The Stump Ranch

Family & Community History
of the Upper Skagit Valley

Mission Statement and Acknowledgments

(Royal Stump Ranch 1927)

The Stump Ranch
Family & Community History
Mission Statement

      I've reworked this mission statement several times and I probably still won't get it said the way I'd like to. What started for me as a project of tracking and recording all descendants of the L.A. Boyd Family, is turning into more of a vision that I may have no business pursuing, especially since I'm a full time blue collar worker. To recap. My great-great grandparents and their fourteen offspring (my great-grandmother Mabel Boyd being number 12 of 14) pioneered up-river Birdsview in 1882 with their in-laws, the George Savage Family, who were already in the Birdsview area by 1878.
Four Generations
Four Generations 1959-Mabel Boyd Royal-Steen, Howard Royal, Bonnie Royal, Phil Royal and your editor, Dan Royal.

      I'm proud to say I'm a family first kind of guy, that doesn't mean I think I'm a perfect human being, far from it. Tracking down the family stories, written and oral really turns into more detective work than one can imagine and a lot more time than you'd think.
      I've had hundreds of photos and written history passed down to me from my great-grandmother, Mabel Boyd Royal-Steen, grandfather Howard Royal, and father Phil Royal. The question becomes- how to make the best use of them. The information is so rich in historical content and context in terms of up-river Skagit County, I didn't want it all to collect dust in the attic. In our direct line alone, I am proud to say; we are on our 7th generation in Skagit County with my grandniece, born Kiara, May 2001 and her sister Tiana in 2003.
Mabel with Dianna
Mabel Boyd Royal-Steen with great granddaughter Dianna Royal 1961.

      My first goal in sharing our family history was to print a newsletter for all family (even the farthest shirttail cousins I could find). I have published ten issues since spring of 2001 that went out to descendants only. I've been pretty pleased to meet Boyd descendant cousins I never knew existed, but guess what? They have written and oral histories also on the L.A. Boyd family that have lots of differences- more work, OK, that does not bother me. I've really enjoyed getting the varying versions as there have been more clues to help verify the stories. The most important thing after that is finding prime source material such as: census reports, deeds to land, birth and death certificates and more, to strengthen the family tree information.
      My second goal was to build a family website, telling the stories of the Boyd and Savage families; hopefully attracting more descendants of these families into finding the site and contacting me. I also want to show a little history of Birdsview from a family perspective.
      What becomes amazing here, and you folks would find it true pursuing your family tree, is how real and three dimensional your ancestors become, they take on a whole new life. You also find where some of your strengths and shortcomings come from, as patterns develop that you recognize in yourself, possibly your folks and grandparents. This also gives me a creative outlet, as it won't be long until the wife and I have an empty nest.
      Please! If you've a family that has been in the Birdsview/Hamilton area (the families tended to overlap in the two areas in the old days) a couple generations or more, and you're looking for a place to tell your family story, consider The Stump Ranch or Skagit River Journal as a place to do it. There is something to be said about the new wave of on-line museums, which hopefully we'll make more of an extended argument for down the road.
If anyone has ideas, please feel free to contact me here. I'll also be looking for profiles of individuals, families and groups who've contributed to the community's up-river or been here a couple generations or more.
      My basic editorial direction, on the thematic front; will be simple, connecting yesterday with today and today with our future.

Back row: Thomas Owen Royal, male unknown, Mabel Steen, Ollen Steen, female unknown. Front row: Shirley Royal, Orlie Royal holding Dorene, Jackie Royal with Bob Royal in front of her, young lady unknown. 1940
photo courtesy Dorene Royal Kartes


      This website is dedicated to people in my life; past, present and future, befitting the editorial direction, who have left their mark in my heart and life.
      My great grandmother Mabel Boyd Royal-Steen, an amazing woman of hardy spirit, strength and endurance, who saw something in her life and that of her families, to leave a written legacy of pioneering in the early life of Skagit County. Mabels Brood (as she liked to call her five children). Tom Jr., Maudie, Howard, Jack and Shirley, are family I held on the highest pedestal growing up and still do. There will be profiles on them down the road that will do more justice to their life and times than I could mention here. Tom Royal Sr.. legacy as a logger and Olando (Ollen) Steen, who became Mabels second husband, a tender companion.
      My dad, Phil Royal, who's belief in God and humanity keep him getting up no matter how many times he's been knocked down. His blindness from Diabetes has not kept him disabled or from having a strong sense of humor and being independant.
      On the maternal side of my family, my late mom Claire Fanning Royal (1939-1990) fiercely independent, opinionated and oftimes obstinate (a Fanning trait), Hugh and Edna Chastain Fanning, & Mae Marshall Chastain; taught me I never had to feel insecure as a man to be around strong willed women in my life. Uncle Rockie & Rita Fanning, Dawn and their son David Fannings (1969-2002) strength & endurance with Cystic Fibrosis; Michael Fanning. And my sweet, sweet sisters, who were a joy growing up with; kind and giving Bonnie and her husband Mike Lowe, plus my brilliant Dianna & husband Dean Miskimens. Update: Dianna lost her battle with cancer in 2013.
      Adam & Kelli Jackson, Rich & Jessica Royal, Chad & Tracie Hockett, David & Jessica Fanning, Tim & Anna Royal, Kevin & Karen Merriam; are just amazing examples of the younger generation of parents out there working together raising their children and doing an incredible job of it; even with one or both having a career.
        Other young folks I'm proud and privileged to have been a part of their lives as they grew up, whose potential for greatness is there if they go after it are; Drew Jackson, David Royal, Jon Royal, Maleena Marshall Hernandez, Steven Woody, Jessica Noboa, Rick Noboa, Tracy Newman.
Nick and Maleena
Nick Marshall 1958-1985
with daughter Maleena at the beach.

Willow bend, willow flow
Sigh with grace, peace I know
Shed your leaves around your feet
I look to the sky where limbs and
clouds meet
Brisk and cold shadows none,
The cold breath of winter has just
Season anew will come very soon,
Soft spring evenings and shiney new moons
Willow bend, willow flow
Sigh with grace for peace I know.

The above poem was written in May of this year by Nick Marshall, who worked as an office supply clerk. He passed away following a long, hard fight against cancer.
Associated Grocers Newsletter, Seattle, Wa.

      My late best friend and brother in-law Nick Marshall, whom I will always use as the gauge in judging myself in working towards being a quality man and the best person I can be, (something he was from the day he was born). I've a long way to go I can assure you.
      Last but not least, love and affection to my patient wife; the most grounded and quality superhuman woman I know, the former Maureen Suzanne Gordon of Seattle, Wa., who believes in me and my potential regardless, (She also edits your editor here at The Stump Ranch). What an awesome mother to our four boys, Adam, Drew, David and Jon & grandmother to our seven  grandchildren. She doesn't believe she could have lived in pioneer days, but I know she comes from pioneer stock and can handle anything at anytime. A special nod to her best friend Debbie Noboa who's made of the same cloth.

Special Thanks...

      To Lee Franz Johnson-Ware, our family genealogist on the east coast who has definitely made my life a lot easier by sharing all the prime source material she's been gathering for years and teaching me the importance of recording prime source material when backing up, not just the family tree, but the family stories.
      Thank you to Noel V. Bourasaw, our resident Columbo of historical sleuths; whose knowledge and enthusiasm of Skagit County history, made the lights go off in my head at the potential and fun for family & community history. For suggesting the name "the Stump Ranch" as the title of my website, (I had considered it for Mabels section only which came from her story titled; "Mabels Brood, or Ten Years on a Stump Ranch") . It ended up making the most sense.
      Thank you to Hazel Rasar & Laura Pemberton-Sparr of the Skagit Valley Genealogical Society for their mentoring and making me a stronger genealogist. For the vote of confidence from them and the board of the S.V.G.S. in the summer of 2004 at the annual conference with the Washington State Genealogical Society.






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