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The Harvey Family

McDaniels Do it Best
Published:06/08/2008 History
The Harvey Family    Print Snohomish Times    
Snohomish VIC Looking at Ave D and First
Snohomish River and Historic First Street

John Harvey, grandfather of the present manager of the Snohomish Airfield, was born near Modsburg, Devonshire County, England on March 9, 1829. Anxious to try his fortune in the U.S.A., he slipped aboard a vessel bound for America and came around the Horn to land in California during the year of the great gold rush in 1849.

He worked in the gold fields until 1852 when he came, by water, to the Northwest and settled on a homestead near Seattle's Lake Washington where the Madison Street car line touches the lake. Here, Mr. Harvey spent some time and about $2,000 improving his place until the outbreak of the Indian War when he was forced to abandon the farm and all his possessions and take refuge in the Fort of Seattle.

The siege of Seattle lasted 21 days, but on the evening of the 16th day, one of the men managed to slip through the blockade and make his way to Bellingham where he persuaded the captain and crew of a fur-trading vessel to sail to Seattle to help the settlers.

The ship carried a short cannon which fired a four-inch iron ball and after the ship's cannon had been fired at the attacking Indians, they dug the iron ball out of the ground and decided that if there was a man aboard the ship who could fire a gun of that size he must be the devil, so the siege was soon ended. The gun which Mr. Harvey carried into the fort was among the only relics saved from that historic period and is still owned by the Harvey family.

Mr. Harvey, upon returning to his homestead, found that all his crops had been destroyed, the buildings burned, and his cattle slain and eaten. After this disappointment, he worked in logging camps and saw mills until 1862 when he and a fellow countryman, Sam H. Howe, loaded a scow on Whidbey Island with a few head of oxen, some potatoes, etc., and depending on the tides to cross the Sound came to Snohomish River up which they intended poling the craft to the town. The current was too strong, however, so they towed the scow up river with ropes from the bank and on foot. Because of false reports of Indian raids, they left the scow to take cover and lost the vessel with its cargo.

Some time later Mr. Harvey purchased for $5o a quarter section of land previously located by another homesteader and built a log cabin which soon became a familiar and welcome sight to the river travelers. On July 10, 1872, he married Miss Christine Noble of New Brunswick, Canada, the wedding taking place in Snohomish.

Mr. and Mrs. Harvey were among the charter members of the Presbyterian Church, the first in the city of Snohomish. They were of great help to the Church and donated the chairs and hanging lamps as well as other contributions. Their son, Noble George Harvey, was born in their log cabin on June 17, 1873, the first white boy born in Snohomish County. In 1876 the family moved into the new home.

Mr. Harvey was the first County Treasurer and one of the first County commissioners. He died in 1886 at the age of 57, but Mrs. Harvey, with the aid of her 13 year old son, continued to run the farm until her death in 1892. Mr. and Mrs. Harvey are buried in the Snohomish Cemetery.




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