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History of Seattle from the earliest settlement to the present time (Volume 3) online

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one of the directors of the Yakima Commercial Club. When the valley had largely become
settled and improved Alton S. Dam in 1903 removed with his family to Seattle. The
Dam family has blazed a trail from the Atlantic to the Pacific from the time when in
i860 they left Abbot, Maine, the extreme northeastern state on the Atlantic, to the time
when they reached Washington, the extreme northwestern state on the Pacific.

It was while the family were residents of Frederick, South Dakota, that the three sons,
Oscar Windom, Everett Stephen and Milton Emory were born. The natal day of the
first mentioned was February 8, 1883, of the second September 9, 1885, and of the third
December 11, 1886. The eldest son entered the University of Washington following his
graduation from the North Yakima high school in 1902 and received his degree in 1906.
He afterward became connected with the United States customs service and is now col-
lector of the Port of Sumas on the Canadian border. He is a member of the Kappa Sigma

The three sons were brought by their parents to the northwest and were here reared.
Tlie father, Alton S. Dam. became attracted by the wonderful opportunities for the develop-
ment of the Priest Rapids highlands on the Columbia river and the enormous hydro-
electric power at Priest Rapids, which is at the head of navigation on the Columbia, but
while actively engaged in furthering this development he passed away, his death occurring
very suddenly on the i;th of July. 1911. He had arrived when the fertile Yakima valley
was covered with sagebrusli and when stock raising and the production of hops were
the chief industries. In connection with his work for the improvement of the valley the
Seattle Times of July 23. 191 1, said: "Irrigation loses a great exponent in the passing of
Alton S. Dam, whose death occurred recently at North Yakima while on a short business
trip. Mr. Dam came to the state of Washington in 1893 with Richard Olney, Jr., nephew
of the former secretary of state under Grover Cleveland, and settled in the Yakima valley.
In those days stock raising and hops were the chief industries of the now famous valley.
Irrigation was at this time in its infancy and just beginning to be recognized as the
only possible manner of converting the wild sagebrush desert lands into productive soil.

"Mr. Dam was one of the organizers and for a number of years afterward secretary
and treasurer of the Yakima Valley Canal Company, that constructed the Condon ditch,
which waters the noted Nob Hill lands. The water was taken out of the Naches river,
twelve miles above North Yakima, and in order to cross the big Cowiche Canyon it was
necessary to construct a syphon made of California redwood. Mr. Dam has the honor
of clearing and planting to orchard the first tract on Nob Hill. This was a model orchard
and was sold and is now owned by Granville Lauther, the expert horticulturist of Yakima

"About this time the government was beginning to recognize and investigate the possi-
bilities of irrigation, its attention having been called by the wonderful transformation of
deserts into farms and the enormous increase of production under irrigation. Mr. Dam
furnished the department of agriculture at Washington with much valuable data from his
own practical experience in the Yakima valley which was used later by the government in
reports showing the progress of irrigation.

"When the federal government took up irrigation the department sent its engineers
to the Yakima valley to investigate the feasibility of the Tieton project. It was during
this time that Mr. Dam was on the government board of the Yakima Commercial Club
and much of the success of this big project, which was taken up by the government and
recently completed at a cost of more than three million dollars, can be attributed to the
earnest work on his behalf.

"Lately Mr. Dam's entire time and attention have been devoted to the development
of the Priest Rapids district in the Columbia River valley, in Grant county, Wasliington.
It is at Priest Rapids, that the large electrical interests recently appealed to the United
States congress for the right to build the largest hydro-electric plant in the world. This
plant will furnish power to pump water onto the large body of land adjacent to Priest
Rapids, which is known as the Strahorn project and with which Mr. Dam has been so
closely allied."

Everett S. and Milton E. Dam began their education in the public schools of St.
Paul, Minnesota, and continued their studies in the public schools of Nortli Yakima, Wash-


iiigton, while later they received business college training in Seattle. They became asso-
ciated with their father in promoting the irrigation projects of the Yakima valley and
following their father's death carried on the work of this gigantic undertaking and upon
the passage of the "general dam act," permitting the damming of the Columbia river at
Priest Rapids, by the sixty-fourth congress in the session of 1915-16, the harnessing of
this tremendous electrical energy was at once undertaken. This will mean the reclama-
tion of the wonderful area lying adjacent, known as the Priest Rapids highlands, also the
electrification of one of the transcontinental railways and the building of immense
nitrate factories. When the bill was up in congress, a delegation from Washington attended
the session, making determined efforts to secure its passage. When the bill was up
for discussion Senator Jones addressed the senate in a speech that indicated clearly the
conditions existing and the benefits that would be derived from acts consequent upon the
passage of the law. He said in part : "The Columbia is a navigable river, and PriesJ
Rapids, four hundred miles from the Pacific ocean, lies in the heart of this naturally
favored region and presents a barrier to upriver navigation. The completion within the
present year of the Celilo locks, two hundred miles farther down river, will bring 'to the
foot of these rapids a deep, navigable channel from the Pacific ocean. With Priest Rapids
surmounted by locks and a dam, the navigable channel would penetrate one himdred
miles farther into the state, or to within two hundred and fifty miles of the Canadian
border. This surmounting of Priest Rapids would cost the United States treasury an
enormous sum, but under the terms of this bill the government expense of that accomplish-
ment would be normal, while the benefits to navigation would be vast. * * * We, of
Washington, want to bring to Priest Rapids the electric furnaces for the smelting of ores
which are making over the metal industries of the world, but in which industrial improve-
ments we are lagging far behind our world competitors. We want to electrify our railroads
and therefore cheapen the cost of their operation and obviate what is now our greatest
and most needless waste of our exhaustible coal resources."

Dam Brothers are now preparing to prosecute most important projects in the Priest
Rapids highlands and their efforts will result in untold benefit to the district. They are
men of marked business enterprise, of keen discernment and indefatigable energy and it is
characteristic of them that they carry forward to successful completion whatever they

Milton E. Dam was appointed a delegate from the state of Washington, by Governor
Ernest Lister, to the fifth session of the National Conservation Congress, which meeting
Mr. Dam attended at Washington, D. C, in November, 1913.

Everett S. Dam was married May 12, 1912, to Miss Norma Alice Rhodes, of Seattle,
daughter of Mrs. Emma Millmore Rhodes. He belongs to Seattle Lodge, No. 92, B. P.
O. E. The history of the Dam Brothers is a progressive one of constantly widening scope,
for their efforts and activities are bringing them more and more largely to the front in the
upbuilding of this great empire of the northwest.


Elmer E. Todd, a prominent member of the Seattle bar, practicing in partnership with
the Hon. George Donworth, was born in Dixon, Illinois, May 7, 1873, his parents being
James H. and Charlotte T. Todd. The father was a native of New York and devoted his
life to merchandising until death called him. The mother has also passed away. The
paternal ancestors came from Wales and the family was represented in the colonial army
in the Revolutionary war.

Elmer E. Todd acquired his preliminary education in the public schools of his native
city, passing through consecutive grades to the high school. He afterwards attended the
University of Chicago and won the Bachelor of Arts degree upon graduation with the
class of i8g6. He studied law at Dixon, Illinois, and began the practice of his profession
in Seattle in 1899. Since that time his progress has been continuous and he now occupies
a foremost position among the lawj'ers of the northwest. On the 1st of November, 1907,


he was made United States attorney for the western district of Washington and continued
to fill that office until the 1st of May, 1912. He now concentrates his energy upon the
private practice of law, in which he is associated with the Hon. George Donworth, this
constituting one of the strong law firms of the city. Mr. Todd is also an officer and
director in a number of Seattle corporations.

On the Qth of March, 1904, at Dixon, Illinois, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Todd
and Miss Relura P. Hunt, a daughter of Charles C. and Lucy W. Hunt. They have become
parents of three children, Charles Hunt, Thomas and Lucy. Mr. Todd is well known in
club circles of the city, holding membership with the Rainier, Seattle Golf and Seattle
Athletic Clubs, wherein his personal popularity is equal to his professional prominence.


As president of the Beacon Coal Mines Company Ansel L. Knouse is closely identitied
with the development of the rich coal deposits of this state and has built up a business of
large and gratifying proportion. He was born in Sterling, Rice county, Kansas, in February,
1879, a son of David and Minnie Knouse. He attended the public and high schools of his
native town until he reached the age of sixteen years and then, feeling it incumbent upon
him to start out in the business world and provide for his own support, he went to
Wichita, Kansas, where he secured a clerkship in a grocery store. Still later he was
employed in a candy factory, but in 1899 made his way to the northwest with Seattle as
his destination. Here he became a salesman in the employ of the Great American Tea
Company, with which he was connected for three years. He afterward entered the printing
Inisii^ess, but later sold his interests therein. He then established a plumbing business,
which he conducted until 190.^, when he sold out and went to Alaska, working in the mines
near Fairbanks until 1906, when he returned to Seattle and entered the automobile business,
handling second-hand cars and also conducting a car hire service. He continued in that
business for seven years, when in 1913 he sold out and became an active factor in the
management of the Beacon Coal Mines Company, in which he had previously become
financially interested.

On the present property of this company coal was discovered by David Weir, a miner
of long experience, about 1900. Associated with Mr. Knouse he attempted to secure leases
on the property, but was unable to make satisfactory arrangements with the property
owners. He therefore concealed his discovery and went his way. Early in 1914 the project
was again taken up by Mr. Weir and Mr. Knouse, who finally succeeded in securing
satisfactory leases of the property desired and at once incorporated a company for the
purpose of opening up and developing the mines. The Beacon Coal Mines Company was
incorporated April 4, 1914, with a conservative capital of one million dollars, divided into
a million shares at a par value of one dollar each. They hold leases on one thousand acres
of land. The leases on six hundred acres of this property are for a term of twcntj^-fivc
years and on four hundred acres the lease is to run until the underlying coal is exhausted.
On this they pay a royalty of from twelve and one-half to twenty-five cents per ton.
During 1914 extensive prospecting was done. Experimental tunnels were made and drilling
to establish the size and location of the coal veins and determine the quality of the coal.
This work proved that on the property were at least three excellent veins, one a giant
vein seventeen and one-half feet in thickness, another of six feet and also a four-foot vein.
One hundred acres of the property alone, after being thoroughly prospected, showed the
existence of two million five hundred thousand tons of coal above sea level. Actual opera-
tions for the production and marketing of coal in commercial quantities were begun in
January, 191.=;, since which time a tunnel 590 feet in length has been built, with only a
short distance more to go to cross the first measure or si.x-foot vein, and about two hundred
and forty feet more of ttmnel will open up the four-foot vein and the big seventeen and
one-half foot vein. Approximately ten thousand dollars has already been spent in de-
veloping this property. The value of the proven veins at the mine bunkers is about three
dollars and a quarter per ton and competent engineers estimate this coal can lie mined for


from sixty-five cents to one dollar per ton, leaving a net profit in operations of at least
five million five hundred thousand dollars on the proven property of one hundred acres.
The analysis shows the surface coal of the Beacon Coal Mines Company to be the fourth
in quality of these Washington coals, and the product from a little greater depth will
doubtless equal, if not surpass, the best coal produced in the state. Moreover, the company
has unparalleled transportation facilities. The property has a fine frontage on Lake Wash-
ington, where by building a dock coal can be loaded on ocean-going ships on the com-
pletion of the canal now being built to connect this lake with Puget Sound. Further water
frontage on the Duwamish river, now being opened to transportation, furnishes more cheap
water transportation. In addition to this, there are within four hundred yards of the
property the main lines of four great railroad systems : the Oregon-Washington Railroad
& Navigation, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, the Northern Pacific and the Great
Northern. Deliveries to industries and residences in Seattle can also be made from the
mine bunkers by auto trucks direct, thus saving additional handling, storage, etc. More-
over, part of the property lies actually within the city limits of Seattle. That the Beacon
Coal Mines will have ample and cheap transportation is a foregone conclusion.

In Seattle Mr. Knouse was united in Marriage to Miss Lillian Arnold, by whom he
has two children, Dorothy and Marjorie, both public school students. In his political views
Mr. Knouse is a republican, but is not an active party worker nor does he ever seek nor
desire office. He has always preferred to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs
and his efforts in that direction have been crowned with growing success, while the outlook
for the future is most bright.


Arthur H. Hutchinson, attorney at law of Seattle, was born July 29, 1876, in Boston,
Massachusetts, a son of William H. and Lydia A. (Perkins) Hutchinson. The father was
a native of Maine, while the mother's birth occurred in Vermont. Removing to Boston,
Mr. Hutchinson there engaged in merchandising for about twenty-five years, conducting
a growing and profitable business, at the end of which time he retired. He was a repre-
sentative of one of the old families, founded by ancestors who came over in the Mayflower,
and his wife belonged to one of the earliest families that settled in Vermont. To them
were born four children, three sons and a daughter, all of whom are yet living.

The youngest of tlie family is Arthur H. Hutchinson, whose early education was
obtained in the public and high schools of Boston. He came to Seattle with his parents
in 1890 and here pursued a course in the University of Washington, from which he was
graduated in 1897 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He then returned to the east for
university work at Yale and is numbered among its alumni of 1899. That institution also
conferred upon him the Bachelor of Arts degree and in 1901 conferred upon him the
honorary degree of Master of Arts. He next entered Harvard, in which he pursued a
law course, and since that time he has been practicing in Seattle.

j\Ir. Hutchinson is a member of the Masonic fraternity and in politics is a liberal
republican. In fact, he is at all times a broad-minded man, interested in the vital questions
and issues of the day and keeping in touch with the trend of modern thought and progress.


Melvin S. Meengs, chief clerk of the street and sewer department of the city of Seattle,
was born in Holland, Michigan, on the 28th of November, 1878, a son of Henry and Annie
M. (Van Regennvorter) Meengs. The father came from Amsterdam, Holland, and the
mother from Goederede. Mr. Meengs was a merchant in the town of Holland, Michigan,
where he conducted business from 1847 until 1897, or for a half century. He then sold
out and retired to private life. He has been quite prominent in the community, serving
for a number of vears as city treasurer.


Melvin S. Meengs is the youngest in a family of fourteen children. His early educa-
tion was obtained in the public schools of his native city, in which he passed through
consecutive grades to the high school, and later he attended Hope College in Holland,
Michigan, for two years. In 1897 he put aside his textbooks and engaged in clerking in
the postoffice of his home town, spending two years in that way. Previous to this time he
had pursued a commercial course in the Holland Business College. After leaving the
postoffice he was employed by the E. S. Bowman Company of Jackson, Michigan, manu-
facturers of wearing apparel, with whom he obtained an office, position, and advancement
in time made him manager of the office, and in this connection he continued for two years.
He afterward traveled for the company for one }'ear and in 1908 he came to Seattle. He
was so pleased with the climate and the conditions here that he resolved to locate in the
city and in 1909 he took up general auditing work. In May, 1912, he became clerk in the
street department of the city service and on the ist of January, 1914, was appointed chief
clerk of the street department, which position he has filled most acceptably to the present
time, capably discharging the varied and onerous duties of the office with promptness and
thoroughness, and a complete reorganization has been effected under his supervision.

Mr. Meengs is a member of the Masonic fraternity and in politics he follows an
independent course, supporting the man whom he deems best qualified for office and working
for the public good rather than for party advancement. He largely spends his vacation
periods in travel and he is mucli interested in studying the conditions of the country at
large. He feels that he is permanently located in Seattle, for he is greatly pleased with
the climate here, the city's advantages and its opportunities, and Seattle is glad to number
him among her residents, for he has proven himself one of the worthy (lublic officials.


David I. Burkhart, formerly a successful dentist and now listed as one of the repre-
sentative real estate and insurance men of Seattle, was born in Marshall county, Iowa,
December 26, 1871. He is descended in the paternal line from German ancestors, his
grandmother being a descendant of General Mercer, while in tlie maternal line he comes
of Scotch lineage. His father, John M. Burkhart. a native of Indiana, removed to the
Hawkeye state in 1865, becoming one of its early settlers and successful agriculturists. He
took quite an active interest in the political, civic and religious life of his community.
During the Civil war he joined an Indiana regiment, but never saw active service. His
political allegiance was given to the republican party and his religious faith was evidenced
in his membership in the Christian church. He died in Fayetteville, .\rkansas, in April,
1904, at the age of seventy-three years. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary
Sntphin, was also a native of Indiana and died at Liscomb, Iowa, in 1900, when si.xty-eight
j-ears of age.

David I. Burkhart, who was the seventh in a family of nine children, pursued his early
education in the public and high schools of Liscomb, Iowa, and afterward attended the
Oskaloosa (la.) College. His professional training was received in tlic Xorthwestern
Dental College, from which he was graduated in 1896, winning the D. D. S. degree. He
followed his profession for ten years, beginning practice in Seattle, wliere he maintained
his office until 1906, when ill health forced him to abandon indoor work and he turned to
the real estate and insurance field, in which he has since operated successfully, gaining a
good clientage in that connection. He is now president of the Seahurst Land Company,
Incorporated. His early life was spent upon a farm with the usual experiences of the
farm lad, and his first position was that of a commercial traveler, representing the Burk-
hart Dental Supply Company of Tacoma, Washington, which was his only experience in
the employ of others, and since that time he has conducted business independently. His
success is attributable entirely to his own efforts, for he made his way through the uni-
versity unaided, meeting the expenses of his course from his earnings. He is a man of
strong determination and unfaltering purpose, carrying forward to successful completion


whatever he undertakes. He never allows obstacles or difficulties to bar his path if they
can be overcome by industry and persistency.

On the 4th of December, 1897, in Seattle, Mr. Burkhart was united in marriage to Miss
Algie McDonald, a native of California and a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. McDonald.
To them have been born two children: Robert C, whose natal day was October 5, 1902;
and Marjorie V., whose birth occurred May 1.3, 1904. Both were born in Seattle.

Mr. Burkhart and his wife are connected with the Christian Scientists. He has mem-
bership in the Seattle Real Estate Association and his interest in community affairs is
indicated in his m^embership in the Commercial Club and Municipal League. He earnestly
studies municipal problems and questions relative to the welfare of his country and his
influence is alwa3'S given on the side of advancement and improvement.


Dr. James William Thomas, owning one of the best medical libraries of the state
and possessing ever a most studious nature, is regarded today as one of the best informed
lihysicians of Seattle. He has ever met his professional duties with a sense of conscien-
tious obligation, fully realizing the responsibilities that devolve upon him, and because of
the effectiveness of his work his practice has steadily grown until it has now reached most
gratifying proportions. Dr. Thomas has always lived in the west and possesses the spirit
of enterprise which has characterized the development and upbuilding of this section of
the country.

He was born at Sublimity, Marion county, Oregon, March 27, 1868. His father,
Charles Wheeler Thomas, was a native of Virginia, descended from one of the old
families of that state, his great-grandfather having removed to Virginia from Pennsyl-
vania. His ancestors emigrated to America from Holland during colonial days. Charles
W. Thomas wedded Mary Doosing and in 1854 he and his bride started on their honey-
moon, their wedding journey consisting of a trip from Virginia to Missouri, where they
located in Gentry county. There Mr. Thomas purchased government land and began
farming, residing there for eleven years. In 1865 he sold his possessions in that state and
with his wife and family started in a wagon drawn by o.xen across the plains to the Pacific
coast, the journey being fraught with the usual trials and tribulations of the pioneer cara-
van. At length, however, the family reached Oregon and settled in Marion county, where
the father engaged in agricultural pursuits, meeting with excellent success to the time of

Online LibraryClarence BagleyHistory of Seattle from the earliest settlement to the present time (Volume 3) → online text (page 100 of 142)