A man named Luther Moore appeared on the South Whidbey scene in 1863 in what is now the Maxwelton area and, for a time, it seemed as if the southwestern shore of Useless Bay would experience the same kind of development that was beginning to occur on the western shore further north where Oliver, Johns, Deming and Porter were just getting established. Moore purchased about 800 acres of land from the University Board of Commissioners. However, it was not until the Lyons family arrived in 1870 that any sizeable amount of activity started in that area.
Moore sold a portion of his land to Ellen Lyons in 1870, according to records in the Island County courthouse and shortly thereafter, Michael and Mary Lyons took possession of a large portion of the property and started a logging operation, and also establishing a home on the premises. It has been popularly assumed that Mary Lyons was the first white woman to live on South 3
Whidbey although Mary Jane Johns is documented as having settled on the
west shore, north of the Lyons, with her husband Thomas Johns in 1878.
The Lyons family owned the Lyons Hotel at Port Ludlow where sea captain Christian Madsen made his headquarters and, according to Madsen’s records, they shipped their lumber from the South Whidbey mill to San
Francisco in his boats. In 1879 Michael and Mary Lyons sold about 250 acres to
F. W. James of Port Townsend for $600 in gold coins.^
Extensive development in the Maxwelton area did not get under way until the turn of the century when the Mackie family arrived, gave Maxwelton its name and established a thriving community.