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Whatcom County
Washington
Genealogy and History


Biographies

 

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Staight, Mrs. Ruth (Talmadge)

    One of the most highly respected and esteemed women in Lynden is she whose name appears at the head of this sketch, for by her many splendid personal qualities she has won a high place in the regard of the entire community in which she lives. Mrs. Ruth Staight was born near Chicago, Illinois, and is a daughter of William and Amelia (Powell) Talmadge, both of whom were natives of New York state. Her father was reared to the life of a farmer and went to Chicago in 1836, remaining there until his death. The mother then accompanied her daughter to Alabama, where they remained until after the latter's marriage, and then lived in Texas for six years. She came to Whatcom county in 1887 and lived here until her death, in 1903.

    Ruth Talmadge became the wife of M. R. Staight, who was born in Ohio in 1857, a son of E. C. and Elvira (Rush) Staight, the former of whom was a native of England. M. R. Staight received his education in the public schools of Ohio and later went to Alabama, where he engaged in the cotton business with his father. After his marriage to Miss Talmadge, he went to Texas, where he was engaged in the real estate business, buying and selling land, and remained there until 1887, when he came to Lynden township, Whatcom county, and bought the present Staight homestead. Here he also went into the real estate business, being one of the first to engage exclusively in that line in this locality. When he first built his home here, it was the farthest west of any house in the town, and so heavy was the timber in that section that he had to have thirteen large trees taken out in order to make the house secure from the danger of falling trees. Mr. and Mrs. Staight showed an enterprising and progressive spirit in everything they did, and in 1891 they brought the first two-seated buggy to this locality. Mr. Staight gradually enlarged the scope of his real estate operations, establishing other offices in Bellingham, Fairhaven and other places, and was fairy successful in his operations. During the Alaskan gold rush he went to Juneau and was later at the Republic gold camp, while at a still later period he became interested in mining, in association with Larrabee & McCarty, in Mexico. He is now in Washington, D. C.

    To Mr. and Mrs. Staight were born five children, namely: Evelyn, who is the wife of Charles Scott, of Tacoma, Washington, and is the mother of two children; Ward, who is unmarried and remains at home; Dorothy, who is the wife of D. H. Smith, of Tacoma, and the mother of three children; Helen, who is the wife of D. W. Densely, of Baker, Oregon, and the mother of three children; and Eylar, of Baker, Oregon, who is married and has one child. Ward Staight is employed in the sawmills of this locality. Mr. and Mrs. Staight were members of the First Methodist Episcopal church of Lynden, in the establishment of which they took and active and influential part. During the early years of Mrs. Staight's residence here she passed through a number of experiences that were in marked contrast to conditions in the east. Roads were scarce and living conditions lacked many of the conveniences of the older civilization to which she was accustomed; but these things have happily changed and today Lynden is in every essential respect fully up to the standard of modern life, and is a pleasant place in which to live. Mrs. Staight enjoys a high place in the esteem and admiration of all who know her throughout this community.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 457-458


Stearns, Frank E.

    Frank E. Stearns, a member of one of the old and prominent families of Bellingham, has established an enviable record as fire chief. Through the steps of an orderly progression he has risen to this important office, of which he has been the incumbent for eight years. He was born September 8, 1882, in Waupaca county, Wisconsin, and is a son of Edwin G. and Ida May (Tiffany) Stearns, representatives of pioneer families of that state. They established their home in Bellingham in November, 1901, and have since been highly esteemed residents of the city. The father was engaged in merchandising for many years, retiring in 1920, and he also operated a shingle mill. He likewise made investments in land and still buys and sells farm property and stores, displaying keen business sagacity in the management of his affairs, while his integrity has never been questioned.

    Frank E. Stearns received his high school education in Wisconsin and afterward took a commercial and scientific course. For five years he was associated with his father in the grocery business in Bellingham, and he also aided in the conduct of the shingle mill. He was afterward employed along various lines and on September 1, 1908, became connected with the Bellingham fire department, with which he has since continued. He was first a pipeman and on May 13, 1910, was made captain of Hose Company No. 3. His work in that connection attracted much favorable notice and on January 7, 1918, he was selected for higher honors, receiving the appointment of chief from Mayor John Sells. Time has demonstrated the wisdom of the choice, for he has brought the department up to a high standard of efficiency, and his achievements have gained for him strong commendation. When Mr. Stearns entered this branch of municipal service it was composed of about fifteen men, and horses were still in use. Now thirty-seven men are employed in the department and the equipment includes two triple combination pumping rigs, one city service truck, two combination chemical and hose wagons, one hose wagon and one reserve steamer. This affords ample protection to city property, and every precaution has been taken to guard against losses by fire.

    On April 26, 1904, Mr. Stearns was united in marriage to Miss Maude B. Mowry, of Waupaca, Wisconsin, and they have five children: George, Francis, Leon, Richard and Beatrice. Mr. Stearns is an adherent of the republican party and his fraternal relations are with the Knights of Pythias and the Knights of the Maccabees. He was the first president of the Washington State Fireman's Association and has been state vice president for Washington of the Pacific Coast Association of Fire Chiefs. He has filled a similar office in the International Association of Fire Engineers and is also a member of the National Fire Protection Association. He is actuated by high ideals of service and his work has been of great value to the city.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 90


Steele, M. J. and Roderick O.

    This biographical memoir deals with a character of unusual force, for M. J. Steele, whose life chapter has been closed by the fate that awaits all mankind, was for a long period of years one of the prominent farmers and influential citizens of Whatcom county. While he carried on his special vocation in such a manner as to gain a comfortable competence for himself, he also belonged to that class of representative men of affairs who promote the public welfare while advancing individual success. There were in his sterling traits which commanded uniform confidence and regard, and his memory is today honored by all who knew him and is enshrined in the hearts of his many friends.

    Mr. Steele was born in Iowa, a son of Nelson and Abiah Steele. He received his education in the public schools of that state and remained at home until his marriage, when he engaged in farming on his own account, in which he met with gratifying success. In 1882 he came to Lake Whatcom, Whatcom county, and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land, located on the old Telegraph road, one and a half miles south of Sumas. The tract was densely covered with cedar timber and brush and he at once set himself to the task of clearing the land and getting it into cultivation. He built a substantial log house, which is still standing, and later built a barn. He devoted himself indefatigably to the improvement and development of this farm and in the course of time had the satisfaction of reaping the fruits of his years of toil. He continued to reside there until his death, which occurred in November, 1904 (1899?). He was a man of ripe judgment, sound discrimination and untiring energy, and his record was a most commendable one, earning for him the unbounded esteem and admiration of his fellow citizens.

    On November 5, 1870, Mr. Steele was married to Miss Hattie Belton, who was born in England, coming to the United States in 1854, and who survives her husband. To this worthy couple were born four children, as follows: Mrs. Cora Paxton; Eugene, who lives in Oregon; Roderick O., who lives on a part of the old homestead; and Ralsa N., who also has a part of the home farm.

    Roderick O. Steele was born on the homestead, March 28, 1885, and received his education in the public schools in Sumas. He was reared to the life of a farmer, which honorable vocation he has followed continuously to the present time, with eminent success, being the owner of a part of the farm which his father created out of the wilderness. He is an energetic and up-to-date farmer, keeping his place well improved, and the prosperity which is crowning his labors is well merited. He has always taken a commendable interest in everything pertaining to the well being of the community, supporting all measures for the advancement of the public welfare.

    On March 30, 1921, Roderick O. Steele was married to Miss Gladys Fowler, who was born in Valentine, Nebraska, a daughter of Arthur T. and Carrie (Christensen) Fowler, the former of whom was a native of Illinois. The mother was born in Denmark, whence she came to the United States in 1880 with her parents, being at the time nine years of age. They settled at Albert Lea, Minnesota, where they lived a short time, and then went to Iowa, where her father took up a homestead. After living there for some years he took his family to Nebraska and there spent his remaining years, dying in 1895. In 1900 the family came to Washington, locating in Skagit county, where they lived for six years, and then moved to Sumas, Whatcom county, where they now reside. In 1901, in Skagit county, Mrs. Fowler became the wife of Frank R. Baker, who was born at Rolfe, Iowa. To Mr. and Mrs. Fowler were born three children: Clifford, deceased; Gladys (Mrs. Steele); and Mattie, deceased, while by her union with Mr. Baker she is the mother of three children: Alfred, who is now teaching school, Mrs. Inez Lambert and James.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 170-171


Steiner, George

    Notwithstanding the fact that the little republic of Switzerland is one of the small countries of the world, it has sent a large number of settlers to the United States and, being thrifty, willing to work and strictly honest in all of life's relations, they have proven to be among our best citizens, loyal to our institutions and public-spirited in their attitude toward the welfare of their respective communities. Among this number stands George Steiner, a well known farmer and enterprising citizen of Ferndale township, being the first Swiss to settle in that township. He was born in Switzerland on the 20th of May, 1881, and is a son of Charles and Martonolia (Marty) Steiner, who were lifelong residents of Switzerland. The father followed farming and was a highly respected citizen of his locality. To him and his wife were born four children, namely: Charles, who remains in his native land; Frank, who lives in Sumas, Washington; George, the subject of this sketch; and Mary, who lives in Tacoma, Washington.

    George Steiner attended the public schools of his home neighborhood, remaining with his parents until 1903, when he emigrated to the United States, coming direct to Whatcom county. He bought the Pat Connelly place consisting of seventeen acres in 1905 and operated it until 1908. He operated rented land for several years and also a dairy until 1919, when he bought eighty acres of land from Thomas Slater in Ferndale township. The land, which is located along Nooksack river, was practically all cleared, and to the cultivation of the soil he at once applied himself, raising hay and grain principally, with some sugar beets. He keeps thirty head of pure bred Holstein cows and ten head of young cattle, having been the first man to bring pure bred Holstein cattle into Ferndale township and has been very successful as a breeder of this type of dairy cattle. He also keeps four head of horses. He has made many fine improvements on his farm, including the erection of a fine new barn, forty by eighty feet in size, in 1924, and he built a cow barn, thirty-six by eighty-seven feet in size, with stalls for fifty cows.

    On November 25, 1908, Mr. Steiner was married to Miss Anna Ulrich, also a native of Switzerland and a daughter of John and Sophie (Fassbind) Ulrich, both of whom are still living in Switzerland. They are the parents of six children, Albert, John, Sophie, Anna, Louise and Mina. Mr. and Mrs. Steiner have three children, namely: Anna, born August 9, 19009; Freda, born July 2, 1911; and Ida, born March 6, 1913. The two eldest are students in the high school at Ferndale.

    Mr. Steiner is a member of the Pomona Grange and of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association. A plain, straightforward, unassuming man, he has always given close attention to his business affairs, in which he has realized a fine measure of prosperity, and has at the same time not been neglectful of his duties to his community, advocating and supporting every movement calculated to benefit the same in a material, civic or moral way, and he therefore enjoys to a marked degree the confidence and esteem of all who know him.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 652-655


Steiner, Herman

    Honest, industrious and intelligent, Herman Steiner has made his own way in the world, progressing steadily toward the goal of success, and one of the fine ranches of Glacier township is the visible evidence of what he has accomplished. A native of Germany, he was born in October, 1864, and his parents, Wilhelm and Paulina Steiner, were life long residents of the fatherland. William Steiner was a man of importance in his community and for twenty-five years filled the office of burgomaster.

    Herman Steiner was educated in Germany, attending the grammar schools and a gymnasium, and when a youth of nineteen severed home ties, responding to the call of adventure. He reached Wisconsin in 1883 and was afterward in the states of Texas, Louisiana and Arizona, also spending some time in Mexico. He journeyed to Washington in 1890 and for three years was engaged in placer mining on Ruby creek, Skagit county. In 1893 he took up a homestead in Glacier township and is now its oldest living settler. He has built a good home on his place, which is provided with many modern improvements, and brings to his occupation a keen sense of agricultural economics, never allowing a foot of land to be unproductive. He also operates a dairy on the ranch and his work is conducted with systematic thoroughness and painstaking care. When he came to the township there were neither roads nor bridges and the country was wild and undeveloped, bearing no evidences of the civilization of the present day.

    In 1902 Mr. Steiner married Miss Lena Wagner, returning to Germany for his bride, and three sons were born to them: Norman, who now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Carl, a high school pupil, and Jacob, who is attending grammar school. Mr. Steiner exercises his right of franchise in support of the candidates and measures of the republican party, and he served for many years as township supervisor. He is a good citizen and a man of substantial worth, esteemed and respected by all who know him.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 635


Stenger, John H.

    John H. Stenger, now deceased, who was one of Bellingham's best known citizens, was a native son of the northwest country. He had been a resident of Bellingham for more than thirty-seven years and was thoroughly familiar with the various steps that have marked the progress and development of this community from its pioneer stage. He was born in the Canyonville settlement in Douglas county, Oregon, a son of Lenard and Elizabeth (Stinger) Stenger, who had crossed the plains in a covered wagon in 1852 from Peoria, Illinois, and who in the fall of 1884 left Oregon with their family and came to Whatcom county. John H. Stenger had been engaged in the cattle business in Oregon, and had done well there and thus came into Whatcom county pretty well circumstanced. He bought the Colony mill here which he operated for five or six years, at the end of which time he sold his mill and built the Bellingham Hotel, a popular old hostelry, which he operated for many years or until his death, February 7, 1919, being for years one of the best known hotel men in the state of Washington. He also helped to promote the street railway but later sold his interest.

    On February 21, 1887, John H. Stenger was united in marriage to Miss Clara Fouts, also a member of one of the pioneer families of the Bellingham Bay settlements, and to this union four children have been born, three of whom are living: A son, Carl W. Stenger, is an engineer connected with the Pacific-American fisheries in Bellingham, and two daughters, Mrs. Cecil Rhinehart of Bellingham and Mrs. Mona Gwinn of Seattle. Mrs. Rhinehart has a son, John James, and Mrs. Gwinn has a son, Wm. Forest. Mrs. Stenger was born in the village of Hopeville, Clarke county, Iowa, a daughter of William H. and Martha (Sullivan) Fouts, and was about eight years of age when in 1873 she came with her parents into the Bay settlements, where she since has resided, being thus one of the real pioneers of Bellingham, for she has seen this city grow from what properly may be regarded as having been its pioneer stage, there having been little here at that time save the coal mines to give promise of what was to come in the way of development. Her father, the late William H. Fouts, concerning whom further mention is made elsewhere in this work, was one of the pioneer merchants of Bellingham, was for ten years, during the '70s and '80s, county superintendent of schools, taught what may be regarded as having been the first public school in Bellingham, was for years postmaster and was in other ways one of the active and influential promoters of the community in the days of its early development. He died January 25, 1924, and at his passing left a good memory. Mrs. Stenger grew up in Bellingham, attended the school presided over by her father, who was a college trained man, and finished her education in the high school of Central Cities, Nebraska, making her home during that period of study with her grandparents, who were residents of that place. Upon her return from school she took her place in her father's store, helping as clerk and bookkeeper and also as an assistant in the work of the post office during the time of her father's incumbency in that office, and was thus engaged until her marriage. She has a wide acquaintance throughout this section of the state, her friends being many. She is interested in the welfare and progress of the community and votes with the democratic party as did Mr. Stenger, who along political, business and other lines contributed to the permanent progress and upbuilding of his community.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 298-299


Stephens, Thomas H.

    Thomas H. Stephens, who passed away April 19, 1926, had experienced every phase of pioneer life in the west and was long numbered among the leading agriculturists of Acme township. He was born November 27, 1851, in Portsmouth, England, and many members of the family served in the British navy. His parents were Thomas H. and Elizabeth (Edlin) Stephens, the former of whom fought in the Crimean war. The father was a ship carpenter, and in 1856 he settled in Ontario, Canada, where he spent the remainder of his life, while the mother also passed away in that province.

    Mr. Stephens was educated in the schools of the Dominion and in May, 1870, when a young man of nineteen, came to the States, locating in Chicago. He worked on railroads and steamboats in Illinois, Minnesota, Wyoming and Utah, also spending some time in Salt Lake City, and in November, 1874, went to California. He lived for a few years in the Golden state and next engaged in mining in the Black hills of South Dakota. Eventually he returned to California and in 1881 made his way to Portland, Oregon. He went from that city to Spokane, Washington, and thence to California. In May 1884, he came to Whatcom county and entered a homestead in the Nooksack valley, in which he was the fourth settler. In all directions were dense forests of dark green pines, and in this isolated district he established a home. His wife had also taken up a claim in the same locality before her marriage, and their combined holdings amounted to three hundred acres of land. Mr. Stephens cleared his farm and enriched the soil, bringing it to a high state of development. From time to time he added improvements to his place and finally transformed it into one of the finest ranches in the township, keeping pace with the scientific progress of agriculture.

    On July 21, 1887, Mr. Stephens married Miss Mary F. McDaniel, who was born in Indiana and has passed away. She was a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Elrod) McDaniel and came to Acme township in July, 1884. Mr. and Mrs. Stephens were the parents of two daughters, Mabel E., the elder, was the second white child born in the Nooksack valley. She is the wife of John W. Douglas, one of the well known ranchmen of Acme township, and they have three children: Donald, Myrtle and Marjorie. Anna is the wife of Hubert S. Morell and resides on the homestead.

Mr. Stephens was inducted into the Masonic order at Bellingham in 1885 and was identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows since March 16, 1877. He was allied with the republican party and served for years on the school board. True to every relation in his live and faithful to every duty, he was highly regarded by friends and neighbors, who mourn his passing.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 740-741


Stephens, William R.

    William R. Stephens represents an old and prominent family of Whatcom county and is one of the prosperous agriculturists of Acme township. He was born July 10, 1871, in Ontario, Canada, and his parents were Thomas H. and Elizabeth (Edlin) Stephens, the former a cabinetmaker. He was educated in the public schools of his native province and in 1898 came to Whatcom county. In 1901 he bought a tract of twenty-one acres in the vicinity of Acme and was engaged in general farming for several years. He brought to his occupation a true sense of agricultural economics and never allowed a foot of the land to be unproductive. He now rents the land and is enjoying a well earned period of leisure.

    In 1901 Mr. Stephens married Miss Clara J. Hurd, a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of William George and Josephine Hurd, both now deceased. They migrated from that state to Minnesota, and Mr. Hurd was called to public office, serving as county sheriff. To Mr. and Mrs. Stephens has been born a daughter, Ada Irene. Mr. Stephens is an adherent of the republican party but has never been an aspirant for political honors. He has made his own way in the world and is a man of genial disposition, esteemed by a wide circle of friends.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 927


Stewart, Jeff

    With the history of progress in Rome township the name of Jeff Stewart has been prominently associated for more than forty years, and no resident of the district has contributed in greater measure toward the development and utilization of its natural resources, particularly along agricultural lines. He was born in Erie county, Pennsylvania, in July, 1855, and his parents, Perry P. and Effie Sophia (Beels) Stewart, were also natives of that state. In 1865 the father journeyed to the west and was one of the early homesteaders of Kansas, in which he followed agricultural pursuits until his demise on the 4th of April, 1878.

    Jeff Stewart is the only surviving member of a family of seven children. He attended the public schools of Kansas and remained at home until 1882, when he came to Washington and for three years worked in the sawmills of Whatcom county. In 1885 he entered a quarter section of government land in Rome township, which was then a wilderness, and made a road to his homestead, also construction a bridge across the creek. He built a small cabin and entered upon the difficult task of clearing his land, which was a heavily wooded tract. It contained a grove of cedars and these he sold to a shingle mill in the vicinity. Mr. Stewart now has thirty acres under cultivation and the balance is used for pasture. He has planted an orchard and raises hay, grain and root crops. He keeps five cows of good grade and is thoroughly conversant with the details connected with the care of stock. Experience has taught him the value of scientific methods, and he is a firm believer in diversified farming and the restoration of the soil by the rotation of crops.

    On April 6, 1879, Mr. Stewart married Miss Almira Geer, who was born in Ohio. Her parents, Jonas and Sarah (Holcum) Geer were also natives of the Buckeye state and in 1881 came to Whatcom, Washington. Mr. Geer was one of the early merchants of the town, which is now a part of bellingham, and was here engaged in business for several years. He passed away in Bellingham in 1896 and his widow responded to the final summons about two years later. Their family numbered four children, three of whom are now living: Mrs. Lizzie Srite, of Long Beach, California; Almira; and Mrs. Sarah L. Inks, of Bellingham, Washington. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart became the parents of six children, three of whom survive. Lee, the eldest, was born December 4, 1883, in Bellingham and is living in the vicinity of the city. He is married and has two sons: Claud, who was born in Bellingham in August, 1911; and Ralph, born in Seattle, November 5, 1912. Both are attending school. Mrs. Lulu May Mathey was born April 10, 1887, on the Stewart homestead and lives in Long Beach, California. Clifford was born April 10, 1891 [1894], and has always resided on the homestead, a portion of which he is operating. He is engaged in the poultry business, operating on a large scale, and is filling the office of township assessor. His father has served on the board of township supervisors and also as school director, working at all times for the best interests of his district. Mr. Stewart has an intimate knowledge of pioneer life in this region, relating many interesting incidents of the early days, and is known and respected throughout the township.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 624-625


Still, Albert

    A man of resourceful business ability, with well balanced mental and physical powers, Albert Still is capable of conducting varied interests and controls a prosperous mercantile concern, while he also occupies a commanding position in banking circles of Blaine. He was born April 17, 1864, in the province of Ontario, Canada, and his parents, David and Catherine (Wilson) Still, were natives of Scotland. As children they were taken to the Dominion and their marriage occurred in that country. The father was a well-to-do farmer and also engaged in the lumber business. In 1877 he purchased a ranch in North Dakota where he spent the remainder of his life, passing away in 1899. In 1907 the mother came with her family to Washington and for a considerable period made her home in Blaine, where she died in 1923 at the venerable age of eighty-seven years.

    Mr. Still received a public school education and during his boyhood aided his father in operating the ranch, becoming well acquainted with the various phases of agricultural pursuits. On starting out in life for himself he chose the career of a farmer and followed that occupation for sixteen years with much success, bringing his land to a high state of development. In 1907 he disposed of his property in North Dakota and came to Washington, first locating in Mount Vernon. In October, 1908, he allied his interests with those of Blaine, becoming the proprietor of the Aronson clothing store, and has since conducted the business. He carries the Hart, Schaffner & Marx line of clothing and also deals in shoes of fine quality. He handles a well assorted stock, selected with great care, and caters to a discriminating class of patrons. He gives to his customers good value for the amount expended and receives a large share of the local clothing trade. In August, 1917, he succeeded the late George A. Willison in the office of president of the Home State Bank of Blaine and is responsible for its present status as one of the strong and reliable moneyed institutions of Whatcom county. The bank was founded in 1908 and is capitalized at twenty-five thousand dollars. The other officers are Paul A. Wolten, vice president, and O. K. Middleton, cashier. The bank is housed in a modern building of cement construction and throughout the period of its existence has maintained a high standard of service.

    In 1899 Mr. Still was united in marriage to Miss Jennie D. Gorthy, of North Dakota, a daughter of David Gorthy. Her father was an agriculturist and in later life moved to Dakota. Mr. and Mrs. Still have two children: Kenneth and Luella V., both of whom are attending Whitman College. Mr. Still is an earnest, untiring worker for the good of his community and served for three terms on the school board, during which period much progress was made along educational lines. He has been a serviceable factor in general advancement, and his loyalty, enterprise and integrity are qualities well known to the citizens of Blaine, who entertained for him the highest regard.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 92-95


Strand, Nels

    Nels Strand, proprietor of a well stocked general store on Eleventh street, in Bellingham, is a native of the kingdom of Norway, but has been a resident of this country since the days of his boyhood. He was born December 3, 1886, and is a son of Evan and Margaret Strand, also natives of Norway, the mother still living there. Evan Strand died in 1921.

    Reared in his native land, Nels Strand had his schooling there and was also trained in the rudiments of the cabinetmaker's trade in 1903. When sixteen years of age he came to the United States and after a stay of two years in Wisconsin went to Billings, Montana, where he remained for a year, at the end of which time he came to the coast and located at Seattle, where he was employed at the cabinetmaker's trade. As a journeyman craftsman he worked at other points up and down the coast and in 1907 had his first experience in Bellingham. Afterward he spent two years as a mining prospector in the Fairbanks region in Alaska and in 1909 returned to Bellingham. A year later he married and located at Tacoma and in 1912 returned to Bellingham where he began merchandising, a line which since has engaged his attention and in which he has been quite successful. Mr. Strand has a well stocked store at 1210 Eleventh street, a place twenty-five by one hundred feet in ground dimension, with a mezzanine floor and full basement, and carries a well selected line of men's and women's ready-to-wear apparel, dry goods and shoes.

    On October 2, 1910, at Bellingham, Mr. Strand was united in marriage to Miss Sophia Jacobson, daughter of Easton Jacobson, a veteran merchant of Bellingham, mentioned elsewhere in this work, and they have one child, Margaret, born January 2, 1915. In his political leanings Mr. Strand is inclined to favor the notion of independent voting, preferring to hold himself free to cast his ballot for such candidates for office as he may regard best fitted for public service without regard to party ties or obligations.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 740


Strandberg, John E.

    The sterling traits of his Scandinavian ancestors are manifest in the character of John E. Strandberg, who has rapidly mounted the steep ladder which leads to success and is now numbered among the leading automobile dealers of Ferndale. A native of Sweden, he was born in 1897 and was a boy of seven when his parents, John E. and Elizabeth C. Strandberg, settled in Bellingham, Washington. His father was an expert tailor and conducted a shop in that city for twenty years, building up a large patronage. He responded to death's summons in 1924, but the mother is still living.

    John E. Strandberg, the immediate subject of this review, attended the public schools of Bellingham and began his business career as a stock clerk in the establishment of the Diehl Motor Company of that city. He was efficient and trustworthy and his employers soon recognized his worth. As his experience increased he was steadily promoted, finally becoming manager of a department. In 1925 his ambition prompted him to embark in an independent venture, and in April he came to Ferndale, purchasing the business of the Hughes Motor Company, which was started by George Leighton in 1912. The building has a frontage of fifty feet and a depth of one hundred and twenty feet. Mr. Strandberg is agent for the Ford cars, as well as for the Fordson and Lincoln automobiles. He has installed a well equipped repair shop and utilizes the services of two skilled mechanics, an experienced stockman and an expert salesman. His detailed knowledge of the business is supplemented by executive ability and good judgment, and his sales are rapidly increasing.

    On September 7, 1917, Mr. Strandberg married Miss Myrtle C. Swenson, of North Dakota, a daughter of Swen J. and Lydia Swenson, who located at Bellingham, Washington, in pioneer times. They adopted a child, Gloria Jean. Mr. Strandberg exercises his right of franchise in support of the candidates and principles of the republican part and is a member of the Lions Club of Bellingham and the local lodge of Elks. He stands practically upon the threshold of his career and his rapidly developing powers have carried him into important relations. Mr. Strandberg is a young man of ability, thoroughly imbued with western energy and enterprise, and is a valuable addition to the citizenship of Ferndale.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 450-451


Strandell, Andrew

    For more than thirty years Andrew Strandell, substantial landowner, former banker, merchant and realtor, now living pleasantly retired in Bellingham, has been a resident of Whatcom county and there are few men here who have a wider or better acquaintance throughout the county than he. Mr. Strandell is of European birth but has been a resident of this county since the days of his boyhood and accounts himself as much an American as any. He was born in the kingdom of Sweden in the year 1861, son of Lars A. Strandell and wife, and was seven years of age when in 1868 he came to the United States with his mother to rejoin the husband and father, who had settled in Iowa two years prior to that time. The Strandell family resided at Atlantic, Cass county Iowa, where Lars A. Strandell became engaged in railway service and where Andrew Strandell spent his boyhood and completed his schooling.

    When he was eighteen years of age Andrew Strandell started out "on his own," working on farms. In 1881, when twenty years of age, he went to Montana and began working in the timber in the Butte country. That was before the railroad had reached Butte. He later engaged in the wood and fuel business there until 1884, when he returned to Iowa and was there married. He then bought a piece of government land in Jackson county, Minnesota, and settled down to farming and stock raising, specializing in hogs. In 1895 he disposed of his holdings in Minnesota and with his family came to the coast country, settling in Whatcom county, where he since has made his home. Upon his arrival here he got a piece of land and opened a store at the point which since has borne the name of Strandell, was made postmaster of that place, bought the sawmill that was being operated in the neighborhood and took an active part in development work there, being one of the most forceful personal factors in the labors then being carried on in that district in that behalf. On November 8, 1899, he engaged in banking opening the Scandinavian-American Bank of Strandell for business on that day, operating  as a partnership under the firm name of Strandell, Olson & Company, with H. St. John Dix as the practical banker and with Mr. Strandell as second vice president and a member of the directorate. This bank was incorporated August 21, 1900. On January 14, 1901, Mr. Strandell retired from participation in the affairs of the bank, which on the following February 27 closed its doors. In 1911 Mr. Strandell, whose interests meanwhile had been expanding in other directions, moved from Strandell to Lynden, where he had his headquarters until his retirement in 1920 and removal to Bellingham, where his is now living, residing at 2236 Franklin street, where he and his wife are very comfortably situated. Since taking up his home in Bellingham Mr. Strandell has been living practically retired from business, "killing time," as he styles it, though he does occasionally renew his former activities in the realty field, buying and selling property as the opportunity for a proper turnover is presented. In addition to his home and other property in Bellingham he has a country home on a tract of forty acres most picturesquely situated about a mile north of Lawrence, where he has built a concrete dam and has a fine fish pond. He also has a fine farm of one hundred and twenty acres, cornering at the Pacific highway and the Birch Bay road, the old Madison place. Among his town holdings is the old Henry Roeder house, the first dwelling occupied by that pioneer and which long ago was moved to its present site.

    It was on June 15, 1884, at Stewart, Adair county, Iowa, that Mr. Strandell was united in marriage to Miss Freda Young and to them six children have been born, namely: Sydney May and Charles Roy, deceased; Lewis Andrew, a traveling inspector of Pullman cars in the service of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, traveling out of Vancouver, who married Alice Burroughs and has two children, Freda Margaret and Kenneth Andrew; Floyd Edwin, living in New York state, where he is caretaker for a large estate, who married Muriel Sherman and has four children, Gerald Floyd, Elaine Alice, Pearl Arnold and Dixie May; George Monroe, who is operating a cafe in Spokane; and Miss Mamie E., who is (1926) attending the Southern Baptist Seminary at Fort Worth, Texas, pursuing her studies in preparation for missionary service. Mrs. Strandell, like her husband, also was born in Sweden and was but a child when she came to this country with her parents, Andrew Young and wife, the family settling at Casey, Iowa, where Andrew Young became engaged in railway service and where she grew to womanhood and was married.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 445-446


Sundean, Andrew E.

    Though of European birth, Andrew E. Sundean, one of the leading merchants in the nourishing village of Custer, engaged there in the flour, feed, grain and agricultural implement business, has been a resident of this country since the days of his young manhood and of Whatcom County for more than twenty years, having come here from Minnesota. He was born in the Norrland province of Sweden, November 20, 1876, and is a son of Erick and Christine (Johnson) Sundean, who spent their entire lives in the old country.

    Reared in his native land, A. E. Sundean remained there until he was past eighteen years of age, when he came to this country, and was employed as a farm hand in Minnesota. That was in 1895. For-seven years he remained in Minnesota and in 1902 came to Washington, being first employed cutting shingle bolts in the Custer neighborhood in this county. For some time afterward he engaged in teaming in the logging camps and for two years was connected with the operations of the shingle mills, all the time, in season, doing a little farming. In 1916 he established his present business in Custer, having a good trade in the general feed and grain line and in the sale of agricultural implements. Mr. Sundean has a well stocked and well equipped place of business and besides his store, which is thirty by one hundred and twelve feet in dimensions, has a warehouse on the spur track. The building in which he opened his store in 1916 was destroyed by fire and he at once erected a better and a larger one, with capacity for the general trade needs in his line of the area centering at Custer. Mr. Sundean has ever given needed attention to local civic affairs and has rendered public service several terms as a member of the school board.

    In 1902, the year in which he came to Whatcom county, A. E. Sundean was united in marriage to Miss Hattie Swanson, who was born in Eureka, California, and they have seven children, Walter, Fred, Harold, Floyd, Vera, Woodrow W. and Selma, the three last named in school. Walter and Fred are engaged in the garage and automobile-service business at Custer. Mr. Sundean has seen many changes in conditions here since he became a member of this community more than twenty years ago and has been an efficient factor in helping to bring about the amazing development that has been made in general social and industrial conditions during that time. He has built up a good business in Custer and is widely known in general commercial circles throughout the county. His sons also are doing their part and are recognized as enterprising and energetic young business men of the community.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 366


Swanson, Edward W.

    Among those who have been most active in furthering the interests of Ferndale and especially its commercial development is numbered Edward W. Swanson, who for more than twenty years has been recognized as one of the leading merchants of the town, while he also figures prominently in other walks of like. He was born in Eureka, California, in 1884, and his parents, Joseph and Anne Swanson, were pioneers in the settlement of that state. They came with their family to Whatcom county, Washington, in 1892 and the father purchased a tract of one hundred and sixty acres in Delta township. The land was covered with a dense growth of trees and through arduous labor Mr. Swanson cleared one hundred acres. He was engaged in agricultural pursuits for many years and through unabating industry and modern methods transformed the place into a fine farm, supplied with many improvements. He now rents the property, living retired in Ferndale. His wife is deceased.

    Edward W. Swanson was eight years old when his parents came to Whatcom county, and his education was acquired in the public schools of Blaine. He was graduated from the Wilson Business College of Seattle in 1903 and then became a clerk in the employ of Walton Brothers, well known merchants of that place. In 1905 Mr. Swanson started a department store in Ferndale and was engaged in general merchandising until 1924, when he erected a modern building, which he now occupies, handling groceries exclusively. His stock is the best the market affords and his progressive business methods and well known reliability have brought him a large and rapidly increasing patronage. He owns an entire block and has two buildings, one of which has a frontage of  one hundred and fifteen feet and the other of sixty-five feet. His store has a frontage of twenty-five feet, and the remainder of the space is leased. Mr. Swanson derives a good income from his real estate investments, and he also controls the business of the Ferndale Grain Company, which he formed in 1922. He buys, sells and ships grain, which is stored in his warehouse, situated on a railroad siding, and conducts both a retail and wholesale business. Under his expert direction the enterprise has rapidly expanded and the firm enjoys a large trade. He has been equally successful in financial affairs and aided in organizing the Citizens Bank, of which he is now a trustee. Reared on his father's ranch, he acquired a practical knowledge of the details of agriculture, in which he has never lost interest, and he is the owner of one of the finest dairy farms in the county.

    In 1907 Mr. Swanson married Miss Selma Bentzen, of Lynden, Washington, and three children have been born to them, namely: Earl, a youth of sixteen, who assists his father in business; and Eloise and Gerald, aged respectively fifteen and eight years. Mr. Swanson is a Royal Arch Mason and casts his ballot for the candidates of the republican party. He has never been remiss in the duties of citizenship and served for two terms on the town council, standing at all times for measurers of reform, progress and improvement. Thoroughly inbued with the spirit of enterprise, he has focused his energies in directions where fruition is certain, and in winning success he has also contributed toward the advancement of his community, in which he is highly esteemed, for the principles of truth and honor have constituted his guide in life.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 676-679


Swartz, Charles A.

    Charles A. Swartz is a highly esteemed member of the Bellingham bar, with a background of thirty-seven years of experience as a legal practitioner, and faithfully executes the many trusts reposed in him. He is a native of Lancaster, Ohio, and a son of Benjamin and Sophia (Engle) Swartz, who migrated from that state to Kansas. The father was engaged in merchandising and also owned and operated a ranch in the Sunflower state, in which he spent the remainder of his life.

    The public schools of his native state afforded Charles A. Swartz his early education advantages, and he afterward attended the National University at Lebanon, Ohio, of which he is a graduate. He took up the study of law after the family moved to Kansas and was admitted to the bar in 1889. He practiced at Great Bend, Kansas, until 1905 and gained an enviable reputation as a corporation lawyer, acting as attorney for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Mr. Swartz has been engaged in general practice at Bellingham for more than twenty years, and during this period he has handled many important cases, the majority of which have been settled out of court, as he is decidedly opposed to useless litigation. He is devoted to the interests of his clients, and his counsel is always to be relied upon. He is well versed in the minutiae of the law and his analytical powers enable him to eliminate readily the nonessentials of a case and delve at once to the root of the matter.

    In 1893 Mr. Swartz married Miss Grace M. Price, of Kansas, and they have become the parents of two children. Lytton McKinley, the elder, is married and is taking a course in dentistry at the University of Los Angeles. He enlisted for service in the World war and was made a lieutenant. The daughter, Dorothy E., is living at home. While residing in Great Bend, Kansas, Mr. Swartz was a member of the school board and was city attorney for two years, and he was connected with the civil service commission of Bellingham as chairman for three years when he resigned. He is commander of the Fathers Club and along fraternal lines is identified with the Knights of Pythias, the Woodmen of the World, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Junior Order of United American Mechanics. He is a member of the Whatcom County and Washington State Bar Associations and his political views are in accord with the tenets of the republican party. Mr. Swartz has ever been actuated by a keen sense of duty and honors his profession by his close adherence to the solid virtues and enlightened principles underlying the law.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 842



Sybert, William R.
William R. Sybert, county auditor and recorder, and one of the best known men in this section of country, was born September 14, 1864, at Greenville, Illinois, and is a son of Morgan J. and Ellen (McCullough) Sybert, the former of whom was born in Indiana, of German descent, and he died in 1874, while his wife, whose descent was from Scotch ancestors, died in 1878. These children were born to Morgan and Ellen Sybert: James A. and Henry, who both reside in California; and William R.
William R. Sybert was educated in the common and high schools of Greenville, and had the further advantage of a course at the Jacksonville (Illinois) Business College, concluding his studies in 1884. In 1888 he left home for California, and engaged in a real estate and insurance business at Selma, Fresno county, California, being associated with George J. Nees. After a year he went to Whatcom, and continued the same business until November, 1892, when he was made deputy county auditor and deputy recorder of Whatcom county. In 1895 he received appointment to the office of deputy postmaster, but after a service of one year he returned to the office of the auditor and recorder. His services in this office were so satisfactory that in 1900 he was elected auditor and recorder on the Republican ticket for two years, and re-elected in 1902.
On February 26, 1888, he was married to Sina King, a daughter of William King, of Greenville, Illinois, a farmer who comes of Tennessee stock. Mr. and Mrs. Sybert are the parents of one son, Ramel King Sybert, a very bright little fellow of six years. Mr. and Mrs. Sybert are consistent and influential members of the Methodist church, in whose work they take an active part. The fraternal relations of Mr. Sybert are very congenial; he belongs to the Knights of Pythias, the ancient Order of United workmen and Woodmen of the World. His political influence is widely felt not only in Whatcom, but throughout that section of country, while socially he and his wife are very important factors in Whatcom, where they both have many friends.
A History of the Puget Sound Country Vol. 1, Col. William F. Prosser, pub. 1903


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