Clarence Bagley.

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

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when eighteen years of age. He was but four years old at the time of the removal of the
family to Washington and was reared in Kent to the age of twenty. He then began his
steamboat career, which extended through thirty years' experience on the inland waters of
V.'ashington and on Puget Sound. He was first employed as a deck hand, from which
humble position he worked his way upward until he became master. Tlie first vessel which
he commanded was the Everill. He later became the owner and built in all ten vessels
used on the Sound and the rivers of the northwest, including the upper Columbia river.
The first boat which he built was the Mame and he was the builder of the Venus and the
Helen Hale. The last named, probably the best boat which he built, was lost by fire near
Kennewick, on the middle Columbia. He devoted his entire life to marine work and was
regarded as one of the most alile and competent captains that sailed from Seattle.

In Snohomish Captain McMillin was married to Miss Luella Benham, who died in 1902.
v. I 111—211


To this union were born two children. Merle and Manette, the latter now deceased. In
Seattle, in 1907, Captain McMillin wedded Mrs. Faith Helen McKeever, widow of William
McKeever, who came to Seattle from Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1888 and here engaged
in the meat business until his death, which occurred in January. 1905. Mr. and Mrs.
McKeever had two children, Gertrude and Gladys.

In his political views Captain McMillin was a republican. One of the strong principles
of his life is indicated in the fact that he was a member of the Order of Good Templars,
establishing his position upon the temperance question. He was a very charitable man,
giving freely where aid was needed, and his generous spirit was also manifest in his kindly
opinion of others. His long residence in the state, terminated by his death on the 13th
of April, 1915, had covered fifty-three years and his business interests had brought him
a wide acquaintance, while the sterling traits of his character had gained him most favor-
able regard.


Business development in Seattle has found stimulus in the efforts of John Francis
Douglas, who has figured prominently both in professional and real estate circles. In
development projects he has not only studied the present needs and conditions but has
looked beyond the exigencies of the moment to the possibilities of the future, and in the
control of his interests has worked toward making Seattle the beautiful and attractive
metropolitan center which it is fast becoming.

A native of Canada, Mr. Douglas was born at Goodwood, Ontario, October 30, 1874,
a son of James Aaron and Annie ( Scott) Douglas, who were natives of County Tyrone,
Ireland. Removing to the west, the father became a prominent factor in the development
of North Dakota during its formative period, serving as a member of the constitutional
convention of the state and also as a member of the state legislature, while for four years
he was treasurer of Walsh count}'.

Accompanying his parents to North Dakota in his boyhood days, John F. Douglas
pursued a course in the State University, from which he was graduated in 1896 with the
degree of Bachelor of Arts. He afterward attended the University of Minnesota and in
1898 was graduated from the law department of Yale University with the degree of Bachelor
of Laws. He entered upon the practice of law at Grafton, North Dakota, in May of that
year, there remaining until August, 1900, when he removed to Seattle, Washington, where
he opened an office. In 1904 he formed a law partnership with W. D. Lane and J. H. Douglas
under the firm name of Douglas, Lane & Douglas. He has since remained active at the
bar and at the same time has figured prominently in other business connections. He or-
ganized the Waldorf Building Company, which erected the Waldorf Hotel in 1905, and with
C. F. White organized the Metropolitan Building Company that developed the University
tract. He has been president of the former since its organization, has continuously been
secretary of the Metropolitan Building Company and since 1912 has also been manager.
Moreover, he has figured prominently in connection with organized activities for the de-
velopment and expansion of the city, serving for the past ten years as trustee of the Chamber
of Commerce and as its vice president in 191 1 and 1912. In 191 1 he was president of the
Seattle Carnival Association that gave the first Potlatch. His spirit of initiative and enter-
prise has constituted an important feature in the city's development, and his individual busi-
ness interests have largely been of a character that have contributed to public progress
and prosperity.

On the 28th of December, 1898, at Bathgate, North Dakota, Mr. Douglas was united in
marriage to Miss Neva Bostwick, a daughter of Sylvester D. and Mary Bostwick and a
graduate of the University of North Dakota of the class of 1896, being a classmate of her
husband. They have become the parents of two sons and a daughter, John Francis, Neva
Bostwick and James Bostwick. Mr. and Mrs. Douglas hold membership in the First Pres-
byterian church of Seattle.

In politics Mr. Douglas is an independent republican who keeps well versed on the


political situation of the country, his position being the result of careful consideration of
vital and significant problems. He has membership in the various Masonic bodies and in
Nile Temple of the Mystic Shrine, while in club circles he is a prominent figure, belonging
to the Rainier, the Seattle Golf, the Earlington Golf and Country, the Seattle Athletic, the
Arctic, the Metropolitan, the Yale and the Seattle Advertising Clubs. He is a dynamic
force in any movement with which he is associated and his enthusiastic support of a
measure is contagious.


Edwin T. Trimble, after successful work in the educational field, entered upon the
practice of law, to which he has since devoted his energies, becoming a member of the
Seattle bar in 1907, although he has been engaged in the active practice of his profession
in Washington since the year 1893.

A native of Pennsylvania, Edwin T. Trimble was born in Indiana county, .\pril 12,
1850. He supplemented public-school training by study in Reid Institute, at Reidsburg,
Pennsylvania, and afterward studied in Bucknell University at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania,
where he was graduated in 1877. From his alma mater he received the master's degree.
His early life was spent upon the home farm and when a little lad of ten years he began
earning his own living by working on neighboring farms. He afterward took up the pro-
fession of teaching, which he followed in his native county and also at other points in
Pennsylvania and in Michigan, Illinois and Kansas, spending two years as principal of
the high school at Orion, Illinois, and four years as principal of the schools at Winfield,
Kansas. He went to that place in 1879 and left there in 1883, in which year he removed
to Colfax, Washington, where he accepted the position of president of Colfax College.
He remained in active connection with that institution for six years, and later removed
to Centralia, Washington, where he acted as president of Grace Seminary from 1899
until 1903.

In the latter year Mr. Trimble took up the practice of law and became associated with
lohn Pattison, one of the leading lawyers of Colfax, the present chairman of the demo-
cratic central committee of Washington, and in 1912 candidate for governor of the state.
His connection with Mr. Pattison continued for nine years under the firm style of Trimble
& Pattison and they were accorded a very extensive and important clientage. Mr. Trmible
afterward removed to Waterville, Douglas county, Washington, where he entered upon
general practice and during his residence there he served as county prosecuting attorney
for two years. He afterward removed to Seattle, arriving in June, 1907, at which time
he began general practice in this city, his attention having since been given to his pro-
fessional duties. He is an able and learned lawyer who in the preparation of his cases
prepares for defense as well as attack and is ever ready to meet the unexpected, which
happens quite as frequently in the courts as out of them. He has also become financially
interested in mining companies and of several is a director.

On the 25th of August, 1878, Mr. Trimble was married in Cambridge, Illinois, to Miss
Elizabeth C. Cairns, a daughter of the Rev. James Cairns, then pastor of the Baptist church
at that place. Mr. and Mrs. Trimble have two children : W. S., who is resident editor and
manager of the Wenatchee Daily World ; and Roy S., an orchardist of Entiat, Washington.
Mr. Trimble and his wife resided at 3831 Albion place and were widely and favorably
known in this city, having a large circle of friends among Seattle's best residents. Mrs.
Trimble died at Seattle, October i, 1915.

Mr. Trimble is a progressive and has always been active in politics since age conferred
upon him the right of franchise, seeking in this way to further the best interests of city,
state and country. He is a member of the Masonic lodge at Colfax. Washington, belongs
also to the Ancient Order of United Workmen and tlie Royal Highlanders and has mem-
bership in the Baptist church, in the teachings" of which he has found the rules which
govern his conduct. The story of the early struggles of Mr. Trimble after he started
out in the world for himself at the age of ten years and as he worked his way steadily


upward, coming nearer and nearer to the goal of success and prosperity, should serve to
inspire and encourage others, showing what may be accomplished when determination and
energy lead the way. He entered upon a profession where advancement depends entirely
upon individual merit and ability and his knowledge of the law well applied in the solution
of intricate legal problems that have confronted him, places him among the able attorneys
of the Seattle bar.



Keenly alive to the possibilities of every new avenue opened in the natural ramifica-
tions of trade. John Gordon McFee, in the utilization of opportunities which have come
to him, has entered into active connection with some of the most important business enter-
prises and corporate interests of Seattle and the northwest. Well defined plans and pur-
poses have carried him steadily forward until many large business concerns have felt the
stimulus of his cooperation and benefited by his executive force and administrative direc-
tion. For twenty years he was a prominent railroad contractor and has also had import-
ant holdings in timber properties and farm lands. He was born December 29, 1863, at
Russelltown, in the province of Quebec, Canada, his parents being John and Eliza (Gordon)
McFee, natives of Inverness, Scotland, and Russelltown, Canada, respectively. The father's
birth occurred m the Highlands of Scotland, where he remained until sixteen years of age,
when he accompanied his parents and their family to Canada. The Gordon family,
descended from old Puritan stock, removed to Canada from Vermont.

John Gordon McFee acquired a common school education in his native town and after-
ward was graduated from the Montreal Business College with the class of 1882. When
twenty-one years of age he left Canada and started westward, proceeding as far as Minne-
apolis, where he remained for six years, removing from that city to Seattle in l8go. In
his early career he engaged in bookkeeping and was also employed as paymaster in connec-
tion with railroad construction. Later he took up railroad contracting, which he has now
followed for two decades, and in this connection has built up a business of large propor-
tions that has taken him into Idaho, Oregon and British Columbia. He has expert
knowledge and experience along that line and has executed a number of very important
contracts. He has also made investments in timber lands, in creosoting timber and in
farm lands and he has an interest in various smaller business undertakings and invest-

His activities have constantly broadened in scope and in importance and with the
passing of the years his business interests have taken on organized form and have been
developed into some of the most important corporations of this section of the country with
Mr. McFee as one of the chief executive officers. He is now president of the firm of
G. W. Upper & Company, of the Russelltown Timber Company, the Philchuck Ranch Com-
pany and the McFee, Henry & McDonald Limited Company of Canada. He is also the
vice president of the Drummond Lighterage Company and of the Pacific Creosoting Com-
pany and is a trustee of the Northern Life Insurance Company. In his undertakings he
is largely associated with H. C. Henry and Malcolm McFee, and their interests are a most
important element in promoting the material prosperity and business development of the

On the 1st of September, i8gi, in San Francisco, California, Mr. McFee was united
in marriage to Miss Christena Louisa Gordon, a daughter of Charles and Ann (Edwards)
Gordon. To them have been born three children, namely : Annie Gordon, Susan Henry
and Louisa Catherine. The religious faith of Mr. McFee is indicated by his membership
in the Bethany Presbyterian church. His political indorsement is given to the republican
party and his social nature finds expression in his membership in the Rainier, Seattle Golf
and Country and the Seattle Golf Clubs. These associations also indicate much of the
nature of his interests and recreation. He is a man of pleasant, genial nature and his
affability and courtesy, combined with many sterling traits of character, have won for him
the warm friendship of those with whom he has been associated. It is in the broader

jOHX (i. Ml FEE


field of business, however, that he is most widely known, for his extensive connections have
gained him a large acquaintance, while his strong powers, his forcefulness and resource-
fulness have established his position in the front rank of Seattle's leading business men.
He has passed over the pitfalls into which unrestricted progressiveness is so frequently
led and has focussed his energies in directions where fruition is certain. If a pen picture
could accurately delineate his business characteristics it might thus be drawn : A progres-
sive spirit ruled by more than ordinary intelligence and good judgment; a deep earnestness
impelled and fostered by indomitable perseverance; a native justice expressing itself in
correct principle and practice.


David McVay, now living retired in Seattle enjoying the rest which he has truly earned
and richly deserves, was born in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, October i6, 1840, a son
of John and Christina McVay, who were also natives of the Keystone state. He acquired
his education in a little log schoolhouse which stood within forty miles of the site of the
present city of Pittsburgh. Starting out in the business world, he turned his attention to
the lumber trade, to which he devoted his entire active life, with the exception of about
two years spent in drilling for oil in Pennsylvania. He was engaged in the lumber busi-
ness in Michigan for about eighteen years and following his marriage in New York in
1866, he made his way to the Pacific coast, settling first at Eugene, Oregon. There he
remained for about two years, after which he went to Centralia, spending a year at that
place. He then removed to Buckley, where he owned and operated a lumber mill, in the
development of which he cleared up about ten thousand dollars, which was the founda-
tion of his present fortune. He built a mill there in the fall of 1887 and operated it until
the fall of 1888, when he removed to Ballard and organized the West Coast Manufactur-
ing & Investment Company, which afterward became the McVay & Bolcom Lumber Com-
pany. For a long period he successfully conducted business as a representative of the
lumber trade and prosperity attended his well directed activities. In 1905, however, he
disposed of his interest in the company and retired from active life, having gained a
handsome competence that places him among the substantial residents of the city.

Mr. McVay has figured more or less prominently in public affairs because of his promi-
nence in business and because of his activity as a supporter of the republican party. For
one term he was mayor of Ballard and for two terms was a member of the city council.
In 1895 he was elected to represent his district in the state legislature and proved an active
working member of the house. Fraternally he is connected with Ballard Lodge, No. 827,
B. P. O. E. He cares nothing for club life but passes many pleasant hours in association
with a number of other early settlers living in his vicinity, who meet at regular intervals
and enjoy recounting the incidents and experiences of the early days. Friendships between
them are of long standing and Mr. McVay is of that class who ever hold friendship inviola-
ble. Throughout his life he has displayed many sterling traits of character, being pro-
gressive and enterprising in business, loyal in citizenship and faithful in friendship.


Charles Hervey Lilly, president of the Charles H. Lilly Company, dealers in seeds
and manufacturers of poultry foods, is one of Seattle's representative business men and
for many years has been a prominent factor in the commercial history of this city. He
was born in Champaign county, Illinois, January 20, i860, a son of Robert Hervey Lilly,
who was born in Lexington, Kentucky, of Scotch ancestry. In 1842 he took up his resi-
dence in Champaign county, Illinois, and there gave some attention to agricultural pur-
suits. He was also a minister of the Presbyterian church. He died in 1873 at the age
of sixty-three years, leaving a widow and six children, of whom Charles H. is the eldest.


Mrs. Lilly, who bore the maiden name of Valeria Gordon, was of Irish descent, but was
born in Oswego, New York. When her husband died his large farm was mortgaged to
the limit and it seemed almost impossible to save it. However, she decided to make the
effort and with the assistance of our subject succeeded in keeping the mortgage interest
paid and after five years of hard work and the closest economy their financial affairs
were in such shape that they were able to gain an unencumbered title to one hundred and
sixty acres of the farm by selling the remainder. The quarter section remained in the
possession of the family until 1890.

Although Charles H. Lilly was but thirteen years of age when he assumed this heavy
burden, he kept the younger children in school and also secured a good education himself.
He was graduated from the State University of Illinois in 1884 with the degree of
Bachelor of Science and immediately afterward opened a store in Thomasboro with E. F.
Bogardus. Two years later he purchased Iiis partner's interest and continued in business
alone for two years. He was also postmaster of that city. In March, 1889, before the
fire, he removed to Seattle and from March to November was engaged in street con-
tracting and in hauling building material. In that year his former partner, E. F. Bogardus,
came from California to visit him and they decided that Seattle offered excellent oppor-
tunities to young men desiring to engage in business for themselves. .'Accordingly, they
formed a partnership and for a short time did teaming. In the latter part of 1880 they
established the business as Lilly, Bogardus & Company, which is now conducted under
the name of the Charles H. Lilly Company. Their capital was only three thousand dollars
but by liard work and much natural business ability they soon enjoyed the largest hay
and grain trade in the northwest. In 1894 they incorporated, each owning a half interest
in the business, and at the same time they opened and incorporated a branch house at
Whatcom under the style of Lilly, Bogardus & Bacon. Four years later, however, this
Joranch was discontinued. In 1897 the discovery of gold in the Klondike gave the busi-
ness a fresh impetus and it grew with phenomenal rapidity. In 1904 Mr. Lilly had acquired
all other partners' interests and the style under which the company has since operated is
the Charles H. Lilly Company. Although the business was first confined to dealing in
hay and grain, many other lines have since been added and the company is now chiefly
known through its extensive trade in seeds of all kinds — flower, garden and field, the last
including the grasses and cereals. The company grows many of its own seeds, carefully
acclimating the best varieties of plants. They often contract for the whole harvest of
some section, especially the rich lands of the La Conner flats. The seeds so obtained are
brought to Seattle and are here cleaned and scientifically tested for fredom from impuri-
ties and also for the percentage of germinating qualities. The Lilly seeds are known not
only over the whole Pacific littoral, including Alaska, but are also marketed east to the
Atlantic ocean and Europe and west to Honolulu and the Orient. The company is perhaps
most famous for its cabbage and cauliflower seeds, which are sold throughout the world.
Another line in which the company is engaged has also developed beyond expectation,
namely, the manufacture of poultry foods. It also manufactures and sells various sprays
for the preservation of crops from the attacks of insects and its soluble sulphur spray has
attracted a big market, particularly in such apple districts as Wenatchee and the Yakima
valley. In addition to all of the lines of activity mentioned, the firm owns the New North
Coast Flouring Mills and is gaining a wide reputation as a manufacturer of whole wheat
and of white flour.

The Charles H. Lilly Company has recently transferred its wholesale and manufactur-
ing plant to a location on Harbor island near the waterway, its grounds comprising three
acres of land. There is an entire block of grain storage tanks, a three-story executive and
main office, a warehouse, soluble sulphur plant and power house, and the establishment is
regarded as one of the most complete in the west. To indicate the great care which has
been taken in the construction of all of the buildings it is only necessary to call attention
to the fact that in order to insure the preservation of grain in perfect condition, the storage
tanks were built of concrete with a concrete outer wall and roof. The buildings cost about
two hundred thousand dollars and are completely equipped in every respect. There are
side tracks laid capable of accommodating forty railway cars and there is a wharf to
which ocean-going steamers as well as local vessels may repair. The company still retains


its old quarters at the foot of Main street and transacts its retail business there. The
torehouses warehouses and mill of the New North Coast Flourmg Mills, owned by the
Chits H Lilly Conipany, are the largest and best arranged to be f°und under one roof
h'the west. The docks, which adjom the large warehouse, are one hundred and fave b>
our hundred and sixty feet, and the wharf building is eighty by our hundred and s.xty
eet Their new roller process flouring mill has a capacity of three hundred and htt,
barrels per day, which can be increased to f^ve hundred barrels daUy. The capital of the
company has grown from three thousand dollars to four hundred thousand dollars a^>d
tfer^pfoyes from one or two occasional hands to a permanent staff of two bundled. Dur-
ing t^e past ten years a branch has also been conducted in Portland. It is obvious that
he remarklb growth and expansion of the business of the company has reacted upon
;,;: commercial 'and manufactuHng development of Seattle and has been mauential in
■.!,„ o;t,.'<: Tirpctitrp as a center of trade and industry.

A. !^%hrne He also belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America and to the Na lonal
citizens of Seattle.


their removal to Seattle, wnere ne ^ mpsseneer office boy and in other

employed at various occupations, ac ing as elevator boy. -essenge^- ° j^ ^^^ ^,^^

humble capacities, earning his own hvmg from '^e age of eigh e^. year^ ^ ^^^^^_

he attained his maiority he entered the «-P'°>- °^ f ;;;\^ ™her and for two years
_, acting in that capa.t^ ^^ -o V - ^— -^ ^ J-,,, , clerical position as

Online LibraryClarence BagleyHistory of Seattle from the earliest settlement to the present time (Volume 3) → online text (page 55 of 142)