So we bought this farm in 2002 on Jarman Prairie in Skagit County, Washington State. The Jarman is sometimes misspelled as Jarmin, Jarmyn or German, but it was named after William Robert (“Blanket Bill”) Jarman, the first white settler in Skagit County. Blanket Bill has a fascinating life story some of which he embellished in stories later in his life. We own two great books on him: Ray Jordan’s book Yarns of Skagit County (1974) and Percival Jeffcott’s Blanket Bill Jarman- Northwest Washington Mystery Man (1958). Excerpts from this books as well as an excellent site for Skagit County History is at the Skagit River Journal by Noel Bourasaw.
On June 15th 1868 he and his Clallam wife Alice travelled up the Samish River and selected a spot on the first prairie. And in July built his first cabin. In 1871 he was working at the Coal Mines in Sehome. Here he was involved in a bar brawl in which he killed James Farmer January 15th 1872, but in March 1872 in Port Townsend it was found to be a justifiable homicide. After this he returned to his claim and started clearing on the bluff. In 1873 the Samish Valley was surveyed and that year he started building his second house there. He unfortunately discovered that all of his improvements were not on his claim but this did not stop him from filing his preemptive land claim that year. It was approved in 1876 and a patent was issued. In around 1877 his wife Alice (for which Alice Bay is named) became ill and died within a few days. Per Jeffcott’s book “On the brow of the bluff, not far from the lonely cabin, beside the resting place of a little daughter they had buried some time before, poor sailor Jarman sadly dug her grave and laid her to rest…..Devotedly, he rounded off the graves, and as the lonely days dragged by, he carried large white granite stones and tenderly made a border around each grave; then finally, to shield the sacred precincts from the tread of man or beast, he built a neat white picket fence around the plot that held what was closest to his heart.” In 1880 he sold his land to Martin Van Buren Stacy (real estate and railroad promoter and speculator) for a healthy profit and left. A quarter of a century later (presumably around 1905) he as an old man visited the new owner of the property and went up the zig zag trail to the top to visit the graves. (The owners of his claim now live in a house built in 1915. Across the road and not on his property is another home built in 1905). He died in 1912 and is buried in Ferndale. In the 1950′s when Mr. Jeffcott was investigating his book with Ray Jordan, a fire had destroyed the picket fence and the cabin, the forest had returned and obliterated every trace of the graves. The shallow well he dug and one of the 50 orchard trees he planted was the only traces of his settlement there then. Below is a photo of Ray Jordan pointing out the original Jarman homesite on the hill north of present Prairie Road to Percival Jeffcott.
So the claim record states that its location is Lots 3 & 4 and South 1/2 of Northwest 1/4 Section 4, Township 35 North, Range 4, East of Willamette Meridian and was 163 46/100 acres. This is parcels 35768, 35869, 35753 and 35770 on the current Skagit County Parcel map. These parcels are all well south of Prairie Road. So the question that has been bothering me for a long time is where are Alice and their child buried?