Transcribed from "History of North Washington, an illustrated history
of Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan and Chelan counties", published by Western
Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
ELISHA P. CHILSON. To such
a man as Mr. Chilson no words that we could utter by way of outlining his
ability and worth could be so acceptable as a review of the work he has
done. He is a mechanical engineer and mining expert. He is
also a man who can do things and it will be interesting to note what he
Elisha P. Chilson was born on May 20, 1852,
in Knox, Missouri, the son of Andrew and Nancy Chilson, natives of New
Hampshire and Lebanon, Kentucky, respectively, and now deceased.
The father was of Scotch ancestry and dealt in mules in Missouri, Ohio,
and Louisiana. Our subject is the second youngest of a family of
eight children. His mother was a graduate of the Philadelphia Medical
College and practiced until her death. She was a prominent physician and
The family removed to Missouri when our subject was small and
there he was educated, being a schoolmate of ex-senator Turner of Spokane.
His early life indicated his powers of investigation and studiousness and
he acquired a good training. During the struggle of the Civil War,
he was in Missouri but went, in 1868, to Texas, thence with a herd of cattle,
he went to Utah. Later, we find him in Eureka, Nevada where he assisted
to put in a furnace for a large smelter. After this, he was employed
in a machine shop in San Francisco, then operated for White and Allen,
placing stamp mills in different portions of California, New Mexico, and
Arizona. He was an expert at this business and remained with this
firm seven years. In 1879, we find him in the Black Hills where he
did mining and milling. There on March 2, 1880, Mr. Chilson married
Miss Mary B., daughter of John W. and Julia Foster. The father was
a skillful broom manufacturer and invented one of the leading broom making
machines. He lost his eyesight during the Civil War and received
a pension until his death. His wife is now living at Crook City,
Montana. Mr. Chilson remained in the Black Hills until 1890, during
which time he erected and operated several of the largest mills in that
section. He also brought in a large plant at the gold fields in Newcastle,Wyoming.
Thence he went to Los Angeles, California, where he erected the Blackhawk
mill and the Temanskel tin reduction works, after which he was engineer
two and one half years, in placing in the sugar plant at Chino, California.
Following this he was in the state of Sonoro, Mexico, and erected a two
hundred and fifty ton smelter for George Roberts of New York, and Jesse
Grant, son of ex-president Grant. His next work was a ten stamp concentrator
in Arizona, for John Macken. Then he put in a one hundred ton plant
for L. A. Davis, of Chicago, near Prescott, Arizona, which is the most
complete mill in that state. After this, Mr. Chilson returned to
California and operated for the California Construction Company, putting
in tunnels and electric power. He was mechanical engineer and superintendent
of the company and made a record in the tunneling work at Bakersfield,
California, which latter is the largest tunnel in the state, being a solid
granite structure, two and one half miles long. In April, 1901, Mr.
Chilson severed his connection with the cornpanies of California, much
to their dislike, and came to the Okanogan country. Here he has done
experting of mines and mining engineering. He has full charge of
the Similkameen electric power and development company at Similkameen falls,
where his residence is at the present time.
Fraternally, Mr. Chilson belongs to the I.
0. 0. F., the Encampment, and the K. of P., having held the prominent chairs
in these orders. Politically, he is an active Democrat. In
Dakota, he was appointed by the governor as commissioner of Falls River
county and assisted to organize that county. He was elected for two
terms after that then refused the third. He was also assessor for
two terms and this was in a county that was two thirds Republican.
To Mr. and Mrs. Chilson, three children have
been born, Belle M. and Elizabeth A., born in the Black Hills, South Dakota,
and George J., born in California. His oldest daughter is foreman
in a printing office in California, and is also a graduate of the high
school. The other two children are attending school at Chino, California,
where Mrs. Chilson lives at the present time. They own a beautiful
residence there and she remains for the purpose of educating the children.
Mr. Chilson has a large interest in the Lake View mine and also in other
properties and is known as one of the leading mining experts and engineers
of the northwest.