Clarence Bagley.

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

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moved from time to time to various locations but finally established his business at First
and Columbia streets, where he erected a four-story building, at that time the highest
building in the city. Business was conducted under the firm style of Toklas & Singerman
until 1889, when their stock vi'as destroyed in the great Seattle fire which swept away
most of the business section of the city. They at once rebuilt, however, and continued
business until 1892, when they sold out to the MacDougall & Southwick Company. Mr. Sin-
german then retired but after six months established a clothing store next to his old loca-
tion on First and Columbia streets. Later he removed to Second avenue and Seneca
streets. Success attended the undertaking and the business grew rapidh' and along sub-
stantial lines. In 1913 he opened another store at Third avenue and Pike street, con-
ducting both establishments. In 1900 the business was incorporated under the style of
Singerman & Sons, with Paul Singerman as the president, in which connection he con-
tinued until his death in August, 1915. He was not only the pioneer clothing merchant
of the city but remained for many years one of the foremost representatives of the trade
and he is now succeeded by his son, Isidore R. Singerman.

Paul Singerman was married in San Francisco in 1879 to Jenny Auerbach, who has
passed away. They became the parents of three children, two sons and a daughter, namely,
Isidore R., Louis, and Mrs. Louis Friedlander. Mr. Singerman was an active member of
the Chamber of Commerce and fraternally had the honor of being a thirty-third degree
Mason. He was very generous in giving to those in need and his secret charities were in-
numerable. Every Thanksgiving Day he gave a dinner to the blind and his children are
continuing the custom in accordance with his expressed wish.

Isidore R. Singerman was born in Seattle, October 9, 1879, attended the public and
high schools until he reached the age of sixteen years and afterward became a student
in the University of Washington, from which institution he was graduated in 1899. He
was then employed by his father, becoming secretary and treasurer of the firm of Sing-
erman & Sons, and upon the death of his fatlier he became president and manager, sus-
taining the unsullied reputation that has always been associated with the firm name.

On the loth of November, 1908, I. R. Singerman was united in marriage, in New
York city, to Miss Gertrude Sterne and they are well known socially in Seattle. Mr.
Singerman is a Scottish Rite Mason, a member of the Mystic Shrine and also holds member-
ship with the Elks, the Tillikums, the Seattle Athletic Club, the Seattle Golf Club and
the Native Sons. He is also a member of the Commercial Club and the Chamber of
Commerce. Like his father, he maintains a prominent position in commercial circles and
as a business man and citizen he is keenly interested in the welfare and development of
the city in which he makes his home, giving aid and support to many plans and measures
that are directly beneficial to Seattle.


Ernest Carstens, president of the German-American Mercantile Bank of Seattle, occu-
pies a most enviable position in the business and financial circles of the city, not alone
by reason of the success which he has attained, although he is now numbered among the
capitalists of Washington, but also by reason of the straightforward business policy he
has followed and the enterprising methods he has employed. He was born February 3,
1867, in the small seaport and commercial city of Husum in Germany, a son of Peter and
Doris Carstens. He attended the public schools of the fatherland to the age of sixteen
years, when he crossed the Atlantic to America and was afterward a student in the
business college in Fond du Lac. He was engaged in the meat business on his own
account, when nineteen years of age, in Wisconsin, and since the fall of 1887 has been
identified with the business interests of Seattle, arriving in this city when but twenty
years of age. He was employed by the old firm of Rice & Gardner, at the corner of
Cherry and what was then called Front street, but after a brief period went to California




because of illness on the 2d of December, 1887, and worked at the butcher's trade in
Los Angeles and in Pasadena until April, 1890.

His sojourn in the south proved beneficial to his liealth and he returned to Seattle,
where on the 4th of July, 1890, in partnership with his brother, Thomas Carstens, he
established a retail meat business under the firm style of Carstens Brothers. The new
undertaking prospered from the beginning as the result of the hard work, unfaltering
industry and close attention of the partners. They soon branched out in the jobbing and
wholesale trades and later extended the scope of their business to include a packing-house
business, at which time the firm name was changed to the Carstens Packing Business.
Prosperity attended their efforts as the years went on, theirs becoming one of the most
important industries of the kind in the city. Ernest Carstens continued his connection
therewith until 1903, when he sold his interest, after which he spent about a year in travel,
accompanied by his wife. He afterward handled some real-estate deals and in January,
1910, was elected to the presidency of the newly organized German-American Bank of
Seattle and has since remained at the head of that institution. He has been the owner of
property in Seattle since 1889 and now has extensive and important realty holdings from
which he derives a substantial annual income. His business affairs have been wisely
directed and have brought him up from a humble position in the business world to a
place of prominence as an important factor in the financial circles of Seattle.

In September, 1892, in Seattle, Washington, Mr. Carstens was united in marriage to
Miss Ida L. Weiss, a daughter of Max and Hattie Weiss and a representative of an old
pioneer family of West Bend, Wisconsin. They have no children of their own. but in
1909 adopted a little orphan girl named Esther Irene.

During the period of his residence in California, Mr. Carstens was for eight months
a member of the National Guard of that state but resigned upon his return to Seattle
in 1890. In politics he is a republican where national questions and issues are involved,
but at local and state elections casts an independent ballot. He belongs to the Knights of
Pythias, is identified with the Order of the Golden West and has been president and
chairman of the board of trustees of the Seattle Turnverein through the past six years.
He has also been treasurer of the Arion Singing Society for two years and has member-
ship with the Arctic Club, the Deutscher Club, the Seattle Commercial' Club and the
Seattle New Chamber of Commerce. He is first vice president and treasurer of the
Seattle Commercial Club and his interests and activities have been of a character that
have contributed to the furtherance of its projects and to the upbuilding and development
of the city in various ways. His own struggle for ascendency has made him sympathetic
with others who are trying to gain a foothold in the business world and he is ever ready
to aid one who is willing to help himself. His life of activity has brought him into promi-
nence and gained for him success, and throughout his entire life history there is not one
single esoteric chapter.


Hon. Thomas F. Murphine, lawyer and lawmaker, now representing the forty-second
district in the state legislature of Washington and also active in the practice of law in
Seattle, was born in Hillsboro, Ohio, July 7, 1878. His father, S. S. Murphine, was a
school-teacher in that state during his early life and later became a farmer of Wash-
ington, where he still makes his home although he is now retired from active business
and is living in Seattle at the age of sixty-three years. His wife, who bore the maiden
name of Emma J. Hatter, passed away in 1904.

Their only child was Thomas F. Murphine, who is indebted to the public school system
of Washington for the early educational advantages he enjoyed. He afterward pursued
a course in the Washington State University and, completing his classical and law studies.
was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1898 and with that of Bachelor of
Laws in 1907. He then entered upon the practice of law in Seattle and has continued in
that field to the present time. His ability has been constantly manifest in the work of the


courts. He readily understands the connection between cause and effect and his logical
reasoning enables him to determine the one as readily as the other. He also prepares for
the unexpected, which happens quite as frequently in the courts as out of them, and his
retentive mind often excites the admiration of his colleagues.

Mr. Murphine is also a recognized leader in political circles, standing as a prominent
member of the progressive party. He has been honored in the forty-second district by
election to the state legislature for the terms of 1913 and 1915. In 1910 he was made
chairman of the King county republican committee and served until 1912. He was also
a delegate from King county to the republican convention in Chicago in 1912, at which
time he became actively allied with the progressive party, the Roosevelt delegation being
denied a seat in the convention. He was made a member of the committee on rules and
order of the state legislature .and also a member of the committee on logged off lands,
the judiciary and the committee on education.

On the 15th of September, 1900, Mr. Murphine was married to Miss Violet Cowan,
a daughter of Richard Cowan, of Seattle, who was an active timber man of this state
for several years. It was he who cleared from the university campus the natural forest
trees that covered it. He served as a volunteer in the Federal army during the Civil war
and is now a resident of Seattle. To Mr. and Mrs. Murphine have been born two children.
Thomas and Gail, aged fourteen and eleven years respectively, and both now in high

Mr. Murphine's deep interest in community affairs is indicated in his membership in
the municipal league and in the Seattle Commercial Club. He has been a citizen of Wash-
ington since 1883, having been but five years of age when brought from the east to this
part of the country. Seattle at that time was but a small village and his father's first
home stood where the Broadway high school is now seen, at the corner of Broadway and
Pine streets. It was then in the brush. No house could be secured so the family first
lived in a tent. Much of the site of the city was covered with a native growth of brush
and served for the pasture of the cows. Mr. Murphine has witnessed the growth and
development of Seattle since that time and is a stalwart champion of the city and its
people. He has ever kept in touch with the trend of modern thought and progress and
his activity has been put forth along the lines of advancement and improvement. That
his life commends him to the public confidence is seen in the position to which he has
attained by the vote of his fellow townsmen, and his record is in contradistinction to the
old adage that a prophet is never without honor save in his own country.


Homer M. Hill, a journalist of Seattle during the past three decades, has been a
leading and influential factor in municipal affairs. He was born in Senecaville, Ohio, on
the 28th of November, 1855, a son of Dr. Noah Spear Hill, who was one of the early
abolitionists and a member of the first republican state convention held in Ohio. The
mother of our subject, Mary (Dilley) Hill, had si.x great-great-uncles by the name of
."Vyers in the Revolutionary war, and her father was a veteran of the War of 1812.

Homer M. Hill attended the village school in the Vi'inter months and worked on the
farm during the summer seasons, while subsequently he matriculated in Oberlin College
of Ohio, from which institution he was graduated on the 28th of June, 1882. On the 8th
of December of the same year he took up the profession of teaching, becoming an instructor
in the Minneapolis Academy. On the 8th of May, 1884, he wedded Miss Carrie M. Lovell,
the ceremony taking place at the home of her father near Nevada, Iowa.

In June, 1883, Mr. Hill became Mandan correspondent of the Bismarck Tribune and
in October of the same year accepted the business management of the Brainerd (Minn.)
Tribune. On the 28th of April. 1884. he purchased an interest in the Helena (Montana)
Independent, which he retained until August. 1885. when he sold out and came to Seattle.
In the fall he began the publication of The True Tone and was thus engaged until May,
1886, when he purchased the Evening Call and the Evening Chronicle, combining the two


under the name of the Daily Press. This he pubUshed until August, 1889, when he sold
to Leigh S. J. Hunt and William E. Bailey, the former immediately disposing of his in-
terest to the latter.

In September, 1892, he formed a copartnership with John Collins and Fred E. Sander
and the three together purchased the Morning Telegraph from Judge Thomas Burke and
Daniel H. Oilman. While manager of the Telegraph, Mr. Hill visited and inspected the
large newspaper plants of St. Paul, Chicago, Baltimore and New York and purchased for
The Telegraph Company, on the last day of the year 1892, five Mergenthaler typesetting
machines — the first five to cross the Rocky Mountains. For the reason that they were
the first five to come to the Pacific coast. The Telegraph was allowed a discount from
the regular price of twelve hundred and fifty dollars. At the present day, when there
are in successful operation hundreds of these machines in the state of Washington and
tliousands on the Pacific coast, it is utterly impossible to conceive the courage it required
to make this purchase, for practical printers throughout the United States were pro-
nouncing the machines a failure. So strong was the local influence of this feeling that
the Post-Intelligencer Company did not purchase any machines until it secured the five
owned by The Telegraph. As a compliment to Mr. Hill, and without his knowledge, the
eastern linotype expert operator, G. H. Cosgrove. cast the first line in the state of Wash-
ington, as follows: "May 19, 1893 — Homer M. Hill — first line." Mr. Hill has kept this
linotype slug in his safe deposit box for the past twenty-one years with the intention of
presenting it to the Historical Society of Washington. He was elected president of the
Washington State Press Association for the year 1893-4.

He takes pride in the fact that as a member of the city council in 1898-1900 lie sup-
ported the purchase of Woodland Park for one hundred thousand dollars, notwitlistanding
the veto of the mayor and the protest of a large majority of Seattle's most representative
citizens. Ten votes were required to pass the ordinance over the mayor's veto and there
was not one to spare, so that every member of the council who voted for the measure
could take full credit for the purchase. He also voted for the inauguration of the Cedar
river water system and the city lighting plant. For the past twelve years he has been
executive secretary of the Federated Improvement Clubs of the city, and by the Springfield
(Mass.) Republican, Seattle is given credit for being the best organized city in the United
States in the line of civic improvement. During Mr. Hill's incumbency the Federated
Improvement Clubs instituted the movement that resulted in Seattle's present park and
boulevard system and the annexation of the suburbs to the city in time to be included in
the 1910 census. In addition to this he has been executive secretary of the Taxpayers'
League of the city for the past four years. No movement for the benefit of the city of
which practical application can be made fails to receive his indorsement, and his labors
have been a potent factor for success in various lines which have contributed largely to
the city's good.


Clarence L. Gere, practicing law at Seattle since 1912, was born at Franklin, Susque-
hanna county, Pennsylvania, July 9. 1885. His father, William R. Gere, was also a native
of that state and a descendant of one of its oldest families. Two brothers coming from
England founded the family in the new world in early colonial days and the ancestral line
of the American branch can be traced back about three hundred years. William R. Gere
has devoted his life to agricultural pursuits and is still active at Brooklyn, Pennsylvania. He
married Pauline Bunnell, also a descendant of an old Pennsylvania family, and they have
become parents of four sons.

Clarence L. Gere, the youngest, pursued his early education in the public school of
Brooklyn, did high-school work there and afterward became a student in the Perkiomen
Seminary at Pennsburg, Pennsylvania. His early experiences were those of farm life.
After leaving the seminary he taught school for a year in his native state and afterward
entered the First National Bank of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to learn the banking business,


but his ambition soon led him in other directions and, attracted by the opportunities of the
west he spent one year travelling for the International Correspondence Schools and then
became a cow puncher on The Lazy S-Y Ranch at Port Davis, Texas. After eight months
spent in that connection he taught one year in the public school at Pullman, Washington,
and afterward secured a position with a brick manufacturing company in Seattle, Wash-
ington, and during the year in which he continued in that position he attended a night
class at the State University for the study of law, having decided to make law practice his
life work. After preparing for the bar he passed the state examination and was admitted
to practice in 1912, since which time he has established a very satisfactory clientage in the
general practice of law. He maintains an office in the Joshua Greene building and resides
at No. 845 East Eighty-third street.

Mr. Gere is a member of the Green Lake Presbyterian church, in which he formerly
served as a deacon. He also belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and to
the Sons of Herman. In politics he is independent, supporting candidates according to
principles advocated and the integrity of the man. He possesses broad public spirit and
along political, economic and sociological lines he keeps abreast with the best thinking
men of the age. In 1913, 1914 and 1915 he was elected president of the Seattle Jail Reform
Society, a work in wliich he takes a very active part and in which the society has accom-
plished wonderful results in bringing about many needed reforms in connection with the
improvement of the care and housing of incarcerated persons and providing them with
fair, just and equitable treatment. This society has been instrumental in securing enactment
of laws bettering conditions, also in introducing the parole system, in securing employ-
ment of people formerly incarcerated and in fact promoting in general the uplift of all
unfortunates needing a helping and guiding hand. This work is yet in its infancy and at
the beginning was frowned upon by officials and generally condemned, but it is now recog-
nized as one of the important functions in criminal jurisprudence. Mr. Gere is also a
trustee and director of the Lebanon Rescue Home of Seattle. In a word, his sympathies
are broad, his understanding of conditions is keen and he is continually reaching out to
benefit those whom fate or untoward circumstances have placed in positions where aid
seems to be necessary to restore them to a normal place.


Charles J. Erickson, a prominent and successful contractor, has been engaged in
business continuously in Seattle throughout the past quarter of a century. He is promi-
nent as a man whose constantly expanding powers have taken him from humble surround-
ings to the field of large enterprises and continually broadening opportunities. His breadth
of view has not only recognized possibilities for his own advancement but for the city's
development as well, and his lofty patriotism has prompted him to utilize the latter as
quickly and as effectively as the former. His residence in Seattle dates from l88g and
followed nine years spent in Minneapolis.

His birth occurred in the province of Westergotland, Sweden, on the 22d of June,
1852, his parents being Jonas and Kajsa (Bengtson) Erickson. The father remained a
peasant of that country until 1862, when he crossed the Atlantic to the United States and
two years later enlisted for service in the Civil war as a soldier of the Union army, joining
the Eleventh Infantry of Minnesota. He continued a resident of Minnesota, engaging in
contracting and railroad construction until 1900, when he came to Seattle and here spent
the remainder of his life with our subject, passing away in 1910 at the age of eighty-six
years. The mother never desired to come to America, preferring to remain at her old
country place, where her demise occurred when she had attained the age of eighty-two,
in 1909.

Charles J. Erickson attended the common schools in the acquirement of an education
and spent the first twenty-eight years of his life in the land of his nativity. In 1880 he
emigrated to the United States and took up his abode in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where
he followed contracting until 1889. In that year he came to Seattle and has here remained



ill business as a contractor to tlie present time. He started in a very small way with but
one or two helpers, but his business has steadily grown in volume and importance until it
is now quite extensive. Some of the larger contracts which he has executed include the
Second, Third and Fourth avenue regrades, the Pike street regrade, the Twelfth avenue
regrade, the Lake Union and Lake Washington sections of the trunk sewer and the
Puget Sound dry dock No. 2 at Bremerton. He has been awarded and is now execut-
ing a contract for the construction of a railroad in the Olympic Peninsula from Puget
Sound west to Lake Crescent. Mr. Erickson is president and principal stockholder of the
Preston Mill Company, president of the National Fishing Company, president of
the Erickson Construction Company, director of the Scandinavian-American Bank and the
State Bank, a director of the Norwegian American Steamship Line, director of
the Seattle & Port Angeles Western Railroad and president of the Port Townsend
Puget Sound Railroad. What a man does and what he attains depends largely
upon his opportunities, but the well balanced man mentally and physically is possessed of
sufficient courage to venture where favoring opportunity is presented and his judgment
and even-paced energy generally carry him forward to the goal of success. Mr. Erickson
has never hesitated to take a forward step when the way was open. Though content with
what he has attained as he has gone along, he has always been ready to make an advance.
Fortunate in possessing ability and character that inspire confidence in others, the simple
weight of his character and ability has carried him into important relations, while his
keen discernment and carefully managed affairs have placed him in a most comfortable
financial position.

In 1877, in Sweden, Mr. Erickson was united in marriage to Miss Anna E. Larson,
a daughter of Lars Anderson. Her parents were also peasants in the province of Wester-
gotland, the mother reaching the age of sixty, while the father lived to be eighty-six years
old. To Mr. and Mrs. Erickson have been born nine children, three of whom survive:
Charles Edward, Hilda Katherine and George Leonard, who are yet under the parental
roof. They also have one grandson, whose mother is deceased.

On the 6th of October, iQii, the king of Sweden conferred upon Mr. Erickson the
knighthood of the Royal Order of Wasa of the first class. Mr. Erickson belongs to the
Arctic Club and the Swedish Business Men's Club, and his religious faith is indicated by
his membership in the First Baptist church. Politically he is a republican, earnest in
support of the party, yet without ambition for office, his interest being that of a public-
spirited citizen. He is chairman of the board of directors of Adelphia College and this
is but one evidence of his interest in afltairs relating to the public good. He is a member

Online LibraryClarence BagleyHistory of Seattle from the earliest settlement to the present time (Volume 3) → online text (page 39 of 142)