Friday, November 21, 2014

The lumber industry - Miller and Sons Shingle Mill. part 2 of 2.

Mr. Mike Miller has very generously shared a wealth of photographs and information of his grandfather's business, Miller and Sons Shingle Mill from the early days of Sumas. 

According to Mr. Miller, his grandfather Clarence Leonidas Miller and his Great Uncle Percy, moved from Iowa to Port Angeles, WA in 1889 where their father, Michael Hagar Miller was working at a mill (possibly as the owner).  In 1900, the brothers relocated to Bellingham and attended Western Washington Normal School with their sisters. Michael Hagar also moved to Whatcom County, working at the Washington Shingle Company.

In 1905, Michael Hagar Miller purchased the Hastings Mill at Van Buren, WA.  This facility became the original Miller and Sons Shingle Mill.  The Van Buren townsite has now reverted to farmland but was approx. halfway between Everson, WA and Sumas (3 miles SW of Sumas) on what is now Van Buren Road.
Picture 1
 The original Miller and Sons Mill at Van Buren, WA
posted with permission from the M. Miller collection

Picture 2
Detail from picture 1 
 The two men seated on the boards are Clarence Leonidas Miller (on the left) and Percy Miller (on the right). 
posted with permission from the M. Miller collection.
In 1906, Michael Hagar Miller's wife Louisa died and in 1908 he also died leaving the boys the mill at Van Buren.   In 1918 Clarence and Percy bought the Cline Mill in Sumas renaming it the Miller and Sons Shingle Mill (see my previous post 
Picture 3
It appears from the letterhead in picture 3 that Percy managed the Van Buren mill and
Clarence Leonidas managed the Sumas mill. 
posted with permission from the M. Miller collection
Picture 4
posted with permission from the M. Miller collection
picture 5
Posted with permission from the M. Miller collection.
picture 6
 picture 6 shows the mill at Sumas, WA.  Notice the mill owner Clarence Leonidas Miller's son Clarence Leon (M. Miller's father), on the top of the shingle pile
Posted with permission from the M. Miller collection.

picture 7
Another picture of Clarence Leon with an unident. lady at the Sumas mill.
Posted with permission from the M. Miller collection

 picture 8

This a picture of Clarence Leon Miller (b. 23 Dec, 1921 - d. 30 Jan. 2008) son of Clarence Leonidas and Johanna Miller, in front of the mill in Sumas. 
Posted with permission from the M. Miller collection
 picture 9
Miller and Sons Shingle Mill was the proud owner of some of the first Duplex 4 trucks. 
'Duplex manufactured one of the early 4 x 4 trucks starting in 1916 until they switched over to making fire engines.  The Duplex manufacturing company was originally located in Charlotte, Michigan.  In 1955, the company was bought out by the Warner and Swasey Company and continued production till 1975. (Michigan State univ. archive and hist. collection) 
In the above picture, the driver of the lead truck was Cliff Howe.  The driver of the rear truck was Glen Vail. (written on the picture back).  Picture 9 was taken in August of 1925.
posted with permission from the M.Miller collection
picture 10
posted with permission from the collection of M.Miller
picture 11
The Miller and Sons Shingle Mill trucks hard at work in the field.   Notice the dog laying in the shade between them.
posted with permission from the M. Miller collection
 picture 12
driver Cliff Howe with the mill owner's son, Clarence Leon standing on the front tire (August, 1925).
posted with permission from the M. Miller collection
picture 13

driver Glenn Vail with the mill owners son, Clarence Leon standing on the engine cover (August 1925) next to the Mill in Sumas (Johnson Creek).
According to M. Miller,  during the early 1920s Clarence Leonidas and Percy Miller had a falling out over finances.  The brothers went their own directions and supposedly never spoke to each other again.  Percy ended up in Granite Falls and the mill he founded there is still in operation
and is believed to be the largest supplier of cedar shakes and shingles in the nation.

My next post will be the third and final instalment regarding Miller and Sons and will continue the larger thread covering the lumber industry here in sunny Sumas!  See you then...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Lumber industry - Miller and Sons Shingle Mill part 1 of 2

In the last posting, I presented pictures of Miller and Sons parade float at the Sumas Roundup in 1923 and planned to follow up on a the mill itself.   The picture below was the only picture I found with the name of the company visible.  
Credited to the Central Washington University, James E. Brooks Library digital collection.
Miller and Sons shingle mill was established by brothers Clarence L. Miller (b. 1886) and Percy David Miller (b. 1889).  The brothers moved to Whatcom County from Iowa in 1910 and worked in the local lumber industry.  In 1918, they started the business, Miller and Sons, which successfully operated through 1971.   Percy sold his share off in 1921 but continued in the industry in Whatcom, Skagit and King Counties.   Clarence and Johanna Millers son Clarence Jr. was born December 23, 1921.  In 1950 Clarence Junior became a partner in Miller and Sons.  The senior Clarence was also the treasurer of the Sumas Roundup Association and can be seen pictured in my posting, Sumas Roundup "See 'em Buck, part 13 of 14

A receipt from Miller and Sons shingle mill
Printed with permission from the Wes Gannaway collection.

I was fortunate to speak with lifelong Sumas resident Josephine Fadden who used to assist with Miller and Sons banking needs.  She informed me that Miller and Sons was located on the N side of Front Street, in between the bridge crossing Sumas Creek and Cherry Street.  After the mill was removed, the site was turned into a picnic area (with free campsite for weary travelers) .  This picnic area was shut down a number of years ago and it is now overgrown with brush and blackberries  It is hard to imagine a large vibrant mill operating at this location. 
 A panorama, looking NE with Sumas Drugs to the right, taken at the intersection of Front St. (West/East) and the Burlington Northern right of way (North/South).
Photo taken by David Morgan, 12 November, 2014

Map 1 
1914 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map (portion)
Printed with permission from the City of Sumas.

Map 1 is a small portion of the 1914 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the Cline Lumber Company's shingle mill which went into operation in 1912 (L.M. Cline, owner). 
Map 2
                             1925 revision to the 1914 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map (portion)
                                   Printed with permission from the Krieg family collection.
Map 2 shows a 1925 revision of the Sanborn Fire Insurance map and shows the Cline Lumber Co. has been taken over by the Sumas Mill Co.  The Sumas Mill Co operated the mill from sometime after 1914 until 1918 when Miller and Sons purchased it.  It appears the maps weren't revised on a yearly basis.  
The lumber industry was one of the leading early success stories here in Sumas.  There have been 18+ lumber mills in the Sumas area since the 1880s.  Those mills have been a major job source and income for the community.  The lumber industry still has an important role here in Sumas and my next posting will share more photographs and information on the topic.
See you next time!

Friday, October 24, 2014

First prize float at the Sumas Rodeo parade - 1923, Miller and Sons shingle mill

This is a delightful series of photographs of the first prize winning float of the Sumas Rodeo parade of 1923, kindly shared by Mr. M. Miller.  According to Mr. Miller, the rodeo in 1923 was known as the 'Sumas Rodeo'.  The name was changed to 'Sumas Roundup' the following year. 
Mr. Miller's grandfather, Clarence Leonidas "Leon" Miller ran 'Miller and Sons Shingle Mill' in Sumas.  Clarence was an active local businessman and involved with the Sumas Roundup over the years.  He served as treasurer of the Sumas Roundup Association.  
The photo below, shows the float that won first prize in the Sumas Rodeo parade, 22 September, 1923.   According to Mr. Miller, it was used as a playhouse after the parade by his father (pictured in the bottom photo) and still used through the 1960s and into the 1970s by Mr. M. Miller as well.
I bet they were the envy of all of the kids in the neighborhood!

 Posted with permission from the M. Miller's collection
 Posted with permission from Mr. M. Miller's collection
Posted with permission from Mr. M. Miller's collection

In my next posting, let's start to explore the history of the lumber industry in Sumas by looking at the shingle mill owned and operated by Miller and Son's and what it meant for the community.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The decline of the Sumas Roundup and the rise of the Bull-A-Rama!

The Sumas Roundup was a success attracting cowboys from all over the Canada and the United States.  In 1924 there was over $5000.00 of prize money over a three day show. (A considerable amount of money for the times.)  The success continued through the 1920s and brought in big name cowboys that were thrilling for the spectators to see.  
Jack Lockbaum, who resided in Sumas during the Roundup heyday, was interview in 1979 in which he stated "For those four days it was really busy. I would be down there by 10:00 a.m. in the morning to help in the grandstands and every night there was a dance.  I wouldn't get home till early morning then sleep 1/2 hour and get up to milk."
However the Roundup came to a crashing halt due to the Great Depression.  The money simply wasn't available for the luxury of the taking the family to the Roundup.  It was determined that it wasn't economically feasible to continue.  So in 1930 the Sumas Roundup was cancelled.
In 1937, a promoter named John E. Hartwig decided to try to revive the Sumas Roundup.   He leased the Roundup grounds and made elaborate plans by importing animals and inviting President Roosevelt to attend.  The event was a disappointment when it ended up being a rainy weekend (and the President didn't come).   There was also legal challenges due to some mix ups regarding who was granted concession booth.  The 1937 Roundup only brought in about  8000 spectators instead of the 15,00 to 25,000 people of the 1920s.  
The attempt to keep the Sumas Roundup active went from 1937 through 1940. There was a lot of struggles financially.  The promoters were also busy dealing with a  lawsuit from the Whatcom County Humane Society trying to ban Calf Roping. The prize money was not as lucrative making it so it was not as appealing to the professional rodeo cowboys.
The photograph below features the Rodeo Royalty of the 1938 Sumas Roundup.   I don't have any information regarding who they were.  Anyone knows?
Photograph credited to the Whatcom Museum Photo Archives, Bellingham, WA
The 1940s brought new challenges that hurt the success of the Sumas Roundup.  The already financially strapped venue took another hit when border regulations became more stringent.  It became more difficult for cowboys and livestock to cross the border.  World War II took the men away and there wasn't enough staffing or cowboys available to run the show.
In 1944 the town offered the grandstand for sale.  Lumber was in high demand due to all of the wartime construction  that was going on.  Virgil Hoffman won the bid on the grandstand and disassembled it.  He used to the lumber to build the house where Virgil and LaVoun Hoffman lived for many years on the southwest corner of Sumas and Vancouver Street.  The house is still standing and is shown below.   (Who remembers receiving popcorn balls on Halloween night from Mrs. Hoffman while trick and treating at the little house?)
Photograph taken by Deborah Morgan, May 21, 2014
All is not lost!  Rodeos still happen in Sumas.   Maybe not as large or fancy as the Sumas Roundup but the Sumas Junior Rodeo still draws an enthusiastic crowd.   Pictured below is the 1974 Sumas Rodeo Royalty.  On the left is Geris Carlson waving her hat.  I need help identifying the other girls. 
There still is a Junior Rodeo at Sumas, Washington!
Photo by Jack Carver, Whatcom Museum
Sumas is also the proud home of the Bull A Rama!  It is held twice a year and draws a respectable crowd!  The three pictures below show the September 13, 2014 Bull a Rama!  The community turns out to enjoy the excitement of watching the bull riders show their stuff!  The Bull a Rama continue to use the Sumas Roundup logo,  "See Em Buck!"

 Photograph taken by Deborah Morgan, Sept 13, 2014
 Photograph  taken by Deborah Morgan, September 13, 2014
Photograph taken by Deborah Morgan, September 13, 2014

 The men who had the vision in the 1923 would surely be proud of what our town offers today.  The rodeo ground is currently successful as a community venue.  (Even it isn't as large as the Pendleton Roundup anymore).   It is still something to be proud of.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sumas Roundup - "See 'Em Buck" Part 14 of 14

Some more action photographs at the Sumas Roundup taken by renowned photographer Ralph Doubleday.  

Posted with permission from the Wes Gannaway Collection
A hard landing by Dewey Troube off a bronc named Cal Coolidge.  I wonder if the name of the bronc was a comment on the current president of the time.  


Posted with permission from the Snyder family Collection
Ben Brown on the bronc 'Big Enough'

 Posted with permission from the Snyder family collection
Norman Cowan on the bronc 'Chestnut'
 Norman Cowan was from Gresham, Oregon and was a well known all-round cowboy.  He was well travelled and followed the rodeo circuit around the west. According to an article in the 'East Oregonian' newspaper September 5, 1910, Norman Cowan set a Pendleton Roundup record in bulldogging when he took down his steer in 13 and 3/5 second in 1926.  Cowan was on the World Champion Pro-Rodeo Roping team in 1930.  He also took second place riding a bronce named 'Sontag' at the 1925 rodeo in Tucson, winning money and a pair of chaps.  Hopefully I will be able to track his history further.

Posted with Permission from the Snyder family collection.
Charlie Johnson took quite a spill off a wild steer. 
posted with permission from the Morgan family collection.
A delightful silk ribbon that was a spectator souvenir from the 1926 Roundup held 4th, 5th and 6th of September.
The last 14 posts have been about the early Sumas Roundup during the 1920s.  This was truly the golden years for Sumas as far as the rodeo was concerned.   In my next posting I will discuss the history of the long decline and what came after of the roundup.  For the many people who contacted me regarding the Roundup history, thank you for your input and interest.  This is a continuing project.   I will continue to add to the 'See 'Em Buck' posts as new material comes to light.  There is so much to talk about in our wonderful community.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sumas Roundup - "See 'Em Buck" Part 13 of 14 Promoting the Roundup, 1926 / 27

The following photographs and clippings were kindly shared by Mr. M. Miller, a grandson of Clarence "Leon" Miller of Miller's and Son Mill, here in sunny Sumas.  It is with his generous permission that I am able to post the following:

In 1926, members of the Sumas Roundup Association took a trip, with a Hesselgrave Company bus, loudly promoting the Sumas Roundup to the Elk convention in Tacoma, WA.   They hammed it up and in good humor encouraged all to come to the roundup. 

 Art Linn promoting the Sumas Roundup.
Reverse side of the above photo. The note was sent to Art Linn's wife, Nannie.
left to right:   Clarence "Leon" Miller, Dave Johnson and Art Linn.
The Hesselgrave bus in the background.
This is from the Bellingham Reveille, September 5th, 1925.  Quoted below this picture was the following:
"C.D. Soule (left), treasurer; Charley M. Eneix (center), president, and A.W. Linn (right), secretary, of the Sumas Roundup Association, posed yesterday for this picture, just to show you how they will be extending a glad hand to you today, tomorrow and Monday, the three big days for the annual roundup. Of course the three officers will be too busy to be at the gate extending the welcoming shake to the thousands who enter, but the glad feeling they have for the patrons will be in their hearts.
Three years ago the Sumas Roundup started with a traveling rodeo troupe.  Today it has reached the size of a huge affair, with champions vying with hundreds of contestants from all over the country for prize money in this spectacular event of the big out-of-doors.   The show is owned by Sumas and community, staged entirely by volunteers and pays neither salaries nor dividends.  It is a community project and entered into wholeheartedly by residents of the district."
Another clipping from the Bellingham Herald, September 3rd, 1927 about the Sumas Roundup. It reads as follows:
Art Linn
"Secretary of the Sumas Roundup Association as he will appear on the grounds tomorrow.  Art is known as the 'Lutefisk Preacher' of Sumas.  A little over a year ago, Art was in Tacoma boosting the roundup and gave a Lutefisk talk to the audience in one of the largest cafĂ© in that city.   For three quarters of an hour the audience sat spellbound not a mouthful was eaten and most of the audience had tears in their eyes - from laughing.  As a treasurer of the vaudeville state, Art would be a big topnotcher.  But when it comes to boosting Sumas and the Sumas Roundup, Art is there with bells.  The picture in the background shows Dave Johnson trying to ride his imported lutefisk horse at the roundup.  The small picture at the bottom is Charlie Eneix introducing Art Linn to the audience."

Another clipping about the 1926 journey to Tacoma to promote the Sumas Roundup.  This picture previously seen in 'See Em Buck'  Part 2,  4 June, 2014. .
 The newspaper text is as follows:
"Leave it to the boys of Sumas to advertise their Roundup.  At the recent Elks convention they were there in force with their own private stage.  They sure owned the city during their stay, and if there is anybody in Tacoma who doesn't know where Sumas is, it's their own fault.   You will notice in the above picture Charlie Eneix, president of the Sumas Roundup.  O.D. Post, dog catcher of Sumas; James Hesselgrave, champion fox-trotter of the Sumas Roundup dance pavilion;  Art Linn, the Lutefisk Swede Preacher; "Red" Thomas who sang the song, "Darling I am Growing Old" at the Tacoma Grill.  Will Grenbladt, mayor of Company M. of the immigration force, made a fine showing drilling his men.  Mr. Dean West made a splendid speech at the Tacoma stadium on the Sumas Roundup.  Mr. L. Wagner spent most of his time bulldogging while in Tacoma.  While William Gaston and his red shirt made quite a hit at the Elk Convention.   They will be all on exhibition at the Sumas Roundup, September 4, 5, 6 and they will sure show you a good time."

Left to right:  C. Miller, treasurer,  Art Linn, Secretary, C. M. Eneix, President and Joe Brown, Vice President.

The same photo as above as it appeared in the newspaper, with a handwritten note on it saying B. Herald Sat.
Again for easier reading:
"Nearly every resident of Sumas takes some part of the successful promotion of the annual roundups.  A fine community spirit has been developed through the staging of the big Western frontier show.  The directors are left to righth C. Miller, treasurer; A. W. Linn, secretary; C.M. Eneix, President; and Joe Brown, Vice President.  George Dunlap, not shown in this photograph is trustee." 


                                                        " Sumas Roundup" by Charley Gant
                                 as it appeared in the Bellingham Herald, 3 September, 1927.
                                                              Thanks for visiting my blog.
                                                                      See you tomorrow!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sumas Roundup - "See 'Em Buck" Part 12 of 14

Just when I thought I was almost finished posting about the Sumas Roundup I received wonderful e-mails from two different gentlemen who had more information on the subject.  Thanks to their generous contributions I have a few more postings and revisions to make.

Photograph posted with permission from the collection of Mr. M. Miller.
This is a photograph of Art Linn entertaining the crowd with a tomahawk dance.  Arthur Linn was the secretary for the Round-Up Association and a respected  businessman in Sumas.  
The following biography is  in the History of Whatcom County, Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, Published 1926, page 262.  It is also available on the following on-line link:
"Linn, Arthur W.
    Arthur W. Linn, one of the representative business men of Sumas and formerly mayor of the town, received no assistance at the outset of his career and all that he now possesses has been won through the medium of his own efforts. He was born January 12, 1884, in the state of Minnesota, and is a son of John and Mary (Linnell) Linn, natives of Sweden. They have lived in Minnesota since pioneer times, and the father has reached the ninetieth milestone on life's journey, while the mother is eighty-four years of age.
    Arthur W. Linn received his education in the public schools of his native state and in 1901, when a youth of seventeen, came to Washington. He attended a business college of Seattle and worked for several years in Whatcom county, filling various positions. He saved as much a possible from his earnings and in 1911 embarked upon an independent venture. In partnership with Roy C. Tudor he opened a grocery store in Sumas, and they have since conducted the business. Their stock is always the best that the market affords, the prices are reasonable and the business in conducted in accordance with the highest standards of commercial ethics. The members of the firm are enterprising business men of good judgment and have established a large trade.
    In 1907 Mr. Linn married Nannie Holmberg, who was born in Minnesota and came to Seattle during her girlhood. Six children were born to them, but Willard, the second son, died in infancy, and Ray, the fourth in order of birth, is also deceased. The others are: Vernon, a student at the University of Washington and a member of the Beta Kappa fraternity; Ruth, aged twelve years; and Leonard and James.
    Mr. Linn is allied with the republican party and for three years was a member of the Sumas board of aldermen. He served as mayor for two years and his administration was strongly commended, being directed by a loyal and sincere regard for the people's interests. He is secretary and one of the trustees of the Sumas Roundup Association, which he aided in organizing, and along fraternal lines is connected with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He is loyal to every cause which he espouses and faithful to every duty, and the respect accorded him is well deserved."

Many thanks to a generous anonymous contributor for sharing this fascinating expansion to the "See Em Buck" series! Look forward to more postings...