, where he afterward embarked in the shoe business. He next established his home at Wichita, Kansas, and for five years was a traveling salesman, representing one of the well known shoe firms of Chicago. In 1913 he came to Bellingham and obtained work in a shoe store, acting as a clerk for several years. On February 1, 1923, he made an independent venture, opening a shoe store in the Mason building, and has been very successful in his undertaking. He handles the Stetson shoes for men and women and makes a specialty of foot fitting, to which he has devoted intensive study, being a recognized expert in this line. Long experience had made him thoroughly familiar with every detail of the shoe trade and the patrons of his establishment receive the benefit of his knowledge. He has found that satisfied customers constitute the best advertisement and renders to the public service of high quality.
On December 6, 1897, Mr. Sparr married Miss Valerie M. Hubbard, of Wichita, Kansas, and to this union has been born a daughter, Florine, who is the wife of Melville F. Oke and a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia. Mr. Sparr is an adherent of the republican party and his fraternal affiliations are with the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America. He enjoys his work, and his ability, enterprise and integrity have brought him to the fore in mercantile circles of the city of his adoption.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 718
Spearin, E. P.; D.M.D.
Dentistry may be said to be almost unique among other occupations, as it is at once a profession, a trade and a business. Such being the case, it follows that in order to attain the highest success in it one must be thoroughly conversant with the theory of the art, must be expert with the many tools and appliances incidental to the practice of modern dentistry and must possess business qualifications adequate to dealing with the financial side of the profession. In all of these particulars Dr. E. P. Spearin is well qualified and therefore has attained prestige among the able representatives of dentistry at Bellingham, where he has been engaged in practice since 1916.
Dr. Spearin was born at Whatcom, Washington, in 1892, his parents being Herbert A. and Angie B. (Cottle) Spearin, natives of Maine and Washington, respectively. The year 1891 witnessed the father's arrival at Bellingham, this state, where he worked in the mills prior to turning his attention to general agricultural pursuits, which now claim his time and energies.
In preparation for a professional career E. P. Spearin entered the School of Dentistry of the North Pacific College at Portland, Oregon, from which institution he was graduated with the degree of D. M. D. in 1916. In that year be began practicing at Bellingham, where he has remained through the intervening decade. His success has been marked, and he has gained an enviable and well merited reputation as a dentist of superior skill an ability.
Since age conferred upon him the right of franchise Dr. Spearin has supported the men and measurers of the republican party. During the period of the World war, in 1917 and 1918, he served as first lieutenant in the Dental Corps, and he now has membership in the American Legion. He likewise belongs to the Kiwanis Club and to the Country Club, while fraternally he is affiliated with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Woodmen of the World. He is widely known as a worthy native son and a successful young dental practitioner of Whatcom county.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 50
A substantial and progressive farmer of Whatcom county is John Spedding, who after years of arduous and earnest toil and many discouraging experiences has attained a satisfactory measure of prosperity and is now numbered among the leading citizens of his community.
Mr. Spedding was born in Cumberland, England, in 1860, and is a son of John and Hannah (Spedding) Spedding, both of whom also were born and reared in Cumberland. The father, who followed the vocation of a blacksmith, died in 1872, and his widow afterward became the wife of J. Warwick, with whom she came to Whatcom county in 1892. Here she spent her remaining years, her death occurring at Bellingham in February, 1925. The subject of this sketch received his educational training in the public schools of England, and he was reared by his grandfather, with whom je remained until 1887, when he came to the United States. He proceeded directly to Whatcom county, where he was employed for a time at various occupations, and he became foreman of the Pioneer Livery Stable, owned by Nolte Brothers, which he ran for about fourteen years. When he first came to Bellingham there were very few teams of horses in Whatcom county.
In January, 1905, Mr. Spedding bought seventeen acres of land in Lynden township and rented the Nolte farm. The tract he bought was partly cleared, but it was necessary to remove a vast number of stumps and much brush before the land could be plowed. Later Mr. Spedding bought the ten acre tract on which he now lives. It was badly encumbered with stumps, all of which he has removed. He has also bought several other tracts of land and cleared them up, in this way having very considerably contributed to the development and improvement of the locality where he lives. He is now devoting his attention mainly to dairy farming, keeping about twenty head of registered Holstein cattle, and he raises hay and some grain on his farm, as well as good root crops, chiefly English sweet turnips and mangel. He has been very successful in the handling of cattle and is numbered among the progressive dairy farmers of this section of the county.
In 1886, in England, Mr. Spedding was married to Miss Isabella Lowes, who was born in Cumberland, England, a daughter of Joseph and Jane (Edgar) Lowes, both of whom died in their native country. To Mr. and Mrs. Spedding have been born four children, namely: Hannah Jane, who is the wife of B. Bollerud, of South Everson, and the mother of two children; Kitty, who died at the age of thirteen years; Mrs. Alice Leek, of Bellingham, who is the mother of one child; and Alta, who lives at home and who is bookkeeper for the Kale Cannery Company. All of the daughters are will educated, having attended the State Normal School at Bellingham, and they have taught school.
Mr. Spedding has long been an active participant in the public affairs of his community, having served as one of the first supervisors after the organization of Lynden township, and for seven years he was a director of the Roeder school district. He is also vice president and director of the Nooksack Valley State Bank, at Everson. Fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Among the interesting reminiscences of his early days in this county, Mr. Spedding recalls that while living on the first place he bought, known as the Ritchie farm, the Nooksack river rose to flood state and during one night washed out four acres of his land, his buildings and stock being saved only by exerting the most strenuous efforts both day and night during the danger period. Personally, Mr. Spedding is a man of strong personality, candid and straightforward in all his relations with others, genial and sociable among his neighbors and kindly and generous in his attitude toward those less fortunate than he. Because of these attributes he has won and retains to a marked degree the confidence and esteem of the entire community.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 115-116
Speirs, William K.
William K. Speirs, well known painter at Bellingham and proprietor of the oldest paint shop in the Puget Sound country, and the largest of its kind north of Seattle, is a native of the northwest country and is a member of one of the real pioneer families of this section. He was born in Portland, Oregon, February 11, 1887, and is a son of William and Sarah E. (Smith) Speirs, the latter born at Hillsboro, Oregon, a daughter of Anderson Smith, a Tennessean, who was a member of the historic band that successfully negotiated the old Oregon trail in 1843 and paved the way for the subsequent settlement of the Oregon country. Anderson Smith became the second white settler in the district now centering at Hillsboro and was one of the substantial factors in the development of that region. William Speirs, a native of Scotland, came to the coast in 1872 and was for four years a resident of San Francisco, where he followed his trade, that of painting. In 1876 he settled in Oregon and was for years a painter in Portland. In 1888, attracted by the possibilities then opening out in his line in the growing settlements here on the bay, he came to Whatcom county and opened a paint shop on the tide flats in the rear of the old courthouse. In 1889 he brought his family here and established his home in Bellingham. He later put up a somewhat more pretentious paint shop on Railroad avenue and after several years of occupancy of that place moved to a better place on Humboldt street, where he remained until 1914, when the present shop was established at the corner of Elk and Iron streets and there he continued in business until 1920, when he sold his interest in business to his son, William K., and retired after a continuous service as a painter to the community of more than thirty years.
William K. Speirs was but little more than a babe in arms when the family home was established in what now is the city of Bellingham and he grew up here. He was graduated from the Columbia school and from the local business college and from the days of his boyhood has been interested in painting, having early become an expert in that line under the careful direction of his father. He continued with his father until the latter's retirement in 1920 and since then has been carrying on the business alone, giving his chief attention to automobile painting and to his continuing and long established practice of sign painting, and is doing well.
On September 7, 1909, in Bellingham, Mr. Speirs was united in marriage to Miss Christa McDonald and to this union six children have been born, Hazel, Dawn, William (III), Bettie, John (deceased) and Ross. Mr. and Mrs. Speirs are republicans and have ever taken active interest in local civic affairs. Mr. Speirs is a member of the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce and of the Kiwanis Club, is a Scottish Rite Mason and is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 750-751
Sprague, O. H.
O. H. Sprague is a creditable representative of the agricultural element of Whatcom county, and he has earned a high reputation for enterprise, industry and honor. He was born in Arkansas on the 11th of January, 1852, and is a son of A. D. and Wilhelmina (Sager) Sprague, the latter of whom was a native of Germany, whence she came to this country with her family, who settled in Arkansas. The father was born at Springfield, Illinois, and in 1869 he crossed the plains with an ox team, locating at Olympia, Washington, where he remained until his death, which occurred in 1875. He had been engaged in teaming and freighting and also owned some farm land. O. H. Sprague had preceded his parents to this state, but they were accompanied here by seven other children, namely: Katherine, who died in Olympia; Alameda, deceased; Etta, who is the wife of George Gilbach, of Olympia; Ada, the wife of Dr. J. W. Mowell, also of Olympia; Alice, the wife of Edward Rabbeson and now deceased; Frederick of Portland, Oregon; and Roderick, who died in 1923. The eldest child, Belle, became the wife of David Dodd, of Idaho, and is now deceased.
O. H. Sprague attended the public schools of Arkansas and completed his studies in the schools of Olympia. He then worked in logging camps until 1886, making his headquarters at Olympia, and in March, 1888, he came to Whatcom county and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land on Kendall creek. The only entrance to his land was by trail, no roads having been built through that section, so that he was unable to removed any of the fine timber off his place for several years, burning many magnificent cedar logs. He proved up on the land and remained there until 1907, having cleared about forty acres. Mr. Sprague then bought one hundred and sixty acres of land on the river near Deming, about ten acres of which he cleared, and he was engaged in dairy farming there until 1909, when he sold the place, after which he went to San Juan island, where he bought one hundred and sixty acres of land. He cleared ten acres of the tract and lived there until 1917, when he came to his present farm in Ten Mile township, comprising forty acres of fine land. The former owner had cleared thirteen acres and had built a good house and barn and otherwise improved it, so that Mr. Sprague was able to at once engage in dairy farming, in which he has continued to the present time, having met with a very fine measure of success. He has cleared about twenty acres more of the land and raises splendid crops of hay, grain and roughage for the stock, and he sells his milk to the Carnation milk plant at Everson, keeping from ten to fifteen good grade cows. He is enterprising and energetic in his methods and has exercised sound judgment in all his operations, and the success which has come to him has been the legitimate result of his well directed labors.
In 1887, at Seattle, Washington, Mr. Sprague was married to Mrs. Henrietta (Clark) Hodgekinson, who was born in England and who came to this country alone in 1881, locating in Illinois. Her parents, Joseph and Charlotte (Keeling) Clark, were natives and lifelong residents of England, where both died. Mr. Sprague's career has been a long, busy and useful one, his activities in a material way adding to his individual prosperity, while at the same time he has been interested in the welfare of his fellow citizens and the community in general. He has never allowed the pursuit of wealth to warp his kindly nature but has preserved the warmth of his heart for the broadening and helpful influences of human life, being a kindly and generous friend to all, and throughout the community he is held in high regard.
History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 63-64