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Catalog Number WF 0037.A,B,C,D.E
Description This is a good view of the 28' diameter overshot wheel and millpond. On the left in photo is Sadie Ginnett Torpey. The lady in center front with white apron and dark hat is the mother of Sadie Torpey. Ida Halpin is seen on extreme left. Other people may include: John Hanson (wagon driver); Tom Benn,7; Bill and Hannah Halpin with children Bill, 12, and Ida, 10; Mrs. Louck with daughter Mary; Katie Benn, 16; Lilly March; Maggie Benn, 4, and Frank Benn, 12. Ages are based on 1889 census.

White settlement began here in mid-1870s when Frank Benn took preemption claim on Similk Bay. [See information on this topic from his daughter in 11-12-1964 and 5-14-1962 ANACORTES AMERICAN articles.] The building of the mill commences in 1878 as reported by the NORTHERN STAR on 5-8-1878, "New Mill on Fidalgo Island". It mentions that Frederick Buele, Charles Rille, Frank Benn and J. F. Dewelly have formed a partnership under the firm names of the Fidalgo Mill Company or that they may change it to Fidalgo Mill and Furniture Co. The mill was constructed at the mouth of Indian Creek, outlet for Lake Campbell. The water wheel was 28' in diameter according to the NORTHERN STAR on 5-8-1878. The dock was erected by Benn and Christensen near their Deception Mill in 1884; they continually improved the mill's services which became the impetus for development and commerce on the southern portion of Fidalgo. According to J. F. Dewelly's grandson, mill lumber and water pipes were used the construction of early LaConner homes and its first water system. [See Sophie Walsh article on Dewelly.] NORTHWEST ENTERPRISE articles: [6-17-1882] "Fidalgo Traveler will probably take a load of sheep from the Pass Mill to the Stillaquamish on her return from Port Townsend." [7-1-1882] "The Pass Mill. Combined saw mill and grist mill situated at Deception Pass and owned by Benn and Christensian (sic) is now running to its full capacity, grinding feed part of the time and sawing lumber the balance. They now turn out considerable lumber, considering the fact that they do all their own work, both in hauling the logs and operating the mill." [8-5-1882] "An improved hay press, capable of holding a 350 lb. Bale, has recently been erected by Benn and Christensen of the Deception Pass Mill." [9-16-1882] "The bay press recently invented by Mr. Christiansen (sic) of the Deception Pass Mill gives complete satisfaction. With this machine, it is possible to press five bales an hour & 3 men can turn out about 40 bales per day as an average. Last week, the Christiansen (sic) brothers pressed about 165 bales & have on hand enough hay for about 80 bales."

The dock was erected by Benn and Christensen near their Deception Mill in 1884. Mary Benn sold her portion of the mill business following the murder of her husband in 1887. The 8-17-1889 ANACORTES PROGRESS noted, "A number of parties have been negotiating with Mrs. Benn of Deception for purchase of her interest in mill property. Sale made to Knox and Carlisle for $9000.00 Mrs. Benn keeps 2 1/2 acres where her house is. They will probably engage in milling and manufacturing.

See also WF 0031-0017
Photographer BOOEN, J. O.
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects Animal - Horse
Industry - Mill
Photograph
People
Place - Fidalgo Island
Structure - Business
Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
People BENN, Frank Jr.
BENN, Katherine "Katy" "Katie" BUTLER
BENN, Margaret "Maggie" STARR
BENN, Thomas "Tom"
HALPIN, Hannah
HALPIN, Ida
HALPIN, William H. "Bill"
HALPIN, William S. "Bill Jr."
HANSON, John
LOUCK, Mary
LOUCK, Mrs.
MARCH, Lillian C. "Lilly"
TORPEY, Sarah "Sadie" GINNETT
Place Fidalgo Island, WA
Search Terms Deception Mill
Pass Mill
Similk Bay
Fidalgo Mill Company
Fidalgo Mill and Furniture Company
water wheel
lumber
water pipes
sheep
saw mill
grist mill
hay press
bale
Deception Dock
Object Name Print, Photographic