Trouble at Port Gamble

Trouble book display


         Addie Murray Reagan, nineteen years old and already a widow, had grown up in the isolated community of Port Gamble, in Washington Territory. It was 1889. Her husband, Sam, a mill worker, died there the year before, his suspenders catching a protruding branch and pulling him into the huge circular blade. Addie needed a new start. Her wild fantasy of becoming a detective matched Pinkerton’s need for an undercover investigator whose presence in the small town would not arouse suspicion.  Agent Jamison gave her ninety days to discover who was causing trouble. If she could only learn to handle the revolver Sam had given her!

         Timber was king in 1889 Washington Territory. Lumberjacks felled enormous trees, sending them downhill on skid roads to the shore where they were gathered as log rafts and towed to sawmills scattered along the coast of Puget Sound.  They were sawn quickly, especially those stolen from another’s land claim. Mill workers were pressed hard during their 11- ½ hour shifts while contending with the dangerous steam powered saws and flammable sawdust. Some finally had enough. They demanded higher wages and safer conditions. 

          Mr. Ames, the mill manager at Port Gamble, would not tolerate delay or reduced profits. He hired the Pinkerton Agency to identify the troublemakers. Mr. Hardy, mill foreman, would deal with them in his own way. Some of the loudest seemed to fall into the machinery.

          Greed, lust for power and status, anger, racism and Hell fire preaching mixed together in a cauldron of confusion. Clues don’t add up as Addie suspected problems existed far worse than labor unrest. Why had another mill worker died? Would Marcus help her? Maybe the Indian or the Chinese man knew something? Did the preacher’s dark secret play a role? Could she make sense of anything before another man died?

© Beryl Carpenter 2013 - 2020