HON. EDWARD ELDRIDGE. – One of the most useful of Washington’s public men has been Mr. Eldridge, whose portrait we present. He is a Scotchman, having been born at St. Andrews in 1828. The Scotch either stay at home and become doctors, essayists, psychologist or preachers, or else go abroad and found institutions and cities. the mind of these islanders is said to be the most severely logical of any in the world, and their grip upon affairs the most tenacious. As a city builder and legislator, our representative of this great people has brought into effective action these characteristic qualities.
When but a boy of thirteen he shipped as a sailor and followed the sea until 1849. This was the golden year of our coast; and the sharp-eyed young argonaut turned up in San Francisco about that time, hailing from the ship Tonquin. He found that he could handle a spade and “Long Tom” as well as a halyard or helm, and for a year dug gold on the Yuba. He then took a run of eighteen months on the Pacific mail steamer Tennessee; but, concluding that the only satisfactory way of living was as a man of family, he married and went to Yreka. Neither this place nor San Francisco, which he tried again, quite suited him; and in 1853 he came up to the Sound with Captain Roder, who was taking up machinery to build a sawmill at Whatcom. Here were the sea-breezes, the convenient boat, the “finest sheet of water in the world,” and the place for cows and chickens and other livestock in the woods along shore. He located at Whatcom while the sawmill was building. the inhabitants at that time consisted of twelve men working on the mill. Here for a short time he found employment with the mill owner, his wife cooking for the men. He located half a section of land adjoining Captain Roder, where he has resided ever since and now has the finest home on Bellingham Bay. He was also on the Sound in time to take a hand in the Indian war, serving in Company H, Captain Peabody, and in the battalion of Major Van Bokellen. He was also left for a time in command of a company to guard Whatcom and the newly opened coal mines there.
In a public way he began early serving the county in nearly all the offices, and going to the legislature quite continuously. In 1866-67 he was speaker of the house, and in 1878 was member of the territorial constitutional convention. In every public capacity he has filled his place with dignity, and has displayed sagacity. Everything which he has undertaken has prospered; and although his early adventures and operations have been, by the quickly shifting times, acquiring a certain antiquarian interest, he is still a man in his prime, and dispatches as much work as ever. He was a Democrat in politics until the flag was fired upon at Sumter. Since that momentous event he has been a Republican.
His wife, Theresa Lappim, a native of Ireland, whom he met and married in San Francisco, has been in very way his efficient helpmeet, and shares with him the comforts of their pleasant home. two of their four children are living, – Mrs. Isabella Eveds, and Hugh, auditor of Whatcom county.