Thursday, November 19, 2015

Historic Houses of Sumas, WA - Part 4 of 4.....The Gillies House

The Gillies house was one of the houses featured on the 2015 horse-drawn historic house tour.  The current owner has done a great job of restoration in a successful attempt to return the house to its original splendor.

This gorgeous house, with the circular drive, was built in 1910 by John Campbell Gillies.  John and his brother George operated several sawmills and the local Funeral Home.  George also built a Sumas home located across the street at 416 Garfield Ave.

Picture 1
Posted with permission from the Custer collection
Photograph taken 14 June, 1911 ....looking SW.

Picture 2
Posted with permission from the Custer collection
John and Alice Gillies
married 29 June, 1898
(buried in the Sumas cemetery).



Lizette Custer (the Gillie’s house current owner) kindly provided an informational sheet on the history of the house:
Posted with permission from Custer collection.

Picture 3
Posted with permission from the Custer collection.
Gillies Funeral Home as it looked on the NE corner of Cherry Street and Harrison Ave. in Sumas, WA
photograph taken circa 1930?

Picture 4
posted with permission from the Custer collection.
A winter landscape with the Gillies house.
Date unknown.

Picture 5
Posted with permission from the Custer collection
An interesting photograph of the interior of the Gillies house.  The ladies are busy shelling peas.

Picture 6
Posted with permission from the Custer collection.
A delightful picture of Alice in her garden.

Picture 7
Photograph taken by Deborah Morgan, October 24, 2015
The Gillies house as it looked for the historical house tour sponsored by the Friends of the Sumas library.  



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Civil War Veteran, Harvey Canfield in Sumas - 1898

Civil War veteran, Harvey Canfield in Sumas, WA...1898
picture 1
posted with permission from the J. West family collection
This is an rare, very early photograph taken 14 March, 1898. According to the faded handwriting on the back of the photograph this site is located "1 1/2 miles from Sumas, WA" and the gentleman posing is Harvey Canfield.  The landscape is flat with no hills visible which probably means that the photographer is facing southwest away from the mountains.  The field looks newly logged off and there is still lots of large trees nearby.  It looks as if a little orchard is planted to the right of the cottage. The ground in front of the cottage looks rough and full of  discarded plant debris. (cabbage leaves?)  Certainly a bachelor quarters. 

picture 2
posted with permission from the J. West family collection

This detail of picture 1 shows Mr.Harvey Canfield. He is posed with a 4 button coat, tall muddy boots and bowler hat outside the cottage. 

Harvey was a veteran of the Civil War having served in the Union Army. In the 1880 United State Census, he (who was born in either 1848 or 1849 in Michigan) was working as a farm hand in Oakfield, Michigan and was single.  According to the 1910 United State Census (twelve years after picture 1 was taken), Harvey owned his own land and home. He was listed as a single widower, living in Sumas and as having fathered a child, who was not living with him. 

Upon further research on Ancestry.com I found that he served in Company A, 18th Michigan Infantry. He also served for a time in Co A. 9th Michigan Infantry.  He was mustered out of the army 16 September, 1865. Due to numerous health issues he was admitted to the National Home for Disabled Soldiers in Tennessee February 1916.   Later, he was transferred to another Soldiers Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he was cared for from August until October.

In the records of the National Home for Disabled Soldier's his closest relative was listed as a nephew named William Canfield who lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There is no listing of a son or daughter.   Harvey Canfield died 7 November, 1916 and was buried in the Marion National Cemetery in Marion, Indiana.

Please watch for my next posting about another historical house in Sumas.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day in Sumas - featuring lost warrior, Donald Nugen (1918-1942)

 From the Civil War to the present times Sumas had many young men and women have served proudly.  During the early settlement of Sumas many of the men who arrived  were Civil War Veterans trying to start a new life.  The veterans are an important part of our community to this day.

picture 1

photograph taken by Deborah Morgan, November 11, 2015

This monument garden was an Eagle Scout project from several years ago.  The list of the vets buried at the Sumas Cemetery are displayed for all to see.

Unfortunately, not all of the heroes of Sumas are buried in our little cemetery.  Some simply didn't come home.  So it would be difficult to get a true count on how many came from our town.

Who remembers Donald R. Nugen, who was raised in Sumas in the large house on the southeast corner of the intersection of Sumas Avenue (then known as Walnut Street) and Garfield?  His parents were Dr. Dorcie Ray and Naomi Nugen.   They relocated from Indiana and became very well respected members of the Sumas social scene.  Dr. Nugen was a popular physician who served Sumas well.  Their son, Donald joined the army right out of Nooksack High School in 1936.  He served in the 31st. Infantry in the Philippines  Sadly he died in 1942 a prisoner of war on the Bataan.. His body was listed as not recoverable.

Dr. Nugen went into despair after words of his only son death came to him.  According to an interview with Jospehine Fadden (who worked at the bank at the time),  Dr. Nugen came into the bank and demanded angrily that all the war bond posters to be torn down.  He was devastated.
Picture 2 
Source of the clipping is unknown.

Picture 3
Picture posted with permission from Mr. M. Miller's collection

Gold star mother, Naomi Nugen

Naomi threw herself into the works of several community activities.  She received support from the members of the Double A Club.  

After the death of Dr. Dorcie and Noami Nugen, there was a generous scholarship fund put into place at Nooksack Valley High School for lucky college bound recipents.  The Nugens had no heirs to inherit their estate and hopefully many young students were able to benefit from the Dr. D.R. Nugen Scholarship fund. A hollow replacement for losing their son. 

Picture 4
Source of clipping is unknown. (glued in a scrapbook)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Historic Houses of Sumas, WA. Part 3 of 4...The Thomas House





The Thomas house is a beautiful Sumas landmark.  It was built in 1911 by Reese Thomas, a successful businessman in early Sumas. This house was originally built with features that demonstrated the family’s wealth such as a ‘dumb waiter’ and cost the princely sum of $2400.00 to build.

picture 1
Photograph posted with permission of the Edwards family
Thomas house looking SE
photograph date unknown


Rees Thomas was born in Glamorganshire, Wales in 1862 and immigrated to the United States with his family as a child around 1866.  He married Susan Francis Baldwin in 1887.  Susan was born in Illinois and resided in Nebraska as a young woman. Rees and Susan (better known as Fanny) resided in Nebraska until relocating to Sumas sometime before 1906.

In Sumas, Rees Thomas established a hardware store around 1906 and operated it with the help of his son Clifford. 

Rees Thomas died 16 November, 1933 at the age of 72 and was buried at the Sumas cemetery.  Fanny died in 1941.

Picture 2

Rear row, left to right:

Clifford Thomas, Zoe Thomas, Susan Francis (Baldwin) Thomas, Sarah Alta Thomas, Edgar (Ted) Thomas

Front row, left to right:

Lee Baldwin Thomas, Rees Thomas, Jack Rees Thomas

Photograph circa 1906-1907

Picture 3


 Rees Thomas Hardware store was located on the northwest corner of Cherry and Garfield Street, Sumas.



Picture 4

Rees Thomas in his hardware store, taken about 1915.

Picture 5
The Thomas  House was beautifully restored by the Edwards family.  It was one of the high points of the Sumas Historical House tour, October 24, 2015. It is located at 207 First Street in Sumas and is now a private resident.