Thursday, April 30, 2015

Midway School - 1912 - Smith C. Snyder (Written in 1985)

What can I say - schools are in session for a couple more months, spring is here, and recess is out-of-doors most days.  Right?  Well, in Smith’s recollection of his days as a student at Midway School, he shares the fact that although classrooms and school buildings may have changed, recess remains the same.  Only the games change - it’s still a time for fun.

Now my question to all the students out there is this:  do you play any of the games that gave Smith such satisfaction?  And, do you think you will be able to recall your early school days when you too are 82 years old as Smith was when he wrote the following story.  Ask your parents, or grandparents, the same questions.  

Midway School - 1912

The 1st of September was the beginning of a new era for the Snyder family.

The family consisted of my dad, James L. Snyder, age 47, my mother, Lida, age 38, my brother, James Paul Snyder, age 12, myself, Smith C. Snyder, age 9, and my little sister, age 1, Mary lie.

My dad had been General Secretary of the YMCAs in railroad towns and mining camps in Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado and Washington.  His last assignment having been Roslyn, 3 miles north of Cle Elum.
J. L. Snyder - 1916

My brother and I had started school there and were eager to get started in the country school of our new location.

My folks had preceded us to Gig Harbor the day before.  We had stayed with family friends in South Tacoma so we were starting forth on this adventure alone.  We boarded the small steam boat, Ariel, at the municipal dock under the 11th Street Bridge in downtown Tacoma.  The trip was very exciting as it was our first experience on a Sound boat.

On the way over we got talking to another kid about our age, and asked him how to get to the W. O. Bell place which was our destination.  His name was Bill Kennison and he said we could get off the boat where he did and he would take us to the start of the trail thru the woods that would lead us directly to the place.

We got off the boat at Nesika land and climbed the steep bank and crossed the road near Bill’s house and started up the trail thru the woods and brush that lead to the LaVallee place.  Here we met Damien LaVallee and he showed us the last 300 feet of the trip.  We had found 2 new friends before we ever got to our new home.

Mr. Bell was an old bachelor probably about 45 years of age.  He had built a small house or shack about 300 feet NE of the old house and was living there.  I never quite figured out why he sold us the place, 10 acres, unless he figured the $1200 he got would last him the rest of his life.  I never knew him to do a lick of work in the 5 years or so that he lasted.
Snyder Mansion - 1912

As soon as we got to our new home I discovered strips of real light wood probably cedar strips they used for wire spreaders for supporting lag on berry vines.  I was real thrilled and promptly made a model airplane or airplane as they were called then.  I had never seen one in my life but a Popular Mechanics magazine had a picture of one in flight so it served as my guide.  It was pretty crude but so was the original in the picture.  Wright Brothers first powered flight was made in 1903 the year I was born.  Before 1913 was over I watched Strohmer fly a pusher in South Tacoma.  (Gustave Stromer (the ‘h’ was added in error to the spelling of his surname.)  flew air-mail 24 miles from Tacoma to Seattle in his homemade hydro-aeroplane plus Jane O’Roark,an actress, on February 20, 1915)  It was one of the highlights of my life.  

School started a day or two after we arrived at Gig Harbor so we walked the mile and quarter to Midway School with our new friend, Damien LaVallee.

Midway School had only one room and one teacher and 30 students in 8 grades.  The teacher’s name was Bessie Dorsey.  Some of the kids had her the year before and warned us that she was really strict.  A swat with her hand or a threat of corporal punishment seemed to suffice to keep the kids in line.  I never saw her really beat up any.

The school was heated by a big pot bellied stove.  We kids kept the wood box full during the day by carrying in one piece at a time from the woodshed at one end of the main building.  The older boys did the splitting.  The porch next to the road was divided with a small cloak room on the left (N) for the boys and the one on the right (S) of the front door for the girls.  We kept our coats and lunch boxes and bags there.  At the front of the room there was a raised platform or stage about 2 feet high.  The teacher’s desk on the left and the blackboard across the back of the stage the full width of the building.  Part of it was low enough for the first graders.  In the left of the main floor stood a huge Websters Unabridged Dictionary on a stand.  We could consult this at any time.  Above the blackboard near the center was the standard picture of George Washington, Lincoln’s picture was further back.  A furled flag was at the front of the room.  We had to salute it and pledge allegiance each day.  Practically the complete left or north wall of the room was solid high windows.  They were high enough off the floor so we couldn’t see much from our seats but extended almost to the ceiling so gave us quite an expanse of blue sky and fleecy clouds to fuel our daydreams and make us oblivious to what was going on around us.

There was a hand bell on the teacher’s desk to call school into session and sped our fun at recess and lunch.

About a quarter of a mile north of the school was the home of John Carlson, a school director,.  He usually built the fire on cold mornings early so it would be nice and warm when we got there at 9.  Grace Carlson had been the teacher before Miss Dorsey, and her brother, Elmer, went to Midway with us.  Later a younger brother, Phil, started too.  They had an older brother who was away from home.  I think he had gone to sea.

The teachers lived with the Carlsons unless they were local girls living within walking distances.  There were no cars there at that time and for good reason.  They were expensive, our roads were terrible, and it was 125 to Tacoma by road thru Olympia.  (Remember there was no bridge so you had to travel to Tacoma by way of Gorst, Shelton, and Olympia.)  Horse and buggy was the long accepted mode of transportation and the natives were’t too much in a hurry to change.  Since vehicle traffic was not a problem our play area was in the road in front of the school.  The mail carrier, Claude Elms at that time, didn’t come by until later in the afternoon.  The noon hour was the best time for fun and games as the recess time was too short to really get going good.  Baseball was always popular, especially with the older boys, weather permitting, regardless of the season.  There weren’t enough players available for all positions so there were usually a pitcher, catcher, 1st baseman and one covered second, third and shortstop, and fielders.  The batters would rotate.  Some of the girls were extra good players.  Baseball was played in an open field below the school and the road was reserved for games such as Pom Pullaway, Dare Base, chase-it games that required opposing sides and lots of room.  The thick underbrush and woods north of Foxy John’s house was a great place to place hide-and-seek and Run Sheep Run.  In season those inclined to play marbles chose locations where they wouldn’t be run over by those in wilder operations.  We had several modifications of the standard circle ring marble game and a game called Perg, where holes or depressions were made at intervals on an irregular terrain and numbered and the game was like golf to see who could make the course with the least number of shots.

Whittling wood was a great pastime for the kids fortunate enough to have a sharp knife.  Another knife  game was Mumblety-Peg.  The small blade was opened clear up and the large blade halfway open and a spot a foot or more in diameter was softened enough so the knife would stick in the ground when thrown from various positions.  There was a definite order of rotation and if the knife stuck in an upright position the player could proceed to the next play until the knife failed to stick.  Then the opposition would take over and proceed thru all the routine motions until he missed.  Whoever got to the last motion first won the game.

Another very popular game was called Anti-I-Over.  Sides were chosen from the available kids and half went to the south side of the school building and half went to the north.  A tennis ball was used because a hard ball might be lethal as you never knew when or where it might be coming from.  Whoever had the best pitching arm would throw the ball completely over the roof of the school building and holler “anti-eye over”.  If it didn’t make it, he would yell “pigtail”.  The other side would catch the ball and run around the end of the building and tag the first person they could catch and he had to change sides.  Whichever side had the most body count at the end of the elapsed time won the game.

It must have been about 1913 or so when the playshed was built.  It was an open shed with large upright poles supporting a shake roof with the roof panel to the south a lot longer.  That gave better protection from the rain or mist and what little wind there was.  Our winters were mostly pretty mild and consisted of mist - Oregon Mist - “Missed Oregon and hit us” we would say.  You could workout in it all day and never get wet - that is unless you needed an excuse to stop whatever you were doing.  We had snow on occasion.  A couple times quite deep for little kids.  We wore short pants or knickerbockers with long black stockings so in the snow we wore leggings that were wrapped around our legs over the stockings and buttoned using a button hook.  We didn’t have overshoes, at least I didn’t, so our feet only had heavy shoes.  In the heavy snow my dad insisted that we wrap our shoes in gunny sacks for extra protection, much to my chagrin.  From a practical view it was a good idea as we had to walk a mile and a quarter each way.  Some of the kids had farther than the Snyder boys.

To get back to the play shed.  The peak of the roof ran east and west and the vertical posts were round fir poles 9 or 10 inches in diameter.  The horizontal beams at both ends and center, and running east to west about 8 ft. or so under the roof ridge, were 8 x 8 square timber.  At the west end of the open shed was the turning bar that was high enough off the ground so that a 10-year old kid had to jump to reach it.  Next were two pair of rings suspended on steel chains and then two swings hung with rope and had hard wood board seats.  A large teeter totter finished the equipment.  A vertical post was between each type.

After tiring of merely swinging back and forth, Orson Higgens and I devised variations in our routines.  We would face in opposite directions in our swings and then backup and wind around the post at our right as far as we could and with a foot against post we would, at a given signal, give an extra hard shove and sail in a wild arc and become entwined when we met in the middle.  After we came to a stop we would unwind and arc back to our posts landing on one foot and wind around and then head out again in the opposite direction.  This maneuver was called Zebulon Snow, named after a character in a book the teacher was reading to us on Friday afternoons at the time of our invention.  I doubt very much if this type of activity would have bee approved by the safety board, had there been one, or by the teacher for that matter.  Constant practice at noon hour and recess had refined and fine-tuned our act until it was a joy to behold.  We had few copycats as they were too scared or too smart to try it.

Brown bagging or lunch pails was a way of life as there was no other way to stave off starvation.  Cafeterias and lunchrooms were undreamed of at the time.  Our mothers packed our lunches with whatever was at hand.  We had no corner supermarket or deli to give us variety.  Our sandwiches reflected our other meals & of course, peanut butter was a standard base.  It was enhanced by jelly - pickles, onions or whatever else was close at hand.  Fried egg, bacon, beef or pork or even thinly sliced cornmeal mush.  Apples were standard, pie, cake or apple sauce were used for dessert.  Around Christmas we might have an orange.  I seldom had cake, or pie, so I used to trade John Simerson a sandwich for pie or cake.  He loved my mother’s sandwiches and I loved his mother’s pies.

Just south of the school building, near the road, was a well with a plank cover that supported a big cast iron pump with a long handle.  A tin cup hung from a hook on the pump body.  I don’t ever remember it being missing when we wanted a drink.  It probably wasn’t all that sanitary but everyone in school always got whatever childhood disease was making the rounds anyway so it was no big deal.  A tea kettle was kept full on the flat top of the big stove for the teacher’s tea or coffee or the postman, and it also furnished the needed humidity to our winter air.  I suppose we had our share of colds but I don’t recall them as being a major problem.  Kids on farms had to work hard, and had their chores to do, and we were out-of-doors a great deal, ate well, and were not loaded down with patent medicines so I could say they were a pretty healthy bunch.
Smith Snyder 

For all of you who have enjoyed the experience of a day of classes in the Pioneer Midway School, some of Smith’s recollection will sound familiar.  But for others perhaps it is the first time they have read about what school was like 100 or more years again.  Smith’s story is reminiscence of “Little House on the Prairie”, “Bonanza”  or other TV programs or books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  
© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary entry for May 14, 1884

Cloudy & cool in morn but hot sun in P.M.  Did some firing on trees barked a small log & framed the bulwarks of my ship "Gig-2---n"

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Boxing Smoker

One of the best things about writing this blog for the Harbor History Museum is learning about new history that happened in our community.  And it is made even better when when it is shared like the following information which was shared with me.  

Perhaps some of you reading this right now will also have memories or stories to tell about “Boxing Smoker” events.  If so, please share in the comment section below.  

This is so fitting with the current special exhibit being all about sports and recreation on the Gig Harbor Peninsula.  

I saw online yesterday that the museum is having a special exhibit on sports and recreation in the Gig Harbor area.  That reminded me of the copy of a poster from 1938 someone gave me a couple years ago, which I have attached to this email.  If you haven't seen it before, it's really interesting.  It's advertising a boxing smoker for Friday night, March 25, 1938, featuring local teenaged boys.  

Many names on it are familiar, and some have tremendously interesting personal histories.  As young men, three of the first four boys in the left column would experience the worst of World War 2 and live to return to Gig Harbor.  Jack Jacobson spent time in a German prisoner of war camp.  Kenny Marvin spent all but the first three weeks of the war as a POW of the Japanese.   After the war he owned and operated several service stations in Gig Harbor.  Edgar Bunch, who ultimately retired from Spadoni Brothers as a bulldozer operator, was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and in the last year of the war would go ashore on Iwo Jima on the third day of that battle.

Buddy Conan, the referee, started Conan Fuel Service, now owned by Dan Root.  The last fighter on the card, Buddy Dewalt, a long-time area home builder, passed away at the age of 90 just last week. (April 9, 2015) He was 13 years old when the program was held.

I don't know which community hall the poster refers to.  It's easy to assume Gig Harbor, but I suppose it could've been in another hall in a nearby community.

In the old days "smoker" was another name for a fundraising event.  The top part of the poster seems to be missing, and that's what would've explained what organization was putting on the boxing smoker.

I did a little additional research on this event and discovered the following information:

  • The event was sponsored by the Crescent Valley Scouts
  • On March 11, 1938, their first advertisement stated there would be “10 Good Bouts”
  • In the news from Crescent Valley it stated “The Boy Scouts are planning to give a boxing smoker at the Community hall, Friday evening, March 25th.  The bouts will feature boys from the harbor.
  • The Peninsula Gateway on March 25, 1938 wrote the following:
    • Boxing News
    • All the boxers are awaiting the gong that will send them into the ring tonight at the Community hall.  Ten action laden bouts will headline the fistic card.
    • Billy Slonecker and Dickie Johnson will open hostilities in the flea weight division.  Kenny Marvin and Albert Modun will square off in another match which has all the earmarks of a slugfest.  Melvin Johnson and Charley Edwards will tangle in another bout which looks like a sizzler.  Jack Jackobson, the hardworking football player, will try his best to defeat Butch Hahn in the 180-pound class, Doug Stremme, a clever and game lightweight will meet Edgar Bunch in a bout which promises to be very fast.
    • Ben Alvastad, a boring-in aggressive fighter will meet a very good opponent when he tangles with Fairfield Pardman, the Purdy oysterman.
    • Allen McKenzie and Cell Mickelson will meet at 110 pounds.
    • These bouts will be backed up by five other very good bouts.
    • Bud Conan, the popular basketball player will referee all the bouts.
    • Bill Slonecker will announce and Bill Baldwin, Ralph Healy, and Charles Summers will judge the bouts.
    • Paul Alvestad and F. E. Johnson will be at the gate.
  • And the final article in the Crescent Valley news in the Peninsula Gateway remarked “The Scout Smoker held last Friday evening was a success financially, as well as giving everyone fine entertainment.  Our success was due in a large degree to the help and cooperation given to us by the harbor business men and the residents of our community.”
  • According to Cigar Aficionado in their article entitled “Tales of the Canvas by Kenneth Shouler, boxing historian Bert Sugar boxing smokers were “gatherings for old-timers mix(ing) fine food, nostalgic tales and cigar smoke as well as live fights.”  Sugar stated “I fought at the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) in Virginia.  I was known as the ‘Great White Hopeless’.  Other than that, I did not find where or when the term Boxing Smoker became known as a fundraiser.  We will have to take the original contributor of this blog’s word for it.  
© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary entry for May 7, 1884

Pretty fair, breeze Northerly.  Got her . . . aboard & in P.M. came home slowly but surely safely.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Peter Goldsmith (Petar Zlatarich)

We know so little about Petar Zlatarich who after arriving in the United States changed his name to Peter Goldsmith.  So, here is a little information we do know and hopefully some of you readers might be able to fill in a few more blanks.

We do know he died on April 12, 1914 and doing in research on genealogy they recommend if you know nothing, start from death and work backwards.  So here goes.  

Unfortunately on the US Census reports his age on the various reports changes.  Not unusual because in the mid-1800s several people didn’t know when they were born for various reasons.   It these reports vary, it doesn’t exactly mean that the information on is any more correct.  However, a search of Peter in their files reveal the following information:

  • 1878 Territorial Census
    • Peter age 45
    • Birthplace - Spain
    • Occupation - fisherman
    • Precinct Steilacoom
    • S. Goldsmith age 45 
  • 1880 Territorial Census
  • 1892 Territorial Census
    • Peter age 60
    • Son Peter Jr. age 10 - student
  • 1900 Census
    • He was born June 1832 in Habsburg Austrian Empire that part of Austria known as Dalmatia in or near Dubronik as were his parents, names unknown
    • His immigration date to the US - 1852 (New York)*
    • He was a widower with one son, Peter Goldsmith, Jr. age 17
  • 1910 Census
    • Widowed
  • WA Death Records
    • April 12, 1914
    • Peter Goldsmith, Tacoma Pauper Cemetery, Grave 303
    • Peter Goldsmith, Jr. May 9, 1914 Tacoma Obituary
    • Tacoma Pauper Cemetery, Grave 307

 I was unable to find naturalization papers showing his name change, only Index # 556103.  I am also curious as to how his immigration date and record would be in New York District.  All the information we have states that Peter arrived in US from Canada in the Harbor History Museum, as well as on the First Croatian Fishermen on Vancouver Island site and on the Gig Harbor Founding Families site .

Central Europe was involved in crises in the 1860s and Austria, Croatia and Serbia were also affected by natural calamities damaging agriculture creating vast unemployment throughout the country.  The other major way of life was fishing.  People fled seeking a more stable employment climate and the United States and Canada were a natural destination.

Petar met two other men fleeing Europe on a steamer bound for Victoria, British Columbia:  Samuel Jerisich, a Croatian and John Farragut (Farrague), a Portuguese.  It is likely that he first arrived in New York on an steamer, and then continued on that or another steamer around the horn to California, and on to Nanaimo, British Columbia.  It is unknown at which leg of the journey they met, but most like the last leg.  We only know from Dr. Zelimir B. Juricic’s book about Samuel’s trips.    In 1854, at age 21, Samuel Jerisich arrived in San Francisco for the second time; Samuel left  San Francisco for Canada when, in 1860s, gold was found in Canada on the Fraser River.  .

The three men had decided to become fishing partners by the time they arrived in Nanaimo, British Columbia.  The waters in and around Vancouver Island contained tremendous varieties of fish:  again, quoting Dr. Juricic, “halibut, smelt, haddock, and whiting, herring and herring spawn, shrimp and prawns, trout, rock and link cod, oysters, dog fish, seals and sea lions”.They settled on Vancouver Island and fished the waters around Vancouver, down into the San Juans and further down the Pacific Coast to the Olympic Peninsula, rowing the long flat-bottomed skiff with sixteen-foot oars.  The men fished by trolling with hook-and-line as practiced by the Native Americans and the First Tribes of Canada, or from the harbor shore drawing the nets into shore by hand.    They never fished with a motor-power boat.

On one of their fishing trips on the Puget Sound they were caught in a storm, seeking shelter, came into the Gig Harbor bay.  While here they found there was good fishing in the sound and that the San Juans were not that far away.  They liked the Native Americans they met and decided to settle here in 1867.  Samuel returned to Vancouver to fetch his wife, Annie and their children.

Samuel built his business selling the fish he caught in Steilacoom, Olympia, and the Hudson Bay Store at Fort Nisqually.  He built a dock in Gig Harbor, rendering plant to extract dogfish oil, a smokehouse and warehouse for smoked and salted fish.

John Farragut also remained in Gig Harbor.  Both he and Samuel are buried at the Artondale Cemetery.  

But Peter basically just disappeared for memory with few men or women remembering him.  I recall a few years ago of seeing something about him owning and selling a piece of property in Gig Harbor but unfortunately couldn’t find it for this piece.

If you are a Sherlock Holmes and discover more facts about Peter, his son, his life, please share with us by commenting on the blog.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary entry for Wednesday, April 30, 1884

Calm & quite pleasant.  Started out to collect Poll Tax & got as far as Rains in B. Cove

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Frederick Eugene Austin (1/10/1912-12/30/1994)

Today whenever the name of Austin is mentioned as one of our pioneers, the man that immediately comes up is Charles Osgood Austin and his connection to the lumber industry, and of course, Austin Estuary at the mouth of monkey Creek.

But there was another Austin family who arrived on the Gig Harbor peninsula around 1902 and settled in Gig Harbor and that was Frederick Eugene Austin (9/10/1861-11/27/1940).  He and his first wife, Mary Rose Sackett Austin (7/12/1866-10/7/1908) moved west because Mary Rose had relatives, George and Ida Sackett  who were living in Tacoma and the St. Peters living in Gig Harbor.  These two families had been writing home to Scio, New York enthusiastically about life in Washington.  He found some land about 10 1/2 miles south of the bay and bought out the interest of thief a man who had filed title but made no improvements.  Its about, as I understand the intersection of Stinson Avenue and SR16; SR 16 cutting the property in half.

I happened to run across two different articles about Fred in the Harbor History Museum Research Room and became curious.  I also found the name “Austin” on the Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society’s list of recommended street names.

The first article was a Peninsula Gateway piece by Andy James regarding a book signing at Mostly Books by Fred, the son, when he was 82 years old entitled “Bringing old days back’.  I don’t want to spoil the book review by Andy James, but it is very detailed and very good.

The story of the family is delightfully recounted in a charming memoir written by one of Frederick Eugene Austin’s sons entitled “Tales from the Woodshed”  published in 1992 by Red Apple Publishing and published by Gorham Printing in Rochester, WA.  The book reads as though you and Fred were sitting together and talking about the old days.

Fred spent his working life as a logger until age 68.  Then he, and with his sons assistance, he opened a Christmas tree farm.  Two of those sons are also named Frederick Eugene just to confuse you when researching the name.  So there are four Frederick Eugene Austins total in the articles, though there may be more now. His age though had caught up with him and even running the tree farm known as Artondale Sincere Tree Farm on a full-time basis became too much work after 10 years.  So his daughter, Mary Young Zawlocki, encouraged him to keep busy by writing down all his memories of the family, its life, and Gig Harbor as it evolved over his lifetime.

I discovered when trying to find copies of “Tales from the Woodshed” it is very difficult, and when you do they are expensive some copies up to $500.  Surprising I believe for a self-published book written by an unknown author.  However, No Dearth of Books has a copy.  One of the reasons the book is so difficult to find is that its initial run was only 100 copies published.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could come up with a way to have a few more copies published?

It was the second article was also in the Peninsula Gateway entitled “A Pioneer’s Plaza” that really grabbed my attention and confused me to no end.  The Pioneer Plaza referred to is the Kimball Plaza just off Pioneer Way.  

The property referred to was, before it became Kimball Plaza, Albert Simerson’s rye field  As the article when talking about the property says “Then it was a field of rye and Frederick Eugene (Dad) helped his son Albert Simerson harvest the grain with an immense grain cradle, according to Austin’s son, Fred Austin of Gig Harbor.  

Following the death of his first wife, Mary Rose Sackett Austin, in 1908 from cancer Fred Austin’s father returned to New York with his daughter Rhoda went back to New York.  He sold his 2 lots  located near Stinson Avenue and Wollochet where an Assembly of God Church was located for one thousand dollars in gold and once back in New York  and winter over, he headed for the farming country.  While attending a town picnic he met and fell in love with Marie Huxel Austin.  By fall, they married and pulled up stakes tp return to the west although Marie would much rather stay in New York where her family, friends, and life had been up to that time.  Marie, her two sons, John (+/- 1903) and Albert (1894) and Frederick (Dad) came to Gig Harbor, but when they arrived it was no longer the boom time it had been when he left in early 1909.  Europe was gearing up for war, and it affected the United States as well with the panic of 1910-11 following the enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Once back, Dad worked as a common laborer for others, and bartering and trading for food.  But he also located 20 acres of ‘wild land’ that he was able to buy no money down and $10 a month.  This property was “about 2 miles south of the first place.  Address: 6001 Wollochet Drive NW.  I was born on the north half of the property and guess what?  The south end, now in 1989, sports a new and much larger Assembly of God Church.  Just a little oddity I thought interesting, that the only two pieces of property Dad owned in the West would have Assembly of God churches on them.  Neither church was built during Dad’s time.”  (Tales from the Woodshed)

So let’s jump from 1912 when Fred was born to 1924 when he was 12 and got his first job picking loganberries.  Then the following year he saved up enough to buy his first 5 foot saw and started cutting wood.  But 1930, Fred graduated in a class of 25; he was in the senior class play, a four-letter man in baseball and 2-letter in football.

Following graduation, in the midst of the Great Depression, work was hard to come by so Fred earned money through a variety of different jobs.  Things like picking hops in Eastern Washington, helping plant crops and apple trees as well as picking the apples, and working in an apiary on the Yakima Indian Reservation.  Oh yes, he even trapped skunks for money so he could get a marriage license.  

And, on May 28, 1934, he and Marie Bridget McDonough were married.  In the fall of 1935 the C.M.C. Timber Company started logging the last stand of old timber on the Gig Harbor Peninsula.  It covered 10,240 acres and Fred got a job with them falling (as he puts it in his book “not felling, HA!)

Fred’s last job was logging eighty acres of timber that he had gotten.  It took him 3 years, but when he finished he hung up his saw.

Fred’s book is 142 pages and divided into 5 parts with titles such as:  Merging Paths; Chat with Family; Happenings during My Section of Time; Bits & Pieces and And Now the Tales.  So, as you see, I’ve barely touched the surface.

Let’s end with Fred’s Senior Class Poem, which appeared in Perclawam (Gig Harbor Union High School Annual)

Oh, Union High School,
We’ll soon be leaving you,
For we have other places to go
And other things to do

Four years you have been our home,
Four happy years were they, 
But now the time has come for us
To leave you and be on our way.

We’ll be homesick each and every one
But we will forget that after awhile,
And we’ll think of our high school days
With many a happy smile.

We have all looked forward to the time
When we would bid you good-bye,
But now that the time is here
We leave you with a sigh.

As dear to our heart as other places grow,
I know we each and all
Will be wishing we could return to you
When school begins next fall.

Others will take our places
And our duties will perform,
Until they, like us, will be turned out
To face the withering storm.

Of all the things you gave us
The greatest were wisdom and happiness,
And now we have more to thank you for
Than we ever can express.

But even the best of friends must part
And the time for us is here,
But as we leave you, Old High School,
In every eye there shines a tear.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary entry for Wednesday, April 23, 1884

Tearful showery & wet.  Stayed in most of the time but got some more wood aboard the boat.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

All Fools Day aka April Fools Day

Is there anyone out there who has not played an April Fools joke on someone, or hasn’t had such a joke played on them?  The pranks, jokes and games associated with the day start at an early age and go on long after that.  But why write about that on a history blog?  Because, for lack of a better reason, the history of the day.  Why do we celebrate a day devoted to an international day of pranks?

What follows is what I have discovered via the internet, that wondrous bit of technology that brings forth answers on most anything you ask for, and within minutes (or should I say seconds?).  

Theory no. 1:  The Council of Trent in 1563 made the change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.  France made the change in 1564.  Once again, not everyone caught up with the times and continued to celebrate the wrong day for the start of the new year.  The gullible, those who had not yet received news of the date change, often had paper fish stuck on their backs.  These fish were called “poisson d’avail” or “April Fish” and symbolizes a young, easily caught fish and someone who is gullible.  In France, patisseries, chocolateries and bakeries make all sorts of fish shaped treats to enjoy on this day.  

Theory no. 2:  In 1582, Pope Gregory III (you know, the man the Gregorian calendar is named after) decided that new year should start on January 1st now March 31.  The change was published throughout the Church, but many people remained unaware of the change and continued to celebrate New Years Day on April 1st.  According to Ginger Smoak, a medieval historian at the University of Utah in a Huffington Post article, those people were made fun of and called fools.  Hence, April Fools.

Theory no. 3:  Not every country adopted the Gregorian calendar at the same time; for example England did not adopt in until 1752 but had already established the tradition of celebrating April Fools Day.  According to Wikipedia, in the United Kingdom and those countries whose traditions are derived from the UK, all joking ceases at midday.  Anyone playing April Fools jokes after 12:00 pm is the “April fool” themselves. 

Theory no. 4:  The Romans celebrated a festival named Hilaria on March 25 rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis (in Phrygian religion, vegetation god).  The Hindu calendar celebrates Holi  (king Prahad), and the Jewish calendar has Purim (the salvation of the Jews from the wicked Haman).
Theory No. 5:  Joseph Boskin, History Professor at Boston University, said the practice began during the reign of Constantine.  Supposedly a group of court jesters told Constantine they could do a better job running the empire.  Constantine, amused, allowed Krugel, a jester, to be king for a day.  Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and it became an annual event.  

Boskin’s explanation was picked up and printed in an Associated Press article in1983.  It was only later that Associated Press realized they had been made an April Fool themselves.  Boskin himself had made up the story as nothing more than an April Fools joke.

Theory no. 6:  April 1st is just a time when normally winter ends and spring begins and people feel the need for fun and lighthearted celebration, at least for one day.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Emmett Hunt's Diary entry for Wednesday, April 16, 1884

Cloudy and cool with S. breeze.  Steamed up and ran to Seattle for inspection in 4 hrs. & 45 min.  Get around with some business in PM and in we go to the "Alhambra" for diversion.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.