Shortly after Angus purchased his farm and settled on Third Street his brother, Murdock, who originally had located near the present County Fairgrounds, transferred his holdings to a ten-acre tract abutting Angus’ home. He devoted himself to developing his acreage into a farm.
Life was not easy for Murdock and Lottie and their growing family. Two of their children, Donald and Marjorie who had come with them from Nebraska, died at close intervals from ill-nesses such as mastoiditis and appendicitis which could have been cured had today’s medical knowledge been available. Another son, Robert, who was born in Langley, also died. All three are buried in Langley cemetery.
In 1909 a son, David, was born in the house on Third Street which is still used as a residence in 1986. In 1912 a daughter, Phyllis was added to the family. Murdock found that farming a small tract of land was not sufficient to provide for his growing family and he started supplementing his farm income with other jobs. By 1916 a lucrative “brush” business had developed in the timbered land around Langley, especially in the Saratoga area. The “brush” was used as fill for the tide flats in and around Seattle. The method was to pile large quantities of small trees on the tide flats, then cover them with dirt, the trees being used to anchor the dirt from slipping.
Murdock started working for the brush company in Saratoga which, although only five miles from Langley, seemed remote because there were no roads through the dense forests. Once again the family moved, this time to a house, now gone, near the site of the present Saratoga store.
Lottie wrote an account of that move to Saratoga in the 1939 South Whidbey Progress Edition.
“When we moved to Saratoga our household goods were carried in Ted Howard’s sailboat with Mr. Gaskell helping. It was very stormy that day with the wind blowing in the wrong direction so the boat had to tack the whole way. Mr. McLeod drove the cows along the beach at low tide and the pigs were transported in a row boat. Once a week someone would row to Langley for the mail which was distributed at our house. There was a fish trap on the sandspit. A few bachelors lived on small plots cleared in the woods. For a year, however, I was the only woman in Saratoga.”
Murdock and Lottie’s son John was born in their Saratoga house. Mrs. Freestone, who served as Saratoga community’s midwife was supposed to have been in attendance at John’s birth but was away visiting when Lottie went into labor. She delivered her new son by herself. In 1917 Murdock and his family moved back to Langley. Their house on Anthes and Third Street had no water at that time so they carried water for household use from their brother, Roderick’s house on Second and Anthes Streets. As time passed the fortunes of Lottie and Murdock improved. Murdock became Langley road supervisor, then county road supervisor.