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Whatcom County
Genealogy and History





Wheeler, A. W.

    The life history of him whose name heads this memoir is closely identified with the history of Whatcom county, which was his home for a number of years.  He began his career here in the pioneer epoch and through the subsequent years was closely allied with it interest and upbuilding. His life was one of untiring activity and was crowned with a very gratifying measure of success. He was of the highest type of progressive citizen and none more that he deserved a fitting recognition among those whose enterprise and ability contributed to the development of his community. A. W. Wheeler was born in the state of Massachusetts on the 19th of July, 1854, and was a son of Charles and Rosanna (Bowers) Wheeler, the former a native of New Hampshire and the latter of Connecticut. The Wheeler family is descended on the paternal side from sterling old English ancestors, who came to this country in the eighteenth century, while on the maternal side the line is traced back to Scottish origin, so with the blood of these two nationalities in his veins, it is not strange that in his own life he exemplified the essential qualities of good citizenship.  He was educated in the public schools of Connecticut, and after leaving school worked as a painter, and also as a barber, until his marriage, in 1878, after which he lived at various places in the east until 1884, when he went to Kansas, where he took up a homestead in Scott county, which he proved up and on which he lived until 1887, when he went to Nebraska, where he lived for about a year. In February, 1888, he came to Washington, locating at Tacoma, where he lived for two years, and then came to Lynden, Whatcom county, where he was employed in various ways for a few years. In March, 1890, Mr. Wheeler bought forty acres of land in Delta district, densely covered with brush, logs and stumps. After clearing a small patch, he built a house and then went ahead with the clearing of the land, which he completed on twenty acres. To its cultivation he closely devoted his attention until his death, which occurred February 4, 1924. He was a man of indomitable energy, untiring industry and a persistency of purpose which enabled his to accomplish splendid results, despite the discouraging conditions when he took hold of the land. A good business man, sound in his judgment and practical in his methods, he also gained high reputation among his fellow citizens because of his enterprising and progressive spirit. Deeply interested in the welfare of the community, he rendered effective service for nine years as township supervisor and also  served as a member of the district school board. Fraternally, he was a member of the subordinate lodge and encampment of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and exemplified in his life the sublime teachings of this splendid order. He was a man of kindly and generous impulses, liberally supporting all worthy benevolent and charitable objects, while he was genial and friendly in all his social relations, being held in the highest esteem by all who knew him.

    Mr. Wheeler was twice married - first, on September 22, 1878, to Miss Hattie Putney, daughter of James and Francelia (Clark) Putney, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of New Hampshire. Her father became a farmer in New Hampshire, where he spent the remaining years of his life. To him and his wife were born two daughters, Hattie and Sarah. To A. W. and Hattie Wheeler were born six children, namely: Albert L., of Lynden; Ethel, who is the wife of Gustav Olsen, of British Columbia, and they have two children, Evelyn and Leroy; Preston, deceased; one who died in infancy; Alta, who died in infancy; and Edith, who was married on April 20, 1925, to Charles Myette. Mrs. Hattie Wheeler died October 7, 1893, and on December 30, 1894, Mr. Wheeler was married to Miss Sarah Putney, sister of his first wife and who is now living on the home ranch in West Delta township. She is actively directing the operation of the farm and her efforts have been rewarded with splendid success. She keeps five good grade Jersey cows and the land is mainly cultivated to hay and grain. She is a lady of fine personal qualities and is a popular member of the circles in which she moves.

    Charles Myette was born in New York city, August 22, 1894, and is a son of Dolphis and Admaide (Degrande) Myette, both of whom were born and reared in Quebec, Canada. The father was for a number of years engaged in the grain business in Canada, but later went to Saskatchewan and homesteaded three hundred and twenty acres of good land. There he lived until his death, which occurred on April 22, 1925, and his widow still lives on the homestead there. Of the family of fourteen children born to them, ten are still living. Mr Myette's maternal grandparents were both natives of France.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 537-538

Whelan, Emmett

    Emmett Whelan is an enterprising young agriculturist of Lawrence township and represents one of its honored pioneer families. He was born in Whatcom county, March 7, 1899, and his parents, Merritt and Mary (Moriarty) Whelan, were both natives of Ireland. Merritt Whelan came to Whatcom county in 1879 and entered a homestead in Lawrence township, which was then a wilderness. He was one of the earliest settlers in this section, to which Miss Moriarty came in 1884, and here they were married. They experienced the various phases of pioneer life, and as the years passed the father brought the wild land under cultivation, his well tilled fields and substantial buildings bearing evidence of the good management and prosperity of their owner. He remained on the place until his demise in 1916. He was also active in politics, working for the success of the republican party. To Mr. and Mrs. Whelan were born three sons: James, who is living in Edison, Washington; Joseph and Emmett, who are operating the homestead. Under the able direction of their father they received thorough training in farm work and have been very successful in conducting the ranch, possessing a true sense of agricultural economics. They have a well equipped dairy and  also raise poultry. They are members of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and also of the Poultrymen's Association.

    Emmett Whelan received a high school education, and in 1917 he enlisted in the Coast Artillery. He remained on active duty until the close of the World war, and with his brother served in the United States navy. The subject of this sketch is nonpartisan in politics, voting according to the dictates of his judgment, and his support can always be counted on to further every measure for the general good. He is one of Whatcom county's most loyal sons and a young man of genuine worth, esteemed by a large and ever widening circle of friends.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 579

Whipple, G. H.

    To record the real history of any community is to tell the stories of the lives of those who have by their efforts and influence contributed to the growth and development of that community, and in the following lines are briefly recounted the principal events in the career of one of the most highly respected citizens of Lynden township - a man who has consistently stood for all that is best in community life and has long enjoyed the respect of all who know him. G. H. Whipple was born in Green Lake county, Wisconsin, in December, 1854, and is a son of Lyman and Cheney Maria (Heath) Whipple, the former a native of New York state and the latter of Massachusetts. He secured a common school education and had carefully saved his money, with the intention of going to high school, but the school was so far away that he did not attend. For a number of years he worked at the barber's trade and then turned his attention to carpenter work, which he followed for twenty-five years. In 1902 he came to Lynden, Whatcom county, and two years later bought twenty acres of land where he now lives, the tract at that time being covered with trees, stumps and brush. He has worked hard on this land and now has all but two acres cleared, the remainder being in pasture. Prior to coming to Whatcom county, Mr. Whipple had, in 1877, gone to Minnesota and entered a homestead, which he proved up and on which he lived until coming to this locality. After coming here he did a good deal of carpenter work and contracting, the building of the Northwood schoolhouse being his last job, since which time he has devoted his attention to his farm. He keeps five cows, and expects to double the number, and is also going into the chicken business, now having three hundred laying hens. He has made many substantial and permanent improvements on his place, which is a very comfortable and attractive farmstead.

    In 1875, in Wisconsin, Mr. Whipple was married to Miss Alneta Phillips, who was born in Kane county, Illinois, and who died in April, 1920. To this union were born five children, namely: Joseph, of Van Zandt, who is married and has four children; Fred, of Bellingham, who is married and has one child; Arthur, of Everett, who is married and has two children; George H., Jr., of North Bend; and Mark S., who is now running the home place for his father. He was married to Mrs. Jessie Button, who has three children by a former marriage. Mr. Whipple is now serving as justice of the peace. He was assessor of Lynden for nine seasons, being elected six time and appointed three times. He had also served for a number of years as assessor in Brainerd, Minnesota. He had likewise served as a member of the local school board for three years and was clerk of the board. Mr. Whipple is a man of quiet manner but forceful personality, with a keen sense of justice and a desire always to do the right as he sees and understands it. For this reason he has won and retains the unbounded confidence of the entire community, where his splendid qualities of character have long been recognized and appreciated.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 315

Whitcomb, Walter B.

    Walter B. Whitcomb, a former president of the Whatcom County Bar Association and for twenty-five years engaged in the practice of law in this county, with offices in Bellingham since 1910, was born in Farmer City, DeWitt county, Illinois, April 5, 1874, and is a son of John B. and Mary A. (Kirby) Whitcomb, both of whom were born in that same state, members of pioneer families there, the latter a daughter of Richard Kirby, a native of New Jersey. John B. Whitcomb was a son of Francis Whitcomb, a New Hampshire man who had become one of the pioneers in McLean county, Illinois, and who was a contemporary and acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln. In the early '80s John B. Whitcomb moved with his family into the Dakota country, took an active part in public affairs there and served for some time as a member of the territorial legislature. Upon his retirement he and his wife came to the coast and their last days were spent in Seattle.

    Reared in Illinois and Dakota, Walter B. Whitcomb was given good schooling and in 1896, when twenty-two years of age, was graduated from the University of Minnesota and the next year received from that institution his master degree. Admitted to the bar in 1896, he decided on a settlement here and in 1901 located at Bellingham. In 1902 he opened an office at Blaine and was there engaged in practice until 1910, when he returned to Bellingham and became associated in practice with Governor Mead, a mutually agreeable partnership which was maintained until the latter's death in 1912, since which time Mr. Whitcomb has been carrying on his practice independently. During the administration of Governor Hart he served as director of public works in the state of Washington. He is a member of the board of trustees of the State Normal School at Bellingham and has in other ways given his interested and helpful attention to public affairs. Mr. Whitcomb is an active and influential member of the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the Country Club and is affiliated with the Masonic order, in which he has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, and is also a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He belongs to the local Kiwanis Club, the Knights of Pythias and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.

    On June 4, 1902, at Bellingham, Mr. Whitcomb was united in marriage to Miss Mazie Burrows and they have two children, Rollo R., born in 1903, now (1926) a student in the State University, and Catherine, who also attends the university. Mrs. Whitcomb is a daughter of James S. and Elizabeth C. Burrows, who came to Bellingham in 1889, Mr. Burrows engaging in business here as a shoe merchant, and both he and his wife spent their last days here. The Whitcombs have a pleasant home in Bellingham and have ever taken an interested and helpful part in the general social and cultural activities of the city and of the community at large.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 412

White, Henry A.

    Among the men of initiative, enterprise and ability who have stimulated the pulse of trade in northwestern Washington, none occupies a higher place in public esteem than does Henry A. White, the pioneer druggist of Whatcom county and for many years one of the outstanding figures in mercantile circles of Sumas. He was born in 1853 and is a native of Rock county, Wisconsin. His parents were Anson and Mary J. (Kidder) White, the former of whom was a Union soldier. He was a member of the Thirty-second Wisconsin Infantry and was killed August 22, 1864, on the field of battle. In later life his widow came to the Pacific coast, establishing her home in Bellingham, Washington, and there spent her remaining years.

    Henry A. White had the benefit of a high school education and attended the normal school at Whitewater, Wisconsin. He was employed for some time as a drug clerk, utilizing every opportunity to learn the business, and in 1874, when a young man of twenty-one, he opened a store of his own in Riverside, Minnesota. He subsequently sold the business, having decided to locate in Kansas, and he spent six years in the Sunflower state. In 1883 he came to Washington, settling in Whatcom on the 17th of June. He established the first drug business north of La Conner, locating on the corner of Fourteenth and C streets, and later purchased property at No. 903 West Holly street, erecting a substantial building, of which he is still the owner. There he conducted the business until 1909, when he moved his stock to Sumas, and he now has the leading drug store of the town. Mr. White has made this business his life work and is an expert pharmacist, well acquainted with the chemical combination of drugs. He is content with a moderate profit and his work is performed with the utmost thoroughness. He maintains a high standard of service and is always to be relied upon in filling prescriptions, so that his business prestige has steadily increased and his patronage has assumed extensive proportions. He is also a prosperous agriculturist and owns a fine ranch in the county.

    On the 14th of February, 1883, Mr. White married Miss Jessie Edson, now deceased. She was the daughter of G. M. and Ellen (Gillespie) Edson, the latter a native of Ohio. Her father was born in New York state and became one of the pioneer physicians of Iowa. He passed away in the Hawkeye state and the family afterward moved to Kansas. They migrated from that state to Washington and in 1883 settled in Whatcom. Mrs. White's brother, Edward Edson, is mayor of Lynden and since 1891 has been engaged in the drug business in this community. Mr. White's second union was with Laura M. Lewis, to whom he was married May 4, 1916. He is identified with the Masonic order and was a second master of the lodge at Bellingham. He is an independent voter in politics, but has never aspired to public office. His life has been one of quiet devotion to duty and his record proves that the old-fashioned virtues of industry, honesty and singleness of purpose still constitute the key to prosperity.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 157-158

White, Robert E.

    Robert E. White, a business man of broad experience and proven ability, is now dealing in automobile tires, and for over six years Bellingham has numbered him among its valuable citizens. A native of Missouri, he was born in 1880, and his parents were William T. and Elizabeth (Donovan) White, the former a well known building contractor of that state. The son supplemented his public school education by a course in the Missouri Valley College, from which he was graduated in 1901, and then became associated with the R. J. Gunning Company, of Kansas City, Missouri. He remained with that firm until 1904 and then accepted a position with the Thomas Cusack Company of Chicago. He went to California in 1906 and for two years worked for Varney & Green, a San Francisco firm. He was next connected with the Kansas City office of the Thomas Cusack Company and subsequently went to Spokane, Washington, as superintendent of the plant of the Hayward-Larkin Company. In 1913 Mr. White returned to Chicago and resumed his association with the Thomas Cusack Company, with which he continued until February, 1918. He then came to Bellingham and has since handled the Firestone tires. His shop is located at No. 115 Magnolia avenue and is equipped with a power press. He has a full line of tires and rims and is one of the most popular dealers in the city.

    In 1904 Mr. White married Miss Alma Burns, of Wisconsin, and Lenore, their only child, is a graduate of the Bellingham high school. Mr. White belongs to the Rotary Club and is also connected with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He is not bound by party ties, voting according to the dictates of his judgment, and his influence is always on the side of measures of reform, progress and improvement. He is a man of substantial worth, honor and integrity being the keynote of his character.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 889

White, W. C.

    A worthy representative of that type of American business men who may properly be termed "progressive" - that character which promotes public good and conserves public interests while advancing individual prosperity - is W. C. White, a well-known farmer of Ferndale township. He has long been prominently identified with the agricultural interests of this locality and while his varied affairs have brought him success, he has also by example and personal influence contributed to the general development and welfare of the entire community. W. C. White is a native of Fair Mount, Gordon county, Georgia, where he was born on the 12th of July, 1860, and is a son of William Anderson and Melinda (Strickland) White, both natives of Madison county, Georgia, where the father owned a large plantation, raising corn, wheat, cotton and cattle. The parents died in Georgia, leaving a family of six children.

    W. C. White secured his education in the public schools of his native state and remained at home until his marriage. During the ensuing nine years he was variously employed and in 1890 he came to Whatcom county, Washington, and bought one hundred and forty acres of land, located along the Nooksack river, one and a half miles west of Lynden. He cleared forty acres of this tract and put it under cultivation, making splendid improvements on the property. There he ran a dairy and raised vegetables, potatoes and tomatoes, continuing to operate the property for four or five years, when he sold it. He next leased and operated other land for several years, and then bought forty acres of good land in Ten Mile township, which he subsequently sold to his son-in-law. In 1919 Mr. White bought twenty acres in Ferndale township, a part of which was cleared, and this land he has devoted mainly to the chicken business and to fruit growing, having about four and a half acres in orchard. He keeps about eighteen hundred chickens, form which he derives a very nice income, and also keeps three cows. He is a good manager, is industrious and persevering, does thoroughly whatever he undertakes, and has gained a fine reputation because of his enterprise and progressive spirit and the fine success which has crowned his efforts.

    In 1881 Mr. White was married to Miss Laura E. Smith, who was born and reared at Gainesville, Hall county, Georgia, the daughter of William and Faith A. (Barrett) Smith, both of whom were born, lived and died in that state. To Mr. and Mrs. White have been born five children: F. D., who was born in Georgia in July, 1883, was married in 1915 to Miss Erma Wetzel, who was born at Arrowsmith, Illinois, and they have four children, Crawford F., Shirley Maud, William O. and Gordon Lee; Dora B., Oliver S., deceased, Charles William and Howell, all being natives of Georgia excepting the last named, who was born after the family came to Washington. F. D. White was elected supervisor of Ferndale township in 1924 and is the present incumbent of that office. He is a member of Ballinger Camp, No. 5158, M. W. A., and is in partnership with his father in the farm and stock business. Mr. White is an ardent believer in irrigation and intends to install a pumping plant on the farm in the near future. There is an abundance of water but a short distance below the surface of the ground and when they get access to it the growth of small fruits and vegetables will be greatly facilitated. Mr. White has been active in his support of the good-roads movement and personally helped to build and straighten between five and six miles of the Guide Meridian road.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 675-676


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