The Stump Ranch

Family & Community History
of the Upper Skagit Valley
Bert Deyoe Savage

(Royal Stump Ranch 1927)
A very young Bert Savage       Bert Deyoe Savage, contrary to the below article from "Industrial Freedom" was not the oldest son of George and Georgetta Savage, but was next in line following Leslie George. Bert was born in Woodbury County, Iowa, 21 November 1868. I don't know where the name Bert came from, but his middle name came from his great-grandmother Loletia Deyoe Torrey's maiden name [of Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Co. NY]- he was often called Berty when younger.
      He would have been around five years old when the family first came to Skagit, then part of Whatcom county, he would have had to struggle right along with his folks & siblings to build a life out of a forest wilderness and that original homestead is still owned by a Savage descendant.
      Imagine then the majority of your life spent in an area that, at the beginning was a forest- a claustrophobic one at that according to his Aunt Olive Boyd- but the families in the area persevered to make the Birdsview area a thriving community.
      It then becomes hard to place Bert without Kate in his life story after they married in 1898. Its also easy to place Bert and Kate Savage as one of the most significant contributors to the Birdsview area and its development -not in the way you think of an industrialist- but through the pioneer spirit of hard work, family, love, God and yes- community. And though they had heartbreak with the untimely death of their only son Jim in 1925, they had their daughters and they continued on.
      Berts cousin -Mabel Boyd Royal- across the river relates in her written stories how the Royal family during the leanest of times could help with the harvest of potatoes at the Savages and take away what they needed to get them through the coming winter. The Royals were not the only folks blessed from the gardens of Bert and Kate; many other families and Native Americans both were never turned away from the fruits of their labor.
      They were truly cherished by people in the area as you will see, but more importantly- when looking at their life- look at the hands of both Bert and Kate below on their 50th wedding anniversary, it tells you the whole story all by itself.

Thank you to Barb Thompson, grand-daughter of Bert & Kate, for sharing her imput and family photos -more on the way with her remembrances. Dan

Kate Halladay and Bert Savage
"We were all pleased and benefited by this adventure."
compiled by Dan Royal The Stump Ranch©
Photos courtesy of Barb Thompson & Savage Family Collection

From "Personal Notes On the Equality Colony" by Catherine Savage Pulsipher

      "Our association with the Equality Colony began (quoting from my father's diary) when -hearing of a peculiar colony in the north end of the country, I went out of curiosity to investigate and in the end made a bargain to run the Portable Mill for the colony…we ran the Portable Mill for 6 months and 3 weeks. It was a good job and I liked it fine… He and my older brothers cut the timber for the buildings…Miss Kate was my first teacher…She became the bride of my brother Bert and our families celebrated the first wedding held in the Colony on 24 November, 1898…Quoting from my father's diary about this marriage: "We were all pleased and benefited by this adventure."

Excerpts from "Utopias On Puget Sound 1885-1915" by Charles Pierce LeWarne

      "Over several years the office [of President] was held periodically by Henry Halladay, whose early arrival gave him a certain prestige and who had an effective, direct manner…A department of education and recreation was formed in 1898, with the Reverend C.E. Walker as superintendent. Three women, one of them Kate Halladay, still in her teens but with teaching experience, took charge of the young children…On Monday, 19 September 1898, school opened with David Burgess as principal and Kate Halladay as teacher. Attendance was small; many older children were still working in the fields…. When Kate Halladay was planning her bridal gown, she balked at the choices of fabrics, held out money from her salary as a teacher, and sent away for silk and lace…No event was more notable than the first colony wedding, that of Kate Halladay, teacher and daughter of the colony president, to Bert Savage, whose father [George Savage] had operated the first sawmill. The ceremony took place on the morning of 28 November 1898. Ferns, fir boughs, and wild grape tied with white ribbons adorned the schoolhouse, and an organ was borrowed for the occasion…The Halladay wedding was a religious service…Several colonists, including the Halladays, W.R. Giles, Charles Herz, and Charles Hart, remained at the colony site on small plots of land now their own."

The Wedding Bells Rang Merrily
The following is taken from "Industrial Freedom" No. 32 Dated Saturday, December 10, 1898, Edison, Skagit County, Washington

      November 28, at 10 o'clock, for the first time, the weddings rang in Equality. The morning was a hazy one until 8 o'clock, when the clouds rolled away and the silver linings peeped out through shining edges for a while and then the bright sun burst forth its warm brilliant rays and "all went merrily as a marriage bell." The hall had been converted into a bower of beauty form nature's own rich gift- a carpet of ferns had been strewn from the bride's door to the hall. On entering the hall we found ropes of was plants, ferns and evergreen forming an aisle form the arch over the door to the alter, where it widened into a semicircle. Overhead hung a bell 4 ½ by 3 feet, covered with wax plants and ferns. From this bell to the four corners of the room were suspended ropes of wild grapes (only found in the west), ferns and evergreens. On the rostrum were three large bouquets of ferns and the organ was banked with the same. As Equality is located in the midst of a heavy forest we could not call upon the florist to supply our demand, but contented ourselves with nature's own bounty. If our friends in other states could have peeped in at Equality that morning they might well have envied us our beautiful decorations. The bell rang out the hour of ten, the bridal party was in waiting, Andrew Erickson relieved them of their light wraps, and at a signal from Oliver Fisher, Prof. Potts touched the keys of the organ and the sweet strains of the wedding march floated out on the breeze.
      Miss Maud Turner and Mr. Barry came at the head of the bridal train and then came Miss Edith Burgess and Mr. Ernest Halladay, the bride and groom followed by a long procession of admirers.
      Rev. Wallace, a socialist minister of Oregon, who was visiting Equality, solemnized the marriage in an impressive manner.
      Prof. Potts rendered some excellent music during congratulations, after which he played a march while the wedding party made its exit. After a return to her room the bride donned her traveling gown, Nile green broadcloth, when the bridal party was escorted to the dining room where covers were laid for 16, and partook of breakfast-the best the colony could afford. They immediately departed for Mt. Vernon and other places on a tour, amid a shower of old shoes, rice and good wishes.
      The bride is a daughter of Mr. And Mrs. H.W. Halladay, one of the oldest pioneers in Equality. She is teaching the primary school and is loved and respected by all who know her.
      Mr. Savage is the oldest son of Mr. And Mrs. George W. Savage of Mt. Vernon. Mr. Savage has proven himself to be a man of great value to Equality, being an experienced mill man. They will be gone about a month.
      The bride is dressed in cream Henrietta, silk, lace and watered silk sash, moss roses and buds in her hair, carrying in her hand a bouquet of maiden hair ferns tied with cream ribbon.
      Miss Burgess wore a figured organdy, lace and ribbon sash, wearing ferns in her hair and carrying a bouquet of the same.
      Miss Turner wore white organdy, lace and sash, carrying ferns.
      Great credit is due the entire colony for the interest manifested in this our first marriage.
      Joe Parish and Leland Sandstrom were ushers. Mr. Bert Savage's three brothers came over from Mt. Vernon to attend the wedding.

click photo for larger view of house and family
"Bert Savage had children my age and I was fortunate to be invited often to visit- I loved being with them. It was peaceful and very beautiful at their home near the Skagit River, they had a lovely yard to play in, and the prettiest homemade double seated lawn swing- it was painted white and the two seats made a perfect place for little girls to sit with their dolls and pretend all manner of dreams. Bert Savage was a big handsome dark man, his sweet wife Kate helped make a fine home for their children, there was a great deal of love in that house and mutual respect that visitors could feel on entering." Gladys Pape Miller, daughter of Jim Pape & Grace Boyd Pape
Children in the photo with Kate & Bert, left to right: Helen, Laura, Rita and James

Skagit River Ferry Escapades
By Ray Jordan

"Help! Help! Help!
      The old ferry had slipped its leash and was careening downstream through a night darker than a stack of black cats.
      Along about 1930, my brother in-law, Carl King and his wife Alma, and Dorothy Savage, daughter of Bert Savage, had been on a trip somewhere. They lived on the wrong side of the river at Birdsview. There was no road on the south side then so Carl had made sure that the ferry was tied up on the north side so they wouldn't be delayed in getting home when they got back.
      It was late when they boarded the old scow that evening and when Carl cast off things not in the book of rules began to happen. Their conveyance started downstream instead of across. Somehow, one end of the overhead cable had come loose setting them adrift.
      Carl, a veteran of the river, knew at once what had happened and told all hands aboard to start yelling at the top of their lungs and keep it up.
      The overhead cable, still anchored at one end slipped through the rigging attaching it to the scow until the loose end fouled in the carriage. This brought them up with a jerk when the slack was taken up.
      It held momentarily, but cocked the ferry at such a perilous angle that there was danger of swamping and tumbling the passengers into the icy, swift waters, forcing them to mount the railings on the high side.
      At this juncture, all had a strong desire to be somewhere else, for as dark as it was the pearly gates were looming sharp and clear. Then the line slipped loose allowing the craft to float normally and drain the water off the floor.
      Meantime, Bert Savage heard the shouts and it required no mental strain for him to grasp what had happened. He sprinted from his home some distance below the ferry landing back up to the landing where his rowboat was tied up and leaped in.
      The ferry was sailing merrily on when Mr. Savage caught it at the old Kemmerich homestead a mile or so below Birdsview. He took the willing passengers ashore and the Kemmerichs brought them back to Birdsview in their car, leaving them still on the wrong side of the river.
      Carl didn't seem to be much perturbed about it all, but Alma was heard to say more than once that after such an experience her inside help began putting up strong protests at the mere thoughts of having to attempt another river crossing that night in a rowboat or anything else in order to get home.
      As it turned out they might have been safe in any case since the ferry finally hung up on the bank farther down, but who knows in an adventure like this?"
From "Yarns of the Skagit Country-Ray's Wrintin's" Ray Jordan

"This was right by Boyd Creek"
"I remember one Christmas, was the school play and Bert and his family always came to our school plays. No, it wasn't Bert, that's right, it was one of the other Savages, maybe one of his daughters. Anyway, she was crossing over on the ferry and from the side to the north, when the cables busted...on there, too, and they were screaming and yelling and going down the river on that big ferry. So Bert run and got his boat and he rowed down there until he picked them up off the ferry and rescued them. He rescued the whole works of them. I remember that. I also remember that a sternwheeler got that ferry back up to Birdsview. Can't remember what year it was but it was around Christmas time. Bert got pretty tired, rescuing all of them, but he figured he could row faster than that ferry could float. One of the girls was in college, one of Bert's girls. I remember she was very intelligent. One of the two daughters of the Savages, might have been Dorothy, Barb Thompson's mother"Howard Royal
      The Bert Savage family in 1927 crossing Skagit River from the south side to the north side in the Birdsview area. The girls are, left to right: Rita Savage, Alice Sherwood, Dorothy Savage, and Alta Savage.

Birdsview News November 21, 1939
Courier Times or Concrete Herald

The adult class of the Birdsview Sunday School gave B.D. Savage a real surprise Sunday afternoon by calling at his home to help him celebrate his seventy-first birthday. Mr. Savage came to this place sixty-one years years ago with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Savage. The elder Savage took up a homestead near the place where he and his family embarked from their canoe on November 21, 1869 [this date is not correct. Editor note] and today B.D. Savage still lives on a part of the old homestead. Mr. Savage and his wife [Kate] have always been active in all affairs for the good of the neighborhood. They were among the first settlers to build up the school district and have both been active school directors. They have always been faithful in church and Sunday School work and Sunday the adult calss felt it an honor to visit their home to extend greetings and enjoy a fine lunch served by Zola Pulsipher assisted by Lois Brayton and Ruth Joy. The class presented Mr. Savage with a book. Those who were present were: Mr. & Mrs. C.A. Bloom, Mr. & Mrs. L.E. Joy, Gussel Gee, Hazel Brayton, Lottie Fredrickson, Pearl Stephens and Katie Pulsipher.

Friends of Skagit County Pioneers Help celebrate Golden Wedding Anniversary
2 December 1948; Concrete Herald

Bert and Kate on Golden Anniversary       Sunday, November 28 Mr. And Mrs. B.D. Savage of Birdsview celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with open house at their home. They were married 27 November 1898 at the little settlement of Equality on Bow Hill about tow and one half miles south of Edison, where Mrs. Savage was teaching school.
      They lived at Equality until 1 March of 1899 when they moved to Birdsview. On March 17 they moved into the old homestead home of Mr. Savage's parents, which was homesteaded by the elder Mr. [George] Savage during the administration of Grover Cleaveland.
      The old house burned in April of 1908 at which time Mr. Savage started preparing lumber for a new house. He sawed the lumber in the little water driven sawmill on their place, and the family moved into their new home the day before Christmas of 1908.
      In November of 1944 Mr. And Mrs. Savage sold their home and purchased the house where they now live from Mrs. Hazel Brayton. Mr. George Houchin was the purchaser and moved immediately into the house. This house burned on February 9 of this year. [Ed. Note: George Houchin was the husband of Alta Savage, daughter of Bert and Kate]
      Six children were born to Mr. And Mrs. Savage: Helen, now Mrs. Clifford Sharp of Rosario, was born in October 1900. Laura, now Mrs. John Shabro of Seattle born in October of 1902. James, who was killed in an accident in the woods in July of 1925 was born in February of 1906.
      Rita, now Mrs. Russell Malsbary of Dillingham, Alaska, was born in December, 1907. Dorothy, now Mrs. Porter Benedict of Seattle was born in August of 1910, and Alta, who makes her home with her parents, was born in September of 1912. There are 11 grandchildren.
      Mr. Savage was born in Woodbury County, Iowa, November 21, 1868, while Mrs. Savage was born in Syracuse, Nebraska, July 25, 1879.
      Only two of their five living children were able to attend their anniversary, Mrs. Clifford Sharp of Rosario and Alta.
      Other out of town guests were: Mr. And Mrs. Clint Halladay and family of Seattle; C.D. Halladay of Reedsport, Oregon; Mr. And Mrs. Albert Anderson of Seattel; Mrs. Irene Monahan and Albert Johnson of Bellingham; Mrs. Anton Christainson, Mrs. Rose [Savage] Hawkins; Mr. And Mrs. W.V. Wells, Sr., and Mr. And Mrs. W.V. Wells, Jr. and daughters, all of Anacortes. Mr. And Mrs. C.A. Bloom and Hazel, Mrs.Belle Mendenhall, and Mrs. Fannie McNurlin of Mount Vernon, and Mr. And Mrs. James Wallace of Burlington. In all 73 guests enjoyed the occasion.
      During the afternoon, Charles and Joe Savage, great nephews of Mr. Savage sang "Just a Song at Twilight." Mr. And Mrs. W.V. Wells, Jr. sang "Pit on Your Old Gray Bonnet" and Mr. Wells sang "I Love You Truly."

Katie Savage Pulsipher was not the only one in the family to use poetry to tell a story, amazingly big Bert Savage himself enjoyed this as a passtime. Click this link to enjoy a sample.
Bert Savage Obituary

      Bert D. Savage of Birdsview, one of the oldest remaining pioneers of the Skagit valley, passed away at the Memorial Hospital in Sedro Woolley Sunday evening. He suffered a stroke at his home the week before and was moved to the hospital immediately. His wife, Kate, and sister in-law, Mary were with him when the end finally came Sunday evening.
      Mr. Savage had come to Birdview with his parents 71 years ago and he had been a resident of the county continuously since that time. He was 81 years old, having been born in Woodbury, Iowa, on November 21, 1868.
      Funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 26, for the Lemley Chapel at Sedro Woolley. The services will begin at 1 p.m. with Rev. Green of the Lyman Baptist Church in charge. Burial will be made in the Hamilton cemetery.
      Mr. Savage is survived by his wife; five daughters, Mrs. Helen Sharpe of Bothell, Mrs. Laura Shabro of Seattle, Mrs. Dorothy Benedict of Seattle, Wa., Rita Malsbary of Dillingham, Alaska and Miss Alta Savage of Birdsview.
      There are four brothers: Leslie and Ira of Birdsview, Jehile of Bellingham and John of Bush Point, Whidbey Island; three sisters, Mrs. Olive Brown of Bothell, Mrs. Rose Hawkings of Anacortes and Mrs. Catherine Pulsipher of Birdsview.

In Memory of my brother Bert, a poem from Katie Savage Pulsipher

Kate Savage Obituary

      Mrs. Kate Savage passed away Thursday, October 24th, at the Mira Vista Rest Home in Mount Vernon.
      Born in Kansas, July 25, 1879 and moved to Nebraska and in 1898 the family, Mr. And Mrs. Henry Halladay and their five children, three boys and two girls, came to Washington and lived at Harmony [Equality]. Kate Halladay married Bert Savage in November of 1898. They lived in Mt. Vernon for a few months then moved to Birdsview where they had a farm across the river. Bert Savage passed away in 1949. They had five daughters and one son. The son, Jimmy, passed away in 1925. Helen Sharpe lives in Bothell, Laura Shabro in Seattle, Dorothy Drake, Auburn, Alta Houchins and Rita Malsbury in Birdsview. There are 12 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren and one brother, Clint, living in Seattle.
      Burial services were held at Lemley's in Sedro Woolley and burial was at the Hamilton cemetery in Hamilton.

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