Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry for November 19, 1884

Nice day for one covered with clouds.  Feeling very "cultus" so if nothing but help the "Judge" dress a pig in P.M.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wauna Social Club

Women have always throughout the ages been involved in volunteering to help others and to further education. It was common to help neighbors in times of need or emergencies, death, war, and depression when entire families banded together to provide aid. However it wasn't until the mid-nineteenth century that they had the time and means to make their volunteering activities part of their normal structure lives through formal movements. 
By 1890 a rapidly growing women's club movement spread across the nation. The movement was felt here in the Oregon-Washington territories as well. On April 24, 1890, the General Federation of Women's Clubs was was formed in New York by the 63 clubs attending a conference for this specific purpose. 
In Tacoma the Aloha Club and the Nesika Clubs invited all the women's clubs that they knew to join them in a convention to decide whether or not they too should form a state federation. 22 clubs attended the convention September 22-23, 1896. The vote was affirmative and on September 23, 1896, Mrs. Amy Stacy! President of the Aloha Club was installed as president of the new state federation. 
In 1907 Gig Harbor's Fortnightly Club was formed and joined the state federation. In 1916-17 They devoted themselves entirely to social welfare issues. According to Sandra Haarsager, Associate Professor of Communications, University of Idaho, their activities that year were "September it was child welfare issues, such as open air schools, the Children's Bureau, juvenile courts, parental schools and childhood songs. In October it was motion pictures, and in November legislation of interest to women and prison reform." 
13 women in Wauna formed the Industrial Women of Wauna in 1913. Those women were: Mrs. Mary Goldman, Mrs. Maud McDunnah Anderson, Mrs. Mary St. Dennis, Mrs. Nettie Chilvers, Mrs. Carrie Dennis, Mrs. Grace McKenzie, Mrs. Lucretia Mort Marvick, Mrs. Anne Hartquist Lindquist, Mrs. Hannah Ostrom, Miss Lolita Lamb (Murray), Mrs. Grace Connelly, and Mrs. Carrie Woodard.

Women at the Beach:  From left: Mrs. Lamb, Mrs. Lofgren, Mrs. Lindgren, Mrs. St. Dennis, Mrs. Knight, Mrs. Luters, Mrs. White, Mrs. Murray, unknown, unknown, Mrs. Harris, Mamie, Mrs. Blakesley, May Murray

On November 19, 1919, they decided to change the named to Wauna Social Club. Their mission statement stated "the object of this club shall be the social and civic betterment of our community, and as far as our influence may extend." Their motto "Cultivate your thoughts for they are you." 
A short history of the club states "The members were very conscious of trying to be orderly and business-like at the meetings and had a club copy of Robert's Rules of Order and a parliamentarian who sometimes conducted drills in parliamentary procedure. 
In 1919, remember the First World War was just ending, they decided to provide hot lunches for the students. They furnished pots, pans, knives, dish towels and of course, the food itself. 
In the 1920-30s school was a passionate cause. Their activities centered around all school activities whether the activity was a school play, field trip, athletic events, and so forth. The club furnished many items the schools themselves could not afford or had need of. Some of the items listed in their paper work include pencil sharpener, library books, piano and piano tuning, curtains and rings for the stage, lights and water. 
When there was enough money in the treasury to pay for the projects the club was involved in, they held card parties, ice cream socials, and when the project involved Union High School (presently Harbor Ridge Middle School), they held an annual Smorgasbord involving the entire greater Gig Harbor area. 
But let's not forget about the other community activities the club was involved with; there was the involvement with the traffic situation on State Route 302,  the work they did in order to accomplish the sidewalk on the Purdy Bridge, their support of the men in the military during both World Wars.  Their was also their donations to the Pierce County Welfare Department for the children, and providing various items including books to Remann Juvenile Detention Center.  Starting in 1962 they they became involved in the cleanup of Burley Lagoon, and in the rezoning of Burley Lagoon.  
In 1968-69 they wrote to Mr. Yamashita  “Because we are concerned about the esthetic environment of the area in which we live we would like you to remove the unsightly bundles of rusty wire dumped at the water’s edge in the Burley Lagoon, adjacent to the spit road State Highway #.  We also object to the dumping of oyster shells on the shores of Burley Lagoon.
“Also:  We are unaware that you have applied for, and received permission from the Army Corp of Engineers to build a dock in Burley Lagoon.    No public notice of such a request has been made, to our knowledge.  We would again protest such construction, as we have in the past.  
“We ask that you give thoughtful consideration to these concerns about our community.”
Basically the club wanted Burley Lagoon waters to be “joint use” rather than to allow Mr. Yamashita’s oyster growing operations to be expanded to the point only he would be able to use those waters.
And what about the educational involvement of the members for the members like the year they studied the history of Washington State. These women may have lived in the countryside, but they were not uneducated women.
Old Time Party at Mrs. Amos' house

If you were to ask any of the surviving members what they believe was the greatest value of the Wauna Social Club, what do you think would be their answer? According to an article in the Purdy Area News by Mike Shultz October. 19, 1988, Norma Martin said "Knowing your neighbors, caring." Betty Boyd said "It's friendship and staying together." And Mar Hoey replied "If I don't see Ruby at Wauna Club, I say, 'well, we better check up on her. If someone was needy, they (the club members) were there." 

Unfortunately, the club has been forced to disband and the membership has dwindled to three members. Look what we have lost as a community. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry for November 12, 1884

Wooded and watered delivered freight and did some tinkering on the boat.  Weather fair at least.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry for November 2, 1884

Nice day but find ourselves pretty sleepy.  So to kill a few ducks in A.M. and P.M. get almost a coat of paint on our cabin.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Henry Sehmel (1857-1938)

Every time we walk up to the Harbor History Museum, we see the name Sehmel.  Many, but not all visitors to the museum, know some member of the Sehmel family.  

Don Sehmel, (8/14/25-9/6/2013), a grandson, married Mary Ellen Olson (10/14/25-4/25/2015) in 1946 following his discharge from the US Marine Corps at the end of WWII.  Don was involved in many activities during his lifetime:  raising cattle, hunting, fishing, building and running a drugstore (where Brix 25 is currently located) on Pioneer Way and then after closing the drugstore, selling real estate.  

Mary Ellen had worked for the Red Cross during WWII, and following her marriage to Don, besides raising their children was involved in the Peninsula Historical Society, bowling, gardening, bottle collecting, and stained glass work.

This 1975 Biography written by both Don Sehmel and Mary Ellen Olson Sehmel and is entitled Henry Sehmel 

W. L. C. (William Louis Christian) Henry Sehmel was born in Germany in 1857.  Mr. Sehmel came to America in 1881, at the age of 24 years.  He stayed a few months in New York, working at his trade of blacksmith, then went to Chicago and later to Arizona where he was foreman in the blacksmith shop of a large mining company.  The wanderlust still in his veins he left for California and remained there until 1883 when the Puget Sound fever struck him and he took passage on a steamer plying between San Francisco and Puget Sound.  Finding employment at the Fox Island brick works he remained until 1884 when he located a homestead at Rosedale, where he lived out his life.

He married Dora Gummert of Celle, Germany, in 1887.  They were introduced by mail by the young wife of his brother Carl, Johanna Sehmel, who also came to homestead in Rosedale.  Dora was a bookkeeper in her homeland and wrote Henry he could recognize her at the end of her long journey in Tacoma because she would have his last letter in her hand.  They were a very handsome couple and lived to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 1937.  (November 15th)

Of this marriage four children were born.  Karl and Adolph, who made their homes in Rosedale, Ernest who drowned in the well at 2 years and Elsa (Mrs. Birger Nilsen - son Lester Adolf “Les”) of Tacoma and Rosedale.
Far Right:  Elsa, Karl, and Adolph
Besides farming his homestead and engaging in the logging industry, Mr. Sehmel worked on the roads in the area and was supervisor for 15 years.  He was very active in all civic affairs and a prominent pioneer in the development of Rosedale and the surrounding country.

Mrs. Sehmel was also active in the community and social life.  She served as midwife among the neighbors for many years, and boarded the teachers of Booster school, among them Verna Zimmerman of Puyallup, who later married her son Adolph.  For many years she made a trip to Tacoma each Saturday by horse and buggy to sell her eggs and farm produce and visit old friends.

Henry Sehmel passed away in 1938 at the age of 81 of a heart attack and Dora followed in 1949 of old age at 89.  Karl never married and took care of his mother until his death in 1948, also of a heart attack.  In his diary he tells of her canning pears, stacking wood and other chores (cutting in woods) in her 85th year.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Sehmel are buried in Rosedale Cemetery.

Bill, Anni, Emil, Marie, Albert, Carl (CHarles), Johanna

Carl & Johanna with children

Attached to the piece written by Don and Mary Ellen Sehmel were the notices of death for both Verna Zimmerman Sehmel and Henry Sehmel.  They read as follows:

August 23, 1938
Henry (William Louis Christian Henry) Sehmel, 81, a prominent pioneer of Rosedale died suddenly at his home Tuesday morning.  Born in Germany, Mr. Sehmel came to America in 1881, stopping a few months in New York, he worked at his trade of blacksmith then went to Chicago and later to Arizona where he was foreman in the blacksmith shop of a large mining co.  The wanderlust still in his veins he left for California and remained there until 1883 when the Puget Sound fever struck him and he took passage on a steamer plying between San Francisco and Puget Sound.  Finding employment at the Fox Island brick works, he remained until 1884 when he located a homestead at Rosedale, where he has since made his home.  He was road supervisor for 15 years and active in all civic affairs having a part in the development of Rosedale and the surrounding country.  His wife, Dora survives him, they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last No. 15.  He is also survived by two sons, Carl and Adolph of Rosedale, one daughter Mrs. Elsa Nilson of Tacoma and six grandchildren.  Burial in Rosedale Cemetery.


Sept. 20, 1937

Mrs. Verna Sehmel, 42, died at a Puyallup hospital Monday afternoon following a short illness and funeral services will be at Perkins, with burial in Woodbine Cemetery, Puyallup.  Mrs. Sehmel came to Puyallup in 1909 from South Dakota and moved to Rosedale in 1920.  She was a member of the First Christian Church of Puyallup and past matron of Waconda Chapter No. 217, O.E.S. of Gig Harbor.  Surviving are her widower, Adolph, two daughters, Doris Marie and Elva Mae, one sone Donald Adolph, a brother Ray Zimmerman, and three sisters, Mrs. Harriet Botsford, Mrs. Elva Yazzilino and Mrs. Ruby Goelzer, all of Puyallup.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry for October 29, 1884

A trifle showery tho a good day.  Put a shelter over my bark and did some tinkering on the boat and that is all.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.