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Rev. Bradbury's
Trip
West


In 1903, Rev. H.C. Bradbury went to California for a Presbyterian conference, and while there traveled around the west coast visiting former Lincoln County people. He wrote to the Lincoln Sentinel about his journey and the "home folks" he saw along the way. These are some of those letters. Of particular interest is the list he gives of the former Lincoln Countians who migrated to Sedro-Woolley, Washington.

Lincoln Sentinel, July 9, 1903

My Dear Home Folks – I am now rejoicing over my safe return, but cannot forget my promise to tell you about other Lincoln County exiles I found on the Pacific coast.
I received a pressing invitation from San Diego near the Mexican borders, so I went. The first one to greet me was Mrs. Albert Springer, Hester Holcomb that was. She is rich now, because she has a pleasant home and two sons and a daughter greatly interested in the State Christian Endeavor Convention there in San Diego. Albert Springer is now a daily newspaper man, who has little rest. They still remember Lincoln, and the dear people there. I just wish that they could return here a little while to give us a chance to return some of their kindness.
I was greatly impressed with the earnest ways of the Christian Endeavourers. They meant work, and on Sabbath filled their big tent and overflowed into two churches, and a number of city parks to offer salvation to everyone that thirsts and will come to the living waters.
Mr. and Mrs. H. Holcomb are there. He kept one of the first stores in Lincoln County, Kan. But in the stormy times of the Farmers’ Alliance it was cleaned out, because so many refused to pay their debts, as well as trade. After keeping a grocery store in San Diego, he retires in peace to a comfortable home to raise blackberries and Logan berries and flowers. His wife still works, and has just completed a one hundred dollar crazy quilt, made of velvet and silk, It is a beauty.
Bing Skinner, of Beverly, and wife I met at church on Sabbath, a good place to be. On work days, Bing Skinner is a great boatman, and loves to go swimming with the thousands who every year seek Southern California for rest and pleasure. It is fun to swim in the Pacific Ocean, and hear, and see the great billows beat on the shore. Bing and wife were just ready to return for business to Kansas, and so were Ned Allison and family. They were very homesick for Kansas, "where the Sun flowers bloom." I did not meet Curt Shaver, Johnny Springer or Mrs. Squires, who are happy to live in such a climate, and who are hard at work. Mrs. Squires is a nurse doing lots of good. Johnny is on his farm. ...
I thank God for the wars, the hoppers, the cyclones, the droughts, the floods of Kansas and all kinds of chastisements. They have made men of us. We love our motto, "Ad astra per aspera." To the stars through adversity. God has made our country the United States so big that we can suit ourselves in regard to climate, wet or dry, cold or hot, etc. Don’t stay and grumble in one place. After all it is more what a man is than where he is that makes him happy. ... I must thank God for dear old sweet home, prohibition Kansas.
Yours,
H.C. Bradbury
P.S. More about the California, Oregon and Washington exiles next time.

Lincoln Sentinel, July 16, 1903
A Flying Trip to California, Oregon and Washington

Good-by Southern California. By all your loving kindness, you have won our hearts....
"All aboard for San Francisco." The shore line of the southern Pacific Ocean. Man cannot describe it. ... The scenery is just magic for a dry land fellow. Every rock and lighthouse, ship or little boat or ocean breeze. Let others speak of the glories of San Francisco, a city of 350,000 inhabitants, lots of people everywhere, lots of old small wooden buildings and some nice new ones. Chinatown is there, too. We saw it, but did not explore its mysteries. We had only a few hours in town.
The only Lincoln exiles we could find in San Francisco were Tom Talbott and family, of Spring Creek, Lincoln County, Kan. They live on a big hill near the sky, and gave us a Lincoln welcome. Their daughter, Edna, is a Sabbath school teacher, as her mother was here a Sabbath school superintendent. Edna’s husband, Mr. Saden, showed us through the union iron works and how they made the battleship Oregon. They have many iron ships in construction, and great cannon. Uncle Sam spends many millions there. We also saw an iron ship that could dive and swim under water, and attach [sic; probably attack] war vessels. But we must not trust in these. "Blessed is the man whose God is the Lord." ...
Mt. Shasta is over 14,000 feet high, and snow-clad and for many miles the railroads keep in sight of this, and run through deep ravines, and steep hillsides and near gold mines and forest trees, till at last it landed us at Ashland, the home of Edgar Pratt and family. We heard little children cry "cherries, strawberries" and on what fine baskets for 10 cents. Here we received a fine Mitchell county, Kan., welcome. He has a blessed good wife and three boys and a farm with a fruit orchard, and a gold mine on it. The trout stream nearby comes from a snow-clad mountain and furnishes the town with water enough to irrigate all the gardens and give them electric lights. A little trip up that stream to see the falls made us feel young again. Edgar reported only one-third of an inch of rain in three months, a wonderful thing for Oregon, the wet land.
At Portland, Ore., Rev. Harry Pratt, who used to preach at Lincoln, met us at the depot and took us to his fine home. He married Maude, a daughter of Rev. A Frick, M.E. preacher at Sylvan Grove. They are a success in church work and 40 new members have been added to the Forbes Presbyterian church during their short pastorate. Here we met Charles Anderson, the school teacher, a dear good boy hard at work with a big school, and a success. But still I believe God has chosen him for a minister, and he is studying for it too. As Minnie McDowell, of Salina, was there too, and Victoria Pratt and children of Saltville, Kan., we had an exile dinner at Harry Pratt’s. There were eight of us. ...
Sedro-Woolley, the Lincoln colony, is away off in Washington, near the British line. But how could we return East without seeing our exiles there? So we went. It is away off in the woods—and such woods! So tall, cedar, spruce and hemlock, some 200 to 300 feet high. But they have been cut down where the town is, and some of the great stumps are 10 feet high, and so large that it would take three or four men to span them. They stand as monuments to the strength and perseverance of those brave men who slew them.
W. Pilcher, our old editor, was the first to greet us on the cars. He is a little fatter than when he left Lincoln. Soon we reached the depot, and George Green and Emerson Hammer and Tom Thompson Jr. received us joyfully and took us home with them, to Mrs. Green and Belle (Mrs. Hammer) and the children. Never could they treat brothers better. Such a home of plenty and love.
When morning dawned after a refreshing sleep, then breakfast and prayers, we must see all our dear ones from Lincoln. But how with only a day to do it. That was the question. So our hosts just invited all the exiles to meet at their home that evening.
The loggers’ and shingle makers’ camp is a jolly place of mostly young men. They have some music there when the day’s work is done. Some parts of their work, I think, must be dangerous – cutting down those mighty trees, kings of the forest. The single saws are very sharp and rapid. I noticed, besides a Methodist and Presbyterian church in town, an Episcopal hospital, for the ones who are injured. I know that George would be willing to appoint me chaplain for his camps. Surely someone could do lots of good for those fellows away from home, and the Master would reward one richly for such work.
One of the strongest men in the shingle factory is Hi Hammer – our identical Lincoln Hi. He has no spare flesh, and is cheerful, as if his work agrees with him. Dave Parker works in the same mill. God has blessed Dave in every way. I will not describe the good homes of the ones I had time to visit.
But we must hurry on to the "Auld Lang Syne" meeting of the Lincoln exiles. "Don’t call us exiles," said Mrs. H.L. Farley, "call us those who live in God’s country."
I was amused as I talked with George Green on our way home from the factory. George is the father of the whole colony. He cares for them all. He wants Wallace Pilcher to become fat. You remember our baker, Henry Alten, tried to fatten him with good bread, and he had corn to eat, but all in vain, he was still very lean. Out there they have tried to fatten him with bear meat and big strawberries and blackberries and the finest of wheat, and really, he may have gained five or 10 pounds. But even yet he is too lean to be a credit to the climate of the state of Washington. So George at last has found out the secret of how to make Brother Pilcher fat. "I told him to throw away that old pipe," said George. He is right. Fat men often have told me they smoked to become lean, a remedy often worse than the disease. So you see a lean man may become a skeleton if he doesn’t quit. As our old editor has now a large fat newspaper office he may yet gain much bodily size and beauty.

Lincoln Sentinel, July 23, 1903
Auld Lang Syne Meeting

Often – very often – a cold wave of homesickness swept over us on our travels, as we saw so many people we had never met before. But joy filled our hearts as we greeted the dear old Lincoln friends at Sedro-Woolley. It called to my mind other days, when I had been sheltered at their cheerful firesides in Kansas, on many a stormy winter night.
The Green and Hammer mansion is quite large and comfortable, all things were ready, and early in the evening they came bounding in with great cheer, till at last 58 persons were present. Five of the children are Lincoln Washingtonians by birth, the others all came from Lincoln. I did feel like obeying Saint Paul – Romans 16:16 – and saluting them all with a holy kiss. In other days I had preached the gospel to them, and they had always been so kind to me. Some of them, since we last met, had been parted by death from a mother, a father, or a child. Others had left Kansas in hard times and now are on their feet all right. They had even, in the early days, fought Indians [in Kansas], and had seen the clouds of grasshoppers devouring everything green. Children were there whom I had baptized, but now they are young men and women. Some, whom I used to hold on my knee, are married and have sons and daughters much older than their parents were when I first came to Lincoln.
One family there left Lincoln in 1883; the last family had arrived from Lincoln in April 1903. But the hearts of all are warm with love for old Lincoln, and they had 500 questions to ask about the dear ones left behind, and about Kansas now. As they told of old times, our hearts were all aglow, and we sang a verse of "Auld Lang Syne."
The ice cream came in just right, and so did this instrumental music, furnished by Thomas E. Thompson Jr. and his sister Laura. I almost forget some of the advice I gave them in my little fatherly talk, but I know I told them that we Lincoln people are proud of them, and believe God sent them West to do much good. Their works already show what they have done, but they must keep on and see happiness by obeying God’s commands, and have joy inside them, and so be happy on any shore. ...
Then we sang "Sweet Bye and Bye." Mrs. George Green gave out this song, and all rendered it with a hearty good will, singing with the spirit and understanding.
Then everyone called for Hi Hammer, and he at last arose and took us back to 1890 in Kansas – and a little before – when drought and mortgages and hard times prevailed in the Western counties – we had almost forgotten about it. He made some sad pictures, and ended by saying that he believed that none in Sedro-Woolley now want to return to Kansas to live. "Still it would be nice to go back there to visit," he said. I excused Hi for making such a speech, for he has been away from the Sunflower state for 13 years. He does not know what our state is now in her prosperity, when we have found out how to run things, and God has blessed us. Surely, Hi Hammer is now a very strong, healthy man. He should stand up for Sedro-Woolley, Wash.
Mrs. George Green made the next speech. She told us, in a very good-natured way, that she "was the first one to reach Sedro-Woolley and all the others had followed." And well they might follow, for she knows how to care for all the sick people and those in need, can cheer up the downhearted and direct in times of prosperity, can point to a better land on high, and lead the way.
Emerson Hammer is now Sen. Hammer, and is greatly respected. Big Jim Smith has now a government position, and has gone to Seattle, Wash. Frank Wilmarth is a carpenter. We just sat down and counted off 85 persons, in or near Sedro-Woolley, all from Lincoln or vicinity, and all doing well. So I cannot take time to tell what all are doing and how they look. George Green says, "There is room for more who want to work, but no room for bums or lazy folks out here in Woolley."
The meeting closed with prayer and "God Be With You Till We Meet Again."
The following are the names of the Lincoln exiles now living in Sedro-Woolley, with the dates of their arrival there – as many as could be obtained.

H.L. Farley, Dec. 7, 1883
C.H. Webb, April 9, 1903
C.E. Thompson, March 28, 1898
Mrs. H.C. Phelps, April 1889
Mrs. H.L. Farley, Dec. 1884
Lizzie Parker, March 25, 1893
Frank Wilmarth, Nov. 12, 1888
Mrs. C.H. Webb, April 1903
Fred Heeren (Herren?), March 26, 1893
Thomas E. Thompson Jr., April 2, 1898
Laura Thompson, March 27, 1898
Martha Farnsworth, June 29, 1902
W.H. Pilcher, Sept. 30, 1902
Mrs. Anna Pilcher, Sept. 30, 1902
Mrs. Frank Wilmarth, Sept. 1902
Mrs. E. Hammer, Sept. 1902
Christine Thompson, March 1898
Sophronia Farnsworth, March 1902
Mary Farnsworth, May 1902
H. Hammer and wife, Sept. 25, 1890
George Green, May 2, 1892
Mrs. George Green, May 2, 1902
Clara Farley, May 21, 1886
Nellie Parker, March 25, 1893
Mary Hammer, Lelah Wilmarth, Francis Pilcher, October 1903 [sic]
Maggie Thompson, March 1898
Ella Thompson, March 1898
Nellie Pilcher, October 1902
Gladys Pilcher, October 1903 [sic]
Josie Parker, March 25, 1893
Frank Parker, John Parker, Robert Parker, W.S. McNitt and wife, Mr. McRay and wife, John Downes and wife, Chan Ingham, wife and family of four, Charles Shaw, Hattie Molestail nee Hattie Hammer, Sept. 25, 1890
D.J. Parker, March 25, 1893
Kittie Hammer, Sept. 25, 1890
Bee Hedrick, Doc Wood, Carl Thompson, Charles Kelley, Doc Northern, E. Hammer, Feb. 1889
Ira Webb, Elmer Webb, Mabel Webb, Harry Hammer, James McCabe, John Cleary and family of nine, Burlington; George Snyder, Burlington; C. Stogsdill and family of six; Louis Kirkby and family of three; Mrs. J.C. Richardson and family of four.

P.S. Question: I have just sold my Kansas farm; in what state do you advise me to settle.
Answer. Go and see, and suit yourself. Any place on God’s footstool is good enough for you and me. Perhaps Kansas will do. But try first to get saved by Christ, and when your heart is all right you can enjoy everything and thank God, the Maker of all. If you must have a mild climate on account of consumptive tendencies, Southern California has cured many. But give me a climate with "lots of git-up," like Kansas.


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