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

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properties there.

His identification with the northwest dated from 1898. While visiting this section
of tlie country he first invested in Seattle property and as the years went on he improved
and developed those properties which he thus controlled. He was largely instrumental in
fixing the business center of Seattle by erecting on Second avenue the Estabrook build-
ing, the Arcade building, the Whitcomb building, the Arcade Anne.x building, the Amherst
building and the Washington Anne.x Hotel. He felt that Seattle was destined to become
the metropolis in the northwest and proved his faith in its future by continuing to pur-
chase and improve property and found his faith justified in the growth and development of
the city. Of him it has been said: "A man of rare ability, absolute integrity and irre-
proachable character, he was a unique blending of the forceful traits of the successful man
of action and the sweet and lovable disposition of the Christian father. For keen judg-
ment and the unflinching courage to act on that judgment, regardless of obstacles, discour-
agements and the desertion even of his business associates, Mr. Whitcomb has been a
marked leader in his generation. His leadership has not been of exhortation or preaching,
or even public example, but the quiet, unobtrusive pushing ahead into new fields through-
out his long life."

In 1865 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Whitcomb and Miss Abbie Estabrook, a
daughter of Frank and Margaret Estabrook, of Dayton, Ohio, and they became parents
of seven children, four of whom reached adult age. The mother passed away in 1900 and
in 1902 the daughter, Emma Caroline, was called to her final home. The three surviving
sons are: Henry E., of Worcester; David, living in Seattle; and Ernest M., of Amherst,
Massachusetts. Mr. Whitcomb was again married in 1902, his second union being with
Mrs. Elizabeth S. Wickware, of Seattle.

To have instituted and controlled mammoth business interests and the attainment of
notable success entitles one to more than passing notice, but the life work of Mr. Whit-
comb contained many other valuable lessons which might be profitably considered and
pondered. While he attempted important things and accomplished what he attempted,
his success never represented another's losses but resulted from eflfort intelligently applied
and the generous use which he made of his means in assisting others marked him as a
man of kindly spirit who recognized the obligations and responsibilities of wealth. He
constantly labored for the right and from his earliest youth he devoted a large portion of
his time to the service of others. The cause of education was one of his deepest interests
and he was elected to the position of a life trustee of Amherst College. His service of a
number of years on the finance committee was an element in greatly enlarging the endow-
ment fund of tliat institution. In 1897-8 he acted as treasurer of the college, covering an
emergency period in its historj' and aiding in establishing its business on a successful basis.
For many years he was a trustee and a member of the finance committee of Mount Holyoke
College for girls at South Hadley, Massachusetts, and other institutions found in him a
friend and supporter. It would be difficult to measure the extent of his aid and influence,
for he was constantly helping a fellow traveler on life's journey, putting forth his efforts
for good where assistance was most needed and thus becoming a factor in ameliorating hard
conditions for the unfortunate and supplanting want with comfort.

His religious faith was evidenced in his membership in the Plymouth Congregational
church of Worcester, which he joined in early life and remained thereafter an active
member and generous supporter. For many years he was teacher of a Sunday school
class, was a trustee of his c'nurch and at the time of his death was serving as deacon.



486 HISTORY OF SEATTLE

He not only labored in the church in which he held membership but in that greater organiza-
tion which reached out as a Christianizing influence over the country. He served as a mem-
ber of the prudential committee of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign
Missions during sixteen years and acted as chairman of the board. During all those years
he rarely failed to attend its weekly meetings in Boston, thus making a sacrifice that few
business men would do. After the rules of the American board retired him from his posi-
tion, he was made a member of the executive and finance committee of the American Mis-
sionary Association — the great home missionary agent of the Congregational church —
and regularly attended their meetings in New York city until he was forbidden by his
physician to make the journey. He was a man of very deep religious beliefs which found
expression in his every day life. His kindness to the unfortunate was not impelled by a
sense of duty but by a sincere interest in his fellowmen, and the sincerity and sim-
plicity of his daily life was most beautiful and formed an even balance with his business
strength and resourcefulness. Throughout his entire life he never deviated from a course
that he believed to be right and he occupied a central place on the stage of action not only
in commercial but also in church and humanitarian circles.



WILLIAM WALKER.



Extensive and important are the business interests which claim the attention and
which profit by the direction of William Walker, a capitalist, largely interested in the
Puget Mill Company and the Puget Sound Commercial Company, his identification with
the latter being that of vice president. Ready discernment of advantages of a situation,
a quickness in discriminating between the essential and the nonessential features of busi-
ness, a notable power in combining unrelated and ofttimes seemingly diverse elements
into a unified and harmonious whole have been salient features in his career. He made his
start in the business world at the age of fifteen years, previous to which time his train-
ing had been that of farm life with the further advantages of a public school and acade-
mic education, the latter acquired in Skowhegan, Maine.

A native of the Pine Tree state, William Walker was born in Solon, November i,
1840, a son of James Martin and Eliza (Heald) Walker. The family is of ancient Scotch
lineage, removing to the north of Ireland in the reign of James I. The line of descent
of William Walker is as follows : I. Rev. George Walker lived in Londonderry, Ire-
land, and died there in 1689. II. Andrew Walker settled at Tewksberry, Massachusetts,
and died there in 1739. He was an uncle of General John Stark, of Revolutionary fame.
III. James Walker, of Goflfstown, New Hampshire, married a daughter of Colonel
John GofT, for whom that town was named. IV. Silas Walker, of Goffstown. V. Will-
iam Walker was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1770 and served in the War of
1812. VI. James Martin Walker, born in Goffstown in 1798, married Eliza Heald, a
daughter of Colonel Jonas Heald, of Acton, New Hampshire. VII. Cyrus Walker. VIII.
William Walker.

Leaving the farm at the age of fifteen years, William Walker was employed for a
brief period in a carriage factory and for some time in a machine shop in Skowhegan,
Maine, and he became the owner of a one-fourth interest in a chisel and skate factory
in Skowhegan. The year 1868 witnessed his arrival in Washington, whither he came for
the purpose of visiting his brother Cyrus, making the journey by way of Panama and
Aspinwall. Here he remained until the overland railway to California was completed
and by that road he returned to his home in New England. But the west had taken firm
hold upon him and he immediately disposed of his interests in the chisel and skate factory
at a loss and with his family returned to this state in 1870. Settling at Port Gamble, he
became master mechanic with the Puget Mill Company and was advanced to the
position of engineer in chief, his time being thus spent for seven years. In 1877 he
purchased stock in the Puget Mill Company, which has always been a close corporation,
Mr. Walker being the only man outside of the original owners and their heirs to become a
stockholder in the business. The same year the Puget Sound Commercial Company was




WILLIAM WALKER



HISTORY OF SEATTLE 489

organized as an accessory enterprise to the Puget Mill Company, for the purpose of owning
and operating vessels to carry the mill product and conduct a general carrying trade to
foreign ports. The Puget Mill Company is a California corporation, while the Puget
Sound Commercial Company is a strictly Washington corporation, of which Cyrus Walker
has been president and William Walker the vice president from the beginning. Various
subsidiary companies have been instituted from time to time and many investments have
been made in timber lands, which have largely increased in value. The Puget Mill Com-
pany has developed many tracts in Seattle and laid out many desirable city additions.
William Walker is especialiy efficient in the indispensable technical details of manufactur-
ing. He has done much to adopt eastern models in order to handle the timber of this
coast. He made a number of important innovations which he did not patent that are now
in general and unrestricted use and he is regarded as the main factor in the evolution of
mill machinery in the northwest and in the development of technical milling operations.
To him work of that kind is a genuine pleasure and he has been an ardent student in that
field, making improvements continually.

On the 24th of January, 1864, in Skowhegan, Maine, IMr. Walker was married to Miss
Emma Jane Williams, who was a daughter of C. A. Williams, and who passed away July
6, 1910, leaving one child, Maud, now the wife of Edwin G. Ames, of Seattle.

Mr. Walker is an active and prominent Mason, holding membership in Franklin Lodge,
No. 5, F. & A. M., of Fort Gamble, which was the second ^lasonic lodge instituted in the
state. He is also a Knight Templar Mason and has attained the thirty-second degree in
Lawson Consistory. He belongs to the Rainier Club and is a life member of both the
Arctic and the Seattle Athletic Clubs. In a history of commercial development having
to do with the utilization of the natural resources of the northwest his name figures promi-
nently, his labors having constituted a dynamic force. He early had the prescience to
discern something of what the future had in store for this great and growing western coun-
try and, acting according to the dictates of his faith and judgment, he has reaped in the
fullness of time the rich harvests of his labors and also the aftermath.



EDWARD WYMAN CUMMINGS.

Motherless at the age of fourteen and starting out at that time to earn his own living,
Edward Wyman Cummings advanced steadily from the humble position of a grocery clerk
until he became one of the foremost engineers of the northwest. The position which he
attained in the field of his chosen profession is indicated by the fact that he was assistant
engineer of Seattle at the time of the construction of the Cedar river waterworks. He
was born at Bunker Hill, Illinois, September 20. 1862, a son of Jonathan Wyman Cummings
and a descendant of Hannah Cummings, who in 1814 married General Isaac Stevens, a
former governor of Washington territory and superintendent of Indian affairs. Jonathan
Wyman Cummings was born in Antrim, New Hampshire, in 1814 and at the time of the
Civil war served with the Army of the Mississippi. He was one of the seven hundred and
eighty-eight who lost their lives when the steamer Runyon sank in the Mississippi. The
ancestral history of Edward W. Cummings can be traced back to General Ebenezer Wal-
tron, who saw much active service during the first years of the Revolutionary war, taking
an active part in winning independence for the nation. During the succeeding twenty years
of his life he was a very active figure in political circles. It was during the infancy of
Edward W. Cummings that the father lost his life and the mother afterward married again.
She died when her son was but fourteen years of age, at which time he began earning his
own living, first as a grocery clerk in his stepfather's store and afterward in connection with
the engineering department of the city of St. Paul. He was a member of a surveying party
engaged on the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad and remained a resident of
the west, being continuously engaged in the engineering and contracting business to the
time of his death. There are now in active operation more than forty electric light plants
and waterworks systems that were designed and built by him in Washington, Oregon,
Idaho and Montana. As assistant engineer of Seattle he was actively engaged in the con-



490 HISTORY OF SEATTLE

struction of the Cedar river waterworks and it is due in no small measure to his efforts
that the city has such an efficient and adequate plant. At the time of his death he was
engaged in the execution of a contract for the Great Northern Railroad Company at
Vancouver, British Columbia. He had advanced far in his profession, developing his
powers through practical experience and at the same time he was very particular to broaden
his knowledge through the reading of scientific journals.

In 1897, at Walla Walla, Washington, Mr. Cummings was married to Miss Ida Babcock.
Her parents were Alfred and Ellen (Wilson) Babcock. Her father came to Washington
by wagon in 1859 and was the first merchant of Walla Walla. He also owned a farm
that covered what is now the center of the city and he filled the office of state grain inspec-
tor there. He was born in Maine and died in Walla Walla, Washington, in igi2, at the
age of sixty-eight years. His wife was a native of Missouri and from that state came
to the northwest. The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Cummings was Richard Babcock,
who also settled in Walla Walla in the early days and lived to the advanced age of ninety-
two years, being the oldest man in the state at the time of his death. He was considered
a remarkable speller and would carry off all the honors in that line. Mr. and Mrs. Cum-
mings became the parents of two children, Marion and Mildred.

In his political views Mr. Cummings was a republican and his religious faith found
expression in his membership in the Prospect Congregational church. He belonged to the
Arctic Club, to the Sons of the American Revolution and to the Engineers' Society. None
of the duties and responsibilities of life were by him neglected, yet his attention was chiefly
devoted to his profession, and his close application in his chosen life work placed him
in a most enviable and creditable position.



B. J. PERKINSON.



The life of the ordinary business man has none of those spectacular phases which
are manifest in connection with the career of the political or military leader but it is none
the less favorable and none the less essential, and the student of biography may learn much
that is worth while from the history of a man whose life is characterized by steady prog-
ress and an honorable utilization of opportunity. Such is the record of B. J. Perkinson,
a leading figure in real-estate circles in Seattle. He was born in Raleigh, North Carolina,
May I, 1879, a son of Benjamin J. and Eliza (McCullers) Perkinson. The father, now
deceased, was a native of North Carolina, and was a wagon maker by trade. For some
time he conducted business along that line very successfully but during the Civil war
period he devoted his factory to the manufacture of cannon and to other uses for pro-
moting the Confederate cause. His wife was a native of Scotland and in early girlhood
came with her parents to America. To Mr. and Mrs. Perkinson were born ten children,
of whom B. J. is the youngest.

After attending the public schools of Raleigh to the age of fourteen years he started
out in business life on his own account, being first employed as a messenger boy by W. H.
and R. S. Tucker & Company, leading merchants, who at that time owned and conducted
the largest dry-goods house in the south. His initial salary was two dollars per week and
he remained with the firm for two years but during that time was constantly studying
with the help of his mother, who was ambitious that he should have a good education and
be well qualified for life's practical and responsible duties. The other members of the fam-
ily had all been given liberal educational opportunities, attending college or universitj', but
the war caused the complete financial ruin of the father and B. J. Perkinson was there-
fore obliged to begin work at an early age, which naturally curtailed his educational oppor-
tunities. After leaving his first employers he was with the Allen & Crane Company,
mechanical engineers of Raleigh, North Carolina, serving an apprenticeship of four years,
during which time he gained comprehensive knowledge of the business, acquainting himself
with fine machine work, patent tool work, etc. He never followed the trade, however, for'
after spending four years as an apprentice he joined a companion, John Harrell, and
started upon a tour that covered several months. They had a cinematograph, purchased



HISTORY OF SEATTLE 491

of G. Lubin, of Philadelphia, which was the first effort ever made in the United States
in what has since developed into the moving picture business. They gave exhibits all
along the Atlantic coast, through the towns of the south, but the venture proved a failure,
as the public had not then been educated to enjoy the "movies" and of course in that
initial stage the working of the machine was somewhat crude.

All this time Mr. Perkinson had studied music, being a great lover of the art, and
after the cinematograph venture he entered the field as a salesman for pianos, organs and
sewing machines. He left his native state and located in Baltimore, Maryland, becoming
associated with the H. R. Eisenbrandt music house, the oldest in Baltimore. He represented
the firm in the sale of pianos for several years and was afterward with John Wanamaker,
of New York, acting as a salesman in the piano and art department in the great New York
store. Sometime afterward he became associated with the Steinway interests, which he
represented in Los Angeles, California, during the succeeding two and a half years. At
the end of that time he was sent to San Francisco, where the Steinway pianos are handled
by the great house of Sherman, Clay & Company. Sometime afterward he was trans-
ferred to Seattle, where he arrived in 1904, becoming sales manager for Sherman, Clay &
Company in this city. After a year, however, he decided to enter the real-estate business
on his own account and when he had conducted an independent business for a period he
became manager for the McLaughlin Realty Company, entering upon that connection in
1907. He continued with the company for three years, or until 1910, when he accepted the
position of manager with John Davis & Company, conducting the largest real-estate busi-
ness west of the Mississippi river, employing fifty-three men in the office alone. He has
since retained this connection and is a well known representative of real-estate circles
in Seattle. He fills the most important position with the firm and an annual business
exceeding over two million dollars passes through his house.

On the 29th of July, 1905, Mr. Perkinson was married in St. Mark's church in Seattle,
by the Rev. Dr. Lloyd, to Miss Irene Mercer Caskey, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph
Curtis Caskey, a native of Saginaw, Michigan, and of Scotch descent. They have two chil-
dren: Gene C., born February 2, 1908; and Benjamin Jordan, born June 20, 1914.

The family reside at No. 509 Seventeenth avenue North, and the religious faith of
Mr. and Mrs. Perkinson is that of the Baptist church. In politics he is a democrat and
his interest in social affairs is manifest in his membership in the Seattle Athletic, the
Seattle Automobile and the Seattle Gun Clubs. He finds his chief diversion and recrea-
tion in fishing, hunting and motoring. He leads a very active business life and his indi-
vidual efforts have brought him to the front as one of the foremost real-estate dealers
of the northwest. His life record indicates what may be accomplished in this field where
effort and ambition are unhampered by caste or class. Working his way steadily upward
from the age of fourteen years, dependent entirely upon his own resources, he has advanced
steadily step by step and each forward move that he has made has brought him a broader
outlook and wider opportunities, until he now figures as the chief factor in the extensive
real-estate transactions which are being annually made in Seattle.



GEORGE WATKIN EVANS.

George VVatkin Evans has done a great deal of important work in the field of mining
engineering and is one of the best known consulting mining engineers in the northwest.
He was born in Abercarne, South Wales, March 5, 1876, a son of Watkin and Catherine
Evans, who are at present living at Renton, King county, Washington. The father engaged
in coal mining in his native land. The parents are great lovers of vocal music, a charac-
teristic of the Welsh people, and they are also devoted to the Baptist church, to which they
belong.

George W. Evans was graduated from the State College of Washington at Pullman,
Washington, in the department of mining engineering with the class of 1903 and received
both the Bachelor of Science and the Engineer of Mines degrees. Through his technical
school training he gained a scientific knowledge of the mining industry but many years



492 HISTORY OF SEATTLE

before he had become identified with mining, as when only eleven years of age he entered
the coal mines of this state and worked therein for ten years, the practical knowledge of
conditions and methods which he gained proving of great importance to him in his later
work. He became a member of the Geological Survey and in 1897 took an outfit to the
Klondike. He was later engaged in mining for some time and subsequently became chief
of coal surveys of the Washington Geological Survey, which important position he filled
from 1909 to 1912. His excellent work attracted the attention of large eastern interests
and he became their examining mining engineer and examined large Canadian coal fields
for Canadian and London capital. In 191 1 and again in 1913 he was consulting mining engi-
neer for the United States Bureau of Mines and has also held that position in the United
States Navy, in which capacity he examined the Matanuska coal field for the navy during
the summer of 1913. He is also consulting mining engineer for the coal division, North-
ern Pacific Railroad, and is consulting mining geologist for the Carbon Hill Coal Company
and mining engineer for the Hyde Coal Company. He is recognized as an authority in this
field and is well known throughout engineering circles in America.

Mr. Evans was married in Garfield, Washington, March 12, 1902, to Miss Olivia L.
Laird, a daughter of Samuel T. and Elizabeth Laird. Mrs. Evans has a college education,
is very fond of music and is devoted to her home and children, taking little pleasure in
society. She has three sons, Watkin L., Blodwen E. and Lloyd George.

Mr. Evans is an ardent republican, believing that the party's principles are best
adapted to secure the permanent prosperity of the country. Fraternally he is a thirty-
second degree Mason and a member of the Mystic Shrine and in his dealings with his
fellows embodies the spirit of brotherhood that is the foundation of that great order. He
is also a member of the National Geographic Society and along strictly professional lines
belongs to the American Institute of Mining Engineers. He has gained an enviable posi-
tion in his profession and through the integrity of his life has also won the confidence and
good will of all who have come in contact with him.



HARRY A. BIGELOW.



Harry A. Bigelow of Seattle had a wide acquaintance throughout the northwest and
his demise, which occurred on the 28th of July, 1907, in Karlsbad, Austria, was deeply
deplored by the many who had learned to esteem highly his business ability and to honor
and respect him for his sterling worth as a man. He had extensive mining interests, was
for a number of years engaged in the real estate and brokerage business and was one of
the incorporators of the Queen Oil Company', owning valuable lands in Kern county,
California. He was also a leader in fraternal circles and in the Grand Army of the
Republic.



Online LibraryClarence BagleyHistory of Seattle from the earliest settlement to the present time (Volume 3) → online text (page 58 of 142)