Methow Valley Women

In conjunction with our 2020 commemoration of the 19th Amendment and the expansion of women’s political rights, the Shafer Museum has compiled information on several of the Methow Valley’s notable and fascinating women. Explore below and learn about some of the incredible women that have helped to make the Methow so special, and their ties to the history of these locations.

location: town of twisp 

The town of Twisp was born from the merging of the towns of Gloversville and Twisp. Gloversville, platted by trapper H.C. Glover in 1897, eventually became part of Twisp, possibly due to Post Office requirements. Twisp was platted in 1899 by Amanda Burgar. 

Amanda Burgar

B: 03/1884    D: 10/12/1905

Amanda Duncan was born in March, 1884, in Butler Township, Ohio. After marrying Courtland C. Burgar and giving birth to two children, Amanda and her son, William, moved from Wisconsin to the town of Silver, Washington. It is unclear what happened to Courtland, but it appears he died in Wisconsin or en route to Washington. While living in Washington, Amanda moved from Silver to a homestead near the already-platted town of Gloversville. Amanda then platted the town of Twisp in 1899, which eventually merged with Gloversville to become the Town of Twisp that exists today.

Gladys l. price

B: 08/1893   D: 1958

Gladys Lula Price may have been the only black person living in the Methow Valley before the 1970s. She was born in Berthoud, Colorado to James Price and Maggie (Archer) Price. Both her parents were born in South Carolina towards the end of the Civil War. 

The Homestead Act of 1862 opened land ownership to male citizens, widows, single women, and immigrants pledging to become citizens. The 1866 Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed that African Americans were eligible as well. Black homesteaders used it to build new lives in which they owned the land they worked, provided for their families, and educated their children. 

No doubt, these same opportunities drew the Prices first to Colorado, then to the plains of Washington state. While James and Maggie farmed their 320-acre land patent (#705692) near Delrio in Douglas County, Gladys was sent to Twisp to attend high school. She worked as a farmhand in exchange for room and board. In 1926 at age 33, she graduated from the Twisp school. Shortly thereafter, she returned home to Delrio where she became a sheep farmer and remained unmarried until her death. 

location: town of pateros

Pateros was established around 1885 by Lee Ives, with his road house on the river known as Ives Landing. In 1900, a Spanish American War veteran, Charles E. Nosler, renamed it Pateros after a village he had visited in the Philippines. In May 1913, Pateros was incorporated and for the next several decades, it remained a peaceful community known for its fruit orchards and cattle ranches. In 1966, Pateros was submerged beneath the Columbia River when the Wells Dam opened. Some houses and businesses were relocated, but many remained in their original location and were lost. In 2014 the Carlton Complex fire swept through Pateros, leveling entire city blocks, causing $100 million in damages, and leaving behind a charred landscape.

carlene anders

After graduating from Pateros High School, Carlene Anders, 18, trained as a wildland firefighter. Early in her career, she served on the elite smoke jumpers team based out of Winthrop, Washington, one of the first two women to do so. After the 2014 Carlton Complex fire, Carlene stepped up as a volunteer to organize the Carlton Complex Long Term Recovery Group (CCLTRG), which was created to collaborate with and provide coordination and recovery services to those individuals, families, businesses, and communities that were adversely impacted by the 2014 wildfires and resulting mudslides across Okanogan County. In 2014, Anders was appointed to the Pateros City Council and in November 2015, she was elected mayor. 

location: Town of winthrop 

ella may (frisbee) maxey

In 1871, Ella May Frisbee and her family moved to Ellensburg in the Washington Territory. In 1889, Ella, 19, met and married William C. Maxey, 26. At that time, he ran freight by horse and wagon out of Ellensburg. While living there, Ella gave birth to one baby girl, Marie, but the baby died less than two years later. 

In 1900, Ella's brother, Walter, applied for and was issued a 160-acre land patent near Winthrop. William moved Ella out to Winthrop with the high hope that he and Walter could establish and run a successful freight hauling business.

Ella had just given birth to their second child when William had to make a freight run to Ellensburg and back. It was late fall 1893. Before he could return, a blizzard closed the road and stranded him in Ellensburg for the winter. When he finally got home, his infant son had died and his wife was quickly losing her battle with tuberculosis. 

Ella died June 15, 1894 at the age of 24. She and her baby boy were laid to rest together in a single grave in the Old Winthrop cemetery. Ella's funeral was the first funeral to be held in the Winthrop area.

gwendolyn (creveling) yockey

During Washington's Centenniel Celebration in 1989, Gwendolyn Creveling, now Grendolyn Yockey, was honored for her work with the U.S. Forest Service as one of the first women in the United States to occupy and operate a U.S. Forest Service lookout. For four years, from 1920-24, Gwendolyn's job was located in a log cabin on North 20-Mile. 

In 1925, when Gwendolyn and her husband were married, he worked the back country for the U.S. Forest Service as a government packer. From their home at Eight Mile Station, Gwendolyn operated the telephone exchange for all the ranger stations.

In 1947, Fred Yockey, age 45,  was killed in an accident while working at a mine in Holden, on Lake Chelan.  Gwendolyn continued to live for another 52 years in her comfortable log home in Winthrop, WA. She died December 11, 2000, just two months shy of her 99th birthday

location: town of carlton; general store

At one time Jennie Miller's home was located behind the Carlton General Store, but it no longer exists. The Store is provided as a reference point.

jennie miller

Jennie Miller's story is a 1930s tangled knot of human trafficking, rescue and redemption in Carlton.

more about Jennie miller

location: First Butte Lookout 

The First Butte Lookout was built by the U.S. Forest Service in 1938 and staffed every season until 1997. In 1942, it was staffed year-round as a World War II Aircraft Warning System. After being used on an emergency-basis in 1998, it returned to use 5 days per week in 1999 and still remains active for emergency use. It was added to the National Historic Lookout Register in 2000. 

Mortee Banasky

B:     D: 08/20/14

In 1984, after returning to school at the University of Washington, former insurance executive, Mortee Banasky, took a summer job as a firespotter for the U.S. Forest Service on First Butte summit near Winthrop. She spent 24 summers at First Butte, manning the lookout and supporting the firefighters before being transferred to the Leecher Mountain lookout near Twisp. Mortee was working the First Butte lookout the day the Thirtymile firestorm exploded in 2001, taking the lives of four young firefighters, two of them women. 

location: thirtymile fire memorial

The Thirtymile Fire Memorial is a lasting tribute to the four wildland firefighters who lost their lives in the 2001 Thirtymile Fire. This powerful reminder of the danger these firefighters face, has been constructed next to the Chewuch River approximately 30 miles north of the Town of Winthrop. The memorial site is where 16 people took shelter as a last chance effort to escape the erupting fire. Four firefighters did not make it. Two of these four were young women, just 18 and 19. The memorial site  includes a low rock wall, plaques dedicated to each firefighter, four memorial markers, and a stone bench for visitors seeking a quiet spot to rest and reflect. 

Karen fitzpatrick

Karen Lee Fitzpatrick, 18, was trained for U.S. Forest Service work, including fire fighting. She went to work for the fire agency directly after high school, and had been involved in the Nile Valley Fire, near her home in Yakima, and an Oregon Fire, near The Gorge, over the 4th of July 2001. When the call came in at midnight July 9, 2001 to report with her crew out of the Naches Ranger Station to a fire up by the North Cascades near the Thirtymile Fire campground in Winthrop, WA., it was her third fire.

Jessica johnson

Jessica Lynn Johnson, 19, was a student at Central Washington University, with family in Yakima. She was in her second year with the Forest Service as a seasonal wildlands firefighter, but actually got started in 1998 when she joined a rookies' firefighting program taught by veteran firefighters from Central and Eastern Washington.