Skagit County Pioneers


Most of the information provided by the Kimble Family Researcher
Judith Oldham I truly appreciate Judith interest in placing her family information on Skagit...and for her many happy emails

Kimble Genealogy provided by Judith Oldham Picture of David Kimble and wife (700,000 bytes) provided by Judith Oldham

"DAVID EVERETT KIMBLE, a pioneer among pioneers, one of the real forces in the reclamation of the Skagit valley from its primeval wilderness, is the honored citizen whose life we shall here seek to concisely portray. Upon the old homestead in Mt. Vernon, surrounded by peace and plenty, amid the scenes of his most noteworthy labors, he is passing the declining years of a long, useful life.
Aaron Kimble, the father of David, was a pioneer of the middle west, into which he entered as a lad of twelve from his native state, New Jersey. In Ohio, he learned the plasterer's trade and there lived until 1832, when he removed to Park county, Indiana. From Indiana he went to Missouri eight years later and resided until his death in 1846. Nancy (Snodgrass) Kimble, his wife, was born in 1812, a native of Virginia, and there lived with her parents until they went to Ohio. In that state she was married. She survived her husband forty years, living in Missouri until 1870, then joining her son at Mount Vernon with whom she lived until the grim reaper overtook her. Five of their children are dead also: Vina, Joseph, John, Aaron, Newton, and Mary; the remaining three are Mrs. Martha Clifton, Mrs. Clarinda Gates and the subject of this sketch. He was born May 5, 1828, on the old farm in Fayette county, Ohio, but received his education and arrived at man's estate in Missouri. In 1861 he took up his residence in Illinois, but lived there only a year, next going to Indiana, where he ran a saw-mill engine for a time. Returning to Illinois in 1863, he followed teaming in Cass county until he came to the Pacific Coast. The trip across the plains with his family in 1868 was filled with the usual dangers and hardships incident to such a trip. Arriving at Puget sound, Mr. Kimble immediately joined his wife's folk on Whidbey Island and resided nearby for several months. At that time what is now Skagit County had barely a score of white setters and the Skagit Valley was entirely unoccupied except by a number of white men with Indian wives, living on the delta. Into this Wilderness Mr. Kimble plunged and February 3, 1869 staked out the claim which is now his home. This place was the furthest at that date and right at the lower end of the historic log jam which blocked higher navigation by any kind of a boat, thus preventing the settlement of the inland region. As the most isolated setter in the county, Mr. Kimble Gates, Gage, and Kimble families settled near each other about the same time, shortly after the claims were taken in 1869, being the first white families on the Skagit. However, settlement on the river was extremely slow until the removal of the jam in 1878 and the founding of Mount Vernon just above the Kimble place about that year.
Mr. Kimble was united in marriage to Minerva Jane Bozarth in Indiana, Christmas Day, 1862. She comes of a well-known pioneer family, her father having been Urvan E. Bozarth, who settled on Whidby Island in 1852. He was born in Kentucky in 1827, but left the Blue Grass state at the age of seventeen to live in Missouri. His death occurred on Whidby island in 1870. Mrs. Elizabeth (Rice) Bozarth was a native of Missouri and there reared and educated. The Bozarth family is prominent in the early history of Whidby Island. Mrs. Kimble was born February 2, 1845, and reared by her grandparents, with whom she lived until her marriage. A large family has been the fortune of this union: Balzora born August 15, 1863 (deceased); Edward, March 18, 1864, a well-known resident of the lower valley; Charles W. , September 20, 1866 (deceased); Minerva Elizabeth, January 24, 1869; Nancy B., October 30, 1870; Joseph, December 25, 1872; Ida, January 6, 1875; Zenia, April 29, 1876; George, March 8, 1879; Harry, July 11, 1881; Anna, October 9, 1883; and Rufus, January 5, 1886. The family are members of the Baptist faith. Mr. Kimble is a Democrat, but of late has not taken as active an interest in politics as when he was younger. He has served upon the local school board and in many other ways shown his public spiritedness and a desire to bear his responsibilities as a good citizen. The Kimble ranch of seventy acres well improved and having upon it more than 1,000 bearing fruit trees is a high testimonial to its owner's thrift and taste, and it is appropriate that he and his wife should now be enjoying the fruit of their long, weary labors as pioneers of that community."
This is from a very, very old book - The history of Skagit County - that I found here in our local library. It also contains info on Edward David Kimble and bits and pieces about everyone else that I am still trying to work through.

...Since David's off spring from his second marriage to Minerva Bozarth are the only ones mentioned in the biography I sent, I wonder if you would be so kind as to add this note regarding the off spring from his first marriage. Many of these descendants moved to Skagit County. I am a descendent of John Aaron.

NOTE: David Kimble's first family was born in Missouri. Many of these sons and grandsons emigrated to the Skagit County area when grown. David's children from his first marriage to Rebecca Wortman were; John Aaron, Marion C., Charles Henry, Isadora, David, Malinda, and Mary.

The following is a letter from David Kimble to his grandson George Kimble of Toledo, Ohio in 1906.

Mt. Vernon, Washington December 15, 1906

Well, Dear Grandson;

I will try to answer your kind request. I was born in Fayette County, Ohio, May 5, in the year 1828. My family moved to Indiana when I was five years old, and lived there until I was in my 13th year. Then we went to Missouri when that was a wilderness. I lived there until the War. Then persecution drove me from home, and I became a rambler. I went from place to place. Finally I went to Indiana. There I met and married Minerva Jan Bozarth who has shared my hardship for nearly 40 years. We left Illinois in 1869, and came to Washington, and settled on the place where we now live. We settled here when there were only 16 (settlers), including me, in the county, and narry a white woman. We were surrounded by all sorts and sizes. I was a sample William Penn. I made my friends and I never had any trouble. We had hard times, and ups and downs, (but) we have always worked hard and pulled together. We have never had a quarrel in all these 45 years. We have a good home and are enjoying life as well as two old folks can. We are both enjoying good health.

Now, for my father. He was born in New Jersey in 1803, and went to Pennsylvania, and from there to Ohio, where I was born. He was loaned out to learn a trade. He served his time. He was a Brick and Stone Mason. He died in Missouri in 1845. He had two brothers, Moses and Nathan. One was a Tanner, and the other was a Hatter.

My grandmother on my father's side was a niece of Martha Washington. She was a ROSE. Your Aunt Polly Snodgrass was a Kimble, and she named her first girl after my grandmother, and the name has come down to the fifth generation.

My mother's side are of German descent. My mother was born in Virginia in 1812. Her maiden name was Snodgrass. She was the daughter of Joseph and Catherine Snodgrass. My grandmother's maiden name (on mother's side) was O'Neal. My aunts on mother's side went from Ohio to Kokomo, Indiana. One of them married James Will, one married a Pogue Pitzer, and the other married Henry Pitzer.

This leaves all well...hoping this will find you all the same. Please excuse me for not answering your first letter, as you did not give me your address. As I wrote all I can think of, I will close. Hoping to hear from you soon.

From; D.E. Kimble to George Kimble"
...Research shows David's maternal grandmother was a Katherine Gish, and not an O'Neal, as he says in the letter. This discrepancy remains a mystery to be solved.

"Chehachos All: the Pioneering of Skagit County, Washington": is the source of the following references.

..."The Skagit River was blocked by log jams above and below the present site of Mt. Vernon. A party scouted the river in 1869; D.E. Kimble, Jasper Gates, Augustas Hartsan, Charles Washburn, Issac Lanning, and William Gage selected a spot just below the lower jam. In 1870, they chartered the little stern wheeler Kinnie for 50.00 to bring them, their families, and their household goods from Whidbey Island to their new homes. Joseph Dwelley and Jasper Gates took up claims where Mt Vernon now stands. This group is credited with making the first white settlement so far up the river, though Mr. Kimble reported that when he came there were 16 men with Indian wives already in the valley below them along the north and south forks."

...The way in which men prepared to bring their families to this remote area was described by the grandson of one of the settlers, Ralph C. Hartson, writing in 1950. (This settler would have been Augustus Hartson, who chartered the schooner with David Kimble and 4 others in 1869).
...'The claim that Grandpa Hartson decided on was on the west side of the river, and just below the jam that closed off river navigation from that point on upstream. A portion of this jam lies today below a growth of Alder trees on the west side of the river. (now Edgewater Park)
...The first move was a clearing for the new log cabin and a garden plot. Many fine logs went up in flames that would be remembered (and later regretted) in later years when they would have been useful, and then the stump ranch was increased to make a little room for a barn. Then the woodsmen's tools were gotten out, shakes were made for the roofs, logs cut and shaped for the cabin, beams, planks, and joists for the floors, window frames made and necessary furniture manufactured, all in readiness for the coming trip of the small streamer that was to ferry the families to the claim.
...After the well-built cabin was finished, the next thing to think of was the barn. Everyone was busy cutting to size logs for framework and joists and rafters. It was a common practice to fasten the larger pieces together with wooden pegs. Keep always in mind that nails were a scarce commodity, and those that were used were the old style cut nails, not the wire nails of today. With everything all ready, invites went out for the barn-raising bee. This went off like clockwork, and the willing hands soon had a frame up that began to look like a barn. Then, to wind up the day, after a light supper, there was a "christening" barn dance and genial get together. It took some artist to dance on the average barn door of those days. Grandfather had the floor laid before, and had done a good job of it"

...The school in the new settlement, according to the above report by the Skagit County Historical Society, was "three months long, and held in the Kimble barn".

...The earliest civic event on record for Mt. Vernon was the July 4th celebration of 1877. Following is the moving account of this event, as outlined in the "Pioneering" report.
..." On a spring day Clothier, (some say English,) and John Lorenzy, a man over 60 years old, were standing on the river bank looking at a beautiful cedar tree, six feet in diameter at the base, and rising straight as an arrow for more than 200 feet, Mr. Lorenzy proposed to climb the tree, cut off the limbs and the top and convert it into a flag pole. Others thought it too dangerous, but he succeeded in doing it in spite of the swaying of the tree in the wind, cutting it off about 140 feet above the ground. Clothier and English furnished the material to make a 24 by 36-foot flag. The DAR placard posted by the flag when it was placed in the Court House, states that Charles Towne cut out the stars, and that Mrs. Minerva Kimble, Mrs. Clarinda Gates, (youngest sister to David) Mrs. Dennis Storrs, Mrs. George E. Hartson, Mrs. JF Dwelley and Mrs. Jonathan Schott sewed the flag on Mrs. Gates sewing machine, while Mrs. McNamera and Mrs. Papin prepared and served their lunches. The flag and flagpole by the river became the center of the Forth of July celebration, which ended with a picnic at the Kimble farm in the spruce grove. The flagpole remained the pride of the town for fourteen years until it was burned, together with most of the buildings, in 1891."

David Kimble Biography:
...D.E. Kimble attended the founding meeting of the Skagit County Pioneers Association, in Skagit City, Skagit County, Washington, on June 6. 1891. Fifty-nine individuals registered as founding pioneers and settlers of the area, and had the enclosed picture taken together.

...About David Kimble: in "Yarns of the Skagit Country (Ray's Writin's) by Ray Jordan, David Kimble is mentioned several times. . . . .

Notes from Skagit County Historical Society:
..."What constituted the first school in Skagit County was in progress in 1873 in a log stable on the homestead of the late David E. Kimble, a short distance below the present site of Mount Vernon. . . . . ." (Page 145)
..."When D. E. Kimble settled on his homestead just below the present site of Mount Vernon in 1869, he was at the end of the river, in a manner of speaking.. . . ." (Pate 147)
..."More specifically, as to location, the old History states that the jam began at the lower boundary of the Kimble claim and extended upriver about on-half mile to a point opposite the present Kimble residence. . . . . ." (Page 148)
..."The Van Fleets had planned to spend the remainder of the night at the hotel, but David E. Kimble, who had a homestead at the lower end of what had been the Big Jam wouldn't hear of it. . . . ." (Page 178, describing Christmas 1880

From the History of Skagit County

An Indian Sham Battle

Comparatively few white men, now living, have enjoyed the opportunity of witnessing Indian inter-tribal warfare, and hardly less rarely have white men witnessed sham battles among the red men, yet David E. Kimble, a well known pioneer of Mt. Vernon, has seen both at his place on the Skagit in early days. It appears that "Jim", a "Stick", or Skagit River Indian, was foully murdered in the summer of 1874 at Utsalady by the "Salt Waters". The affair caused intense excitement among the "Sticks", who forthwith commenced preparations to go on the warpath. The killing of an Indian was not an incident of rare occupancies, for these tribal attacks were to be counted upon as customary diversions from the routine of hunting, fishing, and sleeping; nevertheless each "mimaloose" only recalled the past with renewed bitterness and desire for revenge. In these sanguinary conflicts, the sound, or salt water, Indians very often came out ahead, but neither tribe won complete victories, and the warfare dragged along in Indian fashion. At times in the conflict pitched battles of considerable magnitude were fought, then the struggle would again relapse into mere individual encounters, but it never ceased entirely until the whites became so numerous that undisturbed battle grounds could no longer be found. To this day the sound Indians look down upon their inland brothers, while the river dwellers have an utter contempt for the clam diggers of salt water.

On the occasion of Jim's death, Thomas Craney, the Utsalady mill owner, on whose property the murder took place, sent word to the "Sticks" to come and get the body. "Shookum Charlie", a chief of the tribe, with one hundred warriors was found by the messenger encamped at the ranchere near Campbell's store at Skagit City. A pow-wow followed in which all the head men participated and which was still in progress when sentinels came rushing in to report the arrival of the enemy. There was no mistake, for swiftly the Dearden war canoes came round the bend and set toward the ranchere. War cries, shrill, blood curdling, ringing with frenzy, rent the silence of those unsettled solitudes, alternately chilling and heating the blood. Full sixty half naked, painted Camanos manned their marvelous canoes. The quick rhythmic stroke of the paddles, the stroke shortening as the scene of the battle was approached, sent the high prowed boats through the water by leaps. As they neared the shore, paddles were replaced by weapons of all sorts and styles, the coxswain alone retaining his to guide the speeding canoe. The most casual onlooker could observe at once how wonderful was the skill of these savage boatmen, how delicately responsive to their slightest touch the long, narrow shell, and how perfectly graceful and at ease their movements.

Bravely, the "sticks" met the attack from behind trees, brush, hillock, and grass. With an exultant yell, the attacking boatmen swept up the bank, poured out a Olly, disembarked and rushed to the attack. The "Sticks" took the offensive the moment the enemy landed and with whoops and yells rushed at the Camanos. Rifles cracked, shot guns roared, pistols blazed forth the fury of the combatants, clubs and missiles were hurled back and forth, but the battle was but for a moment. The "Sticks" had never recovered from their surprise, could not withstand the fierceness of the Camanos' onslaught, and soon began a slow retreat into the woods, endeavoring to lure on the foe. The foe divined their game, however, and having accomplished its object successfully, rushed to the waiting canoes as it had come up, giving expression to its exultation in prolonged yelling.

Several "Sticks" had joined their forefathers in the happy hunting grounds, among them one nearly blind, shot down by a boy in revenge for the supposed death of his father at his hand of the lad's father. It was noticed that two or three Camanos fell from the canoes in the attack, but so far as is known they were only wounded. Before the sun went down that night the defeated, chagrined "Sticks" had gathered together their dead, and over the bodies of the fallen heroes were chanting the last sad dirges. Shortly afterward, wrapped in their brightest blankets and supplied with food, clothing and trinkets, the deceased braves were carefully laid away in favorite canoes placed high in the branches of the nearest "mimaloose" grove. Thus the first and tragic part of the incident was closed and Mr. Kimble returned to his peaceful task of homebuilding as though nothing of moment had occurred.

A month later "Skookum Charlie" leading an immense band of "Sticks", gathered from far up and down the river, appeared at the Kimble cabin. The warriors were dressed and armed for fighting, fierce in expression and aggressive in movement. It was plain that they meant business. Mr. Kimble had just returned from at trip to the post office and store at La Conner, an arduous journey in those times, and one seldom made. The haughty chief came to the point, after the customary exchange of civilities without which no Indian chieftain ever proceeds seriously, with a request for temporary use of Mr. Kimble's land for "cults mamma poo" purposes. In plain English the Skagits wished to fight a scam battle on the ranch, probably because they had used that ground in former days before the white man's Avant and for the further reason that being partly cleared, it permitted for more maneuvering than was possible in the woods. Furthermore, it is evident that the Kimble place was regarded as a species of neutral zone. The sham battle was not a diversion for these Indians, a mere play. Its purpose was to convey a challenge to their enemies, as reports of it would be carried by special messenger to the coast, with descriptions of its skill, fierceness, length and other details important in judging of its true significance.

Just opposite the old Kimble home, separated from it by a narrow, short slough, a low, sparsely timbered and partly cleared point jutted out into the river. Here the warriors made headquarters. The battle was fought in three parts, or rather, repeated Three times, with brief impassioned addresses after each part by "Skookum Charlie" and leading braves. These savage orators spoke from the stumps with much impressiveness, much feeling. There was eloquence in their bodies, in the eye, which needed not the interpretation of vocal language to convey its meaning to the spellbound Kimble family who watched the scene from the cabin. The battle demonstration consisted of wild rushes from out the woods, the firing of guns, fiendish yells and whoops, beating of war drums, and to some extent, the production of physical distress. It was a picturesque affair, strange, interesting, weird, typically Indian in every way."