Early pioneers, the Marble family made important contributions to the development of Clark County
I hear the tread of pioneers
Of nations yet to be –
The first low wash of waves where soon
Shall roll a human sea.
Anonymous, c. 1865
Once the “Fifty-four forty or fight” problem was settled and the Donation Land Act passed Congress on September 27, 1850, allowing a husband and wife, for a filing fee of $10.00, to homestead 640 acres of free land in the northwest, no tract of prairie, however bleak, could check the restless westerly urge for adventure, for another chance, for a better future which brought a rush of settlers to establish land claims in the Oregon Territory.
The big year on the Oregon Trail was 1852. This “Great Migration” year brought enormous numbers of pioneers to the Oregon Territory, a “human sea” estimated at over 50,000 people.1 An article in The Oregonian on August 5, 1857, reported that in 1852 alone the number of emigrants nearly doubled the population of the Territory. One traveler on the trail that year reported that in four days he passed more than 1,600 wagons, 8,500 persons, and 30,000 animals.
- Viola H Betts Stewart, Why the Bell Rings: A History of the Salmon Creek Elementary School, pp. 102-103.
They were only millers and farmers and carpenters with young children, those four pioneer families who left Council Bluffs, Iowa on May 4, 1852 in the same wagon train – Butler E. Marble, Ansil Sylvester Marble, Joseph Hill Goddard, and Henry Silas Burlingame; but they dared the hardships of that trail because they had courage and a rare vision of what lay before them. The Goddards and Burlingames have been well documented as early developers of Clark County. The Butler and Ansil Marble families, however, have been largely neglected by local historians and little has been known about the importance of their contributions to the early development of the city of Vancouver, of Clark County, and even of Washington Territory, which they helped open to further settlement. Because they were millers, farmers and carpenters by trade, the Marbles recognized immediately the significance of the abundant agricultural and forest land for homes and farms, and of the rivers and streams as the source of power for their mills. Those who live and work in Clark County today have raped the benefits of their faith and foresight.
In the early 1850’s the brush was still overgrown on the old Indian trails north of Vancouver; they were almost impassable except on horseback or on foot. The brush was so thick in that virgin forest land and the trails so muddy during the frequent rainy periods, people had to take their wagons apart, put their possessions on the oxen or horses, or even their own backs, and lead the animals up the trails.2
- “Growing Pains: The History of Hazel Dell,” Hazel Dell Study, History Committee Report, p. 12.
Many of the pioneers who arrived in Vancouver in the early 1850s took up their donation land claims along those winding old trails, known by 1854 as Military road. The land north of the old Fort Vancouver, especially in the Salmon Creek area, despite its difficulty of access and its almost complete isolation, and often for these very reasons, became a peaceful valley in the wilderness, almost a paradise, to those pioneers who had struggled so long and hard to reach the Northwest.
The first road extending to Salmon Creek was made following Military Road in 1853; it was “improved” in 1854. It extended up from the Fort along Main Street and the present day Highway 99, but also along the present Hazel Dell Avenue, for the road not only followed the old Indian trails but varied from a due course if obstacles were in the way. Military Road gyrated around the Salmon Creek area, for example, when it turned east at the Goddard farm south of Salmon creek on the dead end road which now goes west from Hazel Dell Avenue north of 144th Street (N. E. Bassel Road), crossed Salmon Creek at Marble Bridge (east of where the present bridge now crosses the creek on Highway 99), turned west on Marble Road (now 134th Street), ran along the west side of the Tenny farm on 10th Avenue, then crossed Whipple Creek Bridge, and finally extended north to Clark Road up “Tooley Hill” (now known as “Burnt Bridge Creek Hill”) before continuing on its way up to Kelso and eventually the Puget Sound area.3
- Stewart, p. 65.
The pioneers began to build their first homes, log cabins, along the Military Road, where anyone was welcome to stop by to chat, eat or sleep after an arduous day’s journey up through that thick brush and forest land between the old Fort and pints stretching northward. No discriminations were ever made concerning creed or color and no charges were ever made for meals or lodging.
In addition to the richness of the land, plentiful lumber and water power in the wilderness north of Vancouver, there was no lack of food in those days. The streams provide, indeed swarmed with, salmon, trout, smelt and other fish. The woods abounded in furbearing animals such as beaver, mink, muskrat, skunk, otter, raccoon, wild Fowl, grouse, ducks, geese, deer, and bear. There were wild berries and nuts. The pioneers dug out the huge stumps left from felling trees to build their cabins and cleared gardens and fields out of the rich land. The families worked hard and helped one another, for this was good policy as it increased chances of survival and took care of the social life. Pioneers had to supply their own fuel and water, make most of their clothing and shoes, bedding and candles, but as they worked they played together. Good times were had during husking bees, quilting bees, and log cabin raisings.
Salmon Creek was especially well known for the annual migration of thousands of salmon. Each September families would gather on the beaches near Marble Dam, just east of the present day bridge over the creek on Highway 99. They left home between seven and eight o’clock at night armed with pitchforks and dip nets, lanterns, sandwiches, potatoes, corn on the cob, salt and butter, built fires of the then abundant driftwood, and waited until the salmon came up over the “krick,” as the pioneers called the stream in the early days.
The first of the four pioneer families who came west together in the wagon train of 1852 to make his home in the paradisiacal “promised land” of the Salmon Creek area was Joseph Hill Goddard. He and his family arrived in Vancouver on November 6 and taking all their possessions on their backs went up that winding old Indian trail through the dense forest in the virtually unknown “boondocks” of an unsurveyed wilderness. On February 1, 1853 Goddard filed a donation land claim on Salmon Creek, known as Township 3, North Range 1 East, a claim approved by President Franklin Pierce. His land was in several sections on both sides of Salmon Creek. One claim extended from 114th Street on the south to 129th Street on the north, bordering Military Road (Highway 99) on the west. Another section extended from 114th Street on the south to Marble Road (134th Street) on the north, bounded by 11th Avenue on the west and by 29th Avenue on the east. Goddard built a log cabin south of Salmon Creek on the dead end road which goes west from Hazel Dell Avenue north of N.E. Bassel Road. A second house was built in the year 1860 of sawed lumber from Marble’s Mill not too far from the site of the old log cabin.4 An old shed built near the log cabin remains today, as does the second home, now owned by Fred Koke on N.E. Bassel Road. The house has been remodeled somewhat but most of the original building, including the old door knobs, can still be seen.
Joseph Hill Goddard contributed much to the development of the Salmon Creek area. A descendant of the family remembers that “Joseph Goddard chose to seek a home area removed from the banks of the Columbia, out on the unimproved Indian trail, or old Military Road, a day’s journey from the old military post town of Vancouver. His choice was inconvenient to him and his family but its very isolation tended to make settlers look to local leadership. They found it and the best elements of social order of that period centered around the Goddard family who centered there.” The Goddards also built a small garrison on their land where other families could retreat for protection during the frequent Indian raids of 1855 and 1856.5
- B.F. Alley and J.P. Munro-Fraser, Illustrated History of Clarke County Washington Territory, 1885, P. 360.
- Information from a letter by a Goddard family descendant, whose name has been lost, from the records of Bessie Jane Wilson Curry, Battle Ground, Washington.
The Butler and Ansil Marble families lived in Portland for a short time after their journey west, but they were soon attracted to Clark County. In the area where the renovated Covington House stands today, Butler E. Marble at the age of sixty-one plunged into the then virtually unknown territory in spite of the hardships called for. Together with his wife, Mary Matilda, he filed a donation land claim of 640 acres on May 1, 1854, approved by President Pierce. This area, known on the map as section15, Township 2, North Range 1 East, included the present day Leverich Park and Kiggins Bowl, on the then named “Bridge Cree” or “River Creek,” which Marble renamed “Marble Creek” in 1854.
This vast area of land was bounded on the south by 39th Street, on the west by Alki Road, extended along its northern boundary, 58th Street, to where the Ross Substation is today, approximately near 15th Avenue. On December 15 , 1856, another 320 acres of land, the east one-half portion of section 16, was deeded to Butler Marble by Hangest Marrie and the former’s western land boundary then extended west to Fruit Valley Road approximately where the railroad tracks are today.
Butler Marble was a wealthy man for those times and made a good living not only by prudent buying and selling of land but through selling meat and other supplies to the Hudson’s Bay Company. According to family tradition, Marble was such a miser that he buried his wealth near his home before he died, circa 1865. Just where he built his cabin is not known but presumably it was near Main Street or the Military Road, since it was customary in those days for pioneers to build along this road. Unfortunately, the hoard of money, if it does still exist, may be buried or covered over today by the paving of Main Street or Highway 99.6
It should be noted at this point that there is much confusion regarding the renaming of Bridge or River Creek, later called Burnt Bridge creek. It was named Marble Creek in 1854 and continued to be so-designated on maps as late as 1883. Problems relating to fixing a day for the use of the name “Burnt Bridge Creek” are discussed at the end of this article.
- Butler Marble’s great-great-great-grandsons are planning to cover Kiggins Bowl and Leverich Park with a metal scanner!
Butler Marble’s son, Ansil S. Marble and his wife, Louvisa, filed donation land claims, granted by President Pierce on March 11, 1855. The first claim was 320 acres of the east half of section3, Township 2, North Range 1 East, just north of the land portion filed a decade later by William Reese Anderson in the Hazel Dell area. Marble’s land extended from the present day 78th Street (then known as the Poor House Farm Road) westward to 11th Avenue, north to the present 99th Street, and east to Military Road (now Hazel Dell Avenue) to where the Poor House Farm once stood and the Ross substation stands today.
It was here in 1854, before the land claims was officially filed, that Ansil Marble built his first home, a two-story log cabin, about one-half mile north of the Military Road and Poor Farm corner about seventy feet west of the road (Hazel Dell Avenue) near the present day 85th Street. The cabin no longer stands, but the area surrounding its site remains in its natural state and trees from Marble’s original fruit orchard still remain. It is this cabin, and not the Reese Anderson home built ten years later, where travelers first stopped along the trail between the old Fort Vancouver and points north for food, hospitality, an overnight rest, and supplies, when it was a full day’s journey in those days up the arduous trail from the town of Vancouver.
Realizing the importance of educating his children, as well as those of other early settlers, Ansil Marble donated a portion of his land in the Hazel Dell area approximately where 99th Street and Hazel Dell Avenue intersect on the east side of the old Military Road, and it was here that the first Salmon Creek School was built. According to Joseph Goddard’s diary, a meeting was held at the Kelly house on October 7, 1854, to make plans for the school and on January 11, 1855, “McClure, Marble, Kelly and Irby were at work erecting a small log house about three-fourths of a mile toward Vancouver.” The building was small, approximately twelve by fourteen feet, and was the fist school in Clark County to be used as a public building, since the Providence School did not open until almost two years later, in December of 1856. This building was also used as a church and families would hike miles through the woods on a Sunday to attend church here, as well as in homes also serving as combination school-church-community gathering places. Other schools in those days and earlier were held in private homes such as the Covington’s cabin or the Goddard’s home. The second Salmon Creek School was built in 1860 on land donated by Joseph Goddard about fifty feet east of Hazel Dell Avenue near the south abutment of the I-5 Freeway bridge, on land later purchased by Ansil Marble.
After Ansil Marble and his family moved to their second land claim in Salmon Creek, he retained his property in the Hazel Dell area and allowed new pioneer families to live in his first log cabin until they were able to build their own homes and claim their own land. Among the families housed in the Marble cabin were the Taylors, an Indian family named Trent (who remained long enough for seven children to be born there), the Antone and Michael Maierhofer families, who later claimed land on Salmon Creek, and finally the Seth N. Secrist family who came west in 1872.7
- “Growing Pains: The History of Hazel Dell,” p. 10.
The fourth family emigrating west in 1852 with the Marbles and the Goddards was that of Henry Silas Burlingame. The lives of the Burlingames and the Marbles were closely tied. Burlingame’s wife, Harriet, died on the Oregon Trail on June 20 after giving birth to a son, who was nursed by Louvisa Marble. Burlingame also lived in Portland for a short time and then moved to Clark County, where he filed a donation land claim on August 24, 1853, in the Fourth Plains community (Sifton) about six miles northeast of Vancouver (then named Columbia City). On March 16, 1854, Burlingame married Drusilla Short, a daughter of Amos and Esther Short, and by June 20, 1855 filed a donation land claim, approved by President Pierce in Sections 3 and 32 of Townships 2 and 3, North Range 1 East, bounded roughly on the east by 92nd Avenue, on the south by 88th Street, and on the north by 105th Street. In 1867 Burlingame’s oldest son by his first wife, Martin, married Ansil Marble’s oldest daughter, Angenora, the child Louvisa Marble was nursing when she also nursed the baby born to the Burlingames on the Oregon Trail. By 1871, the peripatetic family decided to move to eastern Washington where Bulingame died in Colfax in 1890. Henry Burlingame made important contributions to the growth of Clark County and served as one of the first three County Commissioners for the eastern Washington Territory.
It is not clear just when Ansil Marble moved from his donation claim land in the Hazel Dell area to the claim on Salmon Creek, but it was evidently before 1859, since that is the year that he built his famous sawmill there. As mentioned earlier in this article, Ansil Marble was looking to the future with unusual foresight, attracted by the water resources of Salmon Creek when he claimed another 640 acres of land in 1855 in Section 26 of Township 3, North Range 1 East. He later bought other portions of land, including section 35 just south of his homestead claim on Salmon Creek and exactly north of his land claim in Hazel Dell. The boundaries of the latter area have already been described. Marble’s land to the north extended from 99th Street on the south to 138th Street on the north, bounded by 10th Avenue on the west and by 29th Avenue on the west. He purchased other portions of land in Clark County as well, including over fifty acres in section 24, north and east of his land on Salmon Creek, several blocks of land within the city of Vancouver, and had inherited a section of his father’s land claim in the Kigggins Bowl area. Altogether at one time or another Ansil Marble owned over 1,650 acres of land in Clark County.
Whether Ansil Marble built a first home after he moved to Salmon Creek is unknown, but it is doubtful. One of his grandsons believes that Ansil’s son, Francis Sylvester Marble, was born in the old log cabin in Hazel Dell in 1858, while another grandson remembers that Frank was born when Indian raids of 1858 threatened the occupants of the isolated cabin and they hurried to the protection of the fort at Vancouver. This latter fact is also confirmed by The Columbian and by Frank Marble’s obituary.8
- Harley Mays, “Pioneer Ansel Marble Opened …. Hazel Dell, “The Columbian, April 1, 1973, p. 22
All debates aside, however, as to where the Marble family originally lived, Ansil did build his first sawmill on Salmon Creek in 1859 and he built a home there in the same year. The old Marble home still stands today on the south bank of Salmon Creek on 119th Street (formerly part of Salmon Creek Avenue) about one-hundred feet from the east side of Military Road (Highway 99). This well-constructed house, still in excellent condition, was considered a mansion in its time. It is a two-story structure with large bedrooms and a capacious hallway up a steep stairway, a sitting room, parlor (used today as a bedroom), dining room, kitchen, and downstairs bath.
Several out-buildings erected by Ansil still remain. The foundation timbers of the house, as sound today as they were when hand-hewn from cedar logs by Ansil himself over a hundred years ago, are a full twelve inches square and masterpieces of precision workmanship. Interior woodwork, including precisely made window frames and hand-made doors, bears marks today of the early tools which preceded modern millwork and the old square nails were used. The home also features a unique double fireplace which heats two rooms at the same time, as well as cleverly designed cupboards for storage, drying herbs, storing wood, and a “turn” or pass way between the kitchen and dining room. There are still marks on the kitchen doorway woodwork showing names and dates when the various Marble children and grandchildren were measured for their height as they were growing up. The original doorknobs and window glass, shipped around the Horn, still remain.
The Marble sawmill, built in 1859, was located on the north bank of Salmon Creek directly across from the old Marble house. One historian reports that it was erected with the help of Ansil’s father, Butler Marble.9 In 1866 the sawmill was expanded to include a grist or flouring mill. The Vancouver Register of March 24, 1866, reported that “Mr. Ansil Marble has started a flouring mill in connection with his sawmill on Salmon Creek.” And the following “floury” words are to be found in Marble’s own advertisement in the September 22, 1866, Vancouver Register:
Ansil S. Marble would respectfully inform the public that he is now prepared at his new mill, six miles north of Vancouver, on Salmon Creek, to grind all grain brought to his mill, in a superior manner at the usual rates. He is also prepared to saw at his mill and deliver any amount of superior rough lumber for as low prices as any can be bought for in this market. His machinery is in splendid working order and he always accomplishes what he undertakes or promises to do. A share of the public patronage is respectfully solicited.
That this promise was fulfilled is confirmed in the Weekly Oregonian of October 12, 1872, which reported that “Mr. Ansil Marble of Salmon Creek, Clarke County, is manufacturing flour unexcelled in the market.”
9. Alley and Munro-Fraser, p. 373
On the east side of his bridge, Ansil built Marble’s Dam where 119th Street joins Highway 99. The dam was necessary to make a large millpond to raise the water level to power the mills. Salmon used to congregate in that pond before struggling over the spill way to get upstream to spawn. Part of the old dam is still to be seen if the creek is examined closely enough, although recent floods have done damage which might make such an examination difficult. Marble Bridge was built by Ansil in the late 1850s to provide access to the mill and was located just west of the mill, about fifty feet east of the present bridge on Highway 99. According to one report, there was more than one Marble Bridge, since it had to be rebuilt following several floods, “possibly at least seven times!”10
Ansil Marble built a new, larger mill in the summer of 1883, near the location of the old mill, described as a “tremendous building of three stories, well built and well equipped, but tragedy struck soon after the building was completed. By fall it had burned to the ground as a lamp Mr. Marble had taken with him into the mill early in the morning exploded. The mill was not rebuilt.”11 Although the facts have occasionally been reported differently, Ansil’s mill was built in 1859 and operated for 24 years, to 1883.
Ansil and Louvisa Marble remained on their land in Salmon Creek for an undetermined period after the mill burned, but began to sell, mortgage, and deed their property. The Marbles had engaged in this type of land speculation over the years, but the activity increased after 1883, probably for financial reasons. Ansil, in fact, had mortgaged the southeast quarter of his section26, where the mill stood on July 21, 1883, to an R. W. Downing, at the approximate time he was building the new larger mill. Another mortgage was contracted in the same area with Patrick O’Keane in 1885 and in February, 1886, the two north quarters of section 35 and again the southeast quarter of section 26 were mortgaged to Charles B. Montague.
- Ray Northcutt, in an interview, Jan. 2, 1978.
- Marcellene Turner, February 19, 1962, a report located at the Clark County Historical Society Museum.
By 1887, Ansil and Louvisa Marble had moved into the city of Vancouver and the next information found as of this date concerning the whereabouts of this still enterprising pioneer is a notice discovered in the Vancouver Independent of March 23, 1887, which reports that “A. S. Marble had completed a store building on his residence lot on 10th Street west of Main and removed his stock of goods thereto.” Clyde A. Marble, a grandson, believes that this was a “general store” which sold “everything.” By 1896 Louvisa had died and the Clarke County Directory of 1907-8 lists Ansil marble, occupation carpenter, living alone at West 17th and Daniels Streets. The 1909 Directory shows that Ansil had moved to the St. John’s area north of the garrison near “S” Street, where he remained until his death.
For reasons which completely baffle his descendents to his day, Ansil suddenly remarried only two years before his death to a woman named Fannie Louise, surname remains unknown as of the date of this writing. Ansil died intestate on December 29, 1914 and there remains behind in the County Clerk’s records a fifty-five page document showing a turbulent battle that raged in the courts for the next four years over the vast Marble land holdings. The evident feud involved the widow, Ansil’s children and grandchildren, and the heirs of Ansil’s grandmother, Matilda Marble, who were descendants of James H. Alexander, Matilda’s son-in-law. Facts leave much to speculation, imagination, and “reading between the lines.” For example, why did Ansil Marble’s obituary mention that he was survived by a widow and eight children, but only list the names of the children? Why did the widow refuse to pay Ansil’s funeral bill? How did that old widow quietly manage, despite a court injunction to the contrary, to sell off Ansil’s land during those four years of court battles, leaving the legal heirs penniless when the final court settlement was made in 1918? Further research is clearly indicated!
No matter what happened after Ansil’s death, however, the latter and his family were highly regarded by other pioneers and their descendants. Many of the descendants and other “old-timers’ remember vividly the old Marble home and mill as outstanding meeting places for community gatherings for friends, families, and even strangers who needed to do business, chat, and have good time. Elsie Hockinson Denny, Marcellene Turner, Viola Betts Stewart, Hannah Jewett, Abra Zimmerman and others recall with nostalgia that it was considered quite an event “in those old days” to ride out from town to Marble’s Mill. They remember how happy they were when their parents considered them old enough to join a hayrack party on its way to a dance at Marble’s Mill which often combined business with pleasure. At that time everyone raised his own wheat which would be ground at the mill into coarse flour, with the miller taking part – usually an eighth – as payment. Social events inevitably centered around these trips. People would gather across the creek from the mill at the Marble house for picnics. Following square dances and Virginia reels in the mill loft at night, the families would return to town the next day with their grain. Robert Robb, writing in the Vancouver Independent on February 12, 1880, gives an example of the Marble hospitality in his tale of a trip visiting schools in La Center, Flatwoods (Manor) and Salmon Creek near Marble’s Mill where he “was kindly invited to dinner at Mar. Marble’s.” Robb concluded, “and as he has a flouring mill, it was just the place for me to go. It was, and I shall return at the next invitation!”
The Marble family’s evident love of life, warm hospitality and sense of humor may well be summed up succinctly in an inscription on an old matchbox possibly made by Ansil himself, discovered recently by the present owners of the Old Marble House:
Tobacco is a dirty weed: I like it.
It satisfies no normal need: I like it.
It makes you thin, it makes you lean.
It takes the hair right off your bean;
It’s the worst darn stuff for ever seen;
I like it.12
12. The old matchbox was found in one of the original sheds built by Ansil Marble, by Marcelle and David Terry, now owners of the Old Marble House, which has recently been declared an historic site.
In the midst of offering hospitality and excellent craftsmanship, Ansil marble, as did his father and other early settlers in Clark County, had an evident, unique and serious vision of the possibilities for the future of the northwest, especially of Clark County and Vancouver. In an editorial by W. K. Hines, appearing in the Vancouver Register on October 7, 1865, what those pioneers foresaw and accomplished is summed up concisely:
Whether Vancouver is to be a great city or not is a question the solution of which is concealed from human vision by the obscurity of the unknown future. True, we have figured out very plainly how it might become such, and how it probably will in the course of future changes and events. But effort is the only sure and honorable way to success. The individual who lies around, waiting for something to turn up, is unworthy of prosperity and is almost certain of failure… It is true, perhaps, that one in ten thousands has found it by a mere “streak of luck”; but why take such chances when, by the use of diligence and industry, with better health, better rest , better recreation, and a better conscience than loungers and idlers can possibly enjoy, we may render success comparatively certain. Vancouver has superior natural advantages … fortune is now inclined to smile upon us. Business is active. Every house in town is occupied, and several new ones are in process of erection. A considerable number of emigrants are finding their way into our county, notwithstanding the obstacles thrown in their way. If we do our duty in the future we are sure, if not of a rapid influx of population, at least of a healthy increase and an encouraging prosperity.
They dared, those hardy old pioneers, whom many of us proudly claim as ancestors, to fulfill this prophecy. Their courage, enterprise, hospitality, and many of their dreams, anticipation and optimism concerning the future of our city, county and state have become reality. We owe them a far greater debt than even they envisioned, for they possessed the power that helped a young northwest get ready for the modern age.
The Naming of Burnt Bridge Creek
The Hazel Dell History Report of 1952notes that in Hudson’s Bay Company days the small river or creek known as Bridge River or Bridge Creek had a bridge over it where Fourth Plain Road crossed it near the military reservation, and this bridge supplied the reason for the name of the creek. The Committee believes “the name of the creek was changed suddenly and with reason” in 1844 by Dr. John McLoughlin when a large forest fire swept the region of Clark County from Camas to Lake Vancouver down to wht is known today as Burnt Bridge Canyon, “reducing the bridge to ashes.”13 Carl Landerholm made the same assumption in Cayuse to Cadillac.14 The evidence, however, indicates that both these inferences are incorrect.
13. “Growing Pains: The History of Hazel Dell.” Pp. 1-2.
14. Carl Landerholm, Cayuse to Cadillac, I, ii.
Butler Marble did rename “Bridge Creek” as “Marble Creek” in 1854, and it is clearly so marked on Land Office maps until at least 1883. Ted Van Arsdol in an article in The Columbian on April 3, 1970, noted that an 1884 U.S. General Land Office maps shows Burnt Bridge Creek labeled “Marble’s Creek” (but he assumed incorrectly that it was Butler Marble’s son, Ansil Marble, who lived in the Leverich Park area where the creek is located).15
Marble Creek was probably renamed Burnt Bridge Creek shortly before 1878. The first reference so-far found to the renaming of Marble Creek is in the Vancouver Independent of August 22, 1878, which reported: “A new bridge is being built over Burnt Bridge Creek, at the Wilson place.” Another reference is found in the same newspaper, dated March 30, 1879, that “Last October Hein Kulper, an old miner, and J. O. Smith, both residents of this city, went out to prospect Burnt Bridge Creek, which empties into Vancouver Lake, 2 ½ miles north and west of this city.” The map compiled in 1883 does definitely show the new name change from Marble Creek to Burnt Bridge Creek and also shows a bridge crossing the stream east of the Vancouver barracks clearly labeled “Burnt Bridge.” However, the manger of the Land Office believes the bridge which was burned was in the Hazel Dell area, where the new bridge being built “at the Wilson place,” referred to above, is located. The Land Office manager also believes that Marble Creek was not “officially” changed to Burnt Bridge Creek until 1886.16
15. Ted Van Arsdol, “All Traces of Historic Road Being Wiped Out.” The Columbian, April 3, 1970. p.11.
16. Information from Martin Plamondon, manager of Mapping Records Office, Clark County Court House, Nov., 1977.
After Butler Marble’s death, his widow, Matilda, deeded the northeast quarter of his original land claim section 15 to August Schaeben, an early industrialist in Clark County. The deed was dated December 18, 1867, which is also the approximate year of Matilda’s death. Further proof that Marble Creek existed as such at that time is found in the Vancouver Independent on April 9, 1869: “Mr. August A. Schauben is fitting up a place on Marble’s Creek about two miles from town as a summer resort. He intends to spend a large sum of money.” By May 8, 1869, the same source reports: “Our enterprising townsman, A. Schauben, intends starting a tannery on his place on Marble Creek. It is an excellent place for a business of that kind – the facilities have wood and water and are unsurpassed.” These reports show the name “Marble Creek” in use long after Dr. McLoughlin Had left the area. Discovering the exact date of the change of name will require further research.
100 YEARS AGO IN CLARK COUNTY
April 1878 – A special levy of three hundred dollars was voted at LaCenter for a new school house.
May 1878 – The Fern Prairie post office was established with Pinkney Blair as postmaster.
Jun 1878 – Troops were sent from Vancouver Barrack to the Bannock Indian war in Idaho.
July 1878 – The first telephone connection was completed between Vancouver and Portland. Theree of the fist telephones were in the Barracks.
August 1878 – The steamboat Latona was launched at LaCenter. It was outfitted in Portland and began the Portland – Lewis River run the following January. Total cost $15,000.
About the Author, Marianne Marble Van House
MARIANNE11 MARBLE (HARRY ELTON10, FRANCIS "FRANK" SYLVESTER9, ANSIL SYLVESTER8, BUTLER EMERY7, JOSEPH6, BENJAMIN5, JOSEPH4, JOSEPH3, JOSEPH2, JOHN1), the daughter of HARRY ELTON MARBLE and MADELINE HYLAND, was born November 13, 1928 in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington, and died June 05, 2009 in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington. She married JOHN ELWOOD VAN HOUSE in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington, son of KENNETH VAN HOUSE and SELMA NELSON. He was born December 01, 1926 in Burton, Vashon Island, Washington, and died April 19, 2002 in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington. MARIANNE MARBLE VAN HOUSE, a descendant of four generations of Clark County pioneers, was one of the founders of Columbia Presbyterian Church. She also attended the University of Portland, obtaining a masters degree in English and subsequently worked in various places including Clark Community College and Fort Vancouver Regional Library. She loved English and wrote numerous poems. Genealogy was one of MARIANNE’S passions and her research and articles are valuable treasures especially to the descendants of BUTER EMERY MARBLE.