Significant People of Lumber & Shingle

Photo courtesy Everett Public Library

Neil C. Jamison

Neil Jamison was born in June 1886 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to a prominent family of that city. His mother, born in Vermont, was of English descent. His father was an attorney who became a district court judge. After completing studies at Amherst College in Massachusetts, Neil Jamison came to the Pacific Northwest. He was just 21 years old when he began working in an Everett mill. In a short time he had accumulated enough money to buy a shingle mill of his own on 14th Street Dock. In 1913, he organized the Jamison Mill and soon had two shingle mills in Everett and one in Anacortes. By 1917, his Jamison Mill Company was hailed in the book Washington West of the Cascades as manufacturing more red cedar shingles than anyone in the world. Jamison was a central figure in the 1916 shingle weavers strike that presaged the Everett Massacre. He reportedly hired strikebreakers and guards to keep the pickets away from his mill. On one occasion, he encouraged a particularly merciless beating of pickets by his guards and strikebreakers. In another episode, Jamison paraded his strikebreakers and guards through the city to the Everett Theater for a little rest and relaxation. Their R and R completed, the Jamison folks came out of the theater to face an angry mob that had gathered. The resulting fist fights were broken up when the police arrived and fired guns to disperse the combatants.

Jamison’s business enterprises were not confined to shingles. He was on the board of directors for William Butler’s First National Bank of Everett or several years. He headed up the Sauk River Lumber Company, a large Washington logging company, and the Nimmo Logging Company, which had extensive logging operations in British Columbia. In later years he owned and operated the J-Bar-J cattle ranch in Ellensburg, Washington, and the J-Bar-J citrus ranch in Thousand Palms, California. He belonged to a number of clubs and associations, including the University Club of Seattle, Seattle Golf Club, Vancouver Club of British Columbia, Everett Yacht Club, Thunderbird County Club of Palm Springs, California, and the Cascade Club of Everett. He as also said to be a generous supporter of Everett’s First Congregational Church.

Neil Jamison died on September 25, 1958, and his wife, Grace, and daughter Glee assumed the titles of president and vice president, respectively, of the Jamison enterprises. The Everett Herald reported he had left an estate that was estimated to be in excess of one million dollars. He left significant amounts to family, friends, and agencies such as the Bishops School of La Jolla, California, Lakeside School in Seattle, Chi Psi fraternity of Amherst College, American Cancer Society, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.