McRedmond kin recalls early days Seattle Times, - Lifestyles: Wednesday, January 06, 1999

Some people study local history.

Dorothy Hanscom lives it, recalling family legends and landmarks.

Her grandfather, Luke McRedmond, founded Redmond. Her mother, Emma McRedmond, was the town postmistress and active in politics before women got the vote. 

Her father, Justice William White, fought in the Civil War, voted for Abraham Lincoln, served on the state Supreme Court and once dispersed a race riot on the Seattle waterfront.

The 95-year-old Hanscom, who keeps an immaculate house filled with books, comfortably overstuffed furniture and antiques, was highly insulted by a feature story late last year that said no descendants of Luke McRedmond remained in these parts.

"There are McRedmonds all over, just different names," she said.

Women of a certain age may remember Hanscom herself. She owned Dorothy Hanscom Fashions, a fixture at the Olympic Hotel in Seattle from 1943 to 1965. The former model still dresses impeccably, her long hair tucked into a neat bun.

She looks too elegant to have bred horses and cattle on an old chicken farm, getting 26 cents a dozen for the eggs in the 1950s. Farming is a hobby she's given up.

Civilization creeps nearer and nearer to her and her husband's farm, not far from Avondale Way Northeast.

Looking around Redmond now, Hanscom said, it may be hard to imagine her grandfather and grandmother and her mother, Emma, coming to the Eastside in a scow.

"My mother was born in Seattle in 1869," she said. "When her sister, Anna, was born, Luke went to Woodinville to get Ida Woodin to help with the delivery." Then the trip to Woodinville was so long and arduous that Kate McRedmond, assisted by a Native-American woman, delivered the baby before he returned.

Hanscom never knew her grandparents, who died before she was born. Her father, 30 years older than her mother, died in 1914.

By then the family had moved from downtown Redmond. Their former home, still known as the Justice White House, stands on Leary Way just east of Redmond Town Center.

The family moved to acreage on Avondale outside town. On some maps the area is still named White. "I milked the cows and couldn't wait to get out of here," she said.

She went to Holy Names Academy and Forest Ridge school, then to the University of Washington. After graduation she accompanied a cousin to West Point, N.Y.

"I was invited to a dance but didn't have an appropriate dress," Hanscom said. "So I went to New York shopping, and when I tried on the dress, they told me I should be a model. I said, `So hire me' as one.

"They did."

Hanscom met her husband, Bob, in New York.

"We'd been married for 10 years when we came out here for a visit," Bob Hanscom said. "We decided to stay."

In 1943, the Hanscoms purchased several acres not far from what had been the White homestead - the family had lost the farm during the Depression.

Bob Hanscom worked for the Bon Marche and Montgomery Ward.

After she closed her shop in the Olympic, she managed the salon department for Nordstrom.

Bellevue Community College's founding president, Merle Landerholm, hired Bob Hanscom to set up the bookstores and food services. Later he would run Telos, an older-adult education program, and the BCC Foundation.

Now that they're both officially retired, Dorothy Hanscom has time to do more family-history research. There are family reunions and celebrations with numerous cousins.

"All descendants of Luke McRedmond," she said. "We may not have the name, but we're still his descendants." 

excerpts from 10/2/99 Eastside Journal with some corrections:

REDMOND-- Where the upscale stores that make up Redmond Town Center now sit, Dorothy White-Hanscom remembers as the riverside meadow where her family kept cattle and hogs.

Along Cleveland Street, where now can be found a restaurant called Big Time Pizza, she remembers the brick building where Ted Youngerman ran his hay and feed store.

And across the street, in a brick building now occupied by Best Realty, she recalls one of the town's notorious saloons which were frequented by local farmers, loggers and millworkers.

``So much change has happened and Redmond is now well known around the world,'' said Hanscom, 95, who is granddaughter of Luke and Kate McRedmond, the founders of their namesake city.

``I liked the way it was before, but I think we all have to embrace change,'' Hanscom said.

Long before the local landscape has come to be dominated by Microsoft and other high-technology businesses, Redmond was a vibrant lumber and mill town, with a reputation as the region's watering hole because of the presence of a number of taverns in town.

Interestingly, among the few historic buildings that survive in Redmond is the home and hotel along Leary Way that was built in 1899 by Hanscom's father, the late state Supreme Court Justice William Henry White.

``This house was the favorite of many people from Seattle who came here to hunt,'' remembers Hanscom, adding that among the seven-room hotel's more famous guests included the noted politician and creationist William Jennings Bryan.

Born in 1903, Hanscom holds many fond memories of the old house where she grew up.

``This was our dear home, and that's where father used to sit to look out the window,'' she said, motioning to the building's northwestern corner.

Justice White, a Civil War veteran and supporter of Abraham Lincoln, married Hanscom's mother, Emma McRedmond before the turn of the century.

Emma McRedmond was the daughter of Luke McRedmond, who platted the town of Redmond in 1886 and homesteaded over 160 acres along Bear Creek.

Luke McRedmond, an Irish immigrant who mined gold in California, settled in the community in 1871 with William Perrigo and their respective families. McRedmond named the town after himself.

During the Depression, a now-widowed Emma McRedmond-White was forced to give up the hotel and the homestead during the Depression.

More recent evolutions of the White homestead saw it becoming the Redmond Golf Links and then Redmond Town Center. In fact, Justice White's home was used as a clubhouse for the golflinks.

The interiors of home were extensively renovated in the `80s by Winmar Corp., developers, of the Town Center. The building is now occupied by the architectural firm Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum Inc.

Hanscom, who now lives along Avondale Road, said she's glad that efforts are being taken to preserve her city's and her family's history.

``I feel that people are taking a great interest in the past because the past is what's responsible for who we are today,'' she said.