Forum Index > Pacific NW History > Nels Bruseth, I want to know more about him.
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harriet the spy
Pokey Plodder



Joined: 06 Mar 2008
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harriet the spy
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Pokey Plodder
PostSat Mar 08, 2008 6:53 pm 
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I have read quick sentences in various hiking books about a man named Nels Bruseth.  Recently I was in Darrington and happened to stop at the cemetery. Primarily because I love the history of cemeteries and the lives that are represented there. I went first to the older section of the cemetery and found the marker of Nels and his wife.  There were two old timers attending to the grass there and I  asked them if they knew him. One answered that Nels was a man that everybody looked up to,  a man's man. The other nodded in agreement.

Since then I have become OBSESSED with him! Does anybody have knowledge, or stories about Nels? Also is there any biographies about him?  What little I have picked up about him is amazing!! Thanks for any help or stories you can give me!
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harriet the spy
Pokey Plodder



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harriet the spy
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Pokey Plodder
PostSat Mar 08, 2008 7:02 pm 
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Yes I am very legit. I have lurked for a long time, and have finally registered so that I can become more active in the forum.  I would LOVE to hear what Quark would have to say!
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



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Niece of Alvy Moore
PostSat Mar 08, 2008 7:12 pm 
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He's mine!  rant.gif  smackbum.gif

I've had a secret crush on Nels for years.  I visit the cemetery on occasion.

There's not a lot written about ole Nels.  Everyone is always in a dither about Engels and that other guy.  Bedal.  Like as if they're the only ones who ever did anything around there.  Harumph!

If you start poking around Darrington asking a bunch of questions, people will begin to fear - I've already made a spectacle out of myself around there.  Naw, just joking.  People are happy to talk about the men & women of their region.


Stalking Nels:

Cemetery.  You've done that.

Ranger Station - his original artwork hangs in their conference room.

The Memorial Garden (being revamped this summer).

The Pioneer Highway History Marker (one of the few pics of Nels is of him at the Marker's grand opening, so it's cool to go stand in the same spot ole Nels stood).

Mt. Pugh - he was the lookout there awhile.

I'm doing more research on 'im & will let you know if anything good comes of it.

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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harriet the spy
Pokey Plodder



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harriet the spy
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Pokey Plodder
PostSat Mar 08, 2008 7:25 pm 
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Are they redoing the park with the hand carved canoes? Or the green spot on my map behind the Sauk trading post that bears his name?  Is it true that it was his idea to blow the top 15 feet off of Three Fingers? Also I can't remember where I read it, but is it true that he used to run down a mountain to go dancing?!
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More Cowbell
Warrior Princess



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Warrior Princess
PostSat Mar 08, 2008 7:50 pm 
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Yo Harriet (love your screen name by the way and read both books many times as a kid), you do not want to mess with Quark's men.  You can look but don't touch.

You've been warned.   wink.gif

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“If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes.” - Unknown
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



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Brutally Handsome
PostSat Mar 08, 2008 9:36 pm 
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I am so glad that Quark got a new friend.  You two are Nels bestest groupies!

harriet the spy wrote:
Also I can't remember where I read it, but is it true that he used to run down a mountain to go dancing?!

The way I heard the story was that he would watch lookout all day and when sun started setting he would run down the mountain.  He would go a callin' and a courtin' Miss Beate.  They would hold hands on the porch for a spell, and then he would head back up to his lookout on Mt Pugh.  In those days it was about a 6000' climb, and a good ten miles down the railroad tracks to town.  Man those guys were hardmen.
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



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Niece of Alvy Moore
PostSat Mar 08, 2008 10:01 pm 
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Magellan wrote:
I am so glad that Quark got a new friend.  You two are Nels bestest groupies!

We might be the only ones.  embarassedlaugh.gif  It's eerie we both stalk his gravesite and take photo of his headstone.  embarassedlaugh.gif
Bruseth stone
Bruseth stone

As evidenced by folks thinking a poster asking about Bruseth is a troll, it's not often that Nels gets attention.  If the original poster had asked about Engels or Bedal, no one would think twice about it. hmmm.gif

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Ingunn
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Hiking Viking
PostSat Mar 08, 2008 10:35 pm 
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Based on their names, I would guess they were Norwegian (or at least their parents were)! wink.gif

Nels = Nils, Be-Ate= Beate, Liv, and Bruseth are  common names in Norway.
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PostSun Mar 09, 2008 11:10 am 
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Mike Collins
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PostSun Mar 09, 2008 12:44 pm 
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Our words will outlast all of us. His book, Indian Stories and Legends of the Stillaguamish, Sauks, and Allied Tribes, I read at the Suzallo Library at UW. It is probably part of the KCLS collection also. If you go to the Suzallo look at the Bruseth Papers also. Their material is open for public viewing but it won't circulate.
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Magellan
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Brutally Handsome
PostSun Mar 09, 2008 3:04 pm 
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Thanks for that Mike.  up.gif
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harriet the spy
Pokey Plodder



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Pokey Plodder
PostSun Mar 09, 2008 8:03 pm 
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Thanks for the link to the Switchbacks book. I love collecting trail guides, so I will have double fun with it!

I went to my library today, I couldn't find anything on Nels directly. I happen to ask the Librarian if she knew a good spot to look. She directed me to a couple of books. I checked them all out so I could peruse them better at home. I found Nels in one of them. "History of Snohomish County Volume II" it was printed in 1926,  its kind of odd reading at first because they have four paragraphs about the family. The first two are about his father "Nels" and the last two is about his son our Nels. Here is what they say:

"Nels Bruseth
Among the men of sterling worth and unbending character, who by their persistent and well directed efforts created good homes in this county and contributed to the general and advancement of the locality, was Nels Bruseth. He possessed to a marked degree those qualities which enabled him not only to gain material success for himself but also won for him the confidence and esteem of his fellowmen, so that his death, which occurred in 1905, was considered a great loss to the community in which he lived. Nels Bruseth was born in Norway on the 30th of October, 1852 a son of Lars and Gure (Sattier) Bruseth, farming folk who spent their entire lives in Norway.

Nels Bruseth attended the public schools and completed his education in a seminary in Denmark, after which he returned to Norway, where he lived until 1880, when he came to the United States. He first settled in Michigan and was employed in the iron mines at Ishpeming until 1883, when he came to Snohomish county and took up a homestead in Happy Valley but somebody jumped his claim and he lost it. In 1887 he bought a relinquishment claim on the Stillaguamish river, adjoining the town of Silvanna on the west, and he immediately applied himself to the task of clearing off the timber and brush which encumbered the land. He built a good log house and devoted himself indefatigably to the development of the place. His first years there were marked by many discomforts and discouraging conditions. One of which was that it was necessary to bring all his supplies by canoe from Stanwood. However in the course of time he cleared about 40 acres of the land and created a good home and there spent his remaining years, his death occurring January 11, 1905. He was survived several years by his widow, who passed away in 1912. They became the parents of four children namely: Nels; Agnes, who died in 1913; Ragna, who was born in 1895  and died in 1914; and Alf.

Nels Bruseth received his education in the public schools of Silvana and then devoted himself to to assisting his father in clearing the farm. After the father's death he took charge of the ranch, which he operated until 1913, when he sold it and then spent two winters in California. In 1916 he took a position with the forestry department of the federal government, being engaged in general in Snohomish County for several years. In 1915 he bought ten acres of land in section 31, township 32, range 5 east, on which no clearing had been done, and has of recent years devoted himself to the development  of this place. He has about five acres cleared, has built an attractive home, which is surrounded by a beautiful and well kept lawn, ornamented with shrubs and flowers, and he is now very comfortably and pleasantly situated. He also maintains a nice vegetable garden.

On May 10, 1921, Mr. Bruseth was married to Miss Beate Staff Falk, a native of Norway and a daughter of Hjalmar and Larura (Aall) Falk, who are still living in that country. Her father is a professor of Germanic philology in the university of Oslo. To him and his wife were born three children namely: Jorgen, who lives in New York; Mrs. Bruseth; and Gustav, in Norway. Mrs. Bruseth came to the United States in 1919. She has become the mother of one child, Liv Aal, who was born February 27, 1922. Mr. Bruseth has been brought into much close contact with the Indians and is unusually well informed on the Indian lore on Snohomish County, having also taken many fine pictures of members of the Siwash tribe. In the summer of 1926 Mr. and Mrs. Bruseth made a trip to Europe."

I know this is a very long post. I have kept the punctuation and grammar exactly as the book is written. Although in my personal opinion there are many run-on sentences. I felt as though this information about him should be on the web somewhere and not kept in a dusty book that rarely gets stumbled upon.

BTW I almost fell over when I realized there was SOMETHING about him in there.
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harriet the spy
Pokey Plodder



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Pokey Plodder
PostSun Mar 09, 2008 8:09 pm 
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On the tree above Nels headstone there is this little plaque. The names seem to match up to his wifes family.
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harriet the spy
Pokey Plodder



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harriet the spy
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Pokey Plodder
PostSun Mar 09, 2008 8:11 pm 
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Pütz-in-Boots wrote:
OMG...


Quark has an identical twin.


What has the world come to?


ykm.gif

What!! Is Quark 5'9 overweight and has an odd obsession with taking pictures of ferns while hiking!?
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



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Niece of Alvy Moore
PostSun Mar 09, 2008 8:16 pm 
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Thanks for posting that, Harriet the Spy.  The Snohomish website is working on getting all of those excerpts online, but it's a long, slow process.

Beate lived in Bedal.  The legend is that Nels came down from Mt. Pugh each evening to court her. That's over a mile vertical (and back up).  Chances are he didn't do that every night, but I like to think he did - it's what legends are made of.  At any rate, he came down often enough to win her hand.

There was a book of his botanical drawings for sale on Abe Books, or some other online bookshop a few years ago.  I didn't buy it.  God knows why. I could kick myself for not picking it up.

I have his 2nd edition (1954) of Stories and Legends that Mike mentioned in his post.  A freind of mine was kind enough to send me a copy of it, and I have since located and purchased an actual print.

The first edition remains elusive and hard to find.  It did not include the Sauks.

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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