Bordering the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula to the very water's edge towered a virgin forest of fir, spruce, hemlock, and cedar, unequaled in any other part of the United States. The Humptulips, extending far back into the foothills, was to become the logging outlet for the famous "21-9" stand of Douglas fir - the greatest in the Northwest. So dense was the giant timber that, for lack of space, it had to be felled all in one direction.
The story is told that in one of the early-day saloons in Hoquiam, a garrulous foreman boasted, "Give me enough snoose (snuff) and Swedes and I'll log 21-9 like it was a hayfield, dump the toothpicks into the river, and ride 'em to tidewater like they was rocking horses." It took thirty years, however, to log off an area six miles square.
These firs averaged from three to eight feet in diameter across the stump end, and reached from 250 to 300 feet in air. There were many that measured 11 to 12 feet in diameter, and occasionally one that was 13 or 14 feet through, five feet above the ground. Near the mouth of the Humptulips a man built his house, his barn, and his fences out of one tree. By counting the annual rings it was determined that some of these trees were alive when Columbus discovered America.
Into this ancient and awesome forest ventured the pioneers.
THE JOHN ANGELO FAMILY
In 1884, John Angelo bought the prairie from Stevens who was by that time operating a saw-mill at Cosmopolis. With his wife, R. E., daughters Amy and Mattie, and sons Jim and Frank, he settled at the lower end of the prairie on the north bank of the Humptulips.
There being no bridge, the Angelos were called upon to ferry travelers across in a canoe. But, after their relatives, the Lindsays, settled on the south side (1888) the new-comers did most of the ferrying. A road to New London, which was merely a widening of the trail to accommodate wagons, was opened in 1886. John Angelo then began freighting with a team.