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Roslyn Black History

Gertrude Craven Hightower is the daughter of Samuel L. and Ethel F. Craven. Gertrude was born and raised in Roslyn with her many brothers and sisters.

ca. 1890
This early tintype photograph taken around 1890 shows the turn of the century dress and attire. The man standing on the left was carrying a gun for protection as did many of the early day residents of Roslyn, Washington Territory during the coal…

Harriet Jackson Taylor Williams came from Braidwood, Illinois to Roslyn in September 1888 with one small son. Harriet, born in Richmond, Virginia in 1871, journeyed with the wives and families of Black miners brought to Roslyn to break the coal mine…

James J. Quinn helped raise money to build the Roslyn church in 1887. The parish was formed from the Ellensburg St. Andrew's parish in 1886.

Independent Mine Company operated a coal mine in Cle Elum.

Northern Pacific Coal Company official J. S. Baer informed John Kongley of coal mine situation in Roslyn. More African-American miners were brought to Roslyn from Illinois as strike breakers.

ca. 1915
James Shepperson, Kittitas County businessman and labor recruiter in the 1880s and 1890s, was an early spokesman for the black community. He was the original founder of the Black Mason group in Washington State. Shepperson was also one of the…

Joyce Craven Greenwood, the daughter of Samuel and Ethel Craven, is shown in this 1951 photograph with her first grade class at a Portland, Oregon elementary school. Joyce Greenwood taught school for many years.

ca. 1923
Leola Mae McClain was the daughter of Ethel Williams McClain (Craven) and her first husband. This picture was taken about 1923 when Leola was about one year old.

Lidge Williams standing on mine railroad tracks in Cle Elum Washington during the 1930s. Lidge was one of many African-Americans living in the Roslyn - Cle Elum area employed by the railroads or the coal mining company.

In 1917 Lydel Roberts, a member of Roslyn's African-American community posed for this photgraph.

A group of miners and machinists posed in front of the Northwestern Improvement Company's machine shop in 1900. Among the men were William Thompson, Harry Smith, Ole Pearson, S. Graves, Johnny Cusworth, and Jack Cadwell.

Mark and Brice Jefferson sitting on the lap of Santa Claus and the twin sons of Luele Craven Jefferson and the grandsons of Ethel F. Craven.

Coal mining no. 7 at Cle Elum during the winter of 1919. The branch coal train runs next to the mine tipple.

Coal mining in the Cle Elum area offered many men employment. The mine tipple or mine entrance was located close to the mining family homes.

For many men in the Roslyn area, mining was a way of life. Often two or three generations of the same family worked the mines. Four coal miners are shown standing in the entrance of the mine.

Kittitas County Sheriff Sam Packwood (1842-1924) was a stabilizing force during the Roslyn Mine strikes of 1888 and 1889. Sam Packwood arrived in the Kittitas Valley in 1874 with his wife Margaret Holmes Packwood. He was County Sheriff from…

Roslyn pioneers Powell Benjamin Barnett and his wife the former Mrs. Johnson posed for a picture in Roslyn about 1924. Powell Benjamin Barnett arrived in Roslyn in the late 1880s to work in the coal mines. Powell Benjamin died in 1939 and Melinda…

Mrs. Bessie E. Wilson was a hard working member of Kittitas County's African-American community. She lived in Ellensburg for many years and died Dec. 13, 1936.

ca. 1900
Mrs. Samuel Craven, Sr., the mother of Samuel Lawrence Craven, lived in Texas in 1900 when this photograph was taken. Members of the Craven family arrived in Roslyn to work the coal mines in 1912 and 1922.