From Kansas to Kitsap County: An 1889 Account by C. A. Mullenix

  • Posted 1/31/2010
  • Essay 9256
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This is a letter by Cary Allen Mullenix (1827-1889) relating information about his 1889 trip from Fredonia, Kansas, to Seattle and Kitsap County, Washington. The letter was printed in a Kansas newspaper, The Republican on April 5, 1889. The letter and information about C. A. Mullenix was contributed by Marie Mullenneix Spearman, president of the International Molyneux Family Association.

The Journey from Kansas

The Citizen, a newspaper in Fredonia, Kansas, dated November 30, 1888, reported that "A number of people residing in this locality will leave about the 1st of next month for Washington Territory.  Among those most likely to go are J. C. Mullenix, wife and four children, C. A. Mullenix, J. F. Parkinson, Fred Evans, J. C. McDonald and wife, and Mrs. Rebecca Mark." 

C. A. (Carey Allen) Mullenix was born ca 1827, Highland Co., Ohio.  Carey served in the Civil War as a sergeant with Co. H. of the 9th Kansas Infantry, and in 1865 was elected the first probate judge for Wilson Co., Kansas.  In 1888, as a 61-year-old widower, Carey decided to move west to "the Sound" with two sons, J. C. (James Carlisle) Mullenix and Charles Franklin. 

The Letter

Carey's account of the trip west was printed in the Toronto, Woodson Co., Kansas newspaper The Republican, dated April 5, 1889.

"Editor, Republican, Toronto, Kansas:

"As I promised a number of my friends at and near Toronto to write to them when I located, I will now fulfill my promise by writing to your valuable paper, The Republican, thereby reaching all of them.

"Well, we had a very pleasant trip. We had to lay over at Emporia [Kansas] until Saturday at 3:15 a.m. when we stepped onboard the California Express and at Hutchenson [Kansas] we were placed on the tourist car by paying $18 dollars extra for berths, which were promised free when we left Toronto.  The trip through the Sunflower State was very pleasant, as Western Kansas is noted for being very level, and nice towns to any State.  Occasionally we would come in view of the Arkansas River wending its way over the plains to the Father of Waters.  We crossed the Colorado River about sunset, and as I stood, face eastward, took a last look at the Grand Old Prohibition State in which I was raised.  The journey through Colorado was made at night. The road over Ratan mountains is very rough.   

"Sunday morning we breakfasted in Las Vegas, New Mexico where we saw the first Saloon.  The scenery in New Mexico is very mountainous; the eastern part is covered with stunted cedar or pine, the western part, as Arizona, is a vast sandy plain, nothing but sand hills with an occasional sage brush or cactus.  The inhabitants are mostly Mexican 'greasers.' 

"We crossed into California at the Needles on Monday evening at 4 o'clock where we took supper.  Southern California is an arid plain with nothing but white sand as far as the eye can see.  Tuesday morning we breakfasted at Sumner, at the head of the San Juan valley.  This indeed is a beautiful Valley, it being a succession of fine farms the entire distance of 300 miles.  We reached Sacramento at 7 o'clock; changed cars and left there at 11 P.M., so we missed seeing the greater part of the Sacramento Valley. 

"Northern California is very mountainous.  We passed within 15 miles of Mt. Shasta, the summit of which is 14,111 feet above sea level.  At 4 o'clock P.M. we crossed into Oregon, and traveled over another chain of mountains where we struck the Rouge river valley.  Thursday at 10:40 a.m. we reached Portland, where we again changed cars.  Thence we proceeded over the Northern Pacific Railroad, crossed Columbia river on a steam ferry, and at last arrived on the soil of grand young Washington. [Washington attained statehood in 1889, same year].  We reached Seattle at 10:20 p.m. on the 14th of February, having made the trip in less than six days.

"Seattle is indeed a wonderful City, having the best harbor on the Pacific Coast.  Ships come here from every port in the known world.  Sidney [later renamed Port Orchard], where we have located, is a nice village, which as soon as Washington becomes a State, will be the county seat of Kitsap County. 

"We are within two miles of the beach.  Land is very high any going up at a rapid rate.  Immigration is pouring in from every State and Territory, and everything is booming.  Money plenty, wages good, dry goods and groceries cheaper than in Kansas. The timber is very heavy, mostly cedar, fir, and hemlock, and lumber is cheap.  I would say to all desirous of coming to the Sound country, it is best to come early, and select a location.  This is a wonderland and is destined to become the most populist State in the Union, and that is in the near future.  The man securing for himself a home in the Sound country will be indeed lucky.  I wish to say to my old friends and neighbors at and near Toronto that I am well satisfied with this country and they can get homes yet, comparatively cheap, if they come soon."

Journey's End

Carey Allen's tombstone in the Bethel Cemetery in Port Orchard records his birth year was 1827 and his death year 1889; his will, written in Toronto Township, Woodson County, Kansas, and dated May 30, 1888, was filed on April 8. 1890, at the Kitsap County Clerk's office. Carey Allen and family came to the Sound sometime in February 1889 and settled on a homestead two miles south of Port Orchard, then known as Sidney, and he lived long enough to be recorded on the 1889 Washington Territorial Census, along with the following from members of his Kansas family:

  • Mullinix, C.A. (Carey Allen). 62, male, widow, farmer b. Ohio
  • J. C. (James Carlisle), 38, farmer, married, b. Ohio          
  • Margaret (Ellen Parkinson), 34, housewife, married, b. Ohio
  • Ollie (Olive), 10, female, b. Kansas
  • Gertrude, 7 female, b. Kansas
  • Raymond, 4 male, b. Kansas
  • Charles L. (Charles Franklin), 19, male, b. Kansas

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