Tuesday’s Trivia

While I was out of town for those weeks, I had the great opportunity to visit the Hibulb Cultural Center, museum of the Tulalip people, near Arlington. Folks have done a really superb job with that museum and I learned so much about those early Washington peoples.

Two prominently displayed quotes caught my eye:

The salmon, they are not really fish at all; they are salmon people and they live in a village under the sea and come home to our rivers year after year.”

And this really, really good one appropriate for all society presidents:

“A true leader is a slave to the needs of his people.”

This really hit home to me for at that conference in Arlington, both Ginny Majewski (WSGS president) and I presented Society Management talks. A major point of my talk was that if you accept being on your gene society board, then you accept that for a period of time you will be a “slave” to your members……… you will be constantly thinking and planning for the betterment of your society. Your duty to your society will be #1 on your mind all the time. Or so I do believe.

Tuesday Trivia

Reading a wonderful book that I highly recommend to you: Visible Bones by Jack Nisbet, 2003. He is a pre-eminent author of Pacific Northwest history. The chapter I just read really grabbed my attention: Did you know there were condors in the skies over the Columbia River in the early 1800s? Lewis and Clark likely spotted them on their 1805 journey down the Columbia but never having seen one before, but recognizing that they were HUGE and new and different dubbed them “a large buzzard.” Lewis wrote in his journal, “I believe this to be the largest bird of North America.”

Nowadays we only see condors flying over Grand Canyon in Arizona. But in days of yore, these 25-pound, distinctive-headed birds, with a wingspan of over nine feet and a bill-to-tail measurement of four feet, could be seen all along the Columbia River as far north as into Canada.

So what happened to them? Check out a copy of Visible Bones.

Tuesday Trivia

Dinosaur bones found in Washington? Of course! All over the place?

In 1876, two brothers, Alonzo and Benjamin Coplen, had a hunch and with long rods, probed a “muckky creek bottom” on their farm along Hangman Creek south of Spokane. Their efforts ultimately yielded a huge vertebra and then a shoulder blade of a huge animal. They they took the bones on the road to show to the folks in neighboring towns. They kept digging and found more as time passed, as did other neighbors on their swamp-creek areas. The original Coplen find, dubbed the Latah mammoth, has been on display in Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History since the 1950s and occupies a central place in the Hall of Time.

Cool, eh?

Tuesday Trivia

Last week I posted some trivia about logging in the northeast corner of Washington and the Idaho panhandle. Our beloved WSGS Founding President, Alma Greenwood, contributed this memory:

Hi Donna,
Your description of the logging in North Idaho struck a chord with me. My 90-year old husband grew up in the area you are describing and his uncle had logging camps just like the one you mentioned. The nearest town was Meadow Creek (now a ghost town according to the sign) which was a few miles south of the Canadian border.    Glad you are staying busy and involved. So many of the old timers are not around but some of us keep plugging along. Thanks for all you do for genealogy in Washington State.  Alma

Today’s trivia is much different. Paul Turner, in his The Slice column in our Spokesman Review paper, posed the question about Spokane as a surname. WELL! Clicking to Ancestry, and doing a U.S. census search across all the years, the results were 19,990 persons surnamed Spokane! And 581 lived in Spokane. Most of them were Native Americans but still.

There were 5077 folks surnamed “Seattle.” And 1646 for Wenatchee. Tacoma was 2214 and Kennewick 1412. I was really surprised and it was something I’d never thought about. Thanks, Paul, for turning on a light.

Was your Washington town ever a surname????

Tuesday Trivia

I’ve been typing the life story of a dear couple of 90-year-old friends of mine who are legally blind. Yes, they full well realize that they should have done this sooner but alas, they didn’t. (Are YOU taking notes here?) He was from the logging/lumbering area in the north Idaho panhandle and I must admit that I’ve learned much more about that industry than I would have ever guessed. Did you know that in these deep piney woods of the Pacific Northwest, which is latticed with streams and lakes, that lumber camps would be built on a stream site for only 2-3 years or until they had cut down all the nearby trees. Then they would pick up and move the mill ten miles or less to another site and begin the process all over again. They land they logged was purchased by a timber company and when the mill and men moved on, the “logged cut” acres were then sold to settlers and homesteaders. Railroads were vital to the hauling of the timber and then to the settling of the area. Small towns already established by a nascent logging camp would grow when the railroad arrived for not only would they be improved as supply centers for the people already established around them but they would be the collecting centers for the products shipped out. And these same values would cause new communities to be established. ​
(Did you have ancestors involved in the timbering or logging industry in the Pacific Northwest?)

Tuesday Trivia

According to a reminder bit in my local newspaper, it was 100 years ago about now that the first World War I draft registration numbers were called. Most of us know about, and have happily used, the World War I Draft Registration records but have we thought further to WHY those little cards were created and HOW the men were called up? Check it out….. most interesting reading.

The World War One Draft – Reporting of the First Draft Lottery – 1917

The Secretary of War, Mr. Baker draws the first number in the World War 1 Draft and Announces ” 2 5 8″ Photograph Copyright 1917 by Committee on Public Information.

Draft lottery selects 1,374,000 men for examination to provide 687,000 of first increment troops others of 10,000,000 are definitely listed for future service; Baker draws the first number.
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Gen. Crowder, Gen. Bliss, Senator Chamberlain and Representatives Dent and Kahn also select capsules from the 10,500 in the great glass bowl in senate office building room where drawing continues until morning

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Newspapermen present drafted—society women in night throngs—scenes and incidents that thrill.

Read more: World War One Draft – Reporting of the First Draft Lottery | GGArchives http://www.gjenvick.com/Military/WorldWarOne/TheDraft/SelectiveServiceSystem/1917-07-20-Draft

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Tuesday Trivia

Wheat. Other than eating it, what do you know about wheat, especially Washington’s wheat??

There was a big article titled “Growing Grains,” all about wheat farming in eastern Washington, in last Sunday’s SpokesmanReview newspaper. The article began:  “Long before Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks or Amazon, Washington was known for world-class agriculture. Our soil’s ability to grow so many types of crops makes it one of the nation’s most important farming states.”

Here are some statistics: There are “hundreds of varieties of wheat but they can be classified into six categories: Hard Red Winter, Hard Red Spring, Soft Red Winter, Soft White, Hard White and Duram. The major difference is the protein content and the gluten toughness.” These differences make the difference in bread, bagels, pasta, etc.

Washington beats out the other Northwest states in the number of bushels produced; some 157,200,000 million bushels last year. Some 79% of our wheat is white; and we are fourth on the list of Top Ten Wheat producing states but we exceed nine of them in “average yield of bushels per acre.”

Picture a big semi-circle drawn around the southeastern corner of Washington, encompassing parts of 17 counties; that’s our Washington wheat growing area. This really is a big deal.

Our Washington wheat is exported to markets mainly in the far East….. to the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Guatemala and even Yemen.

As you peanut-butter your bread for lunch, do thank a Washington wheat farmer. We’re tops!

Tuesday Trivia

Would you rather live on Beet Street or Frog Hollow Road?

These are two for-real street names near Walla Walla.

Don’t we smile to see Bluebird Lane, Cricket Street, or Kennedy Parkway but we scratch our heads at Itani Street (a real street in Pullman). How would you react to these…. found photos of each on a website so I’m not pulling your tail……….

Priest River, Idaho:  GOA Way

Story, Alaska:  Farfrompoopen Road (said to be 200 miles from a reststop)

Bainbridge Island, Washington: Toe Jam Hill Road

Troy, Michigan: Intersection of Crooks Road / Corporate Drive

Great Meadows, New Jersey:  Shades of Death Road

New Portland, Maine:  Katie’s Crotch Road

Blountville, Tennessee:  Meth Bible Camp Road / Dead End

Littleton, Colorado: Jackass Hill Road

Heather Highland, Michigan: Divorce Court


Tuesday Trivia


Washington State can add another item on its “Claim to Fame” list. Back in June, 1947, pilot Kenneth Arnold was flying over Mount Rainier and reported seeing “nine circular-type objects flying in formation at more than twice the speed of sound.” A report of what he saw blared “Supersonic Flying Saucers Sighted by Pilot.” His was the first widely reported UFO sighting in this country. But alas, the Air Force debunked what he saw, calling it a mirage. The point of the story here today is that from this event the term “flying saucer” entered the American language lexicon.

Tuesday Trivia

Ever heard of Tusko the Elephant? He was a figure in Washington history in the 1920s. Here is the first paragraph of the story about Tusko found on www.historylink.org (the website for Washington history):

On May 15, 1922, Tusko the giant circus elephant rampages through the Skagit Valley town of Sedro-Woolley.  No circus elephant in twentieth-century America engendered more outlandish and comical tales than he. Captured at age 6 in the wilds of Siam (now Thailand), the animal was a mere five feet high when he lumbered off a sailing ship at New York harbor in 1898. Yet by 1922 circus hawkers touted him as “the largest elephant ever in captivity.” Although, at 10-feet-2-inches tall, he was seven inches shorter than Phineas T. Barnum’s Jumbo of the 1880s, Tusko was a good ton heavier than that better-known pachyderm. Even before Washingtonians set eyes on Tusko, they’d read newspaper accounts of his antics, from the night he did a “moonlight dance on the newly laid asphaltic pavement” of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to his unexpected defeat of six snorting killer bulls in an arena in Juarez, Mexico. But few stories rival the one about this tusker’s wild romp through the Skagit Valley logging town of Sedro-Woolley in 1922.

Click to the above link and do a search for “Tusko elephant” to read the entire story. Who knew???