Sunday, September 2, 2018

Clubs and Organizations of Sumas, WA - Part 1 of 1- Sumas Valley Grange #920

October 17, 1929, The Sumas Valley Grange #920 was organize in Sumas, Washington.  The Grange made it's home in the West Opera House building that was located on First Street to the east of Cherry Street. The history and purpose of the grange stretches back almost 151 years in the United States. It  was formed as a fraternal organization, The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry.   Oliver Kelly. on orders from President Andrew Johnson traveled to the southern states to evaluate the and collect data to improve agricultural conditions. Oliver Kelly determined that an organization would help bring the south and north together and help deal with outmoded agricultural practices. The first Grange was established in Fredonia, New York in 1868. Then It spread throughout rural United States. The Grange was unique in that women and teens were encouraged to participate and hold positions. The Grange lobbied for non-partisan laws that benefited the farmers.  They fought for lower rates by railroads and rural free mail delivery by the United States Post Office. 
The Grange hall became an important center of activities and meetings. There was dances and socials as well as their business meetings. They participated in activities with other neighboring grange halls. The Grange made it's presence known at regional fairs and agricultural events. Sumas was no exception!

Retired Washington State Senator, Gary Odegaard along with his brother, the late Harold Odegaard  spent their youth in Sumas. The Odegaard family were active with the Sumas Valley Grange and managed to photograph the following grange activities throughout the 1950s.

Picture 1
Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection.
The Sumas Valley Grange Hall which was converted from the West Opera House.  This picture is dated as October, 1953.  Later this building was turned into a restaurant/bar the Lone Jack Saloon in the 1970s.  The building is still standing and is used as a shipping business known as Ship Happens. It is located on south side of First Street in between Cherry Street and Sumas Avenue.

Picture 2
Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
A side view of the Sumas Valley Grange Hall after a new addition was added on.  Photograph was taken in October 1953.

The following photographs were taken in 1952: 

picture 3
Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Sumas Grange Carnival - Summer 1952

Picture 4

Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Sumas Grange Carnival - Summer 1952

Picture 5
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Hack - 1952 Grange Master
Summer 1952

Picture 6
Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Sumas Grange Booth at the Lynden Fair- August 1952

The following photographs were taken in 1953:

Picture 7
Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Evo Hickman, Ralph Scofield. Gene McWilliams  playing at Delta Grange Hall near Lynden, WA.
Picture taken April 1953

Picture 8
Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Jack and Bob Steiner playing at the Delta Grange near Lynden, WA.  Picture taken in April, 1953.

Picture 9
 Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Sumas Grange Bazaar - April 1953

Picture 10

Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Sumas Valley Grange Booth at Lynden, WA-  August 1953.

The following photographs were taken in 1954:

Picture 11
Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
A group of Sumas Grange ladies ( labeled on the back as Mrs. Edwards, Mrs. Perry, Mrs. Froberg, Mrs. Ohmart, Ardis McWilliams and Mom) at Goss Store in Sumas advertising butter. February 1954.
According to Gary Odegaard during an interview,  the ladies were protesting against the use of margarine and was trying to encourage this use of real butter.   Goss store was located on the west side of Cherry Street to the south of Johnson Creek.

Picture 12
 Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Group of Grangers painting the dining room of the Sumas Grange.  Labeled on the back the individuals are identified as Mrs. Froberg, Mrs. Perry, Calvin Hack, Mrs. Young-Dyke, and Mr. Hack.  March 15, 1954.

picture 13
 Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Carol McWilliams writer and director of 8th grade skit - first prize. 
Sumas Valley Grange Dining Room (new) march 29, 1954.

picture 14
Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Fred Olsen of the W.M.C.  at the Sumas Valley Grange. March 29, 1954.

Picture 15
Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Whatcom County and State Grange Officers
the third man from the left identified as A. Lars Nelson.
Sumas Valley Grange. July 1, 1954.

Picture 16
Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
A. Lars Nelson, State Grange Master July 15, 1954.

Picture 17
Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Master Gene McWilliams and Mrs. Boesh displaying an Afghan for a grange prize. July 1, 1954.

Picture 18
Posted with permission from the G. Odegaard Collection
Gary Odegaard and Ann working at the Sumas Grange Milk Bar at the Lynden Fair, August 20, 1954

picture 19
Posted with permission from the G. Odergaard collection
Frances and Ann behind the counter of the Sumas Grange Milk Bar at the Lynden Fair.
August 20, 1954

picture 20
Posted with permission from the G. Odergaard collection
Sumas Grange Fair Booth at the Lynden Fair.  Won 2nd Prize.  August 20, 1954.

Picture 21
Posted with permission from the G. Odergaard collection
The 25th Grange Anniversary and Booster Night.  
October 1954

The following photographs were taken in 1965:

picture 22
Posted with permission from the G. Odergaard collection
Ardis McWilliams at Grange dance, Sumas, Washington. 
February 1956

 Picture 23
Posted with permission from the G. Odergaard collection
Sumas Grange Dance 
playing bean bag game
Sumas, Washington
February 1956

Picture 24
Posted with permission from the G. Odergaard collection
Party and Dance at the Sumas Valley Grange.
Sumas, Washington
February 1956

Picture 25

Posted with permission from the G. Odergaard collection
Sumas Valley Grange Booth at Puyallup Fair.
September 1957

Picture 26

Posted with permission from the G. Odergaard collection
Sumas Valley Grange 1957 officers.
December 19, 1957
Grange Hall
Sumas, Washington

The Following photographs were taken in 1958.

Picture 27
Posted with permission from the G. Odergaard collection
Written in ink on the the reverse: "Mom and Evo by Sweepstakes Grange Booth at Lynden Fair. August 1958

Picture 28
Posted with permission from the G. Odergaard collection
Sumas Grange Sweepstake winner booth.
Lynden Fair - August 1958

Picture 29
Posted with permission from the G. Odergaard collection
Written in ink on the reverse of the photograph:  Mom and Evo working in the Sumas Grange Darigold Bar at Sumas Community Day. August 30, 1958.

Picture 30
Posted with permission from the G. Odergaard collection
The  Grange family of the year,  The Art Jorgensens.
Was named Grange family of the year at Welcome Grange Hall. 
 December 29, 1958

Thank you, Gary Odegaard for sharing the wonderful photos that gives us a glimpse into the  Sumas Valley Grange during the 1950s.    

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Railroads of Sumas_Part 4 of 4_ Canadian Pacific Railroad

The early businessmen of Sumas was banking on the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR)  to put the town on the map. This would make Sumas an international crossing in which the railroad would  connect Sumas to the west and east coast. Several railroad companies from the south were frantically laying tracks racing each other in order reach Sumas first.  All the investors were gambling on their companies to beat the competition in connecting with the Canadian Pacific Railroad which was building a line from Mission, British Columbia.

According to the CPR website,, the CPR railroad was founded in 1881 to link Canada's population from coast to coast. Canada's confederation July 1, 1867 was just a start of its massive growths over the next few years. In order to connect the new provinces several Scottish-Canadian businessmen led by the first president of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, George Stephen set forth to build a railroad.  The construction started slowly in 1881 but finally met at Craigellachie, British Columbia where the western and eastern portions of the tracks met November 7, 1885 where the last spike was driven.  The construction almost broke the company, but soon the transcontinental trains brought success. The first transcontinental train ran from Montreal, Toronto and on to Port Moody, June 28, 1886.

A decision was made to add a short line of the CPR from Mission, British Columbia to Sumas, Washington in order to connect to the United State's rail system.  The importance of this particular hookup of the two railroads was recognized in New Whatcom 25 miles south of the border which is now Bellingham, WA.  The railroad was expected to bring economic prestige to all involved.  The railroad would connect Sumas to Vancouver where the trans-pacific ships and luxury liners connected to Asia.  To the east the railroad would connect to with the eastern seaboard and again to the trans-atlantics ships.  New Whatcom and Sumas was certain to be a part of a world wide economy. 

The following accounts are excepts: are from the book, Boundary Town, by Roy Franklin Jones:

Philip S. Van Wyck, one time BB & BC fireman and later rail historian, contributed an article for Bulletin NO. 84, published by the Railroad and Locomotive Society, in which he said:  "On March 1, 1891, the line extended to Sumas, 23 miles from  Bellingham Bay.  Several Weeks later the Canadian Pacific reached Sumas and the junction was made.  Cornwall (Pres. of BB&BC) had negotiated an agreement with Pres. William Van Horne of the Canadian Pacific with the result that on May 28, 1891, the first Canadian Pacific train entered New Whatcom over tracks of the BB & BC, making New Whatcom the Canadian Pacific's American Terminus. "

Picture 1

Canadian Pacific engine #377 
First train in Sumas City, Washington on the Canadian Pacific Railway, May 1891. 
Posted with permission from the Jim West collection.

The following is written in Roy Franklin Jones's book  Boundary Town:

  "Event followed event in the spring of '91 and the rip-roaring celebrations initiated on March 1st with the arrival of the BB & BC was to be repeated again and again; at the completion of the SLS & E to its depot; at the joint track hookup and the passage of the first CPR train over the BB & BC on May 28th; at the arrival of the first regular scheduled CPR passenger train en route to New Whatcom on June 22nd; and at the junction of the SLS & E with tracks of the CPR a little later. 
       At the first of these celebrations the townsite people were jubilant.  Lots were selling like hotcakes.  Some of the early settlers left their claims for a time and constructed board and tent shelters and hung out a "Hotel" sign to help take care of the fast arriving populace.  Saloons and gambling houses mushroomed.  There were plenty of partners at two bits a swing for the men at the dance halls and nearby rooming houses flourished.  
      The townsite men set the pattern.  They organized a brass band and furnished free beer at their offices.  With the construction crews from three railroad and newcomers arriving every day, by work train and stage, money flowed freely, accommodations were short but headaches were plentiful.
     By the time May 28th arrived with he celebration o driving the golden spike for the joint hookup, the saloons joined the free beer parade.  They released the pressure on beer kegs in front of their locations and opened the ends so that celebrators would cup the beer at will as they thronged from one dispensary to another.   
    Marpole, of the CPR, and Stangroom of the BB & BC made speeches and these were followed by rosy predictions from two members of the Canadian Parliament just before the golden spike was driven. A guest dignitary, who declined to speak since his railroad was not involved, was a most interesting personality in that he captured the admiration of rank and file westerners, none other than the Great Northern's James J. Hill..  Most of the official representatives wore Prince Albert coats and tall hats.  The Canadian's had come in  a special car of the directors, which was hooked on behind a baggage car used as a service unit and was hauled by Engine No. 306."

Picture 2
Canadian Pacific Engine 356

A standard 4-4-0 wood burning steam locomotive and tender pulling coaches.  This photograph of Engine number 356 is identified in Roy Franklin Jone's Book, Boundary Town, as the First Canadian train on B.B. & B.C.  tracks taken May 28th, 1891.
Posted with permission from the Jim West collection.

On June 22, 1891, New Whatcom greeted the first CPR passenger train with great ceremony which which ended up in chaos.  Sehome and Whatcom arranged their fire departments on each side of the track  to greet the train with a water arch in which the train was to go under.  The pressurized fire hoses was new at this time and very much a source of pride for New Whatcom.  The Whatcom firefighters got their water pressure first and gave their rival, Sehome firefighters a drenching.  When the Sehome firefighters finally got their pressure in their fire hose they returned the favor by giving the Whatcom firefighters a soaking. This ended up in a full blown water fight between the two departments.  Some of the passenger coaches windows were already opened and others were actually blown out due to the water pressure from the hoses. About 200 passengers got soaked due to the water fight. There was about six thousand people at the event to witness the arrival of the CPR Train and many got soaked.

The event is described  in Roy Franklin Jones's book  Boundary Town:

"On the arrival of the first regular CPR passenger train at New Whatcom on June 22nd a tremendous welcome had  been arranged.  The whole station area there was crowded with people eager to see the first transcontinental train over the American line.   Flags flew throughout the cities of New Whatcom and Fairhaven.  Bands were assembled, prepared to play the Star Spangled Banner, Yankee Doodle, and God Save the Queen.  The long and spirited rivalry of Seahome and Whatcom had been composed in a plan to unite the two adjacent towns into New Whatcom.

In a burst of inventiveness, Major Jenkins' committee, headed by Joshua A. Baker. approved a plan for the Whatcom and Seahome fire departments to put a dazzling display by providing columns of water from the new pump engines, which were to trained in the air from either side of the track , the cascading water forming a triumphal entering arch under which the Canadian Train would enter.   

As the train pulled in, loaded with officials and two hundred passengers, whistles blowing, bells ringing, two bands playing, cannon firing, the engine passed under the water arch.  As the coaches pulled under the arch, a nozzle dropped, just far enough to deliver its full force into the windows were eager Canadian officials stood watching.   One silk hat was seen flying out of an opposite window.  

The triumphal entrance was turned immediately into an indignation meeting.  The fiery tempers of the Canadian visitors reach calamitous heights.  The day was ruined.  The banquet, scheduled at the Purdy Opera House was carried out after much apology and diplomacy but the feast was chilled.  There was also an unfortunate flag incident, too.  Subsequent actions showed there was little doubt but the C.P.R.  began soon to consider the abandonment of the joint use of track agreement.  

But this was the doing of the Bellingham Bay community, twenty-three miles down the new road from Sumas.  Snuggled up against the border we tried to be good neighbors to our Canadian friends and we found they were doing the same." 

Also shared in The Fourth Corner by Lelah Jackson Edson:

To welcome the first overland Canadian Pacific train, due June 22, 1891, New Whatcom staged an elaborate celebration.  This mis-fired so badly it almost an international incident.  Two bands, patriotic organizations, all in uniform, awaited the visitors at Holly Street and Railroad Avenue where a great arch had been erected, carrying British and American colors on separate pillars.

The Donald Farquharson family, arriving that day from Michigan, have told how the fire companies of Sehome and Whatcom lined up on opposite sides of the tracks, it being planned that the train should arrive beneath an arch of water.  Unfortunately the rival companies started a water fight, and the train rolled in between opposing columns of water delivered with force sufficient to break the coach windows and drench the guests.  Roth reports, that after abject apologies been accepted , the distinguished guests sat down to a banquet at the Purdy Opera House-C and Thirteenth Street (West Holly).

During the interval certain excitable  youth noted that the British flag on the arch was a few inches higher that the American.  In attempting to equalize the height of the two flags the British emblem was dropped, trampled under foot and left, as the prime movers of the act fled.  The Canadians naturally were highly incensed and the insult was discussed in the Chancelleries of Canada, Great Britain and the United States, but responsibility was not fixed.

In spite of the embarrassing situations which almost created an international incident, a connection was made.   Bellingham Bay and British Columbia Railroad beat out the competition and made the all important connection.  Finally, Sumas had access to all of Canada and the United States.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Veterans of Sumas _1 of 2_ Charles Allen Dodd (1887-1925)

Charles Allen Dodd...born during 1887 in Illinois. He was the son of William T. and Melissa (Inslee) Dodd.   By 1915, Charles, who lived in Sumas on the weekends, was working as a Stenographer for the International Lime Company at their office near Limestone Junction (in the foothills approximately 9 miles SE of Sumas, WA).  He had a young girlfriend from Sumas, Harriett "Ruth" Demorest, then daughter of the General Manager of the International Lime Company. Ruth was born 27 January, 1898 to William  D. and Goldie (Conner) Demorest in Pierce County, WA...

picture 1
Harriett "Ruth" Demorest-- 
this image from a larger photograph of the (graduating) 'Sumas Class of 1916' photograph. 
Ruth married Charles Dodd in 1917.
Posted with permission from the Morgan family collection

Charles enlisted in the Washington National Guard  in 1911 and was trained for the Signal Corp.  In 1916, Charles's National Guard unit was called into active duty and was sent  to Camp John Beacom at Calexico, California. Camp John Beacom was established as a base for border patrol duty due to the Mexican Revolution. Between June 1915 and June 1916, Pancho Villa raided the US border 38 times.  These border raids resulted in the deaths of 11 civilians and 26 soldiers.  In response, the United States called up over 140,000 National Guard Troops.

According to Harris, Charles H. and Sadler, Louis R. (2015). The Great Call-Up: The Guard, the Border, and the Mexican Revolution. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-4954-7, pp. 18–19 :
Between June 1916 and April 1917 the guard received intensive field training. Units from different states were sometimes grouped into large provisional units. Not only did the men become more proficient, but many officers gained invaluable experience commanding large formations. At the same time the guard was receiving badly needed equipment and supplies. The great call-up transformed the national guard into a much more effective fighting force, for it was as close as the United States came to the large-scale military maneuvers in which European armies traditionally engaged.

Picture 2

Correspondence between Charles Dodd and Ruth Demorest while Charles was posted at Camp John Beacom in Calexico, California.
Photograph credited to David Morgan

During Charles time on duty, there was a large amount  of correspondence with Ruth Demorest in Sumas.  The following is an excerpt of a letter to Charles from Ruth,  23 December, 1916, while he was at Camp John Beacom, California...
"Well, I guess we'll have a white Christmas......It really is awfully crisp and cold and all clear and  starlight. If you were only here it would seem like last winter.....when it was time for Mrs. Coleman to go home Dick hitched Prince and King to the bob and put some boards on and we took her home, going though the old road Gibbs uses by Heller's.  Going Through the woods the trees were hanging with snow and then the bows (boughs) were nearly dragging to the ground in places.....I was up to the cook house to buy some powdered sugar and they have the ceiling hung with tinsel and popcorn hung with red and green bells...."

In a letter from Ruth, January 30th, 1917, also while Charles was at Camp John Beacom...
"A soldier in field uniform passed me today, an officer, and I had my Signal Corps emblem on my coat and as the traffic delayed us I saw him staring at it and then at me and I guess I looked pretty hard at the uniform myself...

In January 1917, despite Pancho Villa avoiding capture, General Pershing declared the border campaign a success. Charles Dodd left the Washington National Guard after serving 6 years.    Charles Dodd returned to Sumas where he married his beloved Ruth.

The honeymoon was short however because 25 May 1918,  Charles enlisted again, this time for service in the Great War.  After training at Camp Lewis in Washington State, Charles left 22 June, 1918 by train for Camp Merritt, New Jersey there joining Co. D. 361st Infantry, 91st Division.

6 July, 1918, Charles was on board the British steamship the SS Karoa  heading to Glasgow, Scotland.  From Scotland they were ferried to La Havre, France, 20 July, 1918 just 4 months before the end of the war.  Little is known of Charles personal  activities in France, however his regiment went through the meat grinder in the Argonne forest.  He was wounded and returned to the United States on the troopship USS Plattsburg, leaving Brest, France, 5 June, 1919, landing in Hoboken, New Jersey, 16th June.

Picture 2
The SS Karoa was completed at the beginning of 1915 in Scotland and owned by the British India Steam Navigation Co.  It was requisitioned, March, 1915 by the British Admiralty as a troop transport and later returned to its owner in 1919.  The vessel was requisitioned again during World War II as a hospital ship and was finally broken up in Bombay, India in 1950.
Photograph from John Crossland

Picture 3
USS the New York Navy Yard on 7 June 1918, shortly before her first trans-Atlantic voyage as a U.S. Navy ship. The vessel has been freshly painted in pattern camouflage.
The Plattsburgh was originally launched in 1888 as the SS New York, a schooner rigged, steam ship whose duty included carrying passengers across the Atlantic.  From 9 May, 1918 the vessel served as a troopship and after the Armistice, brought home 24,000 servicemen, including our Charles Dodd.
According to the 1920 census, Charles was still working (as a supervisor) with the International Lime Company, whose office was at that time located in Sumas, with the quarry near Kendal, WA.

Charles and  Ruth had a boy named Robert Allan Dodd, who died as an infant, 6 July 1920.  Later in 1924 their daughter, Darley Dolores Dodd was born in Bellingham, WA. Darley later married a serviceman from Texas, Roy Frank Porter who was stationed at McChord Field, 5 September 1943. Darley Dolores (Dodd) Parker died in Tacoma, 1994.

Sadly, Charles died of complications due to his wartime injuries, 20 December, 1925.  He was buried in Tacoma, WA.  

Picture 4

Gravesite of Charles Allan Dodd and his son, Robert Allan Dodd at the Tacoma Cemetery, Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington
 photograph from

With Charles gone, Ruth moved to Tacoma, WA where she resided with her grandparents.  Ruth raised her daughter, Darley Dolores Dodd seeing her married to a young serviceman,  Roy Frank Porter from Henderson, Texas, stationed at McChord Field near Tacoma, 5 September 1943.  22 Sept 1950, Harriett "Ruth" (Demorest) Dodd  married a Jacob Vernon Mollett in Tacoma.

Ruth died in Tacoma 24 January 1973 and is buried with her second husband, Jacob Vernon Mollett at the Tacoma Cemetery, Pierce County, WA.

...for more information regarding the activities of the 361st Inf. Reg in France during WWI,
I recommend the following...
"The 361st Infantry Regiment 1917-1955" by Capt. Roger Heller.
an excerpt from that account...
The 361st then moved by rail to Training Area No. 8, Divisional Training 
Areas American Expeditionary Forces, at Nogent-en-Bassigny, some 40 miles from
the front, where it began intensive work in offensive combat tactics for small units.
On 6 Sep 1918, the Regiment was shifted to Training Area No. 1 near Gondrecourt,
immediately behind the battle front and continued preparations. At this time, the
91st Division, perhaps catching the spirit of the 361st, adopted a new hand salute,
known as the "canteen* or "beer bottle" salute. When saluting, the Division re-
quired all officers and men to hold their head at the same angle as when drinking a
bottle of beer or from a canteen and then render the salute with the head at this
cocky angle. This was certainly an innovation in the otherwise strictly conserva-
tive and G.I. United States First Army commanded by General Pershing, but it was
very satisfying to the spirit of the men in the "Wild West Division."

While advanced training was in progress, the American High Command was in-
volved in planning the first offensive to be made by an American Army in World War
I, the objective being the elimination of St. Mihiel Salient. It seemed clear to First
Army staff that a larger number of divisions would be needed to maintain the momen-
tum of the offensive than were then ready and combat-tested. The staff quickly
realized that if the attack bogged down, casualties would become unbearably high
and the effort wasted. So, it was decided to commit four new inexperienced divi-
sions, including the 91st, in a supporting role. This was done with the knowledge
that casualties in the partially equipped 91st Division might be higher than normal,
but that its addition would help keep the attack rolling and thus reduce the over-all
losses of First Army.

The 361st Infantry, now code-named "Mamma," and hindered by almost con-
tinuous rain, moved out in a series of night marches from Training Area No. 1 to
Vacon. In the vicinity of this town, the 91st Division was in a position to support
either the United States IV Corps
or the French Colonial Corps in the U.S. First
Army Area. The St. Mihiel offensive opened on 12 Sep 1918 and was completed in
two days as the German front collapsed. So swift was the victory, the First Army's
casualties remained remarkably low and the 91st Division was not even called up-
on to leave its support positions. Four days later, the Regiment marched to the
Forest of Hesse in the III Corps Area and there came under shell fire for the first

time as it passed through the junction at Parois. On the next day, the 361st re-
lieved elements of the French 73rd Infantry Division in the Aubreville Sector, even
though the French maintained a light screen along the front to prevent German in-
telligence from learning of the arrival of the U.S. First Army in this sector. For
these activities from 11 to 20 Sep 1918, the 361st Infantry was awarded the Cam-
paign Streamer "Lorraine* (based on GO 238, G.H.QA.E.F. 26 Dec 1918) and the
Regiment had a blue Patriarchal Cross of Lorraine placed upon its Coat of Arms.

The Aubreville Sector was then merged by Army orders into the new Meuse-
Argonne Sector and six days later, on 26 Sep 1918, the still partially unequipped
91st Division, as a part of V Corps, was one of the twenty-one U.S. divisions
which launched the great Meuse-Argonne offensive. The "Wild West Division*,
coded as Division "G" of Center Corps, was given the left of the Corps front, the
lBlst Infantry Brigade, the right flank of 91st Division; and 361st Infantry, the left
flank of the Brigade. The key to this entire part of the front was Montfaucon and
First Army realized that it would be a very difficult objective to capture. General
Pershing planned to drive deep salients into the German lines on each side of that
stronghold and then, by threatening its rear, force the retirement of the garrison.
The V Corps, whose zone of action included Montfaucon near its eastern boundary,
was to drive vigorously forward to the left of that place. Without waiting for adja-
cent corps, it was to penetrate the German third position near Romagne, thus turn-
ing Montfaucon from the west. The 91st Division was given the left flank of the V
Corps drive, the furthest west of the Corp's units, and, thus, was expected to ef-
fect a deep penetration to force the German withdrawal. The 361st Infantry was
given five immediate objectives in the first phase of this drive, including three
woods, one sharp ridge, and the town of Epinonville, some eight miles from the line
of departure, and held by elements of the crack 1st Guard Division of the Third
German Army.

Major Oscar F. Miller, Commander of the 3rd Battalion, 361st Infantry was the
Senior Major in the Regiment and, on this basis, his request that the 3rd Battalion
lead the first offensive was granted. On the night of 25 Sep 1918, just six weeks
before the end of the war, the 3rd Battalion occupied the kilometer of the front as-
signed to the 361st Infantry with "M* Company taking the left flank, "L" Company
the right flank, "K* Company in support on the left, m l m Company in support on the
right, and the entire 1st Battalion some 600 meters in the rear. Thus the four rifle
companies of 3rd Battalion, supported by the 347th Machine Gun Battalion, were
poised for the great offensive. (In World War I each battalion had four rifle compan-
ies. Support was furnished by the Regimental Machine Gun Company and the Mach-
ine Gun Battalion of the Brigade).

Moving out in pitch dark, the Pioneer Platoon of 3rd Battalion Headquarters
quickly cut new lanes through the French wire system. At 2330 hours the six-hour
artillery barrage of 2,700 guns began and at 0530 hours on 26 Sep 1918, the 3rd Bat-
talion jumped off, as did the 3rd Battalion, 362d Infantry on their right, with the
shout of "Powder River - Powder River." The dense fog during the morning, the
network of wire, myriads of shell craters, deep ravines, and thick woods presented
great difficulties, but Companies "M" and "L* pushed on rapidly, arriving at the
other side of the Bois de Cheppy by 1030 hours.

 The German 1st Guard Division had pulled back as best as it could from tren-
ches which had been torn apart by the tremendous artillery barrage. As the 3rd Bat-
talion passed this first line of resistance, German machine gunners and snipers
slowed down the advance. Unfortunately, the rolling barrage had been set at the
established pace of 25 yards per minute and it was soon falling far in the enemy
rear while the troops were still struggling forward over and through this very diffi-
cult terrain. This situation could not be corrected because of the lack of adequate
communication equipment within the Division. Nevertheless, pressure from the en-
emy was still slight enough to permit the 3rd Battalion to stop and eat a ration for

The Battalion then cleaned out the Bois Chehemin and advanced to the crest
of Hill 252 and the orchards south of Epinonville before dark. Both the 3rd and 1st
Battalions, following what was then tactical doctrine in the U.S. Army, posted the
area and pulled the bulk of their troops back to better defensive positions for the
night, as a cold, drizzling rain fell on the battlefield. The first day had been a
success; no German counter attack had developed; and the First Army termed the
work of the 91st Division as "a splendid advance to the west."

The 27th of September arose in a cold, drizzling rain, which was to last
throughout the day. The 1st Battalion was now assigned the mission of resuming
the 361st Infantry attack on Epinonville and passed through 3rd Battalion with *A*
Company on the left, "C* Company on the right, "B" Company in support behind
"A", and "D* Company in support of "C* Company. The Germans had recovered
their poise and immediately placed both flanks of the 1st Battalion under machine
gun fire. On the right flank, elements of the German 117th Infantry Division and
the 5th Bavarian Reserve Division could pour in observed fire from the heights a-
round Montfaucon, while the 1st Guard Division still held strong positions immedi-
ately to the front, and filtered snipers and machine gun teams into nearby orchards
and hedges.

Major George W. Farwell, the Battalion Commander, sent "B" Company on a
flanking movement to the left in an attempt to dislodge the Germans. This effort
failed, so he ordered the battalion to withdraw a short distance to permit artillery
to work the area over and drive the enemy from the hedges and orchards. Unfortu-
nately the barrage dropped short. It fell on the Regiment, causing a further with-
drawal by the badly shaken troops. This action, along with a slight mix-up in dir-
ections by 182d Infantry Brigade, created a gap in the 91st Division front, so 2d
Battalion, 361st Infantry was released from division reserve and inserted between
the left of 1st Battalion, 361st Infantry, and the right flank of the 364th Infantry.
With "E" Company on the left, "F" Company on the right, a H" Company in support
of the left, and *G* Company in support on the right, the 2d Battalion set out to
envelope Epinonville from the left (West).

Apparently there arose a misunderstanding as to which town was the objec-
tive and the battalion pushed steadily on to the northwest in a sharp drive captur-
ing Eclisfontaine about a mile to the front and two or three hundred yards to the
west of the Regimental sector. This relieved pressure on the left flank but failed
completely to accomplish the mission of securing Epinonville. 1st Battalion was
now, however, able to advance and, with Companies "A" and "C* leading it, push-
ed through the orchards, occupied the town of Epinonville, and substantially clear-
ed out the enemy. At dusk the 1st and 2d Battalions were pulled back to the rear,
while the 3rd Battalion passed through and occupied Epinonville Hill. The 361st
Infantry had gained a good mile during the day against heavy machine gun fire.

Now the bulk of the troops were moved to the rear, both to get away from the
extremely accurate German artillery fire, which was controlled by low flying air-
craft, and to permit U. S. First Army artillery to hammer the immediate front. The
V Corps, also had ordered the withdrawal, because the right flank of the 91st Divi-
sion had become unprotected by the inability of the 37th Division to keep pace
with the "Wild West" men.

On the third day of the offensive, 361st Infantry relieved the 362d and, thus,
the Regiment held the entire 181st Infantry Brigade front. With the 2d Battalion on

 the left, with "E" and "F" Companies on line, and the 3rd Battalion on the right,
with "I" and "M" Companies on line, the assault was renewed. The 2d Battalion
attacked towards Eclisfontaine over ground taken and surrendered the day before,
while the 3rd Battalion again swept through Epinonville and continued to drive for
the distant high ground. In this exploiting phase of the attack, the 3rd Battalion
drifted to the left across the front of the 2d Battalion, thus pinching out the latter
unit, and leaving the right sector of the regimental front unmanned. Colonel Davis
quickly moved the 1st Battalion into this void and continued the general attack
with the 3rd Battalion on the left, 1st Battalion on the right, and 2d Battalion in
reserve. The two assault battalions now met strong resistance near Les Epinet-
tes Bois and Bois de Cierges, yet by dusk the 1st Battalion had reached the north-
ern edge of the latter woods.

The 3rd Battalion had gone through a hard day, the troops were dog-tired, and
Major Miller collapsed from sheer exhaustion, but the objective had not been reach-
ed. Major Miller, after being revived, baited his battalion at the northern edge of
Les Epinettes, reorganized them
, and then with grim determination renewed the at-
tack with "l" and "M n still in the lead and jumping off with the "Powder River"
battle cry. As the 3rd Battalion passed by the first ridge close to the 1st Battal-
ion, "B" "C*, and "D* Companies arose without orders and joined the attack, ex-
tending the battalion front and almost doubling the unit. This reinforced battalion
drove down into a gulch and then up a 400-yard slope against a determined enemy

Under heavy fire, the line wavered and, just before it broke, Major Miller in-
serted the 3rd Battalion Headquarters between the line companies leading the at-
tack. The Major was hit in the arm and leg but kept on advancing as he directed
3rd Battalion west of what was to become known as "Miller Hill." Then, as they
gained this key to "100 hour hill," which crossed the entire brigade front, the Maj-
or was hit in the stomach and went down to stay, but still waving the men on in
the attack.

The determined unit pushed on to the objective at great cost. The battalion

had been cut to pieces, Major Miller was dying, all captains were either killed or
wounded, and a 1st Lieutenant was in command. A virtual hurricane of artillery
and machine gun fire had more than halved the unit, killing 100 men in the first
300 yards of the assault— but they had not failed. As night closed in on the 28th
of September heavy rain and constant German artillery fire fell on the battered 3rd,
as the 2d Battalion moved in to cover the area. A few hours later, at 0230 hours
on 29 Sept 1918, the 362d Infantry took over the 181st Brigade front from a very
tired 361st Infantry, which now reverted to brigade reserve.

While the 28th had been extremely hard on the 3rd Battalion and elements of
the 1st Battalion, 361st Infantry, the 29th of September was to be one of the grim-
mest days for the entire 91st Division. The V Corps ordered an attack by all its
divisions to take place before 0700 hours. Paragraph 2 of the Attack Order stated:
Divisions will advance independently of each other, push-

ing the attack with the utmost vigor and regardless of cost.
Chief of Staff

And so it was to be. The 362d Infantry was given the assault mission for
the 181st Brigade with Companies "E," "F," "G," and one platoon of %" 361st
Infantry, to guard the right flank which still remained exposed by the 37th Divi-
sion's inability to keep up with the 91st Division. The objective was the town of
Cesnes some two miles away. The terrain in that direction was a flat tableland,
barren of cover, and an invitation to annihilation. Colonel Parker, Commander of
the 362d Infantry, a veteran of San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War and one
of the Army's foremost weapons experts, took one look at the situation and then re-
quested brigade headquarters to postpone the attack until he could reach the front
and lead it in person.

At 0700 hours the assault crossed the line of departure but it was immediate-
ly halted bv intense machine gun and direct artillery fire. A second attack at 1000
hours fared little better and met heavy fire from La Grande aux Bois Ferme. The
91st Division Commander, Major General William H. Johnston, ordered the 1st Bat-
talion, 361st Infantry to take La Grande aux Bois Ferme, a mission it quickly ac-
complished, but not without numerous casualties, including the Battalion Command-
er, Major George W. Farwell, who died of his wounds.

With their flank now cleared by the 361st Infantry, the 362d attacked a third
time at 1545 hours with a shout of "Powder River*, and with the help of 2d Battal-
ion, 361st Infantry took the town of Gesnes, and pushed on to the crest of Hill 255.
Thus, by 1730 hours, the 362d had reached the First Army objective at a cost of
over 100 killed and hundreds more wounded in the first 200 yards of the assault.
Companies "E," and *F* of the 361st Infantry, which had covered the right flank,
now took over the lead, gaining the heights beyond Gesnes and pushing patrols out
as far as Hill 285.

A deep penetration had been made at high cost to the participating units. In
four days, the 91st Division had reached the U.S. First Army objective by cracking
the German first defensive line, two intermediate maneuver lines, and the second
defensive line. Spearheading this 91st Division thrust, and setting the pace for all
twenty-one divisions of the U.S. First Army, were the 361st and 362d Infantry Regi-
ments of the 181st Infantry Brigade— they had succeeded beyond all normal expecta-

Soon after nightfall on this fateful 29th of September 1918, V Corps ordered
the 91st Division to withdraw from all positions won during that day— the attack
had been a mistake and the Corps had spent all day trying to reach the 91st Divi-
sion to cancel the operation but the communications system had failed. The men
of the 362d Infantry, which lost over 500 men in the assault and whose companies
were down to from 18 to 75 men, felt that they had been thrown away in a new
Charge of the Light Brigade. V Corps had decided to cancel the 91st Division's
attack when it was seen that neither the 35th Division on the west nor the 37th

Division on the east, could protect the "Wild West* flanks.

The soundness of this decision was soon apparent as the 74th Infantry Bri-
gade, the 37th Division (147th and 148th Infantry Regiments ) withdrew under heavy
attack to Ivoiry, exposing the entire right flank of the 91st Division; yet it was a
difficult decision for a young "green" division to accept and involved a certain a-
mount of incompetence at Corps Headquarters. In such a dark hour, the 2d Battal-
ion, 361st Infantry took over the entire 181st Infantry Brigade front from the 362d,
as that battered and broken Regiment was moved to the rear for reorganization.
Soon a general withdrawal order went out to all of the division, but it never reach-
ed the 2d Battalion, which remained alone on the 91st Division sector  of the front.
In the early hours of the next morning and under cover of a heavy mist, the 2d Bat-
talion, discovering it was alone against the German Army, arose and advanced to
the rear to reestablish contact. It lost only one man as a prisoner during this inci-

The 361st Infantry now took over the entire brigade front in the new position
and developed a defensive position, which it occupied between 30 Sep and 3 Oct
1918. The offensive was never resumed by the 91st Division in this sector, and
while the Regiment held the area, Major Roy C. Ward, Commander of the 2d Battal-
ion, went to the hospital. The only remaining field grade officer in the Regiment
was Colonel Davis, the Commanding Officer, who had been shot in the hand but re-
fused hospitalization.

At 0900 hours, 3 Oct 1918, the 181st Brigade was relieved by the 32d Division
and marched to the rear, where the men were given two days of rest, during which
time they were allowed to sleep until noon.

The 361st Infantry had gained eight and a quarter miles in four days of furious
assault in the Meuse-Argonne at a cost of 906 casualties, which included 214 men
who either were killed in action or died of wounds. The Regiment was hard hit;
m M m Company was in the worst condition; only three companies were commanded by
captains; and many men were sick. However, along with the battered 362d Infantry
and the 347th Machine Gun Battalion, they had made the 181st Infantry Brigade one
of the hardest hitting teams on the Western Front.

On 7 Oct 1918, the 91st Division Headquarters and the 182d Infantry Brigade
(363rd and 364th Infantry and 348th Machine Gun Battalion) started for the deep
rear and a rest. As the 181st Brigade got ready to follow, orders arrived sending
it in the other direction— back to the front. After an 8 mile march in a driving cold
rain, the 361st Infantry outposted under fire the Bois de Chenesec-Gesnes line as
part of the 32d Division.

On 9 October, as part of the 1st Division, the 361st Infantry attacked towards
Hills 255 and 269, gaining about half a mile. The U.S. First Army had assumed
that the 64th Brigade of 32d Division had taken these hills and turned them over to
the 181st Brigade. When that headquarters discovered that U.S. troops were still
500 yards short of these objectives, they ordered 181st Infantry Brigade to seize
them and, thus, the brigade was in action once again. The 361st Infantry attacked
over some of the same ground that part of the 2d Battalion and the 362d had cover-
ed on 29 Sep 1918. The 1st Battalion, with Companies "A* and *C" leading ad-
vanced on Hill 269, and while severely handled at the line of departure by German
artillery, they were able to catch the enemy infantry in a deadly crossfire. The ene-
my was eliminated— the objective gained. 'Hie 3rd Battalion plus m F 9 Company at-
tacked Hill 255 ( m F m had been on this hill on 29 September), with *L" and "M* in
the lead, and "I* Company in a flanking movement to the right. The men reached
within 100 yards of the crest and then were stopped by heavy fire from an adjacent
hill (288) which had not been eliminated by the 125th Infantry of the 32d Division.

The next day, 10 Oct 1918, with an effective strength in"I* Company of 32,
m K 9 at 35, a L n at 35, "M" at 40, "F m at 65, and *H* with 85, the 361st Infantry re-
sumed the assault on Hill 255 as the Germans began pulling out. This attack led
to a genera] assault towards Bois de Money and La Cote Dame Marie, with the 1st
and 32d Divisions pinching out the 181st Brigade, which was then relieved of at-
tachment to 1st Division and started for the rear.

In the battle just concluded, the 1st Division and the 181st Infantry Brigade
had been opposed by eight German Divisions, yet these two units managed to drive
the enemy from the dominant heights in such an impressive manner that General
John J. Pershing cited the 1st Division in General Orders No. 201 with some of the
warmest words ever used by the Commander-in-Chief. The French Government ex-
tended decorations to all units of the division after the war, and while it apparently
overlooked the then deactivated attached 181st Infantry Brigade, it was a job well
done by the "Wild West" men— one which cost the 361st Infantry 85 men killed, 264
wounded, 1 man missing, and 1 man lost as a prisoner.

These two phases of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, as a part of the 91st, 32d,
and 1st Divisions, cost the 361st Infantry a total of 1257 casualties in six days of
assault. Of this number, 299 were killed in action, 954 wounded, 2 missing, and 2
lost as prisoners. This, along with illness, seriously sapped the strength of the
Regiment which had grimly earned the Meuse-Argonne Campaign Streamer (based on
GO 232 G.H.Q.A.E.F. 19 Dec 1918) and which, in the future, would add a green
Oak Tree to the Regiment's Coat of Arms to mark forever the valiant conduct of the
361st Infantry in this greatest American offensive of the war. After the war, an in-
vestigation into the use of the 91st Division and lectures on the subject by staff
officers of the A.E.F., including Colonel George C. Marshall (later General of the
Army and Chief of Staff in World War II), revealed that the 91st Division was not
properly equipped but that its use was deemed essential to the success of the First
Army mission.

A summary of these findings disclosed that:

1. The TO&E allowed 16 Browning automatic rifles per company, but none
was on hand, so the unit was equipped with worn out French Chauchat
automatic rifles.

2. Rifle grenades were not available.

3. The TO&E authorized 6 Stokes mortars per regiment. A platoon had
been trained in their use but, neither at the time of the Meuse-Argonne
offensive, nor later in Belgium, were any of these mortars available for
units of the 91st Division.

4. Signal equipment, heliographs, telephones, radios, rockets, and flares
were in short supply.

5. The Pioneer Platoon, which was supposed to serve in the role of com-
bat engineers, had no equipment beyond their combat shovels.

6. Rolling kitchens were in short supply.

7. Compasses, pistols for shooting flares, artillery signals, flashlights,
range finders etc., were lacking.

As it is so well stated in the History of the 362d Infantry: "The division was
sadly lacking in transportation. There were not enough trucks for the work and the
lack of ambulances later caused needless loss of many lives. Then, and later,
there was considerable bitterness over the sending into conflict an outfit without
the necessary tools."

It must be stated on the positive side that the 361st had plenty of M-1917 En-
field Rifles, bayonets, ammunition, and excellent support from the 347th Machine
Gun Battalion and, with these basic Infantry tools, accomplished a great job the
hard way. It must also be admitted that the Nation was unable to fully equip her
men on the Western Front and men paid dearly for that unpreparedness.

The 181st Infantry Brigade next began moving out for Belgium on 12 Oct 1918
to rejoin the 91st Division. In five days the 361st Infantry covered some 44 miles
by marching, even though many officers and men were leaning on heavy canes as
they plodded up and down the long hills. This march severely tried the Regiment
but the task was overcome as they reached Mussey, France, where they entrained
for St. Jean, Belgium, some 375 miles away.

At St. Jean replacements brought the Regiment up to about fifty percent
strength with 65 officers and 1900 enlisted men being present for duty (full strength
would have been 114 officers and 3,800 men). The 361st had detrained in the area
of No Man's Land of Flanders; thus, there was little to cheer the men. There was
also nothing to do.

Thirty miles to the west, the U. S. II Corps (27th and 30th Divisions) had
cracked the famed Hindenburg Line. As part of the new moves against Germany,
the 91st Division was assigned to the French 7th Corps, French 6th Army, French
Army of Belgium, Group of Armies Flanders, commanded by the King of Belgium,
and for artillery was given the U.S. 53rd Field Artillery Brigade from the 28th Di-
vision (Pennsylvania National Guard).

On 20 Oct 1918, the Regiment gained some new 2d Lieutenants and 300 men
from the 84th Division (Ohio) which A.E.F. Headquarters was using as a replace-
ment division. Training started all over again with one major subject— open war-
fare. To herald the event, the 361st Infantry was given the new code name of "Re-
gatta.* Twelve days before the end of the war, on 31 Oct 1918, the Regiment,
which had been moved to Driesela, reentered combat as the 7th French Corps pas-
sed over to the offensive against the German 207th Infantry Division and the 49th
Reserve Division in the Ypres-Lys offensive in Belgium.

The attack in the 181st Brigade sector on 31 October was led by the 362d In-
fantry which attempted to clear out Spitaals Bosschen. The 361st Infantry spent
this day in the field in much the same manner as if lolling in reserve on a summer
maneuver. The next day, 1 Nov 1918, was different, however, as the 361st passed
through the 362d in a column of battalions and then deployed on a four company
front of "L," *K," "G," and "E" (from left to right), attacking straight ahead at a
rapid pace. The 2d Battalion quickly took Wortegem, while patrols of "H" Com-
pany and patrols from all companies of 3rd Battalion forced their way into Auden-
arde, a city of over 7,000 people and a favorite fording site on the Scheldt River
since the days of Julius Caesar.

Colonel Davis soon found that his regiment had advanced 12 miles, so he
used his staff car to move forward and visit the reserve battalion (1st Battalion)
with headquarters at Mooregem. He was observed by enemy artillery spotters and
as he stepped from his staff car, three shells hit the area killing Colonel Davis
(CO 361st), Captain Hughes (CO 1st Bn), and the battalion runner.

Colonel Avery D. Cummings took over the 361st Infantry on the same day
(INov 1918) and 1st Lieutenant Gustave B. Appelman became the commander of
1st Battalion. Meanwhile, the offensive continued with a patrol of "L w Company
reaching the civic center of Audenarde, where the people went wild celebrating,
even though the Germans continued shelling the suburbs. During this period of
combat, an interesting German document was captured which contained the follow-
ing paragraph: "Opposite our sector lies the 91st American Division. For each
prisoner brought in, division will give 18 days extra leave - Von Below". Our repu-
tation had spread.

On 4 Nov 1918, the 361st Infantry was scheduled for a major attack but was
relieved by elements of the French 41st Division before H hour and went into re-
serve. The offensive in Belgium had cost the Regiment an additional 41 killed in
action, 140 wounded, a total of 181 men, including the commanding officer.

On 9 Nov 1918, a new field order called for the 361st Infantry to make an as-
sault across the Scheldt River but the Germans pulled out in full retreat and the
362d Infantry was given the mission of pursuing the enemy while the 361st protect-
ed the bridges from its assault positions.

The Regiment was still carrying out this mission when the Armistice went in-
to effect 11 Nov 1918, which ended the shooting part of the war. For these actions,
the Regiment was awarded the Ypres-Lys Campaign Streamer (based on GO No. 31
Hq French 6th Army 11 Dec 1918) and added the Belgian Lion to the Coat of Arms.

The 361st Infantry Regiment had seen nine days of offensive combat in
World War I, suffered 1438 casualties of which 340 were killed in action, 1094
were wounded, 2 were missing, and 2 had been captured by the Germans.

The Regiment remained for some time in the vicinity of Audenarde, Belgium.
holding parades for visiting general officers, conducting marches through the plea-
sant Belgian countryside, and joining in the Army-wide activities of sports and
shows. At this time the distinctive division patches, which -have identified U. S.
divisions ever since, came into practice with the A.E.F. The 91st Division adopt-
ed the Green Fir Tree "based on the foliage of the states the division was formed
from. . (GO 57 Hq 91st Div 13 Dec 1918).

The 361st took the Cross of Lorraine, the Oak Tree, and the Belgian Lion
and placed them in gleaming white upon a green fir tree as the Distinctive Insignia
of the Regiment. While in Belgium, the Regiment received the four light blue rib-
bons which were issued as campaign streamers by G.H.Q. A.E.F. These temporary
streamers were later standardized by the War Department into the three streamers
cited in the above text and now carried by this Regiment.

The 361st Infantry returned to France for the long return voyage home, arriv-
ing back at Camp Lewis, Washington, on 26 Apr 1919. The 361st paraded in Spo-
kane, Seattle, and'Tacoma, Washington before deactivation at Camp Lewis on 30
Apr 1919, and the presentation of her colors to the State of Washington for place-
ment in the Capitol building at Olympia

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Railroads of Sumas_Part 3 of 3_Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad (SLS&E)

Railroads of Sumas...part 3 of 3...Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad (SLS&E)

The second U.S. owned railroad in Sumas was the Sumas, Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad
(SLS & E). 

"The SLS&E was conceived and founded (April 28, 1885 in Seattle, Washington) by Seattle business interests in response to Villard of NP selecting Seattles intense rival Tacoma as its transcontinental western terminus.  The original scheme for the SLS&E was connecting with an intercontinental RR somewhere, while building north and east from Seattle."...Wikipedia, "Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway"...

The SLS&E ran their original track (completed in 1889) from Seattle (Ballard) though Bothell, Woodinville to Sallah Prairie (near Snoqualmie Pass) with the intention of connecting to the NP. 

After that plan changed they used some of this original line to complete the 126 mile line from Seattle to Sumas and a connection to the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR).  The route started in the Ballard area of Seattle and headed north around Lake Washington, then dropped south and around Lake Sammamish to Issaquah and then headed east to Stampede Pass ( about 15 miles South of Snoqualmie Pass).  The route then turned north to Snohomish then on to Arlington traveling though Skagit County where they skirted on the east side of Lake Whatcom and straight up to Sumas. 

The construction and grading of the roadbed started March 9, 1887.  They started laying the rails and started running their first engine October 25th of the same year.  The work was slowed down due to four rivers, the Snohomish, Stillaguamish, Skagit and Nooksack.  There was very sharp competition between the SLS&E, the BB&BC and the Fairhaven & Southern Railroad (F&S) racing north to reach the great prize of connecting with Canada (and the eastern markets). 

In 1889, Eugene Canfield, who was building the F&S, decided to file an injunction against the SLS&E to prevent them from building a bridge over the Snohomish River.  Mr. Canfield claimed sole right to bridge the river was given to him by Congress when he was awarded a charter for the F&S and demanded $1,000,000 from the SLS&E to allow the bridge to be built. There are several accounts on how this was resolved.  Most of them tell a similar story...
.....historian and author Nard Jones relates how Judge Tom Burk (with LS&E interests in mind) boarded a company locomotive in Seattle and instructed the engineer to unhook the cars and proceed to Snohomish in a hurry.  The judge had spotted the F&S company man who was taking a writ to block the crossing of the Snohomish River waiting for a train in Seattle.  The SLS&E engineer, in great haste, got the judge to Snohomish.  Judge Burk then sought out local Sheriff Billy Whitfield and informed him that a man was bringing a writ to halt the construction.  Burk then asked the sheriff if there wasn't any outlaws in the mountains that needed looking for.  The Sheriff said there were and headed into the hills with his deputies.  It only took three days to finish the bridge while the outmaneuvered F&S man was looking for the missing Sheriff and his deputies and could not deliver the writ in time.... 

The following was the printed in the Bellingham Bay Express, April 5, 1890, p1, c5.

"An express reporter last evening met Mr. A. W.  Mohr who has the contract to slash the right of way and grade twenty-five miles of the above road south from the boundary line to the Samish Summit.  Six hundred men are now hard at work to complete his contract by June 1st.  Mr. Mohr states that the roadbed is comparatively lee, average grade being about six tenth percent.  The heaviest rock cut only being 75  feet long and 37 feet high and one heavy embankment about three-quarters of a mile long, with an average fill of nine feet.

The San Francisco Bridge Co. has the contract to construct the bridges across the Nooksack River at the fork.  About 1,000.000 feet of piling will be required and 500,000 feet of lumber to construct the bridge.  The approaches will require about 500 Feet of trestling on each side.  There will be two Howe Truss spans, the center pier being built upon an island in the river.  Work will commence upon the bridge within three weeks. The plies are now being cut on the upper Nooksack and floated down.

A large number of men are at work on the bridge at the mission where the C.P.R.R, connects with S.L.S. & E.R.R. and B.B. & B.C.R.R. 

Rails will begin to be laid about August 1st, being brought to the front as far as the Nooksack River over the line of the C.P.R.R.  Co. Rails will be  brought over the lines of the S.L.S. & E.R.R.  to Sedro on the Skagit River, then transferred to the tracks of the Fairhaven & Southern and delivered to the B.B. & B.C. R.R.  and forwarded by the latter company to the Nooksack River thereby keeping the work progressing from all quarters.

The express predicts that on the 1st of November, 1890, the connecting link that previously prevented  a traveler making a complete circle around the outer edge of the North American continent, by rail, will be completed and in successful operation."

May, 1890 saw the first SLS&E stock sold to the NP.

The SLS&E tracks arrived at the South Fork of the Nooksack River around 1st December, 1890.  There was plans to build a branch up to the Wardner Coal Mine at Blue Canyon on Lake Whatcom in the spring.  Although the Wardner branch was publicized it did not come to pass.

So...ultimately the SLS&E lost the race to Sumas and the lucrative CPR connection by arriving in town 48 hours after the triumphant BB&BC.

By 1892 the SLS&E was operating as a portion of the NP, was placed in receivership 23 June, 1893 and was sold July 28th, 1896 mostly to NP representatives.

picture 1
SLS&E Stock Certificate
this image from

picture 2
"SLS&E's engine #2, the D.H.Gilman, 4 July, 1892.  Photograph taken at Columbia St. Station on Railroad Ave., Bellingham"
this picture from