The First Settlers

Oldens and Larsons – Pioneers (ca. 1930)

Ole Olden, Hannah Olden, John Larson
Ole Olden, Hannah Olden, John Larson

These three Ohop Valley pioneers are taking a well deserved break for a photo. Picture left to right is Ole Olden, his wife Hannah Olden, and her brother John Larson.

Ole and Hannah celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1930, along with Mr. and Mrs. Herman Anderson and Mrs. and Mrs. DeWitt, also Ohop Valley residents. These couple were married in 1880 — the same year the first electric street light was installed.

Photo courtesy of Linda Lewis.

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Camping in 1898

Camping in 1898
Camping in 1898

This group of campers was making eating breakfast after a rugged night in the woods in 1989. The boys seemed to have the wood supply in hand. Life seems pretty tough already then, it’s hard to imagine the appeal of camping.

Linda Lewis says, “The lady in the far back left is my grandmother Alena(or e) Olden Peterson, wife of Pete; the woman just right and in front of her is my great aunt Anna Peterson (never married) sister of Pete.”

Both Anna and Peter were children of Torger Peterson, one of the founders of Ohop Valley.

Image courtesy of Linda Lewis.

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Back side of photograph
Back side of photograph

Enjoying a Glass of Brew (1890s)

Boettchers and Lutkens share a beer.
Boettchers and Lutkens share a beer.

Here’s a great shot of some the area’s pioneers toasting with a glass of beer — along with an Italian who has his jug of wine.

Pat Van Eaton describes the folks: “The boy on the far left kneeling in front of man with beard is Ernest Boettcher,my grandfather. The man behind him is Carl Boettcher my great grandfather.

“The man in center with white beard is Henry Lutkens and the small girls in front are Wachmans.  All of these people are related. Taken near Elbe in the 1890’s.”

Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

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Horse Power

Men with horse teams
Men with horse teams

Driving down Mashell Ave., it’s hard to imagine the town site being cleared, houses and shops built and streets put in, all with horses and strong backs.

Here are some early Eatonville guys standing proudly by their horse teams — the original horse power.

Photo courtesy of Maxine Games.

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First Settler, Robert Fiander

Robert Fiander's Passport
Robert Fiander’s Passport

The following was taken from the History of Pierce County, Volume 3, published in 1927 by William Bonny.

Among the sterling old pioneers who contributed their full quota of clearing and developing this section of the state was one named Robert Fiander, a resident of this country since 1874.

Robert was born in Dorsetshire England, September 30, 1847, a son of Robert and Emma (Chaffey) Fiander. Both of whom died in their native land. (Robert Sr. was engaged in freighting.)

Robert Fiander received limited education in the public schools of his home neighborhood and then was employed in public work in England and Scotland until 1871 when he came to the United States.

For a short time he lived in New Jersey and Iowa and in 1872 came to Pierce County, Washington. Later he went to Thurston County for about two years lived with a brother Richard Fiander, who had come to Washington in 1851 with the Hudson Bay Company.

In 1874 Mr. Fiander filed a homestead claim on Section 14, township 16, range 3 at Swan Lake, Pierce County, being the first settler in that part of the county.

Robert Fiander 1908
Robert Fiander 1908

The land was covered with timber and brush and during the first years of his residence here, Mr. Fiander was compelled to pack in his provisions and supplies from a distance fourteen miles away. However, his larder was well supplied with meat, the county having an abundance of wild game and birds, as well as salmon.

There wer also dangerous wild animals, which made it necessary to be constantly on guard. Mr. Fiander had a number of thrilling and unpleasant experiences in those days. One of which was a hand to hand flight with a large cougar, which he did not conquer until after a long and severe struggle.

After entering his land, Mr. Fiander built a small log house and then began the task of clearing and draining the land, which entailed a vast amount of the hardest sort of work.

Catherine Dean, Robert Fiander's wife
Catherine Dean, Robert Fiander’s wife

Eventually, he created a good farm and ran stock cattle on it until 1912, also devoing considerable attention to raising draft horses until the advent of the automboile. He then turned his attention to dairy farming, keeping about 18 cows, and met with success, except for about three years when he leased the farm.

Catherine Dean Fiander, wife of Robert Fiander, with daughters Clara & Emma 1883
Catherine Dean Fiander, wife of Robert Fiander, with daughters Clara & Emma 1883

He resided there continually until 1922, when he sold the place and lived in Eastern Washington for a few years. The he made his home with a duaghter in Eatonville Washignton until his death.

Fiander House years later
Fiander House years later

Mr. Fiander was twice married, first in 1871 to Jennie, and Indian girl. She died in 1880 and in 1884 Mr. Fiander was married to Catherine Dean, a native of Pierce County and a daughter of Aubrey and Rosie Dean.

Photos courtesy of Pat Van Eaton and Debbie and Gary Saint.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

 

Kjelstad Farm

Kjelstad barn - early 1900s
Kjelstad barn - early 1900s — Olava standing in the doorway

In 1889 a Norwegian named Henry Kjelstad settled in Ohop Valley. He married another Norwegian, Olava and this is a picture of their farm years later.

The farm moved through the generations:
• Olava and Henry’s son Matt and he and his wife Velma lived at the farm,
• They were followed by Matt and Velma’s daugther Caroline and her husband Steve Burwash. Steve still lives at the homestead today and farms.

Photos courtesy of Steve Burwash.

Click on images to enlarge.

Kjestand family haying — Olava in the center
Kjelstad family haying — Olava is the white haired woman in the center

First Church is a Hotel

Groe Hotel — was located approximately where Center and Madison meet
Groe Hotel — was located approximately where Center and Madison meet

People started homesteading in Eatonville in the late 1800s, the first church wouldn’t be built for years. So where did people congregate on Sundays? The local hotel.

The first “public” religious services were held in 1892 at the Groe Hotel. [Owner Frank Groe was described as “a fat little man whose jokes and laugher lightened the wilderness,” making him in my opinion an ideal candidate to host church services.]

Services were later moved to the log schoolhouse. And when the Van Eaton Hall went up in 1895, services moved there. (Timber Town and Later)

This picture, courtesy of Pat Van Eaton, shows the Groe Hotel, along with Mrs. and Mrs. Frank Groe seated out front.

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Anna Peterson & Laura (King) Josselyn

Anna Peterson & Laura (King) Josselyn
Anna Peterson & Laura (King) Josselyn

Girlfriends haven’t changed much over the years. This is Anna Peterson (Torger Peterson’s daughter) and Laura King. They probably had quite a bit in common — they were both from pioneer families, both grew up in a remote area and both probably went to the same school with the same (albeit limited number of) young men to have a crushes on.

Here’s to the girlfriends through the decades!

Photo courtesy of Linda Lewis.

Click on image to enlarge.

 

Henry and Mathilda Hedborg

Henry and Matilda (Anderson) Hedberg
Mathilda (Anderson) Hedborg and Henry Hedborg

Axel Henry and Mathilda (Anderson) Hedborg were early homesteaders in Alder — you could say they blazed the trail. (They were members of the Pioneer Association of 1928. To be on this roster you had come to the area before 1903.)

In 1889, Henry bought 160 acres about 3 miles outside Alder. He had to clear the land to make space to build a log cabin.  His farm prospered and in 1923 he purchased another 160 acres and Hedborg’s farm was considered one best around.

They had 4 children — Curtis, Helen, Sadie and Ida. You may see Ida’s name come up again. She taught school in Eatonville for  a number of years.

Photo courtesy of Linda Lewis.

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Elbe School 1896

First half of the Eble school
First half of the Eble school

The Elbe Union paper reported the following regarding School District #74

For the month ending June 12, 1896
Enrolled – 9
Days taught – 20
Days absent – .5 day
Tardiness – 0
Percent in attendance  – 99.70%
Those neither absent nor tardy during the month were:
Lee Comstock
Georgia Comstock
Otto Selle
Clara Lutkens
Mary Lutkens
Amelia Selle
Fred Weiland
Cora Hill
Chas. Weiland
Janet Judson, teacher

Elbe School after it was enlarged.
Elbe School after it was enlarged.

Images courtesy of Pat Van Eaton, Gary and Debbie Saint, and information contained in The History of Tacoma area.

Click on images to enlarge.