January 24, 1891

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(This is a front page article written about Kittitas county in general)


Coal, Iron and Agricultural Products - Tobacco and Peanuts - Grapes Article by E. T. WILSON

In the fall of 1883, the territorial legistlature in session at Olympia, carved Yakima county in twain, creating from the northern portion
a new county and named it Kittitas. The county thus created contained at that time a population of about 1,000 people and was practically
the wilderness of Washington territory, having not a single mile of railroad within its borders and no immediate prospects of any. All
supplies from the outside world were freighted from The Dalles in wagons, and there was nothing grown within its borders that it would pay
to ship. Cattle and horses were raised in abundance, but were driven to market over the mountain trails, some times being weeks en route.
The few inhabitants, however, had faith in the country, and they industriously improved their farms, built good barns and residences,
brought in irrigating ditches, and prepared for the good time they knew would come if they only had the patience to stay with it. Upon the
organization of the county, Robert CANADAY, C. P. COOKE, and Sam PACKWOOD were appointed commissioners, and they in turn appointed
John GOODWIN, the sheriff; W. H. PETERSON, auditor; T. JOHNSON, treasurer; Walter A. BULL, probate judge; John R. WALLACE, surveyor; Miss
CUMBERLAND, school superintendent; and Dr. HENTON, coroner. They continued in their assigned offices until the general election of 1884,
when their successors were elected and in due time thereafter qualified. It was not until the spring of 1886 that the Cascade branch of the
Northern Pacific railroad reached Kittitas county, and it is only from that time that we can date her growth. With the railroad came the
merchant, the doctor, the lawyer, the speculator, the sport, the prospector, the town site boomer, and last, but more important than all,
the hundreds of laborers who earned their wages by hard knocks and amid privations of every kind, but spend them "like lords to the manor
born". Times began to "pick up". The city of Ellensburgh, which, at the organization of the county contained less than 175 people,
suddenly assumed the airs of a railroad town, with its stores, gambling resorts, dance houses, and a population of 1,000 or more people.
Strangers were attracted to our beautiful valley, the old freighters' trail to The Dalles was abandoned, and Kittitas county at once took
rank as a very important part of the bright group of counties which made up the territory of Washington. It continued to gain and improve,
until now it ranks twelfth in the state as to population, and even under the recent abortive attempt at a census, was allotted 8,761 souls
as its proportion of the 349,000 in the state.


The topography of Kittitas county differs from that of almost any county in the state. Lying as it does, between the Columbia river on
the east and the Cascade range of mountains on the west, it contains low valleys, elevated table lands, narrow canyons down which course
mountain streams alive with trout, some "scab" land, fit only for grazing, agricultural lands, where the finest of hay, grain and fruit are
grown; mountains within whose bowels are found coal, iron and the precious metals in abundance; rolling prairies of waving bunch grass, upon
which herds of cattle, horses and sheep are grazing; and mountains covered with a dense growth of fir, pine and cedar timber. The northern
and western portion of the county extends to the summit of the Cascades, where it meets and clasps hands with its webfoot sisters, Pierce,
King, Snohomish and Skagit. This part is necessarily very rough and broken, but it is here where lies the latent wealth that will some time
make the name of the state of Washington in general, and Kittitas County in particular, famous throughout our nation. But of this later
on. In attempting to give the readers of the Post Intelligencer an insight to our resources and capabilities, I shall treat the subject in
sections, for in no other way can justice be done. The contrast is great between the different localities in the county, both as to climate
and productions, precluding an attempt at generization, so I will begin with the


This beautiful little valley is first entered by the traveler from the east, emerging from the Yakima canyon, in which the railroad winds
and ??? for twenty or more miles. Suddenly thrusting into view, it is a beautiful sight with its background of snow-covered, timber-
fringed, peaks, its surface covered with innumberable well-loved farms, watered by trickling streams flowing in every direction from the
surrounding mountains, their course marked by the willows and alders which skirt their banks, with the compact, well-built city of
Ellensburgh acting as a queen in its midst. The valley proper is about thirty miles long by fifteen wide, and contains nearly 800,000 acres
of land, nearly all of which is arable. It is sufficiently well-watered for the number of acres now in cultivation, and when the "big
ditch" in contemplation, is brought down from lakes Katchees and Kitchess, an abundance of water will be obtainable to irrigate every foot
of land in the valley. The Yakima river crosses the valley diagonally in a southeasterly direction. The farms lying on the west side of
the river are irrigated by a small stream called the Menastash, and by the Taenum and west side ditch, the later taken from the Yakima
river, twelve miles above. Some very fine farms are upon the "west side," containing broad acres of wheat lands and timothy meadows. Many
fine orchards are in bearing, and while it is a little too frosty to be called a peach country, good peaches are raised in some localities
every year. Apples, plums, pears and the small fruits grow in abundance and of the best quality. The largest single farm in this part of
the valley belongs to S. R. GEDDES, and contains 800 acres, from which was raised this year 500 tons of timothy hay and several thousand
bushels of wheat oats. Mr. GEDDES has fine improvements on his place, consisting of a barn 78x88 feet, comfortable residence and stone milk
house. He raises many fine cattle and horses of notable strains of blood. The east side of the Yakima river is watered by the Wilson and Nanum creeks, two large ditches from the Yakima, and several small streams
as yet unnamed. The Nanum spreads out into innumerable branches, running in a general course toward the river, but scattering over hundreds
of acres of rich meadow land and furnishing necessary moisture for field after field of waving grain and hay. The SMITH ranch of 1,200
acres and the Walter A. BULL place of 1,500 acres are the two largest estates in this part of the valley. They are both well improved with
commodious barns and farm houses, blacksmith shops, etc. Mr. BULL raised 1,000 tons of hay this year, and is now milking sixty cows. He
runs his churn, two hay presses, a feed cutter, and chop-mill by water power. He has a large warehouse 40x100 feet with a Northern Pacific
railroad sidetrack and telegraph office on the place. The Clausen-Sweeney Brewing Company, of Seattle, is building an ice house 108x156
feet with 26 feet walls, on the place to hold their supply of ice for 1891. Four fine roller mills are located in the valley, all capable of turning out a first-class quality of flour. Coal has been found in an
abundance in the foot hills, one vein belonging to CANADAY Bros. being eleven feet thick. A wagon road is being constructed to the mine and
in a few weeks it will be sold in competition with Roslyn coal owned by the Northern Pacific. The valley was at one time the bed of a lake
with its outlet via the Yakima canyon, but as the river wore away its rocky bed, the Kittitas valley formed. Good school houses are
scattered throughout the valley and it is settled by a superior class of farmers, who raise immense quantities of hay, grain and livestock,
their principal market being Puget Sound. Forty miles to the east lies what is known as the


This is quite an extensive flat lying along the west bank of the Columbia at the mouth of the Wenatchee river, and as its altitude is but
600 feet above sea level, all kinds of semi-tropical fruits are raised in abundance. Upon the farm of Mr. ALLEN, at the lower end of the
valley, I have seen figs and chestnuts in bearing, tobacco of an excellent quality, peanuts, shrubbery, etc. that is usually a stranger to
this latitude; in fact, almost everything that will grow in middle California. John GALLER, commonly known as Dutch John, has an immense
vineyard from which tons of grapes are raised each year and pressed into wine by the dusky family, for John has an Indian woman for a wife,
and has raised a large number of children, whose complexions are of a more swarthy hue than his neighbors. His fine peach orchard is one of
the best in the valley, and he dries large quantities of fruit each year. Phillip MILLER, who is a pioneer in the valley, raises each year
from 4,000 to 5,000 bushels of peaches, large quantities of grapes and several hundred tons of alfalfa and timothy hay which he sells to the
stock raisers from the adjoining ranges. He has also built a distillery on the place, and last year made 300 gallons of peach brandy of an
excellent quality. During the season just past, Jacob BOLENBAUGH experimented with a patch of sorghum cane, twenty-seven yards by seventy-
three yards, and from this made 106 gallons of molasses boiled down almost to the constituency of taffy. The cane grew very rank, many of
the stalks being between thirteen and fourteen feet high. These stalks when crushed made good feed for stock of all kinds. With the
introduction of water from the Wenatchee river, the production of the valley will be quadrupled, and as the Great Northern will likely
select this route for its passage through the Cascades, the Wenatchee country will become tributary to the lower Sound, and its products
will be soon in the markets of every city of that wonderful region. Surrounding the valley are mountains filled with iron, coal, gold,
silver and lead, which only awaited the advent of capital for their development. Lime is found in abundance and up the Wenatachee river, a
few miles from its mouth, a large deposit of onyx has been discovered. The town of Wenatchee contains several hundred people, and all
branches of trade are fairly well represented. The Wenatchee flows in a southwesterly course through a narrow valley surrounded by high
hills on each side. It is a boundary line between Okanogan and Kittitas counties, and is about the same size as the Yakima. Twelve miles
from its mouth is the Mission Creek settlement, containing many fine farms, all highly productive. Fine corn, vegetables, fruit, tobacco,
peanauts, etc. are grown in abundance. David STRONG raised this year 2,150 bushels of potatoes from five acres of land, all of which he
will sell to the prospectors in the Peshastin, Okanogan, and other mining camps for a good price. Still farther up the river, we find a number of small valleys, notable the Icicle, Wenatchee lake and


This stream is small and enters the Wenatchee river from the south. It drains a section of county very rich in minerals of all kinds.
The Peshastin is but thirty-eight miles from Ellensburgh, via the mountain trails, but nearly three times that distance via the Wenatchee
river. Among the noted ledges in this district are the "Humming Bird", "Golden Phoenix", "Pole Pick" and "Culver". In the official report
of the Spokane Falls exposition, the average working value of the Peshastin ore is said to be $37.50 per ton. Much of this is free milling
gold quartz, with considerable argentiferons galena in the district. William DONOHUE owns an arastra, which he has been running for several
years with excellent results. His gold retort is very fine, brining $18.75 per ounce at the mint. An extensive belt of asbestos of
excellent quality has been discovered, lying in parallel veins, each from eighteen to twenty-four inches in width. Considerable copper has
been discovered, in fact, the entire vicinity is rich in minerals and will one day yield a rich return for the investment of capital. The
Peshastin creek heads, near the Swauk, a low divide only separating them, the latter stream flowing toward and emptying in the Yakima about
twelve miles above Ellensburgh.


Drains that portion of the country which has yielded within the past few years about $175,000 in coarse gold. It is the only part of the
county where placer mining is systematically followed, and thought the gravel is spotted, pay dirt being in streaks, several fortunate
miners have amassed a competence in searching for the hidden riches. The gold is very coarse, several nuggets having been found that
weighed as hugh as $500 each. John BLACK owns a very rich claim, and regularly each month during the mining season sends from three to five
pounds of nuggets to the mine. At the recent Spokane Falls exposition, the Ellensburgh banking house of Ben E. SNIPES & Co. had on
exhibition a display of gold from this mine numbered and classed as follows: No. 1, weight 24 oz., 13 pwts., 10 grains; value $325. No. 2, weight 8 oz., 9 pwts., 12 grains; value $135.60 No. 3, weight 6 oz., 18 pwts., 4 grains; value $110.55 No. 4, weight 3 oz., 2 pwts., 2 grains; value $49.66 No. 5, weight 3 oz., 7 pwts., 3 grains; value $53.70 No. 6, weight 2 oz., 18 pwts.; value, $46.40 No. 7, small nuggets; value, $39.70 Here one can see old time sluice-box mining, such as was followed in the early days of Montana and California, in all its picturesqueness.
The same brawny miners, with their sunburned faces and arms, the pick, shovel and upturned gold pan, the cabin with its bachelor's quarters,
all remind us forcibly of the days gone by, and take us back to the Argonauts who first made a pathway into the great Northwest, when the
man who predicted a transcontinental railway within an ordinary life time was looked upon as insane. The mother lode, which furnishes the
gold for which these hardy men are toiling, has been sought for long and earnestly, but as yet without avail. When found it will be a
bonanza to the lucky prospector who secures it. Where the Swauk leaves the mountains, a large number of fine farms are located, upon which
good crops are raised with very little irrigation. To the northwest lies what is know as the


In which many good locations have been made. Among these are the "Silver Dump", "Silver King", "Madeline", "Aurora", "Mountain Sprite",
"Bald Eagle", "Ida Elmore", "Fortune", "Cle-Elum" and "Hawk" mines, lying forty or fifty miles north of Ellensburgh and about twenty-five
miles from Roslyn. Assays show the ore from these claims to run from $30 to $45 per ton. Some very fine copper ledges have been located in
this district and quite a large amount of development work done. The copper ores assay from 30 to 80 percent, copper, and from $45 to $60
gold and silver to the ton. Nine miles southwest of Cle-Elum, between Whynemick and Lyapie creeks, are thirty four locations of iron ore,
assaying from 23 to 60 percent, iron, and $45 in silver. These locations are made upon six parallel lodes from four to eight feet wide and
about thirty yards apart. In fact, there are whole mountains of iron ore in the Cle-Elum district, and a test of it was made at Ellensburgh
a few days ago, in a common foundry cupola, the result being several bars of pig iron of a most excellent quality. One mile west of the
ledges mentioned above is a 3 1/2 foot vein of galena, carrying 50 per cent of lead and $12.50 in silver. Three miles further west are
three parallel lodes of gold bearing rock, carrying from $12 to $16 to the ton on the surface. There is a peculiar formation in that
neighborhood, covering about 2,500 acres, where the country rock will assay from $1.50 to $6 per ton in silver. Coal indications are seen
upon every hand, and great lime ledges look out from the hillsides, seemingly begging for practical development, that blast furnaces may be
built, rolling mills constructed and armies of skilled labor given employment in converting the crude material so abundant on every hand
into the finished product which has made Pennsylvania the greatest state in America today for laboring men. Four miles from this little
town of Cle-Elum and about thirty miles from Ellensburgh is the coal-mining town of


Containing about 1,500 people, who derive their support from the coal mines operated by the Northern Pacific Coal company. This company
employs 960 men, and during the year just ended has shipped 450,000 tons of the best steam producing coal in the state. During a number of
months within the year the output was small, due to many circumstances not necessary to relate, but for the past three months the yield has
been 55,000 tons per month, therefore Roslyn is looked upon as a good busienss point. The company is continually improving their works,
with a view to increasing the yield, the demand for this excellent coal being greater than the supply. In addition to the large number of
white men employed by the company, about 250 colored men find employment in the mines. They were brought by the company from the East at a
time when a strike was feared. Visitors at the Spokane exposition will remember the great chunk of coal weighing 9,500 pounds, which was
produced at Roslyn and attracted much attention from all who saw it. The company's pay-roll foots up about $60,000 each month. All branches of business are established at Roslyn, the Knights of Labor, Masons, Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias have strong
organizations there; school houses and churches have been built, a good system of water-works constructed and the citizens are justly proud
of the little city they have hewed from the wilderness. Roslyn is one town where the complaint of dull times is never heard, because it is
supported by the tin bucket brigade, that foundation of prosperity in every country. Go where you will and if the laboring classes are
prosperous, there will you find a happy, contented people, for the entire system of our government rests upon honest labor. Capital and
labor are each dependent upon each other and their interests are identical. Four miles from Roslyn and upon the main-line of the Northern
Pacific is the town of


containing about 300 people. This little city is supported by several sawmills, quite anumber of good farms in the vicinity, and the men
necessarily employed by the railroad company in making up and handling the coal trains sent out from Roslyn over its branch road. Two
hotels, a livery stable and a number of stores and salooons are here to supply the needs of the surrounding population. It is thought that
Cle-Elum will make a large place someday, when iron works, coking ovens, etc. are built within its limits, and there are many living there
who do not think that day far distant. It is almost impossible in a newspaper article to do justice to a county whose resources are so greaet and varied as those of Kittitas.
With our whole mountains of raw material ready for the manufacturer, our agricultural and horticultural possibilities, of which I have not
told a tithe, the time will come when the hum of machinery, the sound of the pick, the smoke of hundred furnaces and the happy voices of
thousands of contented workmen, will make the central county of the great state of Washington not only the most prosperous, but it will be
the greatest manufacturing center of the Northwest. Its soil will be taxed to the utmost to support the small world of toilers within its
borders, pleasant homes will be built, schools and churches established and the merry voices of happy children will be heard among the hills
that now resound to the scream of the panther and hooting of night birds. It has within its borders sufficient resources to support a
population of a quarter of a million, and notwithstanding the forebodings of growlers and pessimists, that time is approaching as surely as
day will follow night.

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