Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Emmett Hunt's diary entry Wednesday, January 16, 1884

Calm & chilly, very nice weather.  Banged away my time on the boat again & can see that she hath grown some more.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

American History Museum Blog

Free Picture from Google Images of Rudolph

Please enjoy the Smithsonian American History Museum Blog on "Rudolph, The Red-NoseReindeer" and his 75th birthday.


© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Emmett Hunt's diary entry Wednesday, January 9, 1884

Handsome day after the storm.   Stayed up with Arthur last night practicing for the spelling match.  Came down this morn, filed my saw, did some preliminary work and then got thee first 2 strips on our boat.  A? Bonnie very sick.  Allen & Grant went after Dr this morning.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Memories of Mary Carlson Ambrose

Every once in a while, you run across a self-written memoir that it just waiting to be seen by a new audience.  I hope you feel this is one of those.  This document was donated to the Harbor History Museum by Millicent E. Hall although it does not contain the date donated nor the date written.  (However, on the Find-a-Grave site for Millicent E. Hall it states that on the 1930 census Millicent was a nurse living/working with Samuel and Mary J. (Carlson) Ambrose at a Sanitarium in Lake View, Pierce County, Washington).  Mary J. Carlson Ambrose died in 1986 and Millicent E. Hall died in 1994.)

Golden Memories of Gig Harbor

In the spring of 1894 my parents, tired of city life in Tacoma, decided to take advantage of land being offered in Gig Harbor by the government.  The land was in 10 acre tracts, available to those interested in settling there, building and making a permanent home site.  This area, on the East side of the Harbor, at one time was a government reservation.  It was strategically located so the waters of the Sound could be easily scanned from all directions for strange vessels.  Pt. Defiance had a similar lookout point. 

Those desiring to take advantage of this offer were to live on the land clearing and improving it and making a permanent home site.  After meeting these requirement, the land could then be bought over a period of time from the government.

At that early time there were no ferries or a Narrows Bridge.  My parents with two small daughters, myself at 2 1/2 years and the year old baby, arrived by steamboat with our belongings to start our new life in Gig Harbor.

The West side of the Harbor where the stores and businesses now abound, had been settled for some time prior to our arrival on the East side, by families with boats and fishing more to their liking and (as a) way of life.  There was a small lumber mill there, too.

My parents chose a lovely spot on a gentle slope from where the quiet waters of the sparkling Harbor were plainly visible a short distance below.  Their first home was an abandoned one room cedar shake cabin on the edge of their new property.  There was plenty of timber including cedar and fir trees.

The land was cleared and our new home began.  My father’s knowledge of carpentry learned in his native Sweden was a great asset.

Martin Carlson's home built 1894

Eventually a very livable homesite evolved after much hard work, struggles and many disappointments.  The house was built by stages, and when the first room was finished we moved into our new home.  We girls slept in two beds, the wooden frames made by our father.  Across these frames clean seed or gunny sacks were stretched taut and securely nailed.  A blanket formed the mattress.  Several years later we had such a memorable day when father brought home two iron beds with real straw mattresses!

Other homes and families had strung up around us, as people took advantage of the land offer.  During the years that followed these neighbors became steadfast friends and willingly shared each others joys and sorrows.  Always ready to extend a helping hand.  These friendships have lasted a lifetime.

Farther in back of the house, father had built a large barn to house the four cows, calves and later, a horse.  Another building was for the chickens, and nearby were rabbit hutches and a pig sty.  The roof and outside walls of the barn were made completely of cedar shakes handmade by father.  When clearing the land, the cedar trees had provided strong timber for the foundation of the house and buildings.  The fir and cedar were a never ending source of firewood for the big kitchen stove.

In making the shakes for the barn, the cedar bark was first stripped from a selected log with a draw knife, then a Fro knife cut the shakes themselves.  After being placed in position on the log, the top of the knife blade was struck a sharp blow with a wooden mallet, and with a deft flip of the blade a shake was quickly produced.  All father’s tools were kept razor sharp by a hand operated grindstone.  Sometimes we helped, laboriously turning the handle with our small hands and asking plaintively, “Isn’t it sharp yet, papa?”  With a twinkle in his eye he would reply, “Oh a couple more turns should do it!”

People had to be self-sufficient in those days.  It was a task going to town by steamer and was only done thru necessity.  Much later, the ferries brought the city closer to us.

In time, we had our apple and cherry trees producing.  Some fruit was canned, apples were sliced and dried outdoors, covered so wasps couldn’t get at them.  Vegetables were plentiful and could be canned for winter.  Corn was delicious cut from the cob and dried in a sack over the stove.  Someone going by would occasionally reach up and punch the bottom of the sack to distribute the kernels around.  This corn was like fresh when soaked and cooked.  Delicious!

There were staples to be bought.  Four 50 lb. sacks of flour at a time that didn’t last long.  Mother baked 8 or more delicious loaves of bread a week.  Still, when someone on a rare occasion, brought a loaf of bakery bread from town, we thought it was a treat!  We also bought sugar, coffee, tea, and salt and cheese.  Milk & butter were plentiful.

When we butchered an animal it was always in the dark of the moon, so the meat would be firm and tender in the winter.  A pig produced such a variety of products.  In winter when a pig was butchered snow was always hoped for.  The butchering was done in the morning, the pig scalded & bristles scraped off.  It was covered with a sheet and hung for several days before cutting up.  In the meantime, mother would clean the casings preparing for sausage making.  This is how it was done outdoors.  She tied a dishtowel around her head against the cold North wind.  Taking a bucket of casings she had turned inside out, she started at the edge of the field and swished a long string of casings thru the snow, back and forth across a 2 1/2 foot swath.  Always bending over she went back and forth until all the casings were white as the snow.  Her hands would be purple and stiff with cold, but gloves if worn would be wet and stiff in no time.  Later, casings were washed and cleaned throughly in water, and turned right side out.  When sausage was made, the pork was ground up and spiced.  Then one end of the casing was tied securely and the seasoned meat gently pressed thru a funnel placed in the open end of the casing.  Care was taken not to break the casing as the sausage was gently eased along it.  Then string was tied at intervals along the filled casing to form the sausages.  Some were hung to dry on a line above the kitchen wood range, others put in a crock of brine water to be fried or boiled later.  Nothing was wasted.  Blood was spiced and thickened with rye flour for blood sausage.  Headcheese was made and put in brine in crocks with a well washed rock on top of the cover.  Pickled pigs feet were also put up to be enjoyed later.  Our own lard was rendered from the pork fat.  Anyone butchering would share with a neighbor, bringing a roast, “here’s something for your Sunday dinner.”

School days were happy days.  We walked quite a way to school carrying our lunch in “Red Rose Lard Pails”, as did most children.  They were placed side by side on a long shelf and I wonder now how each child knew his or her lunch pail.  One teacher taught 4 classes of 4 to 10 pupils in each class in a large room.  In winter her day began at 7:30 A.M.  She started a fire in the heater, sometimes carrying large chunks of firewood herself if one of the big boys forgot his chore.  A bucket of water and a dipper slackened the children’s thrust.  Sometimes coming in from recess, someone would be thirsty.  Then there was an epidemic of thrust so the bucket was carried up and around the aisles, each pupil drinking from the same dented, rusty dipper!  One roller towel was used all week by the pupils.  This begrimed towel was taken home and washed by the teacher at the end of the week and brought back on Monday.  Tiring of this she finally had each child in turn take it home for the mother to wash and return.  The teacher swept out the school room at the days end, and finally left, locking the door.
The Martin Carlson sisters: Mary (29), Elvera (28), Emma (27), Hulda (26)

Notes added by Mrs. S. A. Ambrose (Mary J.)
“Martin Carlson Family”  
Mary J. and Samuel Ambrose House built by Martin Carlson 1914
  • Martin and Amanda Carlson with daughters Mary J. 22 months and Elvera H. 3 months moved from Tacoma, Wash. to Gig Harbor in Spring of 1893, on the east side of bay called “Union Dock” named for the boat wharf, plying to Tacoma onto a 10 acre tract; was the abandoned Military Reservation having homestead rights.  
  • Finally purchased the land in Sept. 24, 1908.  
  • Daughters Emma A. and Hulda M. were born in Gig Harbor.  
  • The four girls all attended the two room schoolhouse at “Head of Bay”.  
  • Mary J. married in 1910 and built home on two acres of original ten acres.  
  • Samuel Ambrose and Mary J. had a son, Samuel Gordon, born at Gig Harbor in 1917 Dec. 4.

  • Martin Carlson was a cabinet maker and carpenter by trade, also a shoe salesman.  His work as carpenter at Gig Harbor, among a few were: First Methodist Church, Community Hall and at Skansie’s shipyard. 
  • He lived on original place ’tip his demise April 15, 1922 age 62 years.  
  • Amanda lived in house ’tip fall of 1936.  Sold to Mr. and Mrs. Nelson who now occupy property.  Passed away Jan 2, 1955 age 85 1/2 years in Tacoma.
  • Ambrose sold also in 1938.
  • Carlson and Ambrose home still are seen from many points of Harbor a precious memory to family.
  • Mary and Elvera live now in Tacoma.  Emma in Olympia 6 mo. and Yuciapa, Cal. 6 months of the year. Hulda lives in Puyallup.  
  • There are three grandchildren and one great, great grandson.

Again, a reminder that Mrs. Samuel (Mary J.) Ambrose Memoir and Notes are undated I have included the following found on

Martin Carlson - Oct. 27, 1861-Apr. 15, 1922
Amanda H. Carlson - May 14, 1864-Jan 2, 1950
Mary J. Carlson Ambrose - Jan. 13, 1891-Jan. 4, 1986
Elvera Hildegard Carlson Burdine - Jan. 1, 1893-Jan. 14, 1989
Emma A. Carlson Anderson - Aug. 2, 1894-Feb. 3, 1983
Hulda M. Carlson Goodell - Jan 30, 1896-Jan. 18, 1988

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Emmett Hunt's diary entry Wednesday, January 2, 1884

Steady rain but getting warmer.  Watered Baby and put in the rest of the time on our keel stern & stern hose.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Vivian Eide Lewis 1929-2014

In late October this year, one of Harbor History Museum members asked me if I had seen Vivian Eide Lewis’ obituary.  I hadn’t and so a few weeks later she dropped a copy off for me.  For many, unless you knew her and/or her mother you probably would be unaware of the part her family place in the early Rosedale area and its growth.  But then again, if you knew about a few of the online exhibitions on the Harbor History Museum’s internet site, perhaps you read about Vera Eide under the selection of Women of the Peninsula.  Here is that piece.

Owner of Eide’s Store from 1946 to 1988

Vera Eide (1903 - 1997)

The road to Rosedale starts in downtown Gig Harbor and goes directly to the little store with the gas pumps. From the day John and Vera Eide opened the store in 1946, it has been the hub and the business district of the community.

Many people called her "Eide" without the "Mrs." New residents to the community continued the custom and were embarrassed to learn "Eide" wasn't her first name. Eide had sharp eyes and a sharp voice that scared children and terrified salesmen, until they found her out. Her brusque demeanor concealed a caring individual who looked after the whole neighborhood. Delivery people came to her for directions. She knew where everyone lived and the best way to get there.

Eide knew everything about everybody. She knew the senior citizens and those who were too ill to come to the store. They phoned in their orders and Eide personally delivered the groceries to their homes. She loved kids and kept a box of penny candy ready for them.

She hated daylight savings time and refused to change her clock. Tiring of customers commenting on the discrepancy between their time (daylight savings) and her time (standard) she posted a large sign on the clock saying, "EIDE'S TIME." The sign is still there.

Eide ran the store on her own after her husband died in 1970. In 1988, at the age of 85, Mrs. Eide sold her store and retired.  (Reproduced from Harbor History Museum On-Line Exhibitions)

Vera’s maiden name was Degenaar - her father was Dutch and her mother German. Vera’s children were all born in a small town, Watertown rather than Hayti where they lived, in South Dakota:  Nona Jean (1928), Darrell (1934), and Vivian (1929).  Hayti is still a small town; their 2012 population was estimated at 380.  Their father, John B. Eide was, as Vivian recalled in her oral history, manager of a grocery store in Hayti, a small farming community.  John’s mother, Marie Eide, lived in Arletta, and so in 1935 the family moved west to be with her.  She lived about half way between the waterfront and the Arletta store, and they family stayed with her for two years while her father built their house in Rosedale where they moved in later 1936, early 1937.

Vivian talks about being related to the Arne family as well as the Dulin family.  John Dulin owned a grocery store in Arletta and I found a picture of him in 1905 hauling feed at the MOHAI digital collections, University of Washington.   

Due to the Depression and the war in Europe, money was tight and so were jobs.  Vivian’s father did what most men did at that time, working at whatever jobs were available -WPA (Work Progress Administration) - PWA (Public Works Administration) programs started under FDR’s New Deal government agency designed to get people back into the workforce.  

Finally, in 1946 WWII ended, Nona Jean graduated from high school, Vivian was a junior and the family was able to open their grocery store.  Vivian was in the last class to graduate from Gig Harbor High School (Union High School) as Peninsula High School was completed and opened that fall.

Much of Vivian’s oral history surrounds the activities she and her siblings shared with their friends around the water, Rosedale School and park.  Her father, John, was always away from home trying to earn a livelihood for the family.  Although at one time he spent a long time at the VA hospital on American Lake.  He had fought in WWI and was badly wounded, and of course, because of that his health suffered.  Her mother works as janitor for the Rosedale School for several years.

But after graduation, Vivian spent most of her time working to save money for college and going to school.  As she puts it “I had a very checked college career.  I started at Washington State.  I was only there for one semester.  Then I went to UPS-CPS (University of Puget Sound-College of Puget Sound) for a semester.  Then I was out of school for a time.  My parents were not in favor of me going to school so I was having to work my way through and I didn’t have any more money.  I stopped school for a while to get some money so I could go back.”  Her sister, Nona Jean, had graduated from secretarial college and living in Seattle, so Vivian moved in with her.

Vivian then attended Olympic Junior College as did her friend from Gig Harbor, Yvonne Lewis.  By the time she had taken all the classes she could at Olympic Junior College, she transferred to University of Washington (UW).  It was there that she and Yvonne’s brother, Henry William (Bill) Lewis renewed and built on their high school acquaintance.  They were married in 1953 and lived in Seattle.  

Bill graduated from UW with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and Vivian with a degree in Home Economics.  Following graduation, Bill work at UW in their Applied Physics Laboratory.  

Bill and Vivian had two children, a boy and a girl.  Irene became a nurse and her brother Bob (Robert) is a school teacher.

To learn even more about Vivian and Bill Lewis, you can stop in at the Harbor History Museum on Thursday mornings when the Research Room is open and ask to read their Oral Biographies.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Emmett Hunt's diary entry Wednesday, December 26, 1883

Heavy rain early & a gale all day.  Fiddled nearly all night last night for nearly nothing.  Still it matters little.  Arose at 9 AM & chatted & joked till Arla came then put in the balance of the day teasing here.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Season

“Christmas is coming, 
the geese are getting fat. 
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.  
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha-penny will do.  
If you haven’t got a ha-penny, 
Then God bless you!”

I woke up the other morning with this 19th century Christmas Song running through my head, and I thought it perfect for the season.  It reminds us that not only is this the season of celebration, but also a time for charity to be given to the less fortunate.

It also is a reminder that you should definitely come to Harbor History Museum, bringing your family, friends, and especially children on Friday, December 12 at 4:00 to 6:30 PM.  Why?  Because you will be able to enjoy a festive family night learning about the Feast of St. Lucia, the Bringer of the Light.  It’s an evening of Scandinavian culture, sights, sounds and tastes of the holiday season.  There will be all sorts of crafts and activities for all guests.  There is a token fee for tickets:  Adults 18 and up of $3; Children 7-17 $2 and children under 5 are free.  You don’t want to miss “Light Up The Night”.

Speaking of tastes, I did a little research on some Scandinavian holiday treats for you in case you want to bake up some goodies to have on hand for your family and guests.  And, of course, check out the Gift Shop at the museum for cookbooks with many, many more recipes.  (But, I’ve also included some Croatian recipes as well.)

Icelandic Rolled Cookies (Fred Bjornson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

2/3 cup sugar        1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup softened butter 1 beaten egg yolk
1 1/4 to 2 cups flour Sugar for sprinkling

Cream butter and sugar together.  Combine 1 1/4 cups flour and baking powder; add to butter mixture.  Mix well.  Roll out on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes.  Place cookies on greased baking sheet.  Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Asa’s Kleinur (Fred Bjornson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

1 cup brown sugar 2 teaspoons cardamom
1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs beaten         2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cream         5 to 6 cups flour

Combine first 5 ingredients.  Sift together cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 5 cups flour.  Add to buttermilk mixture with enough flou to make a soft dough.  Turn onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into 1/3 inch strips.  Cut a slit into the center of each strip.  Twist one end of strip through the hole.  Fry in oil like doughnuts until golden brown.

Krumkaker (Cone Cookies) (Geraldine Ackerman)

1 cup whipping cream 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar        1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup flour

Mix together.  Heat krumkaker iron on stove, using medium high heat.  Put teaspoon of batter in center of iron.  Cook one minute on each side.  Remove from iron; roll on handle of wooden spoon to shape ice cream cone.  Cookie should be light brown.  Store in airtight container for up to one month.  

Finnish Sticks (Katherine Franich)

3/4 cup butter 1 egg, well beaten
1/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
1 teaspoon almond flavoring 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups sifted flour

Cream butter and sugar well.  Stir in almond flavoring.  Add flour and mix thoroughly.  Roll round lengths with hands about the thickness of a finger (8 strips).  Put lengths real close together.  Brush with pastry brush with be aten egg and sprinkle with a mixture of almonds and sugar.  Cut into 1 1/2 inch strips.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Makes about 50 cookies.

Berlinerkranser (Norwegian)

1 cup powdered sugar 3 cups flour
1 cup butter 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs          egg white
sugar for dipping

Cream sugar, butter and eggs together.  Sift together flour and baking powder.  Add to sugar mixture; mix well.  Roll pieces of dough into rope about the size of a pencil, about 4 inches long. Cross the ends and dip the top into egg white and then into sugar.  Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 375 for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Hrustule (Mary Sunich)

1/2 lb. butter 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6-8 eggs (take out 4 whites) 1 tablespoon anise oil
6-8 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar enough flour so dough is like bread dough

Roll out practically paper thin, cut in strips 4-5 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, tie in loops and fry in deep fat until golden - drain on paper toweling and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Both Scandinavians and Croatians make Strudel for the holidays, and as best as I can tell, the recipes are very similar.  I’m not sure if the Scandinavians put the prunes and raisins in theirs, and some people use fill for the pastry dough.   Here is Ann Stancic’s recipe:

Strudel Pastry (Ann Stancic)

3 cups all purpose flour Cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup Crisco

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder into large bowl.  Cut shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add water, 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring lightly until just dampened.  If necessary, add a little more water to make dough hod together.  Form into ball.  Cover with a cool, damp cloth.  Chill about 1/2 hour.  Divide pastry into thirds.  Roll out 1/3 of dough on lightly floured board or canvas to form a 16 X 9 inch rectangle.  Spread filling over rectangle and roll up like jelly roll, place in a greased and lightly floured 15 X 10 inch jelly roll pan.  Repeat with remaining 2/3 of pastry.  Bake at 375 for 60 minutes.  Brush with powdered sugar after baked and let cool.

Strudel Filling (Ann Stancic)

12 apples 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup pitted & chopped prunes 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup dark seedless raisins 1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 oranges 1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 lemon        1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup sugar 2 cups chopped walnuts

Peel, core and cook 12 apples.  Cook primes separately, add sugar, raisins, grated rind and juice of 2 oranges and 1 lemon.  Add spices, flavoring and walnuts.  Combine with cooked apples and set aside to cool.

So, here are a few recipes to get you into the holiday season.  I have not made any of these recipes, but many others have and they had lasted through the years.  You can always try just one new recipe along with all your traditional recipes.  Happy Holidays!

Recipes from Gig Harbor Women’s Auxiliary of there GH Fishermen’s Civic Club 1970
Scandinavian Cooking in the Museum Gift Shop
Croatian Cookery in the Museum Gift Shop 

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Emmett Hunt's diary entry Wednesday, December 19, 1883

Rainy last night & a trifle so today and too cool to be pleasant.  Began fiddling last eve at about 6 & kept it warm till 5 this morn after which fooled around till afternoon when came to Fox Island & played 2 or 3 hours more & then went home with Jas.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.