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MUTINY BAY SCHOOL…

MUTINY BAY SCHOOL…

As South Whidbey became more and more settled by immigrants from Europe and Americans pushing west for the dream of a better life, schools were established in the small communities dotting the Island.

Some of these early schools took place in homes or logging camps. Eventually, school districts were formed and resources and labor donated to build wooden structures.

The first school at Mutiny Bay was a small log structure built in 1885 near what would become Cookson’s Corner (so named for the store which was located at the end of the long wooden dock just a little up the hill near what is now Lancaster and Mutiny Bay Road) in Austin (now the Robinson’s Beach area).

Louisa Johnson was the eldest daughter of early settler William Johnson and his wife Gah-toh-Litsa (also known as Zah-toh-Litsa, aka Jane Johnson Oliver). Gah-toh-Litsa was a woman of high birth status in the Snohomish Tribe. Louisa grew up with her parents and 7 siblings at Double Bluff. It is likely that she attended the log school in Austin for at least a few years.

In 1889, when she was 16, Louisa married 49-year-old Mutiny Bay neighbor Nathaniel Porter, who was a widower with two children.

The Porters had a growing family of eventually 8 children and believed in the importance of an education. In 1897 they deeded a small piece of land (210 feet by 105 feet) for a schoolhouse which operated until a newer schoolhouse was built.

In 1911, the Porters sold four acres for the third and last school built at Mutiny Bay.

A photo shows some of the men from the Free Land Colony (a utopian Socialist Colony) helping with the construction in 1911. The new school, a beautifully built two-story structure, opened September 9, 1912.

Local resident Gert Driscoll Tasche, granddaughter of Louisa and Nathaniel Porter, remembers attending Mutiny Bay School until seventh grade when the school was closed and students began attending the new brick elementary school in Langley in 1943. She also remembers attending Sunday School classes that were taught in the basement of Mutiny Bay School.

It is this Mutiny Bay School of which the late John H. Baker wrote about in his memoirs: Baker’s Store – Early Days on Whidbey Island. He began attending first grade at the school 1921.

He wrote:

“I suppose anyone who attended an old time one or two room school feels their school and the teacher who taught there were something special. And rightly so, for not only were those teachers something special… but also most of the school directors had a knack of locating schools where there were many other attractions besides the rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic.

So it was when the Directors looked for a place to build a school that would serve the Bush Point, Baker’s Corner, Austin and Freeland areas. The land obtained from the Porter family on the shores of Mutiny Bay, after which the school was named, was a student’s dream.

During class they could look out of the windows and see ocean-going ships traveling the world ports, and the Puget Sound mosquito fleet making all the ports in the area. Its location also prompted almost daily trips along the shore along the shore looking for drift or following the channel of slough in search of crabs or watching an old skate or octopus burying itself in the mud or building a home.

The schools of small fish that inhabited the slough were always fun to try and catch and the bullheads were frequently caught with a piece of string and a bent pin. Then they were returned to the water as they were of little use.

In the Fall when school was new and minds were open we became Magellan, Cook, Vancouver, or Drake and our teacher was the great Queen Victoria, who financed our voyages to the far corners of the earth and rewarded us with gold and silver on our return.

In the Spring, when school was old and our minds restless, the teacher became the mad Queen Isabel who offered a pot of gold for our heads…

Down towards Austin was the leaning fir tree where the mutinous crew after which the bay was named, strung up the officers of their ship. Whether you were a member of the crew or a condemned officer, it was great fun reenacting the mutiny.

In the Spring and Fall fish traps were examined and it was the thrill of the year to have the trap crew load us into dories and row us out to see the crew brail fish from the spiller. When a derelict of the rum running fleet drifted ashore it became almost a second home for us boys. Ah, for those days of our youth when imaginations ran wild and days were without end!.

Behind the school was a fresh water swamp that would freeze over for skating in the winter time. In the Spring it was great for wading and feeling the muddy bottom squeeze between your toes.

It was in these woods and along the shore of Mutiny Bay that Miss Alma Anderson (later Alma Anderson Porter Grist) developed the memorable treasure hunts that took place several times a year. In the morning after the flag salute, Miss Anderson would announce that today, classes would be held while on a hunt for buried treasure.

Maps, difficult to follow to the location of the clues, were passed out and the hunt was on. Anyone finding a clue would announce the find and when all were gathered at the site Miss Anderson would conduct a reading, spelling, or arithmetic class. Then, upon finding another clue it might be exercise, nature study or singing. Finally, ending back near the school, we were rewarded with a jawbreaker (candy) or other small items. The rewards of memories and experiences were for a lifetime.”
———-Excerpted from “Baker’s Store – Early Days on Whidbey Island” by John H. Baker.

School Districts on South Whidbey consolidated into one big district by the late 1930s and rural schools were closing down, with students bussed to Langley. However, Mutiny Bay and Bay View Schools stayed open until after the new brick school was built in Langley and opened in 1942.

Even then, it wasn’t until a full year later in September of 1943 that Mutiny Bay School students started attending the brick Langley Elementary School.

The June 3, 1943 Whidbey Record newspaper reported a school picnic of 80 people to bid farewell to the two-story wooden structure. The article stated, “It was with understandable regret that many viewed the finality of the occasion since the rural school has been the community and cultural center of the neighborhood since the first settling of the district.”

Mutiny Bay School was purchased by Otto Anderson (brother of Alma Anderson Porter Grist), who tore it down and used the lumber, especially the mahogany wood, in a new building being built in Langley – the Masonic Temple — now Langley City Hall.
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If you have any family stories, recollections or photos, of Mutiny Bay School, please contact the South Whidbey Historical Society at SWHMuseum@gmail.com. We would love to hear them.
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Special thanks to information and sources shared by Gaylord Porter, Dean Campbell, Gloria Porter Campbell, Gert Tasche, and Betty Discher.

Finally, if you love learning about local history as much as we love sharing it, would you please consider making a donation or legacy bequest to the South Whidbey Historical Society? Our non-profit EIN # is 91-1180809.

Our mailing address is: South Whidbey Historical Society / PO Box 612 / Langley, WA 98260.

The South Whidbey Historical Society is staffing the parking lot opposite the Fairgrounds for the Whidbey Island Area Fair running this Thursday, July 19 through Sunday, July 22. When you park in the SWHS lot, you help to support the efforts of your local Historical Society. Only $5 for all-day parking.

The McLeod and Brooks Hill cabins will be open, as well as the Ray Gabelein, Sr. Antique Farming Equipment Barn which SWHS also staffs. If you are not already a member of SWHS, membership forms will be available at the McLeod cabin and the Ray Gabelein, Sr. Antique Farm Equipment building.

See you at the Fair!

Our summer schedule begin this Friday at the South Whidbey Historical Museum. Stop by and see us between 1 and 4 p.m. The Museum will now be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 1 and 4 p.m. until Labor Day weekend.

Posted by South Whidbey Historical Museum on Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Our summer schedule begin this Friday at the South Whidbey Historical Museum. Stop by and see us between 1 and 4 p.m. The Museum will now be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 1 and 4 p.m. until Labor Day weekend.

 

1939 Memorial Day Parade in Everett

In 1939 Clinton resident Bill Hunziker brought his 8 mm camera and met up with his Everett High School classmates for the Memorial Day parade in Everett.  Three months later Nazi Germany would invade Poland and conquer most of Europe. Two and a half years later the United States would enter World War II when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Posted by South Whidbey Historical Museum on Sunday, May 27, 2018

 

In 1939 Clinton resident Bill Hunziker brought his 8 mm camera and met up with his Everett High School classmates for the Memorial Day parade in Everett.

Three months later Nazi Germany would invade Poland and conquer most of Europe. Two and a half years later the United States would enter World War II when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Life on South Whidbey with Leon and Marie Burley

If you want to know what life was like on South Whidbey in the 1920s and '30s, then watch this excerpt of an interview that Bill Steiner did in 1981 of his neighbors, Leon and Marie Burley, of Maxwelton.Leon's parents moved from Nebraska to the Ravenna neighborhood in north Seattle via a buckboard wagon in 1902. Leon and Marie met in 1915 while playing together in her father's orchestra (music was a shared passion) and married in 1916.The Burley family had spent many summers on South Whidbey with their friends, the Mackies, who moved here in 1905. The Burleys moved to Maxwelton in 1921. In addition to farming, Leon drove the school bus to Langley and Marie taught piano lessons for 50 years.Leon was 90 when this interview was done, and Marie was 86. He died in 1996 at the age of 104, three years after Marie had passed away at age 97.The Burleys' recounting of South Whidbey farm life, family, work, values and community is priceless.

Posted by South Whidbey Historical Museum on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

 

If you want to know what life was like on South Whidbey in the 1920s and ’30s, then watch this excerpt of an interview that Bill Steiner did in 1981 of his neighbors, Leon and Marie Burley, of Maxwelton.

Leon’s parents moved from Nebraska to the Ravenna neighborhood in north Seattle via a buckboard wagon in 1902. Leon and Marie met in 1915 while playing together in her father’s orchestra (music was a shared passion) and married in 1916.

The Burley family had spent many summers on South Whidbey with their friends, the Mackies, who moved here in 1905. The Burleys moved to Maxwelton in 1921. In addition to farming, Leon drove the school bus to Langley and Marie taught piano lessons for 50 years.

Leon was 90 when this interview was done, and Marie was 86. He died in 1996 at the age of 104, three years after Marie had passed away at age 97.

The Burleys’ recounting of South Whidbey farm life, family, work, values and community is priceless.

1935 Ferry Videos

Throwback Thursday… a few 1935 era Clinton ferry videos by the late Bill Hunziker, plus the Mukilteo ferry dock.

Posted by South Whidbey Historical Museum on Thursday, May 10, 2018

Throwback Thursday… a few 1935 era Clinton ferry videos by the late Bill Hunziker, plus the Mukilteo ferry dock.

Bill Hunziker 1937 video of school days in Mukilteo

The late Bill Hunziker (1922-2016), son of ferry boat Captain Stanley Hunziker who did the Clinton-Mukilteo run, was given a movie camera by his parents when he was a boy in the 1930s. He shot many home movies on South Whidbey, and even took the movie camera to his grade school in Mukilteo, where he attended Rosehill School. (Bill's mother wanted him to attend a larger school than the one in Langley, and it was an easy ferry commute from his nearby home on Columbia Beach.)These two movies, one black and white one — presumably shot when he was in 7th grade, and a slightly later one shot in Kodacolor in 1937 capture what school was like in the late 1930s.  It was a time when male teachers wore three-piece suits and ties, girl students wore dresses and bobby socks, and there was only one microscope for the whole science class.When Capt. George Vancouver landed on the shores of Point Elliott in 1792, he noted the expanse of wild roses growing near the shoreline.The name given to the place where Rosehill School was located, Rose Point, was coined by Gen. William Broughton, a member of Vancouver’s expedition. In the 1890s, when a prominent Everett architect designed a Victorian-style school just up the hill from the beach, it was named Rose Hill School, later shortened to Rosehill School. The first school, a wooden structure with an onion-shaped dome, burned in 1928. A second, larger one was built in 1929.The stone monument in the video was placed in 1929 by the Marcus Whitman Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution to commemorate the 1855 Point Elliott Treaty made between 82 native American leaders and the U.S. Government.In the 1970s Rosehill School was converted to Rosehill Community Center and later torn down in 2010 for the current, more modern Rosehill Community Center.The opening credit of the video was fashioned to reflect Bill Hunziker's hope of one day emulating the great Hollywood directors.

Posted by South Whidbey Historical Museum on Thursday, April 12, 2018

The late Bill Hunziker (1922-2016), son of ferry boat Captain Stanley Hunziker who did the Clinton-Mukilteo run, was given a movie camera by his parents when he was a boy in the 1930s.

He shot many home movies on South Whidbey, and even took the movie camera to his grade school in Mukilteo, where he attended Rosehill School. (Bill’s mother wanted him to attend a larger school than the one in Langley, and it was an easy ferry commute from his nearby home on Columbia Beach.)

These two movies, one black and white one — presumably shot when he was in 7th grade, and a slightly later one shot in Kodacolor in 1937 capture what school was like in the late 1930s.

It was a time when male teachers wore three-piece suits and ties, girl students wore dresses and bobby socks, and there was only one microscope for the whole science class.

When Capt. George Vancouver landed on the shores of Point Elliott in 1792, he noted the expanse of wild roses growing near the shoreline.The name given to the place where Rosehill School was located, Rose Point, was coined by Gen. William Broughton, a member of Vancouver’s expedition.

In the 1890s, when a prominent Everett architect designed a Victorian-style school just up the hill from the beach, it was named Rose Hill School, later shortened to Rosehill School. The first school, a wooden structure with an onion-shaped dome, burned in 1928. A second, larger one was built in 1929.

The stone monument in the video was placed in 1929 by the Marcus Whitman Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution to commemorate the 1855 Point Elliott Treaty made between 82 native American leaders and the U.S. Government.

In the 1970s Rosehill School was converted to Rosehill Community Center and later torn down in 2010 for the current, more modern Rosehill Community Center.

The opening credit of the video was fashioned to reflect Bill Hunziker’s hope of one day emulating the great Hollywood directors.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Warren Farmer, one of South Whidbey’s oldest native sons.
http://www.southwhidbeyrecord.com/…/warren-farmer-april-25…/

Here are some excerpts from a recent article on Warren as he was honored as a tribal elder by the S’Kallam tribe :

His family roots go back to the earliest written history of Whidbey Island.

His great-grandmother, Emily Lowe Madsen, was a full S’Klallam tribal member from Sequim. She was married to Christian Madsen, a Danish sea captain who was making his fortune cutting and shipping timber to California around 1860.

Madsen won property called Willow Point on Whidbey Island in a poker game. It was so named because of its dense growth of willow trees and was one of three permanent villages of the Snohomish Indians.

A large potlatch house, three longhouses and few private dwellings were located there. Willow Point is known today as Bush Point.

In 1880 Madsen decided to build a warehouse at Bush Point and persuaded business partner John Curtis Farmer and his twenty-year-old son John Carlton Farmer to move from San Francisco to Whidbey Island.

A romance developed between the younger Farmer and Minnie Lowe, Madsen’s stepdaughter. They were married in 1883.

Minnie Lowe descended from the fifth brother, Que-ni-a’som, (called Quathim-son “the Wanderer,” also called Valparaiso Joe), who married the daughter of a Clallam Bay sea captain. Their son Thiedmalth was the father of Minnie Lowe.

Warren’s grandmother, Minnie Lowe Farmer was determined to buy land at Bush Point.

In 1884, she paid one hundred dollars in gold coin to purchase sixty-six acres of land at Bush Point. Two years later, the couple purchased an additional 55 acres at Bush Point from Christian Madsen for $300. Together Minnie and John developed the land into a prosperous farm.

As the farm thrived it became headquarters for many activities on the west side of the island. They built a large barn, brought in Holstein cows, created an orchard, vegetable garden, and raised chickens. As time went on they built a store and a sailboat which was christened the Egg Box. It was used to shuttle eggs, milk, butter, fruits, vegetables, and meats to the passenger and freight boats that anchored offshore.

Warren’s father, Charles, was born in 1884. In 1885 his sister Josephine was born, followed by John in 1887, and Emily in 1892. Minnie Farmer died in 1897, leaving her two sons to assist their father in running the farm. The Farmer family continued to live at Bush Point.

A lighthouse fueled by an oil lamp was built, and it was Emily’s job to light the lamp each night and extinguish it in the morning.

Fish traps were an important part of the economy. One trap could catch up to 100,000 salmon in a day.

Warren was born at Bush Point in 1934 to parents Charles Carlton Farmer and Cordelia Lee “Mae” Arnold Farmer. About this time, fish traps were abolished because there was fear that they were destroying the salmon runs.

Whidbey had car ferry service and roads were being built. This started the resort industry. Salmon were plentiful and a family could spend a weekend on the island renting a cabin for the less than five dollars a night and go home with fresh caught salmon.

Bush Point resort was of the first fishing resorts on the island. Salmon derbies were held with big prizes which attracted more and more visitors to Whidbey.

At one time, there were some 30 resorts on the south end of Island. They are all gone now as families bought the land for summer and permanent homes.

Warren lived at Bush Point and graduated from Langley High School in 1952. He worked many years at the resort. In 1958, he married Darla Ulskey. The couple moved to Everett and established Farmer Realty developing acreage in Snohomish and Island Counties.

Their children Robert, David, and Kathy grew up in Everett but spent summers at Bush Point. Warren and Darla returned to Bush Point 42 years ago and built their home next to the boathouse of Hap’s Resort.

 

Before it was called Sandy Point…

Before it was called Sandy Point, it was called Brown’s Point, but before that, it was a permament Snohomish village called TSEHT-skluhks (‘ragged nose’).

The village had a potlatch house and clam beds which drew visitors from as far away as the Samish. Captain George Vancouver noted in his journals that Master Joseph Whidbey on their visit in 1792 saw two hundred people at this location.

in 1859 a 19-year-old Portugese-born sailor named Joseph Brown jumped ship and settled among the tribe in the village. Six years later he married 14-year-old Mary Shelton (likely a relative of Chief William Shelton who was born there in 1869).

Joseph built an impressive house up on the bluff, and he and Mary became the parents of 14 children.

He hung a lantern out at night for passing ships, and the point became known as “Brown’s Point.”

At first, school was held in their home in 1889, but the next year a school was built at Brown’s Point, and another school 10 years later on Decker Street which then was a skid road in the woods. This was followed by another structure in 1901 on land donated by the Browns.

Mabel Anthes, daughter of Langley founder Jacob Anthes recalled attending school with five of the Brown children. School was in session three months of the year.

In 1915 the Browns sold much of their acreage at Brown’s Point to 16 developers from Everett who formed the Sandy Point Recreation Company in 1916. Joseph died in 1920 and Mary died in 1928.

We welcome any additional information or photos from descendants.

Indigenous Peoples on South Whidbey Field Trip

The South Whidbey Schools Foundation provided a $3,500 grant this year for all the 4th grade classes (Rachel Kizer’s, Sue Raley’s, and Kathy Stanley’s classes) at SW Elementary School to learn about the history, way of life, and values of local indigenous peoples.

Students study Washington state history, trace their own family journeys to Washington, and learn about the early years of Washington and the indigenous people who lived here.

As part of the project, students will take several field trips including this week’s trip to the Hibulb Cultural Center to learn about the Snohomish Tribe.

Students will next go to the Island County Historical Museum in Coupeville to take advantage of their “Every Kid in a Park” to learn about early Native American life at Ebey’s Landing.

Then students will tour the South Whidbey Historical Museum with an emphasis on the indigenous history of the south end of Whidbey Island, plus the settlers who founded our local towns.

In addition, the grant will fund a guest speaker to help students learn in greater depth about the local Snohomish presence on South Whidbey, including the last hereditary chief of the Snohomish, William Shelton, (1868-1938), who was born and raised on South Whidbey.

We would like to see this classroom project funded every year and invite a community group, local business, or an individual or family to adopt this grant. If you are interested in becoming a patron of this project, please contact Bob Wiley at at wileygolfbums@whidbey.com.