T.C. Van Eaton

Request for Expenses to T. C. Van Eaton (1925)

L. L. Benbow to T. C. Van Eaton (1925)
L. L. Benbow to T. C. Van Eaton (1925)

I enjoy photos of days gone by, but it’s things like this — a request for payment of expenses on New Washington Hotel stationery from L. L. Barrbow to T. C. Van Eaton — that make the images come alive.

The note reads,

Dear Friend:

As per plan, I am sending a statement of expenses incurred by me in three traveling trips, traveling alone.

On six separate days, when traveling with men from Kapowsin, they paid all expsenses.

If a check is sent at once, I will have it for my Olympia trip next Monday.

As ever,

L.L. Barrbow

New Washington Hotel
New Washington Hotel

Just a little note on the New Washington Hotel — it still stands.

“James Moore constructed the elegant 14-story New Washington Hotel (now the Josephinum, 1902 Second Avenue). When it was completed in 1908 it was the city’s premier hotel with 250 rooms and an elegant marble lobby and dining room.

Its guests have included Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson and Warren G. Harding. Much later, Elvis Presley stayed here when he was filming It Happened at the World’s Fair. The exterior has extensive terra cotta, with an unusual worm-like design. The building has been used for low-income housing since 1963 and was completely renovated in 1991. The former dining room now accommodates a Catholic church.” (Per www.viaducthistory.com)

Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton and VintageSeattle.org.

Click on images to enlarge.

Murder in the Streets of Eatonville

Mashell Ave ca 1900. Outside the store on the far left is where the shooting took place.
Mashell Ave ca 1900. Outside the store on the far left is where the shooting took place.

It reads like a scene out of Deadwood. On September 3, 1901, the Tacoma Daily Ledger reported that Charles F. Franklin, a peaceable and inoffensive farmer, had been gunned downed by Eatonville blacksmith Alexander Vance.

Vance was known as a bully and the only man in the community who carried firearms. Besides being a blacksmith, he had recently been commissioned as a special deputy sheriff, making him a bully with a badge and for months, Vance had been on the warpath.

On September 2, Vance had closed his shop and was parading the street with two large, holstered pistols and a dirk knife. Two hours before gunning down Franklin witnesses heard him say someone would die by his hand that day.

S. H. Potter, a Tacoma mail carrier, visiting his family in Eatonville gives this eyewitness account. “Charles H. Williams and myself were sitting on the porch of Van Eaton’s grocery store about 2 o’clock, when Vance went by, going toward the hotel. He said “Hello boys” in a pleasant manner, and we returned the greeting.  He came out five or 10 minutes later and came onto the porch of the grocery.

Vance's mugshot and prison information
Vance's mugshot and prison information

“In the meantime, Franklin, who has come to town for his mail, had sent his boy to Vance’s house to see if he could get a horse shod. The boy returned with the message that Vance was sick. Shortly after Vance came upon the porch, Franklin arrived and said, “Hello, Vance. I thought you were sick. I wanted to have a horse shod.”

Vance cursed, drew his guns from his holster and put them on the table, then came at Franklin saying, “The man who says I am sick is a liar.”  Franklin pushed him back but Vance came back and punched Franklin in the face. Franklin pushed him away again and this time Vance picked up his guns.

“Franklin was unarmed. Vance fired two shots from the revolver in his right hand, one of which went close to my feet,” says Potter. “The [44-caliber] in his left hand he held against Franklin’s right side and discharged it. The old man threw his arms around Vance the two men fell off the porch together, Franklin underneath.”

Eatonville's Livery stable on Mashell, when the town was still all horses.
Eatonville's Livery stable on Mashell, when the town was still all horses.

Both Potter and Williams ran to pull off Vance who was already trying to turn around and shoot Potter and Williams. “I threw myself upon [Vance] just as he was endeavoring to pull the trigger and wrenched the gun from his left hand,” says Potter.  Williams did the same on the other side.

T.C. Van Eaton came from across the street and helped subdue Vance. He was eventually tied, and taken to the post office where he kicked the window out.

Potter adds, “A crowd had gathered and the excitement was intense. Several threats to lynch him were made. It required all the efforts of Mr. Van Eaton and myself to keep the people from laying violent hands upon him.”

There was no lynching and Vance was later convicted of murder in the first degree. He served 15 years before being paroled, and went on to live out his life in Eastern Washington without incident.

The decedents of the Williams, Van Eatons and the Franklins are still part of the community.

Thank you historian Loraine Graeber and Ed “Mooch” Smith — the great great grandson of Franklin — for supplying the information. Photos courtesy of Pat Van Eaton and Loraine Graeber.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

 

 

Gunnar Halvarsen and other Eatonville War Vets

Gunnar Halvarson
Gunnar Halvarson

On September 12, 1912, Eatonville threw a “Welcome Home” parade for the service men who had returned. “Thirty-three of them fell into line at the upper end of Mashell Avenue at the command of J. H. Cosper, formerly First Lieutenant in the 7th Infantry, and with the Starts and Stripes in the lead, paraded to Groe Street and thence to Red Men’s Hall.

A welcome home address was given by T. C. Van Eaton after an introduction by Mayor Bridge. The response was given by R. A. Canty, formerly of the infantry regiment stationed at Camp Lewis.

Some of the veterans who paraded were: P. Asmussen, H. Asmussen, Ralph Benston, Alfrew Brewer, Henry Christensen, Will Canty, Einer M. Carlson, Francis Canty, T. Carroll, Ed Christensen, Cassidy, Robert Else, Harry Elmlund, George Fenton, Jas. Franklin, Fred Fredericksen, Dewey Fredricksen, Richard C. Gallear, G. Halverson, F. Jetland, Will Jacobson, Henry James. J. Jensen, Edward Kittleman, Grant Johnson, Giovanni Lazzarette, Wellington Marsh, George Moen, F. L. Metcalf, Anton Mensik, Earl Marrow, Harry Nensen, Jacob Nightengale, Ward Nettleton, George H. Nelson, Jesse Nagley, Jay Osborne, J. M. Pulford, Jesse Peterson, Earl Pravitz, Al Radigan, Riley, Rusch, Otto Roseburg, Carl S. Risvold, Arthur Snow, Stanley Scurlock Elmer Thomas, G. Turner, Frank Van Eaton, George Wilson, Earl Young.

(Per History of Southeastern Pierce County.)

Images courtesy of Debbie and Gary Saint.

Click on image to enlarge.

Van Eaton Hall (1912)

Van Eaton Hall receipt (1912)
Van Eaton Hall receipt (1912)

This receipt signed by T. C. Van Eaton on October 16, 1912 allows the I.O.O.F. Lodge No. 268 lease the Van Eaton Hall every Monday for a year. The cost? $50.00.

The room for rent was on top of the Van Eaton store. In this photo you can see the stairs that lead up to the room and T.C. Van Eaton himself standing at the foot of the stairs.

Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on image to enlarge.

Van Eaton General Store
Van Eaton General Store

Robert and Catherine Dean Fiander

Our guest blogger today, Bob Walter, gives us some background of pioneers Robert and Catherine Dean Fiander.

Robert Fiander and his horses
Robert Fiander and his draft horses

The area’s first pioneer homesteader survived a long, hand-to-hand fight with a cougar, and lived to tell about it.

Robert Fiander was born in Dorset County, England, Sept. 30, 1847, one of 12 children.

Fiander filed his claim near Swan Lake in 1874, several miles west of what later became Eatonville, the very first white settler in this area. He built a small log cabin and survived by hunting and fishing, while clearing and draining his land for farming. His encounter with the cougar was presumably during those early years. He raised cattle, and draft horses, and then became a dairy farmer. He lived there for the better part of 48 years.

Robert married twice. His first wife Jennie, an Indian girl, had a son. Jennie died nine years later. Robert later married Catherine Dean. They had eight daughters.

Fiander is said to have introduced T.C. Van Eaton to Indian Henry.

After Van Eaton arrived in the area in 1889, he persuaded a group of men from neighboring homesteads to help build a road from Fiander’s place to the Van Eaton claim. Certainly Fiander’s involvement, being established and having draft horses, was critical.

Catherine Fiander is on the far right holding the baby
Catherine Fiander is on the far right holding the baby in front of Swan Lake School

Fiander was a county road supervisor for a number of years, a perfect role for a man with draft horses. He helped another settler, Herman Anderson, lower his wagon straight down the side of Ohop Valley to his homestead claim by use of a rope, a stump for a hitch, and his oxen team.

His daughter Susie (Scoggins) was five when she rode in the wagon with her father to Eatonville. On Ohop Hill his horse, Daisy, was so startled Robert almost lost control of her. The source of her fright? A boy careening by on his bicycle.

He served on the Swan Lake School Board for many years.

The Fianders opened their home on many occasions to travelers, and Catherine Fiander was known for her skill at treating and mending the sick, especially with the use of poultices. She comforted the dying as well. She had a huge, plentiful garden and shared her bounty with anyone in need.

At age 71, five years after Catherine’s death, Robert Fiander got a passport and traveled to England to visit his sisters, whom he presumably hadn’t seen in 48 years.

He died in Eatonville in 1927, age 79.

Christensen General Store (early 1900s)

Today you know it as a parking lot next to Kirk’s Pharmacy, but for decades it was the place people came to shop — first as T.C.’s General store, it changed hands a few times and was later Christensen’s General Store, then lastly the Red and White.

This picture is when it was Christenson’s General Store, owned by Nels Christensen. Lots of detail in the photo — plank floor, wood stove, canned goods.

If anyone can identify the two gentlemen are, please speak up.

Photo courtesy of the Christenson family.

Click on image to enlarge.

Hazel and Helen Williams

Hazel Williams early 1900s
Hazel Williams early 1900s

This stunning woman is Hazel Williams, daughter of Nate Williams. Nate was a rough and tumble man who came with T.C. Van Eaton (his brother-in-law) in 1889 to homestead in the new town of Eatonville.

Hazel was one of six children, Tom, Charlie, Leon and Clyde and Carrie. She and Carrie both died when they were quite young. The baby in Hazel’s arms is  Helen Williams.

Photos courtesy of  the Williams family.

Hazel and Helen Williams
Hazel and Helen Williams

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Receive for Fire Alarm Bell

T. C. Van Eaton, Ingersoll receipt (1911)
T. C. Van Eaton, Ingersoll receipt (1911)

This 1911 receipt for $3.00 to T. C. Van Eaton from the town Treasurer, G. B. Ingersoll, was for money towards the Eatonville fire alarm bell. The bell cost $31.50 and was used to warn townspeople for decades.

“In 1912, the auto stage replaced the horse drawn state lines, although the Eatovnille fire fighters continued to use a horse cart propelled by man-power for almost 20 more years.” (History of Southeastern Pierce County.)

Eatonville Firehouse 1942
Eatonville Firehouse 1942

Image courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on images to enlarge.