Ida Dahlman was excited as she busied herself in the kitchen of her home in Rossland, British Columbia. She was preparing supper for her family. She could hardly wait for her husband, August (Gus as he was known) to arrive home from his work in the mines. A letter had arrived from their friends, the Newmans on South Whidbey Island, and it described a pastoral scene with vistas of the sea and snow-capped mountains that seemed to Ida Dahlman a veritable paradise. No way did she want her husband to spend his life grubbing in the mines and her children growing up in a mining town when they could just as well live on a farm in a beautiful green island.

Gus read the letter from the Newmans and agreed with Ida that it was time to make a change from mining to farming. They packed up their belongings and their children, Irene, Elmer, Elsie, Ruby, Gladys, and Evald and moved to South Whidbey in 1916, purchasing a 40-acre farm at the intersection of what is now State Highway 525 and Double Bluff Road.
The island was just as beautiful as it had been described but Gus discovered that the farm did not produce enough revenue to support his family. He supplemented their income by working from time to time in the mines in Idaho, leaving Ida and the children to manage the farm and the livestock. Elmer, the oldest son, stopped school after completing the eighth grade and assisted his mother with the farm work. The younger children went to the Bayview school, walking the three miles to and from their home along what was then a dusty or muddy country road.

Irene, oldest of the children, was in high school when her family arrived on South Whidbey. She moved into Langley and lived with the Funk family for a time in order to attend Langley High School. But she missed living with her own family and was tempted to quit school. Then she discovered that Mrs. Olney, the seventh and eighth grade teacher at Mutiny Bay School, was qualified to teach high school subjects. Sometimes she would take on the extra job of teaching a few such students.

Eventually, Irene not only finished high school, but she also attended Bellingham Normal School and became a qualified teacher herself. During the course of her career, she worked in the library at the Bellingham school and also served as a teacher in Mutiny Bay and Bayview schools.

In 1925 she married Carl Lieseke, son of one of the Freeland founding families. Their daughter, Lorraine, married DeVeer Disheroon. Carl died of multiple sclerosis in 1953. He is buried in the Bayview Cemetery as are Irene’s parents, Gus and Ida Dahlman.

Although the Dahlman family descendants scattered from time to time, their roots remained deep in South Whidbey. Elmer married Edna Howard, daughter of the Langley pioneer family and they had two daughters. Janice married Richard Stallbaum, and Betty married Ronald Johnston, a son of the pioneer Johnston family. Both families have homes in the Mutiny Bay area.

Elsie Dahlman married Don Mackie of the Maxwelton pioneer family and their son, Leland Mackie is a well known Clinton businessman.

Irene Dahlman Lieseke is now retired and living in Langley where she is active in the Methodist church and the South Whidbey Historical Society.