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Noble George Harvey

McDaniels Do it Best
Published:06/23/2008 History
Noble George Harvey    Print Snohomish Times    
Snohomish VIC Looking at Ave D and First
Snohomish River and Historic First Street

Noble George Garvey, born in 1873, the first white boy baby sin Snohomish County, grew into his teens much as other pioneer children. He loved the out-of-doors and, when not helping his father clear land, spent his time hunting and fishing or at the sports and games of the times.

To visit his cousins living near the present site of the Carnation Stock Farm, Noble, at the age of eleven, walked from Snohomish along a forest trail from Monroe back of High Rock and through the gills to Novelty and across the valley to Adairs claim. On these trips he was always armed with an old muzzle-loading rifle.

At thirteen years of age, after his fathers death, the lad helped his mother operate the family farm and at the death of his mother, he took over the management and kept the place growing and prosperous. During his youth, Noble was called on to take people across the river in his canoe as there was no bridge or ferry. The fee was twenty-five cents or one chocolate bar which was usually the cause of upset stomachs.

At one time he was asked to transport a government map-maker up the river and shortly after starting, the man, who had been whittling while he talked to the Indians, dropped his knife in the river. It was decided to wait until the homeward trip and a low tide to recover the knife. Noble, who could speak and understand the natives language quite well, explained what had happened and the Indians were very curious as to how the knife would be found in the deep water.

The government man had a glass eye so he took out the eye, held it under the water for a while, then reached sown and picked up the knife. The Indians, not knowing that the knife had been seen previously, thought the man must surely be the devil and ran for their lives.

The Northern Pacific Railroad purchased a right-of-way from Novle and he, with his oxen, cleared land, hauled logs, and moved dirt and stumps to help raise the road bed. The first train was run in 1888.

From his early boyhood, until a few years before his death, Mr. Harvey enjoyed hunting. In his younger years, he hunted for the market as this was the main source of the meat supply for the hotels and eating places in the town. It was cold, wet work, and as his gun was a muzzle-loading Parker double, he had to make every load get more than one duck just to break even. Mallard and Teal ducks sold for tow dollars a dozen with other species lower accordingly. Many such hunting trips were made by canoe to the Flats.

It must be remembered that there was, in those days, very little pork, beef, or fowl, and the settlers meat was fish, deer, bear, ducks, and geese all depending on the seasons. Mr. Harvey kept a pack of hounds, sometimes as many as seventeen, with which he hunted deer, bear and cougar. After his market hunting days he continued hunting for sport, and always adhered to the rules of never leaving game to spoil in the fields or woods. To help him retrieve the game he trained his hunting digs particularly for this purpose. Being an expert shot also helped attain this objective.

Baseball was one of the most important sports to the early settlers and they traveled by boat to the different towns to play. In 1903, the Past Time Ball Park was sold for home sites near North Lincoln Street so Mr. Harvey built the Garvey Park between the Great Northern depot and the wagon bridge. He also played on the baseball team. The Harvey Park, used for foot races, baseball and other sports of the day, was used until 1915.

Noble Harvey donated property to start the Cascade mill. The mill burned down twice, and after the second fore took the farm buildings, he sold the property and moved into a house that had been built to be used later as a barn. This house was never a barn and he rented it to Arthur Johnson who was married to Alta Cochran and wanted a place near his parents land.

Mr. Garvey kept a rather large herd of dairy cows from 1892 until 1909, and during this time he peddled milk from door to door and sold it for 5c a quart. In July, 1906, Noble Harvey and Edith Maud White were married and their only child, a son Eldon, was born in 1907. In 1911, they built the home where Mrs. Noble Harvey still resides.

After Noble sold out to the mill, he also sold all his cows and farm equipment and never went into the dairy business again, but spent his time clearing and improving the land which he rented out for farming. The land was cleared by horse logging and a hand stump-puller with blasting powder as the main helper. In time Mr. Harvey sold explosives and carried on this business until his death.

The first Ford automobile in Snohomish was owned by Noble in 1911, and in that same year, he, with A.M. Bailey, Dr. Durrant, G.M. Cochran, E. Rodenbush, and Charles Bakeman, formed a company to start the first milk condensary in this area, thus providing the dairymen a local outlet for their product. They operated this company for ten years, and then sold out to the firm of R. Laurence Smith Company of New York. The firm later changed hands again and became the present Darigold plant.

Mr. Harvey owned what was believed to be the first milking machine in the United States. It was called the Simplex and was brought here from New Zealand. It operated very much the same as the machines of today and among the first farmers to use it were W.B. Locke of Route 3, and Martin Treosti, who lived between Snohomish and Monroe where French Slough crosses the road.

Cows, in the early days, were quite wild and had to be chased by dogs, and sometimes had to be tied to be milked, so using the milking machine often proved a hazardous job. Nevertheless, many farmers bought the new-fangled contraption.

Noble George Harvey, pioneer and son of pioneers, was an influence for progress in his community and for his contemporaries, and he left, at his death in 1951, the country in which he chose to make his home, a better place than when he entered it.

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