Sam Clements is seen plowing a field in an unkown year. (Jefferson County Historical Society)

Sam Clements is seen plowing a field in an unkown year. (Jefferson County Historical Society)

BACK WHEN: The lives, deaths of Dosewallips settlers

ACROSS THE DOSEWALLIPS River from one another, just beyond the bridge, were the homes of Capt. Samuel Clements and his brother, John.

Lillie Christiansen told of visiting Samuel Clements and his wife, Mary: “Mrs. Cap has merry brown eyes and a kind word for everybody …

“[Cap Clements] can spin great yarns of the sea and strange places …

“We will cross the river and go and see Lucy Clements across the river from Cap’s.

“Her father, John Clements, is Cap’s brother.

“Lucy’s mother was Mrs. Cap Clements’ sister [Ann]. She died before we came to Brinnon, so Lucy keeps house for her father and her brother, Johnnie.”

The Clements brothers were from Maine.

John was an ox-team logger who moved to Brinnon in 1870 with his wife, Ann.

He owned “considerable” timberland. His homestead was located on the south side of the river in the area that is now Dosewallips State Park.

Lillie remarked, “Mr. John Clements was the best axe man around they said. In the early days trees were chopped down [rather than sawed].”

John and Ann Clements had four children: Anne Eliza, Lucy Rosali, Henry and Johnny.

Ann Clements died in 1880 at the age of 42. Sometime in the 1890s, John married Eliza Horner.

His son, Henry, later married Eliza’s sister Margaret.

Margaret Horner Clements died in 1895 at age 23. Sometime after that, Henry married Eliza’s youngest sister, Jessica, who by that time had been widowed twice.

Henry had two sons with Margaret, Henry and Alan.

Alan served in the Army in France during World War I and died there. His name is on the memorial plaque outside the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Son Johnny married another Horner sister, Jane “Jenny,” in 1901.

Johnny and Jenny climbed Mount Constance to celebrate their wedding and named their first daughter Constance. They had seven other children.

Johnny had packhorses and offered parties two-week trips into the Olympics.

He was reputed to be a fine camp cook, making great meals on an open fire. Johnny suffered from asthma but claimed to breathe easier in the high country.

A daughter-in-law wrote, “He loved the out-of-doors, hunting and mountain climbing.

“There was not much work. He worked on the log boom.

“Jenny took in washing and did housework. She was a good and gentle person …

“Her family was her life.”

The family left Brinnon in the mid-1930s to live in California.

In 1883, John’s oldest daughter, Anne, married a lumberman, Robert S. Whitney, the uncle of Bill Whitney, who started Whitney’s Nursery in Brinnon.

Lucy married and lived in San Francisco, where she survived the 1906 earthquake.

Samuel Clements

Samuel Clements, John’s older brother, was captain of a whaling ship out of New Bedford, Mass., for 16 years.

Not wanting to leave his family for such long periods, he took a job for Pope and Talbot Lumber Co., sailing a lumber schooner to Hawaii, bringing back sugar cane to San Francisco and general supplies from there to Port Gamble.

Sam and his family lived in Port Gamble for five years before moving to Brinnon in 1880. He continued to operate ships from there.

Sam and Mary were the parents of five sons: Ed, George, Frank, Will and Sammy (Samuel Jr.).

Ed, George and Frank also became captains.

At community clambakes in Pleasant Harbor, “Cap Sam” would make a huge pot of clam chowder.

He had the first mail contract from Brinnon, making weekly trips by rowboat to Seabeck to pick up the mail.

Samuel Clements had a $150 contract to complete the Dosewallips Bridge, which was built in 1888 by Oldham and Rust.

He is often mentioned in county commissioners’ records, serving as road commissioner and on election boards.

Sam lived until 1908. Mary lived on until 1921.

Ed Clements became a mariner “at an early age” and had command of the steamer Kingston on Puget Sound.

Ed married a woman from Dundee, Scotland, named Isabella “Bell” Lecky.

They had one daughter, Jessie, who was born in Canada in 1895.

Ed died in 1907.

His obituary noted: “Death was the result of an accident that occurred near a month ago, in which Capt. Clements sustained a fracture of both legs.

“While engaged in testing a new ship life-throwing line, a recoil of the piece shattered the bones of his legs so seriously that amputation was required.”

He was unable to recover from the amputation surgery. He was 45 years old.

Frank Clements worked for the Puget Sound Navigation Co., operating the Brinnon to Seabeck ferry, the Airline, from 1925-1933.

Eventually, he captained the Kitsap and Beeline on the Port Townsend to Keystone ferry run.

He collapsed and died at the wheel of the ferry Crossline while landing in Manchester in November of 1939 when he was 69 years old.

He had been relieving his brother, George Clements, who was vacationing in California with his wife.

His obituary noted: “Except for the damage done and frightening the passengers, he had often remarked in a jocular way it was his chosen way to go.”

By the time of his death, he and his wife, Stella, were living in Kingston.

George Clements married Neva Kinney of Brinnon.

George died in Bremerton in 1955, and his wife survived him until 1961.

Sam Clements Jr. married a Brinnon girl, Maggie Smith, who died in childbirth at the age of 19.

Later, he was married to a local widow, Lulu Segar Cowan, who had five children from her first marriage.

Sam Jr. died in a traffic accident in 1925 at the age of 46.

Will Clements took over his parents’ farm in Brinnon.

He and his wife, Bessie, had two sons, Robert and Richard.

Will split the old family house in two, creating two houses, then renting out one of them.

For a while, the family lived in Seattle while Will was employed on the Aurora Bridge.

Will died in 1955.

Adjacent to the Sam Clements homestead were 11½ acres purchased by Arthur A. Brown in 1892.

Arthur’s father, Richard A. Brown, brought his family to Port Townsend from Maine in 1887, when Arthur was in his early 20s.

Arthur’s first wife, Frances, who shares a tombstone with his parents, Richard and Dolly, in Laurel Grove cemetery, died at the age of 26 in 1897.

Her death was around the time of the birth of Arthur’s only child, named Dolly for her grandmother.

Census records indicate that Dolly was raised in Port Townsend by Arthur’s parents.

She was married to a logger, James Bell, in 1913.

They lived in Lilliwaup, Everett and Hobart.

The Bells had three daughters. Dolly died in Issaquah in 1980.

Arthur lived for a while in Seabeck before moving to Brinnon.

He served on the Brinnon School Board in 1909. He later served as a county commissioner.

In 1911, he had a unique house built on his farm in Brinnon.

It was large, with two full stories. The bottom floor walls were built of river rock hauled up from the Dosewallips.

Arthur’s nephew, Harold Brown, in his oral history, stated, “After my father and mother [Harry and Fannie Brown] were married they lived on a piece of land that she had previously purchased from Ewell Brinnon.

“It was … near where the first county bridge crossed the Dosewallips River.

“My father’s older brother, Arthur Brown, bought part of the property and built one of the fanciest houses in Brinnon.

“He had just returned with a handful of gold nuggets from an Alaskan expedition which included crossing of Chilcoot Pass.

“No one knew where he got the nuggets, but they were sure he didn’t dig them himself …

“What impressed me about it was it had a large veranda, unusual in early construction.”

Arthur by then had married Isabella Clements, the widow of Ed Clements.

She and her daughter, Jessie, lived with him on the Dosewallips until Isabella died from complications of childbirth in July 1911.

The diary of Arthur’s sister-in-law, Fanny Brown, for March 4, 1912, tells of a visit to Arthur’s farm: “Arthur and Jessie are having lots of trouble these days. It is too bad for a girl to be left without a mother.”

By that time, Jessie was about 17.

Jessie Clements married Paul Van Winkle in Port Angeles in 1920, when she was 25.

They made their home in Seattle where Paul worked in a clothing store.

It is not clear where Jessie lived after Arthur remarried. At the time of her marriage, Jessie was working as a dry goods sales lady in Seattle.

In 1913, Arthur was married to Jane Fisher, from Scotland, who had been living in Seattle with her brother.

Sadly, Jane died an untimely death from appendicitis in 1917.

She had surgery in Seattle and seemed to be recovering but died after a relapse.

Finally, in 1919, Arthur married his fourth wife, Myrtle Turner, who was born in Buffalo, N.Y., and had lived in Washington for 20 years. They were together for 20 years.

In the late 1920s, the Browns’ house burned. They rebuilt a smaller home using the rock walls from the original house.

After a long illness from heart disease, Arthur Brown died in February 1939 at the age of 77.

Myrtle’s health had also been failing for nearly two years, and she survived Arthur by just seven months.

She died in September 1939 at the age of 72.

Her obituary noted: “They were a devoted couple and his lingering illness was a great strain on her.”

She had been “active in all community projects until their failing health kept them at home.”


Linnea Patrick is a historian and retired Port Townsend Public Library director.

Her Jefferson County history column, Back When, appears on the third Sunday of each month, alternating with Alice Alexander’s Clallam County history column on the first Sunday of the month.

Patrick can be reached at [email protected]. Her next column will appear June 18.

Mary Clements, wife of Capt. Samuel Clements. (Jefferson County Historical Society)

Mary Clements, wife of Capt. Samuel Clements. (Jefferson County Historical Society)

The home of Capt. Samuel and Mary Clements is shown in Brinnon with the Clements standing on the front steps. (Jefferson County Historical Society)

The home of Capt. Samuel and Mary Clements is shown in Brinnon with the Clements standing on the front steps. (Jefferson County Historical Society)

The home of Arthur A. Brown in shown in Brinnon in 1919. Mrs. Brown and a hired man are in foreground with Capt. Samuel Clements’ house in the distance on the left. (Jefferson County Historical Society)

The home of Arthur A. Brown in shown in Brinnon in 1919. Mrs. Brown and a hired man are in foreground with Capt. Samuel Clements’ house in the distance on the left. (Jefferson County Historical Society)

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