Guemes Island Historical Society:

GIHS Minutes March 2019

GUEMES ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

March 11, 2019 

Present: Tom Deach (pres), Janice Veal (treas), Bud & Dawn Ashbach, Margaret & Bob Stickrod, Renee Norrie, Julie Pingree, Glen Veal, Adam Veal, Win Anderson, Randy Schnabel, Dave & Shirley Margeson, Bob Anderson, Bob & Jacquie Prescott, Sally Stapp, Dick Brigham, Stuart & Arden Charles, Steve & Ginger Orsisni, Tom Stapp, Kathy Whitman, Ian Woofenden, Barb & Mark Ohms, Sue Everett, Sue O’Donnell (sec) Show & Tell: Tom brought a 1938 edition of the “Farm Journal” …

Program: Lowell H. “Bud” Ashbach, jr. born 1946 to parents Lowell Howard Ashbach (1921-1972) and Claudia Rhinehart Ashbach (1926-1999) came to the March meeting of the Historical Society to share the history of his family on Guemes Island. His paternal grandparents were George Ashbach and Inga Ostby Ashbach; maternal grandparents were Claude Rhinehart (1894–1971) & Winnifred Kidd Rhinehart (1897- 1980).

Grandfather Claude was orphaned at age 6 while visiting Alaska with his father. He was sent to an orphanage in Seattle, but later lived with relatives in Texas. Claude served in WW I and then worked in the Texas oil fields. Grandmother Winnie’s family had a Piano and Frame Building company in Toronto Canada. They also had a sugar plantation in Cuba (which was confiscated by the Cuban government after the Cuban Revolution of 1953). Claude & Winnie Rhinehart bought the dairy farm and Alverson Camping Tracts where Guemes Island Road turns to the northwest (Rhinehart’s Corner) at North Beach when they arrived on Guemes in 1924. Bud married Dawn in 1970. It turns out Dawn’s family also has an old Guemes connection. Dawn’s grandmother, Agnes Lovina, came to Anacortes with her mother, a sister, a brother and step-father C.C. Keisling. (While in Anacortes, Grandma Agnes had a favorite teacher, Mrs. Funk. She being the mother of Charlie and Wally Funk, long-time North Beach residents.) C.C. Keisling was builder of the ferry “Elk II”, one of the first Guemes ferries. Here is a quote from ?: “In 1914 Harry Rickaby and Frank Taylor placed an order with Keisling Shipyards for construction of a large and commodious vessel to handle the growing Guemes business.” The Keisling family eventually moved to Wrangell, Alaska where C.C. continued in the boat building business. Bud has donated a book to the Guemes Historical Society: The Rogers: Pilgrims and Pioneers, A Family History [Ancestors and Descendants of Calvin Otis Rogers, 1620-1922]. 

st (Rhinehart’s Corner) at North Beach when they arrived on Guemes in 1924. Bud married Dawn in 1970. It turns out Dawn’s family also has an old Guemes connection. Dawn’s grandmother, Agnes Lovina, came to Anacortes with her mother, a sister, a brother and step-father C.C. Keisling. (While in Anacortes, Grandma Agnes had a favorite teacher, Mrs. Funk. She being the mother of Charlie and Wally Funk, long-time North Beach residents.) C.C. Keisling was builder of the ferry “Elk II”, one of the first Guemes ferries. Here is a quote from ?: “In 1914 Harry Rickaby and Frank Taylor placed an order with Keisling Shipyards for construction of a large and commodious vessel to handle the growing Guemes business.” The Keisling family eventually moved to Wrangell, Alaska where C.C. continued in the boat building business. Bud has donated a book to the Guemes Historical Society: The Rogers: Pilgrims and Pioneers, A Family History [Ancestors and Descendants of Calvin Otis Rogers, 1620-1922]. 

The book was published 1991 by Vera Stuber (1923-?). Whitey Stuber, the Guemes milkman in the 50s & 60s told Bud about the book that describes Whitey’s ancestors - the Rogers family - owning the land on Guemes before the Rhineharts bought the farm in 1924. Pg. 48 refers to the purchase - circa 1906/07- of land on Guemes Island by C. O. Rogers (1841-1916) and son Will (1861-1921). “The place was located on the north side of Guemes where the road bends to run along the beach. Grandpa Rogers now not only had a full view of the bay, islands and Mt. Baker, he could keep a launch. He used this launch for trips to Anacortes and Bellingham . . . would drive the buggy across the island to meet [visitors]. There were 2 houses on the property and various members of the family would live there over the years.” “In 1942, all that remained to mark their homesite was the windmill.” (pg.48) In 1911, Mr. & Mrs. (Martha, 1842-1922) C.O. Rogers celebrated their 50 th wedding anniversary on Guemes. The 32 guests were transported to the island by Capt. Ray Robinson aboard the launch “Echo”. (pg. 51) This interesting book also describes (pg. 59) descendants of C.O., 3 of his grand- daughters. These girls were the daughters of son James Andrew Rogers (1868-1957). The young women purchased 3 side-by-side parcels of land on North Beach of Guemes, adjacent to what is now a Skagit County park [Young’s Park] near the current Guemes resort. The families of Mabel Sutter (1892-1968), Katy Davis (1894-1994) and Margery Taylor (1896-1954) remain owners of the land, nearly 100 years later! 

So . . . back to Bud’s story . . . We know Bud’s maternal grandparents, Claude & Winnie Rhinehart, bought Rhinehart’s Corner and lived there until ~1940. Despite the quote from “The Rogers . . .” book, Bud reports there was a barn with a basketball hoop, a garage with a windmill and other out buildings as shown in a very old photo. The farm had a few dairy cows and milk was supplied to the neighbors. Bud said his Dad didn’t have much to do with the livestock . . . but left the milking to Buzz Rhinehart (1936-2016), brother of Bud’s mother, Claudia. Bud remembers Uncle Buzz occasionally squirting him with a stream of milk while milking the cows! Bud told stories of playing basketball in the hay loft of the barn with brother Lee and childhood friends the Veal brothers, Steve Orsini, Butch Krieger….). Steve remembers at one point, the floor rotted and the players had to navigate around the hole in the floor while also being sure not to fall out of either open end of the barn. Other fun times Bud remembers on Guemes (in addition to barn basketball) were summers swimming in the irrigation pond dug by Jack Schiller to irrigate his 2 crops of hay. And ice hockey on the frozen pond in winter. This pond was at the Fitzgerald place on Section Ave. 

Most of the old buildings are now gone - repurposed: (the granary was moved by Gale Brado and became part of the Brado’s Store in1963), reused: a horse stable remains at the home of Bud & Dawn, replaced: Claude ordered a house from Sears & Roebuck for $900 to replace the original farm house. It is now nicely restored and stands on the property to this day. 

Old Business: No history meeting in Feb due to cold & snowy weather. Treasurer’s Report (attached) – Janice reports current balance of $38,043.03 at Banner Bank. Bank has recently changed its name from Skagit Bank to Banner Bank. Since the change, we no longer earn interest on the account; which means we are now giving this bank an interest free loan!!!! Janice will research changing to a bank where interest can be earned. A vote at the April business meeting will determine what to do about this. We have 4 CDs at Washington Federal in amount of $7064.68. We have had a recent donation of $100 from Mike Lattin, visiting from Ketchikan and researching the O’Bryant family. Janice will send a letter of thanks with our 501c3 information. Community Hall Displays – The display is now complete thanks to the hard work of a crew from the Society. We may look at having rotating articles, to be changed quarterly. Storage of Artifacts – Tom has researched current price for bringing a container to the Island. Janice moved to have Tom buy the container, report on amount to move to Guemes, including site preparation costs, and get it set up for storage of artifacts. Seconded by Dave. Passed Win is helping to decide what should be left in Church office, what can be taken to new place on Eden’s Rd and what can be stored in the new container. Tom has installed a desk, cabinets and spot for a computer and monitor. Some kind of external hard drive should be employed to store information off site. We may ask a computer expert to help with this. Bob A will find all of his past minutes (7 years as secretary) so we can organize them into a form. Sue has made notebooks of minutes and reports for the years 2016-2018. 

New Business: 

Cruise 2019 – discussion of where to toot-along to next. We have ridden the Mystic Sea around Guemes (September 2017) and around Cypress (September 2018). Well received and well attended events! We will discuss the pros and cons of an evening cruise in late summer; options for possible other times and days of week; other destinations. Bob suggested a narrated bus tour. Next Business meeting – waiting for board meeting until after the main presentation makes for some late evenings. In April we will meet at 5:45pm, before the presentation. Anacortes Museum and Maritime Heritage Center – Dave reports that the Anacortes Museum has never had an Historical Society. However, they had the first ever “History Club”, February 27, 2019. This week a new exhibit will open at the main museum, 8th Street & M Avenue, 3/13/2019, 4-6pm. “The Early Years of Anacortes Newspapers”. Next History Club meeting will be March 27, 2019, 4pm. 

Recent Guemes Losses: Marguerite Adams ( -2019) William “Bill” Mitchell (1949-2019) Ria K. Foster (1935-2019) 

 

Respectfully submitted, Sue O’Donnell (secretary) 3/11/2019