Clarence Bagley.

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

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teen he had lost both his parents and was compelled to start out in life on his own account,
so that lie deserved great credit for what he accomplished in business life. He never
feared industry nor that close attention to business which must precede ascendancy. On
the 1st of September, 1862, he left the farm and in response to the country's call for troops
volunteered for service as a member of Company D, Twelfth Vermont Infantry. His
regiment was attached to the First Army Corps of the Army of the Potomac and with
his command he participated in the engagements at Fairfax Courthouse, Rappahannock
and the battle of Gettysburg. In October, 1863, he reenlisted and was promoted to the
rank of second lieutenant of his company, with which h^ served until the close of hostili-
ties, making a creditable record as a loyal and valiant soldier.

When the war was over, Mr. Densmore was honorably discharged and returned
to Vermont, where he resuined the occupation of farming. But in 1867 he left Xew Eng-
land and removed to Beloit, Wisconsin, where he resided until 1871, when he came to
Seattle. After a short time he engaged in steamboating for the Seattle Coal Company,
being connected with that business for four years, during which time he was captain of
the Ada and other boats. On the expiration of that period he engaged in the grocery
business at the corner of Union and Third streets, conducting his store with growing
success for twelve years. He remained an active factor in business circles until a few
years prior to his death, and his well directed business affairs brought him growing
prosperity. In all his dealings he was thoroughly reliable as well as enterprising and
the methods he pursued commended him to the confidence and trust of his fellowmen.

With various interests of Seattle he was closely associated. He laid the first steel
rail for the street car system of Seattle, wooden rails having been used previous to that
time. He served for two terms as a member of the city council and exercised his official
prerogatives in support of various plans and measures for the general good. He served
for seven years as a member of the school board and the cause of education found in liini
a stalwart champion. Densmore avenue of Seattle was named in his honor and Seattle
in many ways acknowledges her indebtedness to him. He did much toward improving
property, built residences and otherwise aided in enhancing the attractivenecs of the city
and at all times was public spirited and active.

On the 25th of September, 1867, at Beloit, Wisconsin, Mr. Densmore was united in
marriage to Miss Rosamond S. Merwin, a native of Belvidere, Illinois, and they became
the parents of two sons: Herbert Milton, who was born in Beloit and is deceased; and
James Worth, who was born in Seattle. He was accorded excellent educational op|)ur-
tunities and under able instructors developed his natural talent in music. He is now a well
known professor of music in the city. On the 28th of August, 1901, he wedded Olivia
C. Peck, and they are well known in this city. Both Mr. and Mrs. Densmore were members
of the Plymouth Congregational church, Mrs. Densmore becoming its thirteenth member.

In his political views Mr. Densmore was always a stalwart republican, giving unfal-
tering allegiance to the party because of his firm belief in its principles. He was an exem-
plary member of the Masonic fraternity, having been made a Mason in George Washing-
ton Lodge, No. 51, F. & A. M., in Chelsea, Vermont, in i860. He also became a charter
member of Stevens Post, G. A. R., of Seattle, and he had many friends among his old
army comrades and among his brethren in Masonry. In fact his many excellent traits of
character gave him firm hold upon the goodwill and friendship of his fellow citizens m
the different communities in which he lived and deep regret was felt by all when, on the
27th of March, 1908, he passed away. Mrs. Densmore survives her husband and is very
prominent in connection with different organizations of the city. She is now past president
of the local organization and chaplain of the national association of the Woman's Relief


Corps, is an active member of the Eastern Star, is likewise connected with the Rebekahs,
is a member of the Woman's Club and for two years was president of the Pioneer Auxiliary
Club. She was made a delegate to Baltimore, Maryland, from Seattle to participate in the
celebration of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. She stands at all times for pro-
gressive patriotism, expressing her loyalty to the flag in many ways and at all times giving
her aid and influence to measures and plans that advance the standards of citizenship.
Since her husband's death she has taken over the management of the business which he left
and has been active in building operations since that time.


With the history of pioneer times the name of Cyrus Walker became associated,
for he was one of the most active factors in instituting and developing the great lumber
interests of the northwest. He never waited Micawberlike for something to turn up
but in early manhood started out to seek his fortune, nor did he hold to the dream
that success would come to him in some unusual way. He realized from the beginning
that industry must be the basis of his advancement and his entire career was characterized
by indefatigable energy and unfaltering enterprise, which brought him in time to rank
with the most notable lumber merchants of the northwest.

He came from a state of pines, his birth having occurred in Madison, Maine,
October 6, 1827, and through seven generations he traced back his ancestry to the Rev.
George Walker, who passed away in 1680 in Londonderry, Ireland, where he had long
made his home. He was the father of Andrew Walker, the progenitor of the family
in the new world. Crossing the Atlantic, he settled at Tewksbur3', Massachusetts, where
he died in 1739. He was an uncle of General John Stark, of Revolutionary war fame,
who entered battle with the memorable declaration, "We must win today, boys, or Molly
Stark will be a widow." James Walker, the direct ancestor in the third generation,
was born at Gofifstown, New Hampshire, and married a daughter of Colonel John Goff,
for whom that town had been named. Their son, Silas Walker, also a native of Goffs-
town, was the father of William Walker, who was born in Manchester, New Hampshire,
in 1770 and served his country in the War of 1812. His son. James Martin Walker,
born in GoiTstown in 1798, married Eliza Heald, a daughter of Colonel Jonas Heald,
of Acton, New Hampshire.

Thus the line is traced down to Cyrus Walker, their son, who following the acquire-
ment of his education in the village schools devoted his attention for a time to farm work,
also taught school and afterward became actively identified with the lumber trade, in
sawmill work and in log driving on the Kennebec river. He afterward became manager
of a starch factory and made his initial step toward the coast when as a surveyor he
went to Wisconsin. Not long afterward gold v/as discovered in California and in
Australia. It was his intention to go to the latter country and he made his way to
New York, where he engaged passage on a sailing vessel, but on going aboard did not
like the looks of the craft and sold his ticket. He then returned to the hotel at which
he was stopping and there formed the acquaintance of E. S. Brown, a millwright from
Bangor, Maine, who had taken a contract to erect a mill for Pope, Talbot, Keller &
Foster,' formerly of Machias, Maine. Mr. Brown was about to sail to Puget Sound
and Mr. Walker accompanied him, concluding to go to Australia by way of California.
He purchased a ticket by way of the Panama route and arrived in San Francisco in
May. His plans changed, however, through the influence of his companions and he
agreed to go with the Talbot party to the Sound. On the Julius Pringle, a vessel of only
fifty tons, the voyage was made to the northwest with Captain Talbot in command and
David Foster as second mate. The passengers were E. S. Brown, Nathaniel and Hillman
Harmon, James White, a machinist, an. engineer and Cyrus Walker. They sailed north-
ward until they reached Port Discovery, where they thought to locate a lumber mill,
but before definitely deciding upon that location they started on a cruise about the
Lower Sound, Captain Talbot commanding a plunger, while Mr. Walker had charge of



a caiioe. Thus they explored Hoods Canal as far as Seabeck and at length reached the
Indian town of Teekalet, now known as Port Gamble. They continued their explorations
as far south as Commencement Bay but found no more desirable location than Port
Gamble. On the return trip they visited Seattle, where Captain Talbot arranged for
a cargo of lumber to be taken by the Pringle to San Francisco, this being purchased at
Yesler's mill. It was probably the first lumber cargo shipped from Seattle or the Lower
Sound. The party returned to Port Discovery, intending to locate there, but found
settlers had arrived in the meantime and left that place for Port Gamble, where the
passengers went ashore on the 7th day of July, 1853. At once they began to discharge
their cargo of lumber, mill stuff and machinery and work was begun in earnest ui the
building of the mill and of shacks for the men. Tlie district now known as Jamison
Ranch, at the head of the bay, supplied the large firs which were' hewn into timber, the
trunks constituting the frame of the mill.

From the beginning of operations Mr. Walker was a most active man, having charge
in the early days as timekeeper, accountant and general utility man. He was connected
with the company from the beginning of its operations in the northwest. In September
the schooner L. T. Foster arrived, bringing boiler, engine and mill machinery, and as
soon as this was installed the mill was started, having a capacity of three thousand feet
of lumber per day. The first that was manufactured was used to complete the mill and
build more comfortable homes for the employes. A store and office building was also
erected and Captain Keller acted as resident superintendent until his demise in 1861.
At tliat date Cyrus Walker was made resident manager and for a half century re-
mained in charge of the mill at Port Gamble and of other mills and properties owned
by the company. A short time after their arrival Captain Keller suggested to Mr.
Walker that he take out a donation claim, as the time would soon expire when he could
do that under the law. Mr. Walker replied that he "would not live on a claim five
years, as the law required, if the government would give him the whole territory." He
was homesick at the time but his opinions soon underwent a marked change, and when
the commissioners for the university offered for sale ihe lands which the government
had set apart for the school, Mr. Walker purchased a large part of those lands for the
company. These were the first timber lands available for purchase and in this Mr.
Walker displayed his usual notable sagacity and keen business insight. He recognized
the fact that there would come a time when the settlers would not be glad to sell their
logs to the mills at the price of putting them in the water but that the value of timber
would constantly increase in the northwest as the district became settled. He studied every
phase of the business, looking beyond the exigencies of the moment to the needs, the
possibilities and the opportunities of the future. In 1863 he acquired an interest in the
Washington holdings of Pope & Talbot and became one of the stockholders when the
business was incorporated under the name of the Puget Mill Company in 1874. The
policy which he inaugurated when the university lands were first offered for sale — the
policy of buying timber as it became available — was continued by him and the company
became one of the largest holders of such lands in the northwest. His individual interests
increased as the business was developed and he also bought land on his own account,
realizing that it must ultimately become of great worth as settlement in the northwest
was extended. When Seattle was but a village he began buying property there in 1868
and some of that which he purchased as acreage has been platted and sold as city lots
and is now covered by beautiful homes. His wonderful foresight was manifest in his
investment in this realty. The development of the Puget Mill Company has constituted
one of the most important features of the industrial growth of the northwest, for the
lumber trade has ever been one of the large sources of the wealth and prosperity of the
Sound country.

On the 30th of April, 1885. was celebrated the marriage of Cyrus Walker and Miss
Emily Foster Talbot, a daughter of Captain Talbot, his old friend and business associate,
and they had one son, Talbot Cyrus Walker. Mr. Walker was a charter member of
Franklyn Lodge, No. 5, F. & A. M., in the jurisdiction of Washington, which was
chartered in 1859. He also took the Scottish Rite degrees and became a knight com-
mander of the Court of Honor. He was well known as a member of the Rainier and


other leading clubs of Seattle and a cordial greeting was ever extended to him whenever
he appeared in the club rooms. He never allowed private interests to interfere with the
performance of his public duties and his cooperation featured as an element in tlie
continued growth and development of the district in which he lived. When the state
was admitted to the Union several members of the legislature representing both parties
offered him their votes for United States senator, but though appreciative of the honor,
he declined to become a candidate. His life was one of intense activity. He was at all
times prompted by the spirit of indefatigable energy and he felt that he had not accom-
plished his full daily duties if he did not go home at night weary with the day's labor.
With him a recognition of opportunity was equivalent to the performance of a task.
He had the fine perception and sound judgment of a man of large affairs and his record
is a matter of pride to the citizens of Seattle, where his labors have contributed so
much to the development of the city and the surrounding country.


Ross F. Miller is actively connected with important business interests as the secretary
of the West Coast Rubber Company and the secretary-treasurer of the Currin-Greene
Shoe Manufacturing Company, business interests whicli by reason of the volume and
importance of their trade figure prominently as features in the commercial activity of
the city. Mr. Miller was born in Emporia, Kansas, October 5, 1880, a son of J. A. Miller.
He attended the public schools and the State Normal School of Kansas to the age of
nineteen years, after which he spent a year as a student in a business college. He started
out in the workaday world as a bookkeeper in a hardware store and after two years went
to Kansas City, Missouri, where he was employed in a bank. But the lure of the we«t was
upon him and he came to Seattle, where he secured the position of stenographer with the
Northwest Rubber Company. After a year spent in that employ he entered the service
of the Northwestern Shoe Company as general utility man and his eificiency continued
him in the position for seven years. Later he became associated in the organization of
the West Coast Rubber Company in connection with H. L. Hansen and they are now the
exclusive representatives in Seattle of the products of the Hood Rubber Company. He is
the secretary-treasurer of the Currin-Greene Shoe Manufacturing Company, which was
established in 1907 with Hugh L. Currin as the president. They are manufacturers of
heavy shoes, making a specialty of shoes for loggers. They furnish employment to
about fifty people and their business extends all over the Pacific coast states and into

In Seattle, on the 5th of October, 1909, Mr. ^Miller was married to Miss Lillian Dickie
and they have two children, Elizabeth and Joseph. Mr. Miller is a member of Arcana
Lodge, No. 87, F. & A. M., and is loyal to the teachings of the craft, but his interests
center most largely upon his business aiTairs. He belongs to the Seattle Commercial Club
and is chairman of the committee on credit department methods of the Seattle Association
of Credit Men.


As a factor in real estate circles in Seattle, William F. Epler has owned and controlled
some valuable property holdings and has done much to stimulate real estate activity in his
city and the northwest. A native of Illinois, he was born February 22, 1839. His father,
David Epler, was a prominent business man both of Indiana and Illinois, in which states
he followed the occupation of farming. He was descended from Pennsylvania stock.

In the pursuit of an education William F. Epler attended the common schools and
afterward entered Illinois College at Jacksonville, Illinois, from which he was graduated
with the class of 185S. Entering business life, he engaged in farming in connection with
banking and for twelve years was associated with the First National Bank of Jacksonville,


being advanced step by step in that institution as his latent powers and energies were called
forth and developed. He visited Seatle in 1882 and again in 1883 and was so well pleased
with the city and its future prospects that he resolved to locate permanently and did so in
1884. He at once engaged in the real estate business, which he has since followed, and his
operations along that line have been extensive and important. Soon after his arrival in
Seattle he acquired the ownership of the present site of the Epler block on Second avenue
and began building operations in the fall of 1889. Since that time his activities have con-
tinued along well defined lines of labor and of enterprise and his work has been of
signal service and benefit in the upbuilding and development of the city as well as in the
promotion of his individual fortunes.

Mr. Epler was united in marriage to Miss C. K. Ensminger. a daughter of Jacob Ens-
minger, of Jacksonville, Illinois. Their only child is an adopted son, Franklin Epler, who
follows in the foorsteps of Mr. Epler in the real estate business.

In politics Mr. Epler has taken no very active part and is allied with no party, although
his inclination is toward the democratic party. He has always preferred to concentrate his
efforts upon the conduct of his business affairs and his sound judgment and keen sagacity
have been manifest in the investments which he has made and which have won him rank
among Seattle's capitalists.


Warren Danforth Lane has practiced at the bar of Seattle since 1904 as a member of
the firm of Douglas, Lane & Douglas, and the firm ranks with the leading attorneys of
the northwest. Mr. Lane was born on a farm near Cresco, Iowa, May 10, 1867. being
the youngest of the seven children of Aliraliam and Sarah (Darling) Lane, the former
a native of Wayne county. Pennsylvania, and the latter of Hancock, New York. In the
year 1851 they emigrated westward to Iowa, where they reared their family of seven chil-
dren, of whom two sons are yet living. Louis L.. brother of Warren D. Lane, being a
Methodist minister now located at Mitchell, South Dakota. The father died in Iowa in

Warren D. Lane attended tlie country schools of his native county until fourteen
years of age, after which he became a student in the high school of Cresco, Iowa. When
si.xteen years of age he went to Dakota territory, wlicrc his mother secured a claim. He
afterward became a clerk in a store at Wilmot, South Dakota, and subsequently was em-
ployed in a lumber yard, of which he became tlie manager. At eighteen years of age he
engaged in the furniture and undertaking business in partner.ship with his brother and in
early manhood he also taught school for two terms In 1892 he entered the Northwestern
University at Evanston, Illinois, and there applied himself with such diligence and deter-
mination that he mastered a four years' course in three years and at the same time earned
a portion of the money that enabled him to meet his expenses by acting as assistant in the
library and in the English department of the school. He was graduated with Phi Beta
Kappa honors and with the degree of Bachelor of Science. He became prominent in debate
and in oratorical work, winning several prize contests, and he was class orator on the day
of graduation. With broad literary learning to serve as the foundation for professional
knowledge, he entered the University of Minnesota in 1896 as a law student and completed
the three years' course and also a year of postgraduate work in the college department
in two years, receiving the degrees of LL. B. and M. S. in 1898. During the second year
of his connection with the Minnesota University he was secretary to Dean W. S. Pattee.
In 1897 he was one of the Minnesota team to meet the Iowa State University team in
debate and he was elected to the honorary fraternity, Delta Sigma Rho (forensic honor

Mr. Lane at once entered upon tlie active practice of his profession and in the fall
of 1898 was elected states attorney of Rolierts county. South Dakota, having established
his home at Sisseton in that county, where lie formed a partnership with J. W. Harrington
under the name of Barrington & Lane. He held tlie office for two terms — the limit allowed
by law.


In 1899 Mr. Lane was married to Miss Maude Cross, of Wilmot, South Dakota, and
they have become the parents of four children, namel.v : Frances Fern, who is eleven years
of age ; Dorothy Darling and Warren Danforth, who are nine and four years of age
respectively; and Lawrence Letson, one year old.

For six years Mr. Lane continued in practice in South Dakota and in 1903 was admitted
to practice before the United States supreme court. The follow-ing year he removed to
Seattle and entered into partnership with J. F. Douglas and James H. Douglas under the
name of Douglas, Lane & Douglas, which connection has remained unchanged through the
intervening period of eleven years. He is a member of both the State and .\merican
Bar Associations and is recognized as an eminent lawyer, his ability enabling him to carve
his name high on the keystone of the legal arch in Washington. Fraternally Mr. Lane is
a Mason, belonging to Doric Lodge. He has been active in public affairs, has left the
impress of his individuality upon public thought and action and served as a member of
the state legislature in 1915. He has closely studied many social questions and has led
many classes in the study of social problems. He is frequently called upon to address
public gatherings on such subjects and is a member of the Central Council of Social
Agencies, representing the Council of Methodist Brotherhoods, and he also conducts the
social service department of "Church Life." He was a trustee of the University of Puget
Sound, now the College of Puget Sound, for three years, and he stands at all times for
progress, advancement, uplift and that moral freedom which is the liberation of the spirit.
While he holds to high ideals, he employs practical methods for their attainment and his
labors have been a potent element in shaping the trend of modern thought and develop-
ment along lines of individual benefit.


Micliael Donahoe, deceased, was born in New York in 1861. Although lie resided in
Seattle for but a comparatively brief period he was for many years a resident of the
Pacific coast country and was possessed of the energy and enterprise that have characterized
the upbuilding of the west. He arrived in Montana in early life, when that state was
being opened up to civilization, and was engaged extensively and prominently in railroad
work as traffic manager and in other important connections. He also engaged in the real
estate business and in mining. In 1906 he came to Seattle with the intention of making
this city his future home, for he believed in its possibilities and its opportunites. He
purchased some property, but he was not permitted to enjoy his new home, for death called
him in the year 1910. Even in the brief period of four years, however, he had gained
the warm friendship of those with whom he came in contact and is yet well remembered
by a number of Seattle's most substantial residents.


Scott C. Bone, editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, has been in active, dail}' news-

Online LibraryClarence BagleyHistory of Seattle from the earliest settlement to the present time (Volume 3) → online text (page 5 of 142)