Minutes - Sept. 11, 2017 - Guemes Island Historical Society


September 11, 2017


Present: Around 40 folks, including Tom Deach (pres), Janice Veal (treas), Adam & Angie Veal, Carol Deach, Win Anderson, Carol & Kit Harma, Emma & Rob Shroder, Shirley Margeson, Sally Stapp, Barb Ohms, Sandy McKean, Don Taylor, Cathy Schoenberg, Terre Scappini, Ann & Ralph Mendershausen, Julie deRouche, Ian Woofenden, Jackie O’Neil, Loalinda Bird, Sue Skillman, Gary Rainwater, Grant & Morna Brockmeyer, Stuart & Arden Charles, Anne & Don Passarelli, Susie Everett, Randy Schnabel, Julie Pingree, Anne Casperson, Bob Prescott, Jim Morrison, Margie Kilbreath, Sue O’Donnell (sec)


To the large gathering on hand for the Historical Society tour of Guemes Island Eden’s Cemetery, Tom introduced Adam Veal, one of the 3 current elected commissioners of Cemetery District #3 (the other 2 commissioners are Daniel Burnett and Andy Leech).  Adam gave a brief history of the property which was donated by the Eden family in 1904.  The Edens owned a 160 acre logging operation on Guemes, homesteaded 160 acres and had claim on an additional 160 acres.

The entrance to the hillside grounds is defined by 2 stone columns, provided in 1934 by the Guemes Island Improvement Club.  Before this, there was a wooden arch over the entry road. 

Recently, concrete posts which used to support log barriers along Guemes Island Rd. were moved west about 5 feet to allow for perpendicular parking along the road.  Then, the attractive anchor chains (donated by Dakota Creek) were strung between the posts with the decorative “balls” topping off the posts.   

Adam began his tour by stopping at the memorial for Col. Gerald O. Young (1930-1990) and telling of his heroic story.  This brave service man is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, having won a Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor in the Viet Nam war, 1967.  The county park at north end of island is also named for Col. Young. 

Adam then walked us up the hill, pointing out graves of other service people (Civil war, WWI, Pearl Harbor, WWII, Korean, Vietnam) who are honored here each Memorial Day in May by the American Legion.  Guemes families bring spring flowers to “decorate” the grave sites of their loved ones.  A small flag is placed at each military grave and Adam reads the names of each service person.  Adam has researched the deceased and mentions many touching details about their lives and service.  [As have other readers from previous years, like Bud Strom (1922-2017).]


At top of the hill, south of the entry road, are some very old grave stones and standing monuments - some hard to read by now – in what was known as the Pioneer Cemetery.  Several of the old graves had, at one time, wrought iron fences surrounding the markers.  Historical Society would like to know if any of the wrought iron fences still exist for our collection.  At some point a rule was made that grave markers need to be flush with the ground for ease of maintenance.


The grave markers continue down the hill carrying familiar names of neighbors past – Lewis, Hammerle, Wooten, Blackinton, Causland, Valquist, Dunn, Leatherwood, Worley, Dobbins, Strickland, Padovan, Casperson, Pinneo, Deane, Rossiter, Lopp, Dolph and so on.


Carol Harma wanted to know when any women would be mentioned during the tour!  Loalinda Bird then told of her “Gramma Jo” and Sherman family history.  And Carol Deach pointed out the row of graves of her ancestors, the Lopp and Dolph families.  Adam showed the grave of his Grandmother Jane Veal Read and told the charming story of how the Veal and Read families joined together with the marriage of Murray Read & Jane Veal after their spouses died.


The cemetery is divided in about half by the road running west up the hill.  At the top on northerly corner is the “Urn Garden”.  Plots here are 3’X4’ and designed for the internment of urns of cremated remains rather than caskets.  For instance, the Stapp family grave marker has 11 plaques attached for the first and 2nd Anacortes generations, spanning the years 1917 through 2005.  Eleanor Gandy, life partner of Mary A. Stapp, was a W.A.C during WWII (perhaps the only service woman in the cemetery?); Charles jr. and Dickinson were also Army vets from WWII.


Continuing down the hill toward Guemes Island Road, names familiar to many are seen - such as Rydberg, Jackets, Covert, McFetridge, Werner, Rooks, Tuttle, Gladish, Cordsen, Gilkey, Gent, Bush, McCracken, Whicker, Krieger, Orsini, Berg, Morrison, Everett, Funk, Dutton, Morrison, Coey, Davis, Merchant, Mount, Kidd, Jones, Wilcox, Gillette, Howard, Bohn, Eckles, Taylor, Deutsch, de Rouche, Linda Porter, Doc Finley & “One Bubble” to list a few . . .


The tour ended at the grave site of “One Bubble” [Henrietta Finley], a character from Lervick Lane loved by many for her idiosyncrasies and fantastic stories of her adventurous life.


Many thanks to Commissioner Adam Veal for his time and attention to detail!


Treasurers Report:  (attached) Janice reports ~$1400 profit from this year’s Dog Show.  Current balance is: $32,284.07 plus the 2 CDs (~$4,400.00)

Next meeting: October 9 – Carol Deach and Nancy Bush will present the life of Linda Porter (1947-2003) – local artist and cousin of Carol.


Coming Events:  Historical Society Annual Calendar fund-raiser.  Carol is in final stages of proof-reading the 12 months of ferry captains we have known and loved.


HARVEST MOON CRUISE – September 23, 5:15 pm. to raise funds toward a future museum space with room for our archives and historical treasures.  Cruise is sold out but there is a wait list in case of cancellations.


Holiday Bazaar – Nov. 25, a lovely way to showcase local artists and raise funds with our bake sale and soup lunch.


“Name The New Ferry!” – Historical Society has been deputized to collect possible names for the new ferry, now in planning stages according to the Guemes Ferry Committee and Skagit County.


Possible programs for future:

Thomas D. Wooten, Chairman of Samish Tribe

William Bailey, Samish master carver

Fund-raiser: put on the play “Waiting in Line”!

North Beach walk

Children of Madge Welch

The LaVeque/Gould families

West  Beach settlements


Recent Guemes losses:  Tom Andrak (1944–2017)



Sue Stapp O’Donnell, secretary             

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