Thursday, May 28, 2015

Henry and Cordilla Frye

 Attached is a melodramatic chapter from early Gig Harbor.  Maybe you can find out more.  In the attached articles Mrs. Frye is variously referred to as Mary, Cordelia and Mary Cordelia, all being one and the same.  

In the 1900 census (the second attachment) she is called Cordilla.  Henry Frye may have died in Gig Harbor on 11-16-1908.  That's all I've got.  The Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society information agrees with Artondale Cemetery and shows his birth in Monroe County, Indiana.  Henry W. Fry, Veteran, is buried at the Artondale Cemetery.  Their records show that he was born January 13, 1825, died November 16, 1908.  It goes on to state:  Second stone is Vet stone:  CO. G, 31 Indiana Infantry ACAJ.  Henry W. Fry died November 16, 1908, age 83 years, 10 months, 3 days.  born about January 03, 1825.  Is this the same Henry Fry as shown on the 1900 Census?  It appears that it could be despite the difference in year of birth as 1825 or 1830.  More research must be done.

Unfortunately I was unable to discover any information on Cordilla Frye.  Although I must say that shows both the spelling of the surname as “Fry”, “Frye” and “Faye”.   I searched for her under Frye, and if only showed her on the 1900 Census as stated above.  I also searched under Cordilla Frye Lawrence and nothing came up.  Nor could I find her on Find-A-Grave site.  And, I could find nothing on C. V. Lawrence.   A mystery, definitely!  where oh where is Miss Marple.

1900 Census

Then, who was John Anderson, and why did Henry tried to kill him?  A very good question, but few answers.  But I did find out a little bit about him.

John Henry Anderson was born on February 3, 1856 in Illinois and died April 29, 1929.  His timeline shows he was married in 1880 to Ellen Jackson.  They had three children:  Maude, Josephine and Charles.  Charles, the youngest child was born in 1884, and Ellen dies in 1895.  Then in 1895, John marries Rebecca C. Higarn in Colorado, but shows no children from this union.  At this time the family has moved to Umatilla Oregon.  

In 1903, John marries Mattie O’D Frye.  Aha!  John is now 47 years old, but Mattie is only 21 and, Mattie is Henry’s only child!  So it appears that perhaps it was Mattie, not Henry's wife, that John was interested in.  So, perhaps Henry disliked John because twice Mattie’s age.  Or perhaps because he had already been married twice and had three children.  It is doubtful we’ll ever know the true reason unless we can uncover more newspaper articles from 1902 about legal case.

John and Mattie have six children.  John died on May 7, 1929 and is buried in the Spanaway Cemetery, Spanaway, Washington.   Mattie died June 19, 1962 in Puyallup, Washington.

SO, readers - can you help us solve this mystery?

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary entry for June 11, 1884

Quite cool till noon & in P.M. very warm.  Finished tearing up our old tank and got nicely commenced on the new -

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fire in Gig Harbor

I found an old newspaper article in the Gig Harbor Harbor History Museum Research Room regarding a midnight fire where the occupants both lost their lives.  The article is undated, newspaper name cut off and I was unable to find their obituaries.  

The couple, George Mitchell and Mary Elizabeth Nikolac, had been residents of Gig Harbor for several years.  Find-a-Grave records for them show:  George M. Nikolac (December 30, 1897-September 11, 1972) and Mary E. Nikolac (July 8, 1905 - September 11, 1972)

This is the article:

“Mr. and Mrs. George M. Nikolac of North Gig Harbor lost their lives in a fire at midnight Saturday when flames gutted their home.  They were found on the floor outside their bedroom where they apparently collapsed while attempting to escape.  

“A neighbor, Gary Bunch, discovered the fire, but at that time the house was full of flame and he was unable to get in.

“Firemen arrived a few minutes later and had the fire under control within 15 minutes.  They used air-packs to enter the heavy smoke and found the bodies.

“An officer from the state fire marshall’s office conducted an inspection of the house, and is of the opinion that the blaze was of electrical origin.

“Mr. Nikolac was born in Plina, Yugoslavia, and had lived in Gig Harbor for 45 years.  He had been a commercial fisherman for over 20 years until his retirement two years ago.  He was 74 years old.  Mr. Nikolac was a charter member of the Port Orchard Eagles, the Moose Lodge of Friday Harbor, Knights of Columbus and the St. Nicholas Catholic Church.

Mrs. Nikolac, 67, was born in Majestic, Colo., and had also lived in Gig Harbor for 45 years.  She was a member of the St. Nicholas Catholic Church, the Altar Society of St. Nicholas, the Legion of Mary and the Gig Harbor Eagles Auxiliary.

“They are survived by one son, Rudolph F., of Gig Harbor; four daughters, Mrs. Sydney (Evelyn P.) Rogers of Port Orchard, Mrs. Dwight (Leona) Anderson of Olalla, Mrs. Al (Frances M) Clark of Gig Harbor, and Mrs. Douglas (Mary L) Anderson of Oxnard, Calif., and 16 grandchildren.
Leona & Evelyn with unknown boys


Rudolph and Mary

“Besides their children, Mr. Nikolac is survived by a brother and sister in Yugoslavia.

Mrs. Nikolac is survived by five brothers, Julius Smirch of Olympia, Matt of Seattle, Tony and Rudolph of Gig Harbor, the Rev. John Smirch of Fullerton, Calif., a sister, Mrs. Antone (Katie) Karamatic of Gig Harbor.

“Requiem Mass for both Mr. and Mrs. Nikolac will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday in St. Nicholas Catholic Church under the direction of the Haven of Rest Mortuary.  Rosary was recited at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the St. Nicholas Catholic Church.  Family suggests memorials to the St. Nicholas Catholic Church Building Fund.

“Pallbearers for Mr. Nikolac will be Michael and Kenneth Rogers, Fred Nikolac, Larry and Gary Anderson and Kym Clark.  Pallbearers for Mrs. Nikolac will be Richard Karamatic, Julius, The Rev. John, Tony, Matt and Richard Smircich, with honorary pallbearers to be Dale Bullard, Milton Roby and Peter Vale.”

George Immigrated on September 12, 1907, on a ship “Graf Waldersee” which set forth from Hamburg, Germany.  George was naturalized by the Superior Court of Grays Harbor, Montesano County, WA on December 7, 1926 (8) [note: the date is shown as both 1926 and 1928 on]  and his certificate of citizenship was issued on March 11, 1938.  

More research needs to be conducted on this family, and i hope that this helps explains to all our readers why oral history biographies are so important.  

If you know of someone, or you yourself, are interested in leaving an oral history of your family, please contact your local historical society or history museum and arrange to have a family history record made.  It will help all future historians.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary entry for June 4, 1884

Cloudy calm and pleasant. Put up some more water sprouts and some little tinkering.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Judge Harry Richard (Dick) Thurston (10/10/1889-4/12/1970)

Judge H. R. Thurston on right
When you walk along the waterfront on Harborview Drive, you might notice the old buildings on the west side of the street.  Nestled between the Gillich-Richardson ‘Peninsula Hotel’ and the art gallery ,‘Gallery Row’, there is a two-story building which now houses a spice shop and upstairs a Psychic Boutique.  This building is the Thurston Building and once housed Pioneer Electric Co., Electrical Contractors.   Next door, Gallery Row’s building, was also built by Harry Richard Thurston, known as Dick specifically for Dr. Ryan’s dentistry practice containing a waiting room in the front, and behind the waiting room two dentist chairs and a laboratory.

Dick Thurston owned this business where not only did he work as an electrician but also as an appliance salesman and did repairs.  But he also conducted his legal business here:  he was appointed a justice of the peace in 1922 and continued to serve in that capacity until 1967.  He was appointed municipal judge for the newly incorporated town of Gig Harbor in 1946, and, as stated above was a Justice of the Peace since 1922.  Court Proceedings were also held in this building at 3104 Harborview Drive as were early Town council meetings, rent free.  In fact the property behind this building that we today refer to as the Bonneville property all belonged to Dick and Asta.  The lane from Judson Street down to the back of the Peninsula Hotel building has been known as Thurston Lane from the mid-1940s.
Standing Dick Gilbert, seated Hubert Secor, Mary Secor, Judge H. R. Thurston, Asta Thurston, Unknown

Swearing in of Mayor Hubert Secor, Seated Mary Beth Gilbert, Dick Gilbert, Mary Secor, Asta Thurston

Dick was born in Carver County, Minnesota in October, 1889.  Dick received his WWI draft notice at age 28 while living in Hamburg, Minnesota.  His draft card shows he was married June 5, 1917, no children and sole provider for his wife.  He also had a draft card for WWII at age 52.  However, when searching for information, I found that Dick had been married previously to Lillian Emelia Carlson Thurston, who died January 4, 1919 from the Spanish Flu pandemic and their infant girl Thurston had died at birth December 29, 1918 are buried at the Cromwell Cemetery.  

He moved to Tacoma where he lived for a short period of time before crossing the narrows and making his home in Gig Harbor in 1919.  At first, he earned his livelihood by selling and repairing portable light plants, installed lights on ferries and fishing boats as well as setting up switchboards needed to operate the systems.  Dick was also responsible for electrifying the west side of Gig Harbor where his office building was located by setting up a 32-volt generator and bringing light to the newly constructed Peninsula Hotel.

He met Asta and they were married on May 27, 1919;  Asia was living in Poulsbo at the time.  Dick’s obituary in Tacoma newspaper stated the couple had eloped to Gig Harbor.  (unfortunately the name and date were cut off the article).   

Like so many of our early residents, Dick spent countless hours devoted to the community helping it grow into the beginnings of what we, today, call the City of Gig Harbor.  Some of the things he accomplished include the following:  donating the property at 3105 Judson Street for the first city water well which served the city from 1949 until 1988; preparing the specifications for the installation of the water systems and personally inspecting every foot of pipe to confirm it was layed in accordance to those specifications.  He set up a topographical survey to coordinate all prior surveys of Gig Harbor.  Dr. Harold Ryan, Gig Harbor’s first mayor, has stated that Dick spent unknown hours accumulating information and visiting other small towns similar to Gig Harbor to see how they solved their problems, and all of this travel was at his personal expense. 
Asta Thurston and Grandson, David Wenning, First City Well

Dick was also a member of the South Side Improvement Club and had been a driving force behind the club’s donation of  the Hyleen* (sic) property consisting of 10-acres to the Town of Gig Harbor for the expressed purpose of a park.  *Shyleen - Grandview Forest Park including the water tank.

This is just a very short history of a man who served as an outstanding justice of the peace and judge.  Governor Arthur B. Langlie (1941-45 and 1949-57) had commissioned him to revise two chapters of the justice of the peace education and training standards, Code Book for the Justice of the Peace.

Note:  Thanks to Harry Richard (Dick) Thurston, Judge Thurston’s grandson for all his information for this blog.
© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary entry for May 28, 1884

Calm and pleasant.  Wended my way home slowly and did some barking and clearing out for my waterworks.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Harry William Frederick Tichacek (September 12, 1900-November 28, 1974)

Who is Harry Tichacek?  We run across his name occasionally but there is so little information about him in files at the Harbor History Museum.  We learned a little bit in the Harbor History Museum entitled “Drugstores in Early Gig Harbor” but it left gaps.

So I set out to see what additional facts I could find on Harry.   The most complete was his biography in “History of Pierce County” by W. P. Bonney, 1927, and on  So, for all of you out there that like mysteries, help me out and maybe we can correct any errors in the following.

W. P. Bonney’s biography reveals that Jacob E. Tichacek  emigrated to the US in 1889 from Bohemia.  Bohemia was part of the Holy Roman Empire and included at one time parts of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine until it was dissolved in 1806.  It’s capital was Prague.  In 1867 it like so many of those countries became part of the Austrian Empire until 1918.  So with all the conflict going on in Bohemia, it is easy to understand why Harry’s father left Europe.  Harry’s mother Anna Wilke Tichacek was born in Germany.  This much was confirmed on and Find-a-Grave.

Once in the US, the Tichaceks settled in Wisconsin and Jacob became a wheelwright in the sawmills there.  Harry was born on September 12, 1900 in Wisconsin and was baptized on November 18, 1900 in Sheridan, Wausau-Merrill CSA, Wisconsin.   The next year, 1901, he moved the family to Everett, Washington where he became superintendent of the Baker Lumber Company’s large mill.   Jacob lived there until his death June 6, 1931.  His wife, Anna, remarried Frank A. Lall, and they lived in Skagit County.

Harry received his education in the public schools in Everett, graduating in 1915.  Following graduation he enrolled in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Washington.  The Washington Legislature had passed a bill in 1893 requiring all Washington pharmacists to have their Ph.G. degree. and have at least 4 years experience before practicing on their own.  

After Harry finished his classes at the University of Washington, he moved to Leavenworth where he was working for E. G. Wheeler at the City Drug Store basically doing his apprenticeship.  It was there, on his 18th birthday he was drafted to serve in the First World War.  According to W. P. Bonney (History of Pierce County), Harry enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to the Hospital Corps where he served until his discharge in 1920.  On the internet, I discovered on the National Archives “On May 17, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson directed the secretary of the navy to ‘issue the necessary orders for service with the Army a force of Marines’.  The force eventually consisted of the Fifth and Sixth US Marines, who were attached to the Second Division.”  These men served in France.  Interestingly, I only found one significant US Naval operation in the Pacific — and it related to Guam, a US Territory.  The German SMS Cormoran was involved in an attempt to coal to run the engines.  There being little coal on Guam, the Captain Adalbert Zuckschwerdt was unable to leave and the crew and captain were interned on the island.  When war broke out on April 6, 1917, the USS Supply operated by the marines, ordered Captain Zuckschwerdt to surrender or they would sink the ship.  Nine Germans were killed when the marines opened fire with America’s first shots in WWI.  This was prior to Harry’s service in the military.

Now, for all you military buffs out there, I am hoping you can find something that collaborates w. P. Bonney’s record regarding Harry’s service in the Pacific as described in the next paragraph.  Perhaps the Naval Shipyard in Bremerton has historical archives and can help out.

Whereas W. P. Bonney (History of Pierce County) goes on to say “ During that time he was in Honolulu, Guam & the Philippines, and then went to Shanghai, China, from there to Vladivostok, Siberia, and to Yokahoma, Japan.  After leaving the Navy, he worked as a pharmacist in a drug store in Bremerton, Washington.”

In October 1925 Harry and Miss Esther Naslund were married in Olympia.  Miss Naslund has an interesting background as well.  She was born and raised in Seattle as well as having received her education there.  However during WWI, she was the only woman in the US who operated a large electric crane at the Bremerton US Naval Shipyard.

In “Drugstores in Early Gig Harbor” we learned that in March 1926, Harry bought Mr. A. E. Allen’s drugstore (Peninsula Gateway) located in the Sweeney Building in what is now referred to as the Finholm District.  It is also in this blog that we learn Harry served as a member of the Board of Directors for The First National Bank of Gig Harbor, which open in 1927.  Unfortunately, the bank was placed in receivership August 13, 1933.

Harry appears to have been quite successful as a businessman, which as stated in the Peninsula Gateway dated March 1926 when talking about a business trip to Seattle to purchase additional inventory stated “It is Mr. Tichacek’s intention to supply every need that this community may desire in his line of business and with this idea in view he is enlarging his stock every day, with a first class quality of goods.”  This is made more evident when on March 1926 the Peninsula Gateway published “The Gig Harbor Pharmacy has secured the Eastman Kodak agency for this district” … and it goes on to say “…those who have kodaks, which have been causing trouble to bring the same to him and he will repair and adjust them properly.

W. P. Bonney (History of Pierce County) tells us that Harry was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Leavenworth;Royal Arch Masons and the Knights Templar in Wenatchee; Nile Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S, Seattle; Far East Lodge No. 1, IOOF, Yokahoma; Bremerton Lodge No 192, K.P.; President of the First National Bank of Gig Harbor and President of the Chamber of Commerce.  Bonney goes on to say “He is active in all community affairs looking to the advancement of the public welfare, being specially interested in good roads and schools.  Personally he is cordial and friendly and has a host of warm friends.”

So it must have been quite a shock when people read in the Peninsula Gateway that Harry was being held for Federal Grand Jury investigation in connection with the Federal Prohibition raid in 1930.  The Peninsula Gateway tells us in June, 1930, “The Federal Grand Jury in session at Tacoma this week returned 46 indictments, most of which were liquor cases.  Harry Tichacek, proprietor of the Gig Harbor Pharmacy, was indicted on the charge of selling and possessing liquor unlawfully.”  Prohibition ended in 1933 on December 5th.  I was unable to discover how long his sentence was, but I did discovered that by 1935 he and Esther were living in Seattle.

By 1940, Harry and Esther had divorced, Harry continued to live in Seattle for a little while longer but  Esther moved to  Poulsbo.  Eventually, they both remarried others.  Harry married Mildred K. Farmer Knowles in 1956, and moved back to Leavenworth where his sister Anna lived with her husband.  Harry died on November 28, 1974 and is buried in Leavenworth.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary entry for May 21, 1884

Cloudy and cool some sun in P. M.  Haul out our steamers & scrape & paint one side of it then do a little barking.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.