Looking Back: Daniel Hines – a solitary man of mystery

One of earliest days of Edmonds at Brackett’s Landing. (Courtesy Edmonds Historical Museum)

History remembers the celebrated – genealogy remembers them all

Readers of my Looking Back columns may have noticed that I often go beyond history to include genealogy research in my stories. Genealogy became part of my private and public life years ago—long before computers were available for use by the general public; before the introduction of the internet, and many years before we even heard of Ancestry.com. This interest in people influenced the decision to use my knowledge of genealogy research to uncover the mystery of Daniel Hines and his brief appearance in the history of Edmonds.

It appears that the earliest local mention of the name Daniel Hines occurred in the 1906 publication An Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties—a history of the people, their commerce and their resources, including an outline of the early history of the State of Washington. A short history of Edmonds was included in the book, and it told the now-familiar story of George Brackett landing his canoe on the shores of Puget Sound during a storm, and his encounter with Daniel Hines—quoted as follows: In 1870, there came a man destined to have a prominent part in the history of Edmonds. This was George Brackett. He found a man named Daniel Hines making shingles at that time.

The 1870 meeting between these two men took place on what had been the 1860s homestead of Pleasant H. Ewell. Today, we know Pleasant Ewell’s 140.75-acre homestead land as Brackett’s Landing, as well as a significant portion of the Bowl of Edmonds. This historical moment in time was not only one of the first introductions to George Brackett; it also introduced Daniel Hines, the unknown and elusive man of mystery, and his connection to local history.

Along with the 1880 federal census enumeration of the Ten-Mile Beach Settlement in Washington Territory, the information found in the Illustrated History is one of our best resources for a look back at Edmonds and some of its noteworthy people as the town developed from a small settlement to a growing lumber town. For those new to the early days of Edmonds, it was originally identified as the Ten-Mile Beach Settlement because of its location about 10 miles south of Mukilteo, the first county seat of Snohomish County.

For years I remembered the small mention of Daniel Hines, and wondered about his background. Finally, with some free time to spare while snowbound in Alaska this winter, I began my search to find the personal story of the elusive Daniel Hines.

My research into the life of this man of mystery became a challenge when I realized that Daniel Hines seemed to be a man who preferred solitude—a man who avoided any permanent attachments as he wandered from place to place. Even though Daniel Hines never became a prominent person, during his lifetime he left a paper trail, like we all do, making it possible to uncover most of his story. 

Daniel Hines – his beginnings

What I was able to verify regarding Daniel Hines’ roots was that he was born on his parents’ farm in Wayne County, Ohio, sometime during the month of May of 1839/1841. His parents were Alexander Hines and Mary Boydston Hines. By 1845, the family had moved from Ohio to Iowa Township in Cedar County, Iowa.  The family’s new farm was located in the vicinity of Pee Dee Creek and the little village of Pee Dee, Iowa. Daniel Hines had an older sister named Dorcas, and younger siblings: Catherine, Jacob, David and Alexander, Jr.

On July 15, 1854, Daniel Hines’ 37-year-old mother Mary gave birth to another son, who was given the name William. Mary Hines died Aug. 2, 1854 from complication of childbirth, and little William, only a month old, died on Aug. 15.  Mother and baby son are buried together at Pee Dee Cemetery. Approximately one year later, Daniel Hines’ father remarried.

In July of 1860, Daniel Hines was listed in the federal census as 21 years old and still living on the family farm in Pee Dee, Iowa, with his father, stepmother and four younger siblings. Dorcas, his older sister, had married and lived with her husband on their farm.

This was during the time when the smoldering issues of state’s rights and slavery were escalating. Whether it was the fact that he had reached legal age and wished to be on his own, or perhaps because he was avoiding involvement in a possible civil war, Daniel Hines left the security of home and family and chose to travel to the Pacific Northwest and a young Washington Territory.

Washington Territory and young Daniel Hines remain loyal to the Union

When the southern states rebelled and seceded from the Union, establishing the Confederate States of America, on the West Coast there was also a movement for a “Pacific Confederacy.” However, our own Washington Territorial Legislature was so opposed to any secession from the Union, they passed an Act to remain loyal to the United States.

During the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, the 1st Regiment of the Washington Territory Infantry was established, and recruiting for volunteers began.  However, the volunteers were not being recruited to fight on any far-away battlefield against the Confederacy, but rather to man the U.S. Army outposts throughout Washington Territory—thus, freeing the Union Army’s regular militia for battlefield duty.

By this time, Daniel Hines had arrived in Washington Territory, and on Oct. 19, 1861, he enlisted and was mustered in as a private in the 1st Regiment of the Washington Territorial Infantry Volunteers. Private Daniel Hines saw service at Fort Walla Walla, Fort Vancouver, and also at Fort Steilacoom; until the 1st Regiment was mustered out on Dec. 11, 1865. 

Following Daniel Hines footsteps as he makes Washington his lifetime home

After Daniel Hines’ service with the Washington Territorial Regiment ended in 1865, his trail was lost until 1870 when, as mentioned above, the Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties placed this wandering man’s presence along the shores of Puget Sound,10 miles south of Mukilteo, where by chance and some stormy weather, he met the young and industrious logger, George Brackett.

The following year, the Washington Territorial census on April 19, 1871, listed Daniel Hines working as a farmer at Mukilteo in Snohomish County.

In 1872, when George Brackett revisited the land that would eventually become his Edmonds’ holdings, Daniel Hines was no longer living in the vicinity.  Instead, George Bracket soon found that homesteaders Thomas Kennedy and James C. Purcell were now located nearby.

The Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties reported that by 1872, Daniel Hines had moved from the area and was settled along the waterfront, two miles south of what we know today as Brackett’s Landing. Actually, the records of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management show that Daniel Hines established a 148.50-acre homestead along the shores of Puget Sound. He received his land patent showing ownership on Feb. 25, 1874. His acreage covered the waterfront area of a large portion of what in our day is the Town of Woodway, and extended into King County, to include what in 1914 became the Standard Oil Company’s tank farm and docks at Point Wells in unincorporated Richmond Beach. Richmond Beach never incorporated, and much of it is now part of Shoreline.

By 1880, with new settlers arriving, Daniel Hines once again moved on. The 1880 federal census enumeration taken on June 10, 1880 listed Daniel Hines making his home in Snoqualmie, King County, Washington Territory. Still single, he was working as a farm laborer for Joseph Borst, the younger brother of Jeremiah Borst, who is well documented as the first white man to settle in the Snoqualmie area.

Meanwhile, back at Richmond Beach, on the adjoining land just east of Daniel Hines’ former homestead, Mikel Lund, the younger brother of Meadowdale’s John Lund, was living on his 159.11-acre homestead. In 1889 in King County, Mikel Lund’s land patent was issued.

Also, by 1889, it was reported that Wells Brick Company and the company of Bryant & Stanley were operating their brick-making businesses at the old Daniel Hines’ place.

As usual, the wandering Daniel Hines had again made another move. The 1885, 1887 and 1892 Washington census records and Polk’s King County Directory show Daniel Hines as living in the Tolt/Cherry Valley area—his occupation, farming and logging. Actually, according to the Bureau of Land Management records, he had filed for a homestead. His 1890 land patent for a 156.20-acre homestead in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains was in the Tolt/Carnation area of King County—situated east of the Duvall-Carnation Road.

Still not known to remain long in the same place, according to the 1900 federal census, Daniel Hines was living in Kittitas County in rental house in the small unincorporated town of Easton less than 13 miles northwest of Cle Elum, Washington. Ten years later, he still lived in Easton and had been working steadily as a self-employed gold and silver miner.

In our time, Easton remains a small unincorporated community along I-90, about 70 miles southeast of Seattle and 37 miles northwest of Ellensburg, the county seat of Kittitas County. Platted in 1902, Easton was given its name by the Northern Pacific Railway because of its location near the east end of the Stampede Tunnel, which runs through the Cascade Range.

The ending story

Daniel Hines never married, and seemed to have no close relationship when he died in Kittitas County on May 5, 1914. A very meager personal history was given on his death certificate by the attending physician, Dr. R. R. Pinckard; and no town was named as the place of death—only Kittitas County, Washington. The doctor practiced medicine in Ellensburg and had been Daniel Hines’ doctor from Jan. 1, 1914 until his death; having last seen his patient on May 3. Dr. Pinckard’s report showed Daniel Hines, age 73, was never married, his occupation was listed as a retired miner, and his burial on May 17, 1914 in Ellensburg.  The cemetery was not listed, nor was there any reference to his parents or his birthplace.

Daniel Hines’ father, Alexander Hines, had remained in Iowa, and died in 1889. He is buried at Pee Dee Cemetery in Cedar County, Iowa. Daniel Hines was survived by a younger brother. No record was found of any communication between Daniel Hines and any member of his birth family after he left the family farm in Iowa for the Pacific Northwest.

The reason Daniel Hines chose to remain a solitary man will probably always remain a mystery. However, I do have plans to send the information discovered about his life to a genealogical or historical association in Cedar County, Iowa, and perhaps, one day, some curious descendant of one of the Hines siblings will be able to discover what happened to their long-lost gr-gr-gr-uncle Daniel Hines.

— By Betty Lou Gaeng

Betty Gaeng is a former long-time resident of Lynnwood and Edmonds, coming to the area in 1933. Although now living in Anchorage, she occasionally writes about the history and the people of early-day Lynnwood, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace. She is also an honorary member of the Edmonds Cemetery Board.


  1. Betty, the amount of research you did on this story and the way you put it all together is truly amazing! I love the story and the way you did it! Great job!

  2. I would really like to get in touch with Betty regarding my family who emigrated from Vasa, Finland to Edmonds early 1900’s. Augusta & Sofia Carlson. My Great Aunt Ellen and her husband, Robert Applin built their house on a section of the land homesteaded by her parents (1010 Puget Drive). My understanding is the land was divided up amongst the 8 siblings (all girls) of which the 7 remaining lots were sold to a private school. Another much beloved Great Aunt, Signe and her husband, Charles (Uncle Chuck) Cooper, built their adorable 2 bdrm home at 926 Walnut St in Edmonds in 1938 (?). Although both couples were childless, their love of a certain great niece was a lifeline for her throughout a tumultuous childhood. Betty, if this manages to make its way to you, I have, in a round about way, a “jolly good” thank you to extend to Sharon & Don Deebach.

  3. I want to add my appreciation, Betty. These people from the past come to life with your writing. I always enjoy your work. Thank you.

  4. Kirsten Alexander — Sharon sent me your phone number, Kirsten, and I plan to call you this week. Of course, Don Deebach is my youngest and only surviving brother. I will be in touch as soon as possible.

    1. Dear Betty Lou Gaeng,

      My roots in Edmonds go back to 1976. I enjoy knowing the roots of Edmonds prior to that time. Your history telling brings our ancestors alive. We are grateful for their time in our town and I treasure your writings and your time in our town. After each story I am reassured of the appreciation you and many of us hold for Edmonds.

  5. Betty – your research is amazing. Thank you for giving us these history lessons. Teresa, thanks for giving Betty this platform. Both of you are enriching our community.

  6. Isn’t this fascinating? I’ve searched MEN to read your past “Looking Back” articles because I am hooked. I’ll renew my attempr at researching the naming of Goodhope Pond in Pine Ridge Park and how that land came into City of Edmonds Park ownership. Thank you again Betty Lou Gaeng for your infectious curiosity.

  7. Susan, growing up and playing in the woods near our home with neighborhood kids we were told that the property was owned by a Dr. Goodhope. That goes back to the mid 1950s.

  8. So glad I stumbled on this. Daniel is my great great great Uncle. His sister was Catherine Hines, who my Grandmother is named after, is my great great grandmother. Alexander and Mary Hines are my great great great Grandparents.

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