Thursday, November 17, 2016

John Eric Carlson (1861-1951)

John Eric Carlson (1861-1951)

Every week several of you read Emmett Hunt’s diary entries from 1888 and will continue until 1892.  Then perhaps we’ll start on Volume II of his entires.  Today, we are going to read a few selections from the diary of John E. Carlson.

The diaries of the early settlers to America are  quite interesting, and many books and novels have been written for those diary entires.  Which brings me to the question:  do you write in a diary or journal?  What do you entries reveal about you?  Are they about your daily life, or are the about your thoughts, your difficulties or your joys?  Many of us probably kept diaries growing up, but didn’t continue doing so as we grew older.  Most of those who continue that I know are also writers of short stories, essays and novels.  

The important thing about diaries is in my mind what they reveal to us about the times and people are things not available elsewhere.  They help to continue the picture about the time and place past.  It would be interesting for your thoughts about the written records of history from various individuals in all walks of life.

But now, let’s learn about John Carlson from his own words as taken from an article written in The Peninsula Gateway on February 22, 1995 by Kevin Parks:

Swede’s diary entries read like series of historical snapshots

The following are excerpts from a translation of a diary kept by Gig Harbor pioneer John Eric Carlson, who was born in Walinge, Sweden, on Aug. 16, 1861.

July 6, 1882, in Gothenburg:  “I had been thinking some of going to America but I could not get passage until early in July.

One June 21 I quit working, having made up my mind to go to America.  On June 27 I went home to Walinge.  On July 5, I said good-bye to my family.  From home I went to Stigtomta Station, then to Flee and from there to Gothernberg.”

July 7, 1882, aboard the S. S. Romeo, which would take him to Hull, England:  “At 7 o’clock (6 o’clock English time) we received our first food on board.  It consisted of black coffee and something to push it down with.”

By 8:30 they had started to dance, the Finns staying on one side of the ship and the Swedes on the other.  At 10:15 p.m. while the dance was in full swing I went to bed and slept soundly until 8 a.m. July 8.  Breakfast was the same as we had the night before except that the coffee was cold.”

July 12, 1882, aboard the S.S. City of Brussels, which took him from Liverpool, England, to the United States:  “There was plenty of food, all we could eat, and a lot was shown overboard besides.  At 12 o’clock we anchored outside Queenstown, Ireland and picked up about 50 Irishmen also emigrants.  This ship is a big improvement over the Romeo.  There is plenty of room and the food is good and people are beginning to get acquainted.”

July 15, 1882:  “Our crowd consists of Swedes, Englishmen and Irishmen.  The Irishmen sing loudly all the time until midnight, mixed with loud talk and much argument.”

July 16, 1882:  “The Irishmen are a wild and ragged lot, and I have little patience with them.”

July 22, 1882, “New York, N.Y., USA.”:  The trip over has been pleasant enough but I have heard of many that were bad.  The worst we had to contend with was that bunch of Irishmen, but that is all in the past now.”  

“Tacoma is a small city of about 1,000 inhabitants, but it is growing rapidly.”

July 28, 1882, aboard the Union Pacific Railroad:  “The hotel (in Council Bluffs, Iowa) was fine.  We had night lunch, lodging and breakfast for 75 cents.  The weather was fine but not as warm as New York.  We set our clocks again at this place and the time is now seven and a half different from Swedish time.”

Aug. 9, 1882, in “Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.”:  The country is heavy timbered, but half of it is too big for any use.”

Aug. 10, 1882, in “New Tacoma, Washington Territory”:  “At 6 a.m. we took a riverboat from Portland called S. G. Reed.  This boat is propelled by a paddle wheel at the stern.  I have never seen anything like it in Sweden.”

Aug. 13, 1882, “Old Tacoma, Wash. Territory”:  “Yesterday was my first day of work in America, carrying planks in the Old Town Mill.  It is hard work but good pay:  $30 per month without board and lodging.  I will do fine here and this is a beautiful place.  There are many Swedes and Danes here and now and then a Norwegian.  Also there are a good many Chinese and a great many Indians.  The food is good and Anderson and I have a room with a Norwegian family named Kildal.  We pay only one and a half dollars per month, which is cheap.”

At this point, the diary switches from almost daily entries to weekly roundups written each Sunday.

Sept. 3, 1882:  “Today Andren and I went along the beach looking for seashells, then we went for a walk in the woods where we saw much that was new to us and, to our way of thinking, remarkable.”

Oct. 29, 1882:  “The Danes I can understand well enough, and the Norwegians speak almost Swedish.  I am beginning to understand English a little, but it doesn’t go fast.  Nevertheless, one learns a word at a time, so it probably will go with time.”

March 30, 1884:  “Many of the people talk about going to Idaho and digging for gold.  But I must stay here because I have hardly any money and I don’t want to go anyway.”

Aug. 31, 1884:  “I am working on a street called Tacoma Avenue.  It is 10 hours per day and not very heavy either.  We are 26 men in the gang and 23 are Scandinavians.  Even the boss is Swedish.”

Dec. 20, 1885:  “A new Scandinavian church has been consecrated here, so now we have four Scandinavian churches here.  A Swedish society is also formed, bearing the name Wallhalla.  It has 30 to 40 members, but I don’t belong to it.”

Finally, the weekly entries also petered out and he began keeping reviews of entire years in a few sentences.

1903:  “Worked same place as last year.  Wages $2.25.  Worked 322 days in the year.  Bought 40 acres near Gig Harbor from Alexander Ferguson for $480.  Sold the remaining 40 acres of homestead (in a town called, peculiarly , Muck) to John Pearson and Gust Bergman for $350.”

1906:  “Quit the flouring mill March 15.  Went out on the Gig Harbor ranch to build a house and do other work; stayed till July 14/“  

1907:  “Moved the family to the ranch March 16.  Quit Young and Johnson Sept. 1 and went to work on the ranch.  Worked for wages 243 days during the year.  Sold strawberries, cherries, apples and timber for $127.60.”

That is the end of the transcribed diary entries published in the Peninsula Gateway article.  It was accompanied by an article describing his life on his ranch in Gig Harbor.  

When searching I discovered a naturalization document filed in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Washington, Western Division shows John Carlson was born in Ljuder Fjugesja Sweden in the year 1859 attached to the family tree and that he arrived in Minnesota.  The naturalization paper is signed March 7, 1894.  This does not agree with his diary where he states he arrived in New York City in 1882.  As a result, I believe the naturalization document belongs to another John Carlson.

I have been unable to find John Eric (Karlsson) Carlson and Lydia D. Johnson Carlson’s marriage license; nor have I been able to discover how they met.  Perhaps they were friends in Sweden, and then after John arrived in Washington Territory he sent for her.  I don’t know how or the reasoning behind it being stated on the Virginia Beardsley Family Tree.

Also, according to the 1900 US Census it shows that Grace L. Carlson, the first child of John and Lydia was born in Washington (and Grace’s age was shown as 9 years old), not in Minnesota as shown on the Virginia Beardsley Family Tree.  

So let’s leave this mystery and return to the Peninsula Gateway article written by Kevin Parks “Barn stands as legacy to Swede” of February 22, 1995.  The principal contributors to his article appear to be Dr. Ben Carlson and Phillip R. Carlson, born in 1911.  

“Flowing through the veins of the boy, not yet 2, (Dr. Ben Carlson’s son), are the blood of the Smiriciches, a family of fishermen; the Carlson’s, the first of whom worked in the Tacoma lumber mills shortly after arriving in this country from his native Sweden; and the Beardsley, longtime ranchers in the Arletta area.”

“The old red barn the Swedish immigrant built shortly after the turn of the century on what he called his “Gig Harbor ranch” has been sold and will be torn down …”  The building was located in the same area (5115 38th Avenue NW) as the Midway School building which you can visit when you come to the Harbor History Museum.  The Carlson property was “off 38th Avenue NW between Hunt Street and 56th Street NW across from such modern neighborhoods as Brittany Places Plumtree and Harbor Park Estates. …”

“…The land under the barn represented the last of a 40 acre parcel bought in 1903 for $480, (see his diary entry for that year) great-grandson Ben Carlson said.”

“John Carlson, whose last name was originally spelled Karlsson, was born in Walinge, Sweden. …”

“… John Carlson built a house on his “Gig Harbor ranch” in 1906, using lumber from th mills that was too short to be sold, according to one of his sons, Phillip R. Carlson, who was born on the ranch in 1911. …”  (Phillip was a retired physicist living in Pasadena)

“… Phillip Carlson recalls a time when people could tell without looking who was driving by in a car.  We knew the sound of each automobile.   We knew all our neighbors.  For 10 miles around we knew everybody who lived on every place.”

“Phillip Carlson graduated from high school when he was 16.  There were all of 100 kids in the whole school, which drew students from as far away as Longbranch, he said.  Despite the small number of students, the school fielded a football team, Carlson said.  He even played on it.  As far as I remember we never won a game, he said.”

“As for the old red barn that’s about to pass into history, Phillip Carlson remembered that whenever there was a bumper crop of hay the children all got to do somersaults on it to pack it down so it would fit in the loft.”

“John Carlson served for a time as chairman of the school board, son Phillip Carlson said.  One of the chairman’s jobs was the hiring of new teachers, and John Carlson did this in a unique way, his son said.  He’d look at their handwriting and say, ‘They look like they could be a pretty good teacher,’  Phillip Carlson said.”

“Virginia Smiricich, one of John Carlson’s granddaughters and Dr. Ben Carlson’s mother, grew up in Yakima but spent summers on the Gig Harbor ranch.  She remembers the old red barn with fondness.  ‘I remember the hayloft, playing in the hay up there in the summer, she said.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Henry Eugene Allen and Juanita Fay Allen

Groceries to suds:  “The Tides” overflows with history by Barbara Felver, Gateway Staff
Wednesday, June 8, 1988 - Page 9A

Editors note:  The following is the first of a two-part series on the history behind the building now recognized as simply “The Tides.”  Here we follow the story up the late 1960s when one of the business’ most colorful and well-known owners came on the scene.  The second part of the series next week will pick up the story from there.

Our Harbor History Museum blog is only reproducing the first part because we wish to place emphasis on Henry Allen, the father of Richard B. Allen and grandfather of Carolyn Allen and Kristine Allen.  Although Henry did not live in Gig Harbor for a lengthy period of time he did make a substantial contribution to our community.  

Just after the turn of the century, Axel Uddenberg built his second grocery store to set up his 16 year-old son Bert in business.  The building quickly became a hub of community activity.

The Uddenbergs could not know that nearly 80 years later their building would house something of a latter-day landmark in Gig Harbor.

The walls they built now contain the Tides Tavern, a gathering place whose name springs to mind for many people at the mere mention of Gig Harbor.

This week Tides patrons will celebrate the tavern’s 15th year under its current ownership by Peter Stanley.  They will gather to lift glasses in a room where, more than seven decades ago, groceries were lifted into wheelbarrows for delivery around town.

It seemed a good opportunity to look back not just 15 years, but to take a peek at how the little building has grown up with the town.

Gladys Para of the Peninsula Historical Society, and owner Stanley, helped collect pieces of the building’s long history.

Thank you, Teddy R.
The earliest recorded transaction on the property took place in September, 1904, when Samuel Jerisich received a certificate of homestead from the federal government for 166.5 acres.  The certificate bore the name of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Jerisich’s widow, Anna, sold a portion of the homestead to Axel and Angeline Uddenberg in 1911.

Axel already had a thriving grocery business at the head of the harbor, near where Neville’s Shorline restaurant stands.  He built a second store at the newly purchased site, and put his young son Bert in charge.  The son-and-pop grocers ran adjacent competing advertisements in the news paper each week.

The business occupied two buildings:  one towards the waterfront housing a hay and feed store, and the West Side Grocery in the area now occupied by the main indoor portion of the tavern.  In the present deck area was a boat shed.

One of the three docks around the harbor, the public People’s Dock, ran alongside the property to the south.  For many years the country-run ferry stopped there.  Records show one of the property’s owners awarding the country an easement for public passage to the ferry landing, n the mid-20s.  The dock provided Bert Uddenberg with a steady stream of customers and ready transit for goods and supplies. 

Bert and his wife, Ebba, were married in 1917.  The couple’s children, Shirley Knapp, Lola Kooley and Bert Jr., who now reside in Gig Harbor, have early childhood memories of their father delivering groceries by wheelbarrow and truck around town.

Kooley also remembered the day a Flivver, heading toward the dock, lost its brakes.  Its two passengers yelled “Hold ‘er!  Hold ‘er!” but could not prevent it from sending a farm fresh load of loganberries in every direction.

World War I broke out, and Bert went to war.  In 1919 his father sold the store to Austin and Harriet Richardson.  According to county records, the Richardsons kept the land until 1942.  The businesses on it changed hands a couple times.

The first tavern
With the end of Prohibition, George and Sophie Magnuson took over and open the Ferry Tavern in the grocery building.  Sophie ran the tavern, a favorite watering hole for locals and visitors by water.

Clinton and Margie Haury, a Seattle couple, bought the business from Sophie and the land from the Richardsons in 1942.

Clint Haury had started the first commercial herring business in the Puget Sound, and recently had  discovered Gig Harbor to be an excellent source of supply.  Margie Huary, now 83, recalled picking up the next day’ supply at the close of business each day, from the Huary’s’  dock inSeattle.

Daily operation of the store and tavern were entrusted for a while to family members.  With the death of Clinton’s father, the most recent manager, he needed someone to manage the business.

Henry Allen was working at The Bon in Seattle.  In June of ’43 he visited the area for his friend Clint.  While here he cast in a couple lines, and brought up a couple salmon.  The next morning he caught another.  But it was Allen who was hooked.

“I decided I wanted to stay,” said spry Allen, who is 83 now.  “I bought into the business.”

A month to the day from his visit, Allen and his wife, Juanita, bought a half-share in the operation which now included Haury’s Boathouse and the Ferry Tavern.  The total cost of the property and businesses, shared by both families, was $2,500 to $3,000, he recalled.

Juanita ran the tavern; Henry managed the Gig Harbor end of the herring business, plus moorages.  Herring sold for 25 cents a dozen.  The Allen lived in an apartment located about where the women’s restroom is now.

The way they were
Allen thought back to the Gig Harbor of the early ’40s.

“in the time I was here, nothing changed,” he said.  “Nobody moved out; nobody moved in.  You could drive here to Arletta and maybe see a shack here and there… There was no law.  No town marshall.”

Spirits had to be imbibed inside.

“We never made any money in the tavern,” he said.  “We sold beer for 10 cents a glass, and a bottle for about 20 cents.  Wine was about 20 cents for a six-ounce glass.”

Their biggest day — during Gig Harbor’s centennial celebration —- brought in less than $500.

After they had been here about a year, the Allen hired “Maddie” Hadkinson, a woman who lived across the harbor, to cook up a little sustenance.  Allen built a kitchen.  Other cooks followed Maddie.

The Huarys and Allen shared the operation for five years, although after four years Juanita Allen quit the tavern business she disliked.  She returned to Seattle.

“We had guys come here and sit in the bar all day,” he explained.  It was an unsavory atmosphere for his pretty young wife, who was quite an attraction there.  In ’47 the Allen sold their interest to the Haurys.

“I finally sold it back to him because I had bought in cheap and he was a very honest businessman,” Allen noted.  “I had a good time here; I would have stayed here …”

Allen retained other business dealings with Haury, both in Gig Harbor and Seattle.  They shared the ownership of land near the spit, and in ’46 jointly purchased 1,200 feet of Seattle waterfront from Todd Shipyard— for $15,000 down.

Haury kept the tavern and herring business here until 1956, when he sold to Earl and Irma Robinson.  Over the next decade, the tavern changed hands several times and was the subject to several legal disputes.

Then in 1969, a man who had been brought in to entertain the customers with his songs put $8,000 down on the business.

He called himself Three Fingered Jack. 

I’m hoping to gather a far more detailed history of Henry and Juanita Allen and their family.  As soon as it is available I shall naturally put another blog about the Allen on site.  But, I hope you enjoyed the Peninsula Gateway article written in 1988.

But it jar people’s memories,  I have also include the obituaries of Juanita Fay and Henry Eugene Allen because Henry’s also filled in many gaps about his life.

Juanita F. Allen

Services were held on June 27 (1983) for Bothell resident Juanita F. Allen.  She was 75 years old when she died on June 23.

The homemaker was born in Marionville, Pa.

She is survived by Henry E. Allen of Bothell; sons, Robert G. Allen of Seattle and Richard B. Allen of Gig Harbor; sister, Gerald G. Reynolds of Everett; nephew, Jack Reynolds of Gig Harbor; granddaughters Carolyn Allen and Kristine Frisbie, both of Gig Harbor; and two great granddaughters.

Services were held at the Acacia Funeral Home in Bothell, with inurnment following in the Acacia Mausoleum.

Acacia Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Henry Eugene Allen
12/25/1904 - 8/16/2007

Henry was born on Christmas Day in Besamae, Texas.  He was the son of a railroad engineer.

The family migrated west for employment opportunities.  while he attended Queen Anne High School at 15, Henry worked at Piper & Taft Sporting Goods assembling bicycles alongside Eddie Bauer, a friend and frequent hunting and fishing partner.  This marked the beginning of a long, successful career of merchandising sports equipment.  For a brief time in the 40s, Henry and his family moved to Gig Harbor and owned and operated the Ferry Tavern, later to be renamed the Tides Tavern.  Henry returned to Seattle to be the regional buyer and also the manager of the sporting goods department at the flagship downtown Seattle Frederick & Nelson Department Store in 1950.  Upon retirement in 1964, he moved with his wife Juanita to Okanogan County, where they owned and operated Spectacle Falls Resort until his second retirement in 1976.

Hunting and fishing were his passions.  As recently stated by Henry. “Life isn’t worth living if you can’t hunt and fish.”  Henry made his last fishing trip at the age of 101.  Henry was recently recognized at the Pogie Club, an outdoorsman organization in Seattle, at its 75th anniversary celebration, as the longest-living charter member.  Henry continued to live independently until just recently.

Henry is survived by his son Dick (Elsie), his granddaughters Kristine Allen and Carolyn Dupille, and his four great-children Kate Burnham, Molly Frisbie, Rodney Dupille, and Mallory Dupille.  He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Juanita, his son Bob, and his brother Bert.

When others asked Henry his secret to longevity, he would respond. “I only worry about the things I can do something about.”  Henry was a positive man with a love of life.  He filled his life with his family and friends.

The family would like to thank Dr. Paul Schneider and the staff of Cottesmore for their wonderful care and compassion.

At Henry’s request, no services were held.

Ref:  The Peninsula Gateway
© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.