The Hardships of Pioneer Life
by Lois Melissa Louisa Virginia Clawson Stroud
contributed by Shirley Whipple
on behalf of the Clawson family
This was written when Melissa was an old woman and her mind was beginning to wander back into the yesteryear. I will try to add information in [brackets] that help explain these early Oregon pioneers and the places they explored. Keep in mind that Melissa was only 4 or 5 years old when she traveled the Oregon road and a much older woman when she told her family's story.
The memoir was passed down to the descendants of Martha Clawson. Martha was a sister of the author, Melissa Clawson. It was shared with the contributor by Ruth Huterer (sp?). It is believed she received it from her grandmother, Lula Gardner.
In a pioneer country in A. D. 1848 in Davis County, Iowa, there came a little youngster to greet its parents and family. It must have been welcome as both parents and two oldest sisters all had a name for it, so it was named Lois Melissa Louisa Virginia Clawson. With so much name it grew and done well amid all the hardships of pioneer life. Of course as it was the youngest of six living perhaps it had an easier time than the older children. In those early years of the U. S. states people had to work hard to make a living but they surely were more honest and sociable and I think thought more of their fellow men than at this present age. Hard work was healthy and not considered a disgrace. It was the God given means of living, and it was by honest work that so many of our great men of our country, most all our great men of this country were raised in this noble country on farms where their bodys grew with minds free to expand with their bodys and to see God's great work before them.
My first remembrance is of grief. Is it that some are born in this world for more grief than others? It looks so sometimes; is it so? When I was two and a half years old my Mother wanted to visit my grandmother in Indiana [Catherine Bidleman Hushaw] as she had not seen her for several years. So she took me and went expecting to stay six months but in three months she had a good chance to go home with some neighbors in a wagon. She excepted their hospitality and made the journey with them. They put up at houses on the way at nights, so one night it so happened Mother told me the family consisted of two old people and one maiden lady. Each of them had a pet cat of which I had a jolly time playing with and in the morning I wanted to take one their cats but was told I could not. Of course I cried and they told me the first one they found in the road I could have, so that satisfied me for the present as I always expected every one to make their promises good. As fate would have it that day they found a dead cat in the middle of the road. It was too good a joke for them, they had to show it to me, and of course I cried for my cat; it had been promised to me and I was too young to realize that I could not have a dead cat to play with. Now dear ones, never promise a child or anyone else any thing you can't fulfill or at least make a strong effort to fulfill; it will surely cause such trouble and grief. Children's troubles are as hard for them as older ones are for them, as their minds are full of their troubles and joys just as older people, but they do not seem so deep and they are off on another subject soon, but don't promise to just put anyone off as it is just a falsehood just the same. I do not believe in any thing that is false or unjust; truth in every thing would make this world a happy place and oh much more like it ought to be. If truth and honesty were in every ones lives how much more it would be like I think God intended it to be; for he created it and said it was good. It seems my young life had much trouble or that trouble made more impression on my mind than joys; perhaps it is so with every one, I don't know. But my next recollection was more grief. As every farmer mostly had a small bunch of sheep, I had heard the folks talking that our old dog they thought killed lams; if so it must be killed. One morning I seen her with a lamb she had just killed, so I ran in the house and told my brother; he ran to see and told mother, so the old dog disappeared .In the year 1852 there was quite an emigration to Oregon, and Mother said my father's health was poor; the Drs. advised him to change climate so they sold their farm and prepared for the long hard journey across the plains to the new country of Oregon territory. At that time the Oregon territory included the domain from the north California line to the Canadian line and east to the summit of the Rocky mountains, which includes Oregon, Washington and Idaho states at this present time. Our family consisted of Mother, Father, sisters, Martha, Catherine, Sophia, and brothers David, Milton and myself, my cousin John Buckles and Abram Harris. [Abram Harris married Melissa's sister, Catherine Clawson. Sometime after they arrived in Oregon in 1852, Abraham, called Abram, left Catherine alone in the wilderness, according to court records]
As we had to haul our provisions to last us across plains which took six months it was no small problem to comprehend, for when anything give out or wore out there was no way of replacing it, as I surely found out before we were anyways near across by experience; although I was so young I remember quite a few happenings that occurred. We had three ox teams of three or four yoke to each wagon and the wagons were well filled and were what they call double decked, that is a second bottom and wagon bed on the other. With those well filled and as well equipped as they knew how, we were soon to start on the long journey that none of those mentioned ever retraced in this world as I am the only one left; all the rest have crossed over the divide to the great eternity that awaits us all. It was some grief to leave our old home in Iowa where I and some of the rest had spent the first years of our lives, but as children with Father, Mother, sisters and brothers we were soon satisfied and of course looked forward to the home in Oregon. The journey was long and dusty and tiresome; although young, I remember many incidents of the journey and my Mother and sister told me many. There was quite a train of us that traveled together for safety from the Indians. We could not travel many miles in a day, for we had to camp where we could get water for the cattle and ourselves, and sometimes they laid by a day for the women to wash, and the cooking was done by camp fires mostly. My father had a small sheet iron stove made, just could set two pie plates in it, was all the stove that was in our train. Sometimes others would cook on it when it was not in use by us. In many places wood was scarce and sage brush were used; the continue smell of sage almost makes me sick now to smell it. We would get so tired riding, I and brother Milton [Milton Clawson, b.abt.1845 Fountain county, Indiana, migrated with family to Davis county, Iowa and to Oregon 1852. To Washington territory 1860's], we would want to walk and Mother [Margaret Elizabeth Hushaw] would take us out to walk, but I was so small I would soon tire and have to ride again. If brother was with me we could play and it was not so lonesome, but sometimes he preferred to walk, and I was alone in the wagon, and dust rolling up in clouds until it seemed it would almost choke me, and I would cry myself to sleep as it was all I could do. My shoes wore out and my little four year old feet could not walk far at one time. You may think this was cruel treatment but how could it be helped? It was just a part of the hardships of pioneer life, it would not be helped.
I know they done the best by me they could. The rest walked ---the team drivers and my sisters [Catherine, Martha and Sophia] and oldest brother [David N. Clawson]. Mother would ride sometimes for to satisfy me -- but it was better to walk on ahead of the wagons as they were out of the dust. My two oldest sisters [Catherine and Martha] practically walked from Iowa to Oregon, but they must not get too far ahead of the wagons on account of the Indians; they would lay down and rest until the wagons come near again. The dust was something fearful; some of the cattle would die, were fat and at first they could not account for it but by cutting them open they found the cause. It was the dust; there would be marbles of dust in their lungs from the size of a pigeons egg to the size of ones fist. Most every one had some loose cattle they could replace the ones that died, but as the time went on the provisions diminished and the rest was placed in other wagons and a wagon abandoned; many good wagons were left in that way -- there was no place to buy any thing you needed --there was Fort Hall, Fort Boise, then Fort Dallas [Polk county, Oregon] is all I remember; they are military forts, you could not procure anything those places, only at the Dalles. It is on the Columbia River at the east side of the Cascades Mountains. On the plains we would see some antelope, sometimes and some Buffalo at a distance, there were prairie dog towns in some places; I wanted one for a pet but surely did not get it.
My Father [William Ephraim Clawson b. 1810 Centerville, Montgomery county, Indiana to Thomas Clawson and Sophia Covalt. ie. see Covalts Station] started with two horses but after we crossed the Missouri River one disappeared. He hunted for it three days, was unsuccessful and the train was getting too far ahead so the one horse was all there was in our train. The captain, Mr. Pierce, would take it, ride ahead, find a camping place, return and report how far to camp as near as he could guess. The many hardships of the long journey--there was the fear of Indians attacting us any time; they always drove the wagons in a circle of nights for some protection in case we were attacted; they always guarded the cattle at night to keep them from being run off by Indians--I think three changes of guards ever night, so all got some rest as to be able to drive their teams next day. There was not much sickness in our train. There was two cases of cholera but father had went to his Dr. and he fixed up a generous bottle of medicine for it so Mother gave it to them and both got well but one was very sick man -- and only two deaths, a Mrs. Charles Abraham and her infant child. My sister Catherine and Mother both had the Mountain fever after we crossed the Rocky Mountains but not near our journeys end, but both recovered but just think --- to be so sick and have to be jolted over a dusty road in a wagon -- no springs. It sure was some trial and hardships but it was not possible to stop long for anything as it would imperil all the lives of the whole train, as the provisions were getting low and it was getting late in the fall and the Cascades Mts. to cross --I remember we were camped on the John Day River, I think they layed over one day for a wash day. I, brother Milt and some other children seen some Indians come on the hillside across the river and drive off a fat cow--I claimed it, I suppose is the reason I recollect it The cattle had been taken across to keep them from wandering back on the road; there was good grass on a fine hillside in plain view of the camp. Of course we ran to Mother and told her, but she could do nothing but just let them alone and not get in trouble with the Indians---At that time Father got on the horse and went to The Dalles and bought a sack of flour and carried it out on the horse, for it took us some two or three days to travel there and my sister was in bed sick with the Mt. fever at that time. When we got to the Dalles they drove the cattle over the mountain and constructed some kind of flat boat of two scows and platform to take us down the River, I suppose to the Cascades Falls as the boats could run up that far. We lived the winter of 1852 and 1953 on Suvies Island on Mr. Charlton’s place and in their old house as they were earlier settlers and had built them a new house---we were glad to meet with such a good chance as houses were scarce and the rainy season coming on. The men folks worked at any work they could get and one of my sisters worked away from home, too. We did not suffer for food as some of the earlier immigrants did – my father-in-law [David D.. Stroud] crossed in 1845 and they too wintered on Suvies Island and he said he would go and work a week for a bushel of wheat, pack it home on his back and his wife [Susan Hawkins] would make wheat hominy of it, and that and meat was all they had to eat – The Hudson Bay Company told him he could kill enough hogs to supply them with meat, as they had hogs on the island that was fenced by water. We were not so hard run for eatables as in seven years there was much more raised.
In the spring of 1853 we moved on a place on the Columbia River about three miles above Rainier. My second sister [Martha Clawson] was married [to James Brown] that April and my older sister [Catherine Clawson Harris] and cousin John Buckles] went to Astoria to work. Then Father got to feeling so bad; he heard of a cousin [name unknown] in Polk County so he went up there for six weeks; when he came home he looked so well and felt so well, they concluded to move up there and they did.
We went on a boat to Portland; at that time Portland was a small place. There was a general store there and they went in to buy some things they needed. I seen some little tin cups; I wanted one. And the children were not raised as now, I was timid but Father told me he would give me the money if I would buy it. It was a trial for me but I so wanted it so I bought it. That is about seventy-four years ago. Now children never seems timid in anything – seem to think they know it all. I suppose as times change people changes too and children change, but I am old-fashioned enough to think the old way was much the best way to raise children instead of letting them grow up like weeds without any controls over them; I think many go to the bad for the lack of making them see right from wrong. It is the parents fault often for not learning them right when young enough to control them; poor children, must they go from bad to worse until when grown they do something and are sent to the penitentiary or hung for murder when some judicious punishment might have saved them both body and soul? At the time we were in Portland in 1853, on the east side of the river was vacant land but was heavy timber. The man that moved us to Polk Co., Mr. Stephens I think, wanted Father to take a donation claim there but the prairie country had the lure for him – so we went to Polk Co. where I growed to womanhood. We had not been there long till one night in the summer Mother thought she heard a woman scream and she answered it. My cousin had come home and he got a fire chunk and waved it around so if any one was lost they could see it, but no one came. So in a day or two one of the neighbors killed a panther over on the Lacriole Creek so we all judged it was it that was screaming, as they scream like a woman. Not long after that Father found a piece of land and we moved on it and it was not long until he took sick again. My sister lost her husband and come home. She was in delicate health at the time. We had used up about all our means then so were hard run for a living – four of us small children and my sister with a young infant. It did look blue and there were no rich people to hire work done. So finally my widowed sister [she is referring to Catherine Clawson Harris, who we now know was later forced to file for divorce. Not known if her husband was actually deceased or merely abandoned her in the wilderness] went to Salem to work for three and a half dollars a week at a hotel and took her baby with her, too. Poor sister, it was an awful hard task but she was a brave woman and did not shirk her task although I realize how awful hard it was for her but did not at the time as I was too small, but she was my choice then. My sister worked in Salem until June. When my Father died she came home and stayed some weeks, it was a sad time in a new country and provisions scarce and no money, small children. My cousin [John Buckles] came home before Father died but went to southern Oregon and went soldiering soon after. My sister weaned her little babe as she could not give it proper care with her work and left it with Mother. Of course, we all loved the little one as our own; it sure did seem one of us, it sure had all our love and care. My younger sister [Sophia Clawson] went there to work too but was too young to stand the hard work and had to come home. My sister [Catherine] worked hard and helped Mother but Mother took care of the little one Martha C. Harris, who was always called Stanton and may have been adopted by Benjamin Stanton] for her, too---and of course I would cry every time she came home and had to go away again. It seemed it would just break my heart but it didn’t; guess it was made of good material for it has had many hardships and troubles since.
During the next few months one day Mother seen one of the neighbor women coming carrying her babe in arms— no perambulators them days--- and two or three small children with her; so Mother went to meet her. She was crying..Mother said, “Why, Mrs. Dice [possible this was Minerva A. Stewart Dice, but not clear] , what in the world is the matter?” “Oh, Mrs. Clawson, the Indians are broke out in southern Oregon and are comeing down the Valley and are going to murder everybody and I was alone and come over to die with you.” “Oh,” Mother said, “I can whip them all with a tallow candle.” And cheered her up but it scared many people. The Indians was on the war path in Southern Oregon and killed some settlers and there was a call for volunteers to help the regular soldiers to fight them. There were some battles, and some men were killed, but the Indians were finally subdued and were put on reservations on the Siletz and Grand Ronde near the Pacific coast. So the even tenor of civil life went on with many privations and hard work. It was hard for my mother to make all ends meet. She worked a few days away from home at times. Finally there was an orphan young man without a home, and mother told him he could come to her house if he would help as one of the family. His name was Robert Elwell [son of Jonathan Elwell and Jane Stewart]. He came and did many hard days work, he shared as one of the family and helped as all did that was growing up and able to work. My brothers [David and Milton Clawson] worked when quite small. It was in 1855 that the Cayuse Indians caused war again in the Walla Walla Valley. There was another call in the Willamette Valley for volunteers. Quite a number went from our county but I was too small to remember names of only two that I know— one was Rogers the other McConnel. They had several battles with them, quite a few of our boys were killed. They had many skirmishes and battles before the Indians were ready to come to a treaty but they finally did. We think the Indians were terrible mean, and they were very barbarous but there was their side of things, too. They made their living by hunting and fishing, and they saw the whites were surely going to starve them if they let them alone. They knew nothing of tilling the ground to make their living. They were here when Columbus came and according what has been discovered this summer 1926 near Spokane Washington the Norsemen were here in 1010, and there were Indians here then and they had a battle with them then, so poor Lov [think it read lot] had many hard times to hold their country but has had to give in to the white mans way of living. In those times there was no wire fencing; the men went in the timber and split rails and hauled them with ox teams fenced the ground, broke the sod and planted the grain. Then harvest came on the grain was cut with a cradle, raked with a hand rake and bound, hauled in to a stack yard, a place fenced round for a thrashing floor and the grain tramped out with oxen and grain cleaned with a fanning mill turned by hand and we were glad to eat the grain. How would our young men of today handle such problems? I think they would be dumbfounded. I think the most of them would rather play ball, ride in automobiles and fritter away their time in social entertainments. What does that do for their material living? Now they have so many things to work with but it is too irksome to do any manual labor. I do not think they can live on faith and the east wind very long. The workers that are working now will be passed beyond this life; what kind of a generation will take their place? I hope there may be some to guide things right and all will be will, but looks rather gruesome to me, but it may be that I was raised in a different age that it looks the way it does to me. In those early times people would go to meeting in a wagon draw by oxen. Our meetings were held in school houses and our church meetings at some early settlers home, some one that were the best fixed for it. Then later there were camp meetings, where many camped during the meetings; everyone seemed to be friendly and sociable. On the Independence Day it was observed with due regard. One celebration we had at Dallas, Polk Colk ; we had the most of the people for miles and miles around and it was supposed there were three thousand people there; it was thought there was a grand gathering there, so you see there the people were very scarce in those early times. [See Methodist mission on Willamette River near Salem and Dallas, Oregono]
Now some our western towns boast of their hundreds of thousands and their fine improvements, their fine highways and autos and airplanes, fine floating steamship palaces and so many improvements, it seems hard to realize the changes that has been made in a lifetime. The first school that I went to was held in an old long house that had been vacated as a dwelling. I was real small and it was one and half miles from home so I would give out and my older sister and my oldest brother would carry me a ways so I did not go long as it was too hard on them to carry me. Then next year I think it was, the neighbors got together and decided to all go in and build a school house. It was built about one half mile of home, so in that boxed plank house I got the most schooling I got. We had about sixty scholars one winter and one teacher taught from ABC to grammar, and I am not sure but algebra, and from little tots to young men. I was encouraged to make the most of my time as it was mostly subscription school money and it was hard to get the money to pay the teacherwhich were mostly men teachers in them days. I think they were mostly conscientious men and that they tried to earn their money and tried to learn the scholars all they could, and it was up to us to try and learn all we could.
We got our mail at Eola, Polk County. Mother was lonesome at times after Father died. One time she thought there ought to be a letter there from the eastern states. She wanted to go and see. It was four miles to walk, so my sister said she would go and take me with her, as she did not want to go alone. We went. She would stop in some shady place for me to rest. It was some walk for one of my size ---eight miles and got no letter at all. AT that time it took six months to send and get returns from Indiana where her folks lived. It hardly seems in these times of fast travel and Air mail that in my lifetime things could be changed so but there must be some old Pioneers that can verify what I say. It was near that time that Robert [Elwell] went up to Independence and heard the men talking about the telegraph wire sending messages over the wire. He told Mother ; she could hardly believe it. She was sitting sewing with a needle; she said, “Well, I wonder if they won’t invent sewing machines next!” There was sewing machines then but we had not heard of them, no railroads then here.
It was some time about 1855 that my younger sister and Elwell were married. They still lived at Mothers and worked just as before. He had a horse and wanted to trade the oxen for another horse, so they would have a horse team. It was alright with mother so the trade was made. He took fine care of them; they were strawberry roans and fat, nicely matched. He was up at Independence one day and a man seen them and wanted them. He asked three hundred dollars for them. The sale was all made – he would deliver them as soon as he delivered some salt for a man. He threw some plank on the running gears of the wagon, hauled the salt down, and started back to deliver the team. They, him and a man that was with him, were sitting on one plank and the other, being loose, jolted forward and struck one of the horses and they ran away. By some means they came loose from the wagon and he hung on the lines for about a hundred yards, when was broken loose. They ran into a creek that was deep, washed under a large drift that was there and were drowned and he was nearly drowned trying to get them out. He came home wet all over and crying. It takes some grief to make a young man cry. Mother said, “Bob, what in the world is the matter?” He told her; she realized it all as much as he did. On a comparatively new place --- family to provide for and no team of any kind; it must have looked blue to them, but Mother tried to be cheerful and said, “Not so much loss but some gain— we have the oat stack left that you would have to have fed them.” So her chickens run to the oats and she said her chickens never done better. She sold the eggs and kept us in groceries that winter; you may know we did not get eggs to eat that winter. It was a hard slam on us, but the neighbors were kind and made up enough money and gave mother to buy a mare and Bob got another horse to work with, I don’t really know how, but think he made rails for it. So between them they had a team but not near so good as the one they lost, but all has to go with Pioneer hardships.
[A Close Call]
As so many hardships fell to our share we lived rather on common fare and it is natural for children to like sweets which was rather scarce at our house. So one day us three younger children thought we would go down to the edge of the Willamette] river bottom and get some wild raspberries to eat. There was some at the edge of timber,. We sat there awhile when brother Milt said, “I am going where they are better.” So him and I went on some farther, I was picking and eating when he came and took me by the arm, said, “Come on.” He did not tell me why but hurried me out where David was. He took him off to one side and told him something and he said we better be getting out of here. When we got home he told Mother he had seen an animal upon a limb of a tree, real close to us, that was a large as a dog, brownish yellow, and its eyes looked as large as saucers. Mother said it was a panther. So it did not get to make a meal of us at that time, but it would if we had tarried there long. But it was thoughtful of him to not want to scare me.
I think it was in March 1857 that sister Catherine was married to Benjamin Stanton. Of course we all hated to part with her and her little one as it had been with us since she was four months old. It was hard to part with her. We were all taught to be kind to each other; I wish it were more so now. So it was hard for all of us to give up the little one, but her stepfather was kind to her and she loved him as her own. It was not long until a little stranger come to live with my other sister, Mrs. Elwell. She was christened Elizabeth Electa. She was a little mite but we all loved her, too. Both those little ones are living yet and are old ladies now –grandmothers, and one great grandmother. They too you might say are pioneers as one come to Washington in 1862 and the other to eastern Oregon in 1864, so they are both pioneers of this country. The people now do not begin to realize what the early settlers went through with – they want anything, it is get it, if their credit is good enough, if itis never paid for. Is it right?
In 1857 in the fall Mother [Margaret Elizabeth Hushaw Clawson] got married again to a Mr. Henry Hawkins. It broke me all up. I felt as if I was losing my mother. It seemed I could not stand it but had to, but my instinct was right for they did not live a happy life, but it all goes in Pioneer life. There was always plenty of work; by this time my brothers were grown up in their teens. They tried to run both places, mothers and my step-dads. He was getting old, we thought he was sixty-two. nHe was raised in Kentucky and his father owned slaves, so I guess he never worked very hard. My brothers fenced most of both places with rail fences. It surely was a lot of work. There was no such thing as wire fencing then or for many years after. My brothers went to school of winter time but in spring would quit and go to work, but I went non till school was out. We did not ever have over six months school, often only three months in the year, but we were thankful to get that, for at that time there were many that were illiterate and they knew what a drawback it was to anyone.
In December 1861 we had the biggest flood that had been known in Oregon at that time. It had rained every day or night for many weeks. The Willamette River began to rise and kept coming up. We lived two miles from the river but there was a creek about a quarter mile of our house and we had a canoe there and we would keep the canoe where we could reach it. We had cattle and hogs that ranged between the creek and the river; it was almost an island and was called the Island. One morning brother Milt went to look after the canoe; he could not get within two hundred yards of it; he tried with a horse but could not get near it, so they made a raft and went on that, run it by poling it to the canoe and brought it to land; from the farther side of the river to where we were near our house it
was then two and a half miles wide. What a volume of water! Mother said if it kept on rising it would be in our house before morning, but my stepdad said no, he had lived there fifteen years and it never had. So Milt brought the canoe up close to the house as he could and tied it and we all went to bed. In the morning, Dad heard an unusual noise, jumped, went out on the porch— it was the water pouring in the well. He called us all; we jumped out in a hurry. The water was all around us and we had to hurry out of there. My brothers went around a gulch that was between the house and the barn and hooked up the horses and drove as close as the fences would let them. By that time we had gathered clothing and bedding to take out. They carried it to the wagon and water was about knee deep
then and they brought the canoe and we got in it and they shoved it to the wagon. The water was all over the floor by this time, still coming up. We went out to my sisters, Elwells. In the rush there was one bundle left on the straw bed and it had the papers for their land in it. So brother David and Elwell got on horses and rode in to get them Rode to the porch and got off on it. The said the water just struck them at the tops of their pockets. The straw bed floated and the things on top were not wet. So we were quite fortunate. We lost some hogs, but it happened thecattle were on the west side, only my sister’s cow was on the Island – she was lost. There was many houses washed away and some with familys in them. There was one washed away about two miles from us. Mr. Joes and his wife and little boy and her half-brother. He was at the barn cutting a door in the top to try to save some horses on top of the hay. His brother and another man went in the skiff to get the horses and struck a strong current that they could not pull back to the house and it got dark and raining all the time. They made it to main land and next morning they went back. The house had washed away. He had swam to the house so was with the family. The house washed about one and half miles and lodged against a tree. The boys went down with the current and found them. He had got out and hung a white cloth out so they seen it. There were all night in the raging torrent. They were all saved. There was Mr. Hedges some seven miles from us up in Lewis bottom. There house washed away with him, her and
two children, I think about eight and ten years. It lodged against a tree on the brink of the river. He got her and children on the limb of a tree, it was a forked tree. The house swung around, he got on the other side; he could not swim, so she sit there in the cold rain on the limb of the tree and held her two youngest children all night long, him on the other side praying, thinking any moment the tree might fall with them all. They had a boy away from home at work; him and another man got a skiff and tried to get to their house but it got so dark and raining, they lost their way and neither could they find the main land. Billy Hedge would have chilled to death but the other son made him row against a tree that they tied to keep him from chilling to death. The next morning they went and found his folks on that tree. They got them in the skiff and just got away so the tree would not swamp the boat, when the tree fell. It looked as thought Lord surely heard his prayers for their safety. I knew all those folks I have been writing of, but that was many years ago. There were many houses washed away and the people mostly lost something and some, all. My two oldest sisters lived in Salem at that time. They said the steamboats run on Main St. in Salem. They went along the river, up and down and rescued many people that were marooned on house tops and barns. But with all the flood I never heard of but two children that were drowned. They were Able Georges. I did not hear the particulars of them, only he tied them together with his necktie to a limb to keep from losing their bodies. He saved his wife. Now it does seem curious that only his two out of so many that was washed out in the flood. It seemed to me that it was judgment sent on him, for I did hear that he had stabbed a young man to death just because he refused to drink with him at a saloon, and a widows son too. He was a Mason and they did not convict him but they might have turned him out afterward. If that is what saved him their laws ought to be changed. There is many rogues are let go—why? Is it our laws or is it the lawyers?
There were mountains on three sides of the valley; it had snowed on them quite heavy, then turned warmer and rained until the snow was full of water. When it was warm enough the water came down in a flood. There were no railroads in Oregon then, but there were grain warehouses on the banks of the river. The water ruined all the grain in them; they were washed away and the grain strewn along the banks of the river for some distance. It left many without anything to live on. Then on the third of January 1862 it snowed quite deep for that country. People did not put up much feed as generally it was not needed but the snow layed on two and half months. The stock run out of feed. My brothers and brother-in-law cut down trees to feed the cattle on browse. We lost nearly all the wheat we had, by the water. It was in bins in the grainary; they sacked up all the sacks they had and hauled to the barn and put in over head, but the burlap wheat sacks were unknown at that time here – it was seamless cotton sacks then. The Mines In the summer of sixty-one there were gold mines discovered in eastern Oregon and Idaho and in sixty-two there was a big rush for the mines. They most all went with good outfits but come back broke. My three brother-in-laws and oldest brother all went. Brother Milt started but come back so he was there to help harvest the grain; men were so scarce I and sister went to help, but could not stand it. My youngest sister was with us that summer and two children. She was sister true. That fall her husband Elwell sent for them to come to Washington to live, so she never came back to the Willamette Valley any more. I missed her so much for we always had lived close together. One time I had went home with her and then went from there to school in the morning. There had been a big dew; I started to school, I had the prettiest sight I ever have seen and now I am an old woman. It stands out ahead of any beautiful sights I have ever seen. I had went about a quarter mile down the road, then had to branch off through the prairie on a trail to the school house. The grass was fairly high and all kinds of flowers— every colour you could think of -- was blooming there and on every tip of grass and flower petal was a diamond dewdrop shining like diamonds on every tip. It was the most wonderful sight I ever have seen. I cannot begin to describe it to you. I had to stop in wonder to admire it. It is in my mind’s eye now, sixty-five years after. I missed my sister and her little ones so much. My other sisters lived in Salem but I did not get to see them often as the Willamette River was to cross and the ferry boat was pulled across by hand with care— it took about an hour and cost one dollar each way and money was scarce, too. Somewheres about this time the Civil War commenced. We did not have the horrors of it as they did in the east but everything was much higher that we had to buy and in a way we felt it badly, but nothing compared with the ones
that were in the war zone and the ones that lost their loved ones and supporters of homes.
As my brothers had lots of work trying to run the two places [the Hawkins and Clawson farms], I went down with them and kept house for them for some time. While I was there our cousin came from southern Oregon and made his home with us and he stayed with my brothers as long as he lived. There was nothing more than usual for some time. He told of something happening to him that was unusual but will tell it you later.
The summer of 1865 William Stroud came home from three years in mining country. He stopped at our house for dinner, and brother Milt said “You wait till I get a horse and I’ll go home with you.” So he got two and him and I both went. My cousin said he had the same experience again only stronger. We had known William many years. When we got to his father’s it was near midnight. His mother was a happy woman that night when her boy got home; she was the mother of twelve children, but there is always love in a mother’s heart for allOn the fifth of November 1865, I and Wm. Stroud was married at my home in Polk County, Oregon. Now generally we stop when one is married, but not this time. I think there were all told some twenty young and old at our wedding. Of course one should be very happy when one is in true love and I know I truly loved my husband, but we do not know what is going to happen to cause many heart aches and trials when a girl gives up her home and home ties, brothers, sisters, mother and friends, for husband. She should be treasured above all else any man may possess, not only for a few months or a few years but to the end of their lives; let not any home ties on his side no more than hers should come between them. She has gave all to him and he should give all to her and honor each other above any one else on this earth. If there were more honor on both sides there would be more happy homes and better children; if the parents are not congenial the little ones soon see it and will see if they don’t try to imitate one or the other. I am something like a Chinaman on marriage – then their trials begin. If each don’t have patience with the other their lives may soon be blasted and no more happiness for them. Now don’t think the other is all to blame— it must be both. Take a look at yourself-- are you always patient and do each one look well to the household affairs on both sides? Consider things straight. Some say life is what you make it. I wish to disagree with that. If all would do right how happy this world might be, but one disagreeable person can keep a whole family in an uproar and turmoil all the time. So it seems if husband and wife live in turmoil we cannot expect children to be pleasant and kind; it is not just one-self but the future generations that get the misfortune to have the bad temper and faults. Think well of these things, you young people; marriage is a very serious thing. It is not just for the present, it is for life and the future generations. What awful grief or happiness for the future---I wish I could express my mind as I feel it. I know there is so much unhappiness in this world and many times the trouble is surely inherited, so it is a sad thing. There is no such thing as trying to breed up the human family as the farmer does his stock, but surely children will inherit much of the parents’ ways. Young people never have been taught as they should on these subjects but I think it is right to teach young people on these subjects; it might save many young couples oceans of trouble, not only between themselves but in the future generations to come.
I was married quite young, was only seventeen years, but thanks to my Mother she had learned me to work so I knew how to do all kinds of housework and I thought it was my place to do the work, but I soon found I have more than just work to contend with. While in the mining and packing to the mines William was herding some pack horses; while trying to drive them in one morning, his saddle horse jumped in a badger hole and turned over withhim. The saddle horn struck him in the side with the horse’s weight on him. He lay in the sun all day, unconscious. In the evening he came to. His horse’s bridle rein had caught on a sage brush and was near him. He got (on) and rode in to Umatilla landing and lay there under a quack Drs. hands some months. Drs. was scarce there then, but he
finally got another doctor that got him up. He did not know that he had got so serious hurt. The doctor, one of the best in that country at that time , Dr. Hill, did not know it was from the hurt. He got all right as he thought before we were married but soon after he was sick again and it just kept on then. We went down to Mother’s and Dr. Miller doctored him some months. Dr. Miller only done temporary good while putting medicine on his back. Mother said, “Will, what ails your back?” He said it did not hurt there. She said, “It is not right---I have dressed too many babies.” But the doctors did not know. He kept getting worse. I had run into spinal disease and he became a very bad cripple---was not able to work for some two and a half years. You may know I had a sad hard time. We were at his fathers some two years then we moved in a log shack on their place for some three years One of his brothers stayed with us some time. I sure had some sad time; we had comparatively nothing; he had two horses when we we married---the best one died soon after. I had two cows---pretty small to start with, but with health we could have made it all right, but with his sickness it was hard. Then too, our little ones to care for. When we had been married less than five years, we had our family of three children— two boys and baby girl. Our children were all born in Benton Co. Oregon on the Donation claim of David D. Stroud and Susan (Hawkins) Stroud his wife. They were two early settlers of the country and two grand old people. You may know that I had many sad hours-- him sick so much and my little ones so close together— not much to live on— him so sick, I would have to get up and build fires several times of a night and put hot applications on him to get him easy and at same time I in such delicate health I could hardly go myself. I don’t doubt there is thousands of women that suffer many hardships untold by any one all on the orneryness of some things that call themselves men, that are well, able-bodied but too no-account to work and provide for a wife and the little bodies they have brought in this world. Do you call them men? They do not deserve the title and I wish there was some law to make them work and take care of those they are responsible for and I hope the time is near at hand that there will be laws made to that effect. Now I know what I am talking about for there is a case at hand today. Three little ones with nothing to eat but apples. A neighbor woman came and told my girl the woman was sick and nothing in the house to eat so my daughter went, took something for her and little ones. In this country where there is plenty, it is a shame that a suppose-to-be man does not have any more forethought to save something for winter for wife and little ones. Many was the sad lonesome days I had. When at home we were fairly well to live. I had good clothes and often went to church and parties. Now I was tied at home with my children and sick husband. It was quite different from what I expected as a bride, but it is a good thing we cannot see the future, that there is a veil drawn before us. During these years my stepdaddy [Henry Hawkins] got so cross with Mother, she left him and went down on her place with my brothers. He took his gun and went down there one day to make her go back with him. She was alone; he drawed
bead on her, told her he would shoot her. She told him to shoot but he lowered his gun and did not shoot. So my brothers said that would not do so they sent her up to Walla Walla, Washington, to my sisters. Then that fall they sold out and come up here too. Got a place on Touchet River and lived there for several years. So then my folks were all gone from the Willamette Valley, so I felt pretty lonely with all my own folks gone— but my mother-in-law was real kind to me and the little ones and kindness goes a long ways when one is real blue and discouraged. In the year 1870, my brother Milt came down to the Willamette Valley and made us a visit. He wanted us to come up the Touchet; he thought we could get along better. My brothers were teaming to Lewiston, Idaho and thought Wm. could do that kind of work. We were not prepared to come then but got ready to come that fall. In the fall brother David came down and came up with us. We come in a wagon to Portland, then on the boat to The Dalles, then on the wagon to Touchet River. The men folks done the cooking on the way. I had my three little ones to care for and we landed here on the 3rd of November 1870. My baby not six weeks old and my oldest not 4 yrs. My mother said they would furnish the food for all if I done the work. You see, there was five of my family, mytwo brothers, my mother, my niece staying there going to school, and Mr. Wood Love, a man that was teaming with them, so that made ten in family, but my sister took her girl home, said too much for me to do, and Love went away too, but was some work with so much washing for all. It proved too hard for me altogether by Christmas. I took down sick and I believe it was just overwork and cold together. Well my little ones, and me down, it made awfully blue. Mother was not able to do the work. So the men done some of it and part went undone. I was so sick part of the time I could not walk to the chair. I was sick some time. They finally got Dr. Welch from Waitsburg; he did nnot do me any good. Then my sister took me and baby home with her, for a change would do me good. But I got very bad and they sent for William. They doctored me the best they knew how; then my brother-in-law heard they had a new Dr. in Waitsburg. They took me home and sent for him. At that time there was not very many people in the country and most all were acquainted. I talked plain to him and told him everyone around knew I was sick and if he cured me it would help him out. Well, he helped me right along until I was able to work again. During my sickness I did not give enough nurse for my baby so Mother fed her cream and sugar. Of course it was so rich it did not take much to do her. Now don’t faint over it for she grew and made a woman that has weighed over twonhundred pounds and weighs nearly two hundred now, so I cannot see as it hurt her in any way.
One Sunday Mother had went away on a visit for some days. Brother Milt looked out and said, “Look there!” Then snow was melting and the water was coming down through the garden about a foot high. It sure looked bad. There was hustling to get things up. There was a low place between the house and the hill. The water got all around their house; I could hear it washing up against the house but it looked about four inches of getting in it, but it soon run down and no very great damage done to us. The water may have been as high since, in the Touchet but I never seen it so. We lived nearly a year with Mother and brothers. I got sick again, had chills then a congestive chill and the Dr. ordered me to the Mountains Brother Milt and Wm. went to look for land as the most of the land , only the creeks and gulches, was vacant in this country at that time. They found a nice place on what was then called Kings Mountain, 160 acres in a square and a spring on the North East corner and one on the South West corner. Almost every bit could be plowed – what better could a young couple want. Of course, it was pioneer living but I was used to that and was well pleased with it and did not want to go away. Well, Milt and Wm. went to the mill and got lumber to build us a shack 16 feet square, got partly up and we moved up. Wm. got the roof on, of shakes, rough flooring, no door -- hung up a blanket for a door. We had got a cook stove and a few dishes. My beds were made on the floor, just straw bed and feather bed on top— I had never seen springs then. Well, he had to go off to teaming, had to go with the rest, so he took the tools home when he went. I was lonesome after he was gone. I took the little ones and went down the ravine for a walk. When we got in sight of the cabin, there was two men there. Arthur began to cry, “Ma, are they going to take you off?” I quieted him. One was one of our neighbors, the other I did not know. Mr. Wilson wanted Wm. to haul some wood for him and asked when he would be back. I told him it might be one, two or three weeks. I knew there was some men back in the timber cutting wood and making rails and I did not know the strange man. So I got timid with only a blanket door, so I got some plank, cut them with the axe the best I could, got some strips and nailed them on with the axe, stood it up in the doorway and braced it under the top strip and against the rough flooring. I felt pretty safe – no one could get in without making a big racket and I had a six shooter under my head.
It was all new country to me, just beginning to settle up. There were two neighbors about a quarter mile of us and more farther off. I liked my neighbors and was glad to be by myself with my little ones. It is a poor way to be in the house with others with your children. We done fairly well and I was content there. We were doing better than we ever had before but his mother was not satisfied because Wm. was so crippled. She wanted us to come back to the Willamette Valley. I wrote her quite often. His health was better up in this climate, too. We were getting a start, too. We had four work horses, two colts, two yearlings, cow and calf, chickens, some hogs, wagon and plow and place. Well, when we feel like stopping it seems decreed that we must move on. My Mother-in-law sent his brother up after us and of course he talked him into going. He did not consult me in the matter. I would have a great deal rather staid right there. Our children were small but the neighbors got together and located a place in the center of the neighborhood for a school house. I was only 24 years old then so he had his way. He practically gave away the place and everything to go. We had one four horse team and wagon and hack and team. I went but it was against my will, but I stuck to my children and done the best I could. I felt it hard to go back where it had been so hard for us to live, could see nothing to help our condition. It might have been much better for all if I had just said, “I won’t go.” We went on the long journey camping by the wayside. The days were short in October. We were three weeks making the trip; now one can make the trip in one day. It is wonderful the changes made in 54 years. At that time we could not have thought it ever could be possible to make it in one day. Well it was a tiresome journey in the dust, and camping nights and nothing in prospect for us when we got there. Things did not look good to me. In an old log shack in the house with other people with three little children, and we were only there two weeks until Wm. took sick again. I tell you it was enough to give anyone the blues. One of Wm. brothers got married and brought his wife there. She was a nice woman and sure was a great consolation to me and was good to my children. We lived in the same house together two years and we never had any hard feelings or trouble. Mother Stroud did not live a year after we went down there, but he would stay there until the Dr. told me if I did not change climate with Wm. he would not live the winter through. So then he said he would come this side the Cascades, and his father sold out there and came too. We came with two wagons to Portland, then shipped to the Dalles; when we got there it was snowing. We had to lay over to get the next boat, then shipped to Umatilla Landing. Then next day we went out to Mr. Taylors, it was bitter cold, the wind blowing, the children got so cold, they cried with cold. Well, if you think this bitter experience is nice, I don’t. It did not suit my ideas of life but always do the best you can. Well, that was in 1875. We got a little log shack. It was warm but very small for six of us, but we made it fine. In February, Wm. and his Father started out to find a place and sheep as that was what they wanted to do. Wm. was much better in this climate. They finally found a place and sheep, bought of Mr. Rube Oliver in between the forks of Butter Creek in Umatilla Co. Oregon.. We moved up there on the 29th of Feb. 1876 as that was leap year. When we crossed Butter Creek my little girl wanted to look in the creek. I asked why; she said she wanted to see the butter.
Well, Mr. Olivers seemed nice people and was there a few days, turned over the place and sheep, as we knew nothing about a large bunch of sheep, they hired one of the boys to herd for awhile, so that made seven in family for me to cook, wash and do for. We had the sheep at home, so the herder took his dinner with him and Grandpa Stroud liked his warm dinner, so it made me cook three warm meals a day, Sunday not excepted. I had a small hand sewing machine, so I did all the sewing for my family, not the herder, but for the rest. The men folks’ undershirts and drawers were made out of white canton flannel and oh, the work to wash them. No washing machine, no wringer, just mostly hard labor. I have washed from seven o’clock in the morning till sundown in the long days and would have to get my back against the wall to straighten up and if grandpa was at home, would stop long enough to get a warm dinner. We would have breakfast early, to have the sheep out by five o’clock as they would not feed when it was warm. Then supper late as they did not get in till dark, then eat, put my little girl to bed, then wash dishes and prepare things ready for an early breakfast. It would be ten o’clock before I could get to bed, up at four. It was too hard on me to get only six hours rest out of the twenty-four. I had to take some rest and sleep after my dinner work was done up. I knit for all the family, too, only myself; I bought my stockings. And knitting is such slow work. They did not use silk stockings them days and people tried to pay for what they bought. Wm. was able to work most of the time; there was hay to raise and put up for winter feed, and wood to chop in the log and haul from the mountains, then sheep corals to move. It kept one busy. Sometimes I would take time to go out to where he would be at work. The Dr. had a running sore on his back all the time for years. Kept it running with a pine pitch plaster. He would get warm and sweaty, the sweat would run down on the sore. He would have me take it off and wipe the sweat off, the sore was large as the palm of my hand. He said the sweat made it burn like fire. It was pretty hard to work, being in such a condition. No one knows what he suffered, only ones the same, which is not many, and nowdays the Dr.s know how to handle such cases so they are not left in such crippled condition. Well, we done fairly well until there was a bunch of scabby sheep ran into ours. It is a contagious disease so ours got it and we had to build dipping pens and vats to dip them. It is quite expensive for material and extra man to dip
them and it had to be done several times to cure them but it did. In the summer of 1877 we had Mr. George Savage, a young married man herding for us; his wife was there, she was a nice young woman. That summer the Indians went on the war path up in Idaho in the north part and killed some people I think; then the report was that they were to break out there on the next full moon, so most our neighbors all went to Mr. Nelson’s about six miles of us and forted there, put out guards. But Grandpa was not afraid, so we staid at home but kept watch all night. I slipped off my shoes and laid down but did not sleep much for we only had some common guns and only us few they could take us and scalp us too easy, but Mrs. Savage slept fine. She said the Indians killed people within six miles of her in Southern Oregon and did not bother her. Well, it was only a scare with us that time. That fall two of Wm. brothers came up. They were at our house awhile. One was married, the one I had lived with. Her little boy got sick and she was badly scared up. There was so much diptheria in San Francisco and it seemed to come this way with the imigration. I had read so much in the papers. I asked if she had been where it was, she fibbed to me, said no, but afterwards told me there was one case on the boat. She had some kind of powder she had bought for diptheria, she used it on him and on her, too, she got sick. Then my children got sore throats. She used it on them, they all got well; if it was diptheria, it was a sure shot on it, but I can’t say it was. Anyway that winter it raged all over the country and the most children that took it, died with it. One Mr.Aglesby buried five children one day with it, one afterwards. He only lived eight miles from us. We sure stayed at home that winter, it was so fatal. The Drs. did not know how to handle it at that time; almost everyone that got it in our part of the country died with it. It was something to dread. I was more afraid of it than smallpox, it seemed more fatal. Well, the winter wore away. Two of Wms. brothers bought a place and sheep a half mile below us, so in shearing time I helped my sister-in-law cook for the men and she was to come and help me. Grandpa and one brother went to haul the wool off. They hauled it to Umatilla Landing, where the boats landed on the Columbia River. There were no railroads in this part of the country then; it was fifty miles to haul the wool. We done all our trading there, it was a long way to town and a dusty old road. Well, Grandpa Stroud got throwed off his load of wool and got his wrist broken on his left side. They were close to Mr. Lightfoot’s, they took him there and he set it all right, only the splint was not long enough; it swelled and cut in his hand so I loosened it some. One of the boys had to go to the valley on business so he went along down and Dr. Linsey Hill fixed it up for him, told him in two weeks to undo it and wash it and do it up again. So he stayed down at my sister-in-laws while they were shearing at our house, so she would not come away while he was there, so I had my shearers to cook for alone, some dozen or more men and my family. It seems I always get to hold the sack while others drive in the snipes. While hauling they broke down one wagon and so far to go to Pendleton, 30 miles, or to Umatilla. They did not get it fixed right away. One day my folks were all gone but my little girl, and five Indians rode up to the fence in front of our house. I felt a little timid after our scare the summer before. One got off and came to the door and asked for some potatoes. I told him we had to buy our potatoes and did not have many, if some bread would do, and he said yes. He could talk good English, so I had a large steamer full of cold biscuit; I poured them in his 50 lb flour sack and they all rode away. I have always thought that saved our house from being looted in time of our Indian war soon after. It was not many days after that, William had cut some hay and his brother had come and got our mower to cut theirs and Wm. was shocking ours that was cut. I had gone up in the field where he was working; I saw Doc, his brother coming. “Oh,” I said, “Doc has broke the mower.” It was so far to go to get anything fixed, that we felt it so much. He rode up and said, “No use to do that.” Wm. said, “Why?” He said, “The Indians are right up here in Camas Prairie, and word has been sent for everybody to get out of here as they are coming this way.” We had heard of them being on the war path and they had killed quite a few people in Idaho at or near Mr. Idaho; it was only 18 miles from our place to Camas Prairie so I gathered a few clothes and he told me to take the children and walk down to his brothers. There was another brother and wife had come up there. He hooked up the team and come down as one wagon was broke. We women, children— three women, four children, Grandpa and one to drive, all with some bedding and some clothes all had to go in one wagon. My husband, two brothers and our herder Gus Bonner, went on horses. We went down to Vincent, the P. O. was kept there; the stage went by twice in a day and night. There was about fifty all told there that night. Some went to the barn and spread their beds. I asked Mrs.Newman if we could spread ours in the house; she said yes. We got them quieted down, of course with their clothes on, as we might be surprised any time by the Indians, and there were only three guns in all the outfit and one was a shot gun at that, the others not much better. William, one brother and Mr. Nelson was on the guard, but what could do with a band of Indians on the war path. William come and told me, if they come, to take the children and make for the brush. It was pretty thick on the creek, that they could only fire to let us know. I laid down after putting the chairs and table back so we could get out the back way towards the creek, but I tell you not much sleep bothered me that night. I could not wake my boys up to know anything when they got to sleep. The Indians did not come that night, so in the morning we in the wagon went down on the Umatilla river to Mr. Jim Taylors about twenty miles from Vincent and the men folks went back up the creek, up home ten miles, and took the sheep out to feed. That evening late, they went to Vincent to hear the news. There was three or four hundred Indians had come down the creek and camped just a short distance below Vincent and said they had been fighting the Snake Indians and said the Snakes were coming down the creek. So Harold Salsbury another man went down to talk to them and they were laughing and talking and just having a big time; he said, “ They have not been fighting or they would not act that way.” We stayed all night at Mr. Taylors. He and Mr. Tribble both had sheep in the Mts. So they planned to go up and bring sheep and herders out the next morning early. Just daybreak we heard someone halloo; I thought it was some of Tribble’s men but Jake, Wm.’s brother says, “That is Bill.” So all jumped in their clothes in a hurrah; it was our boys. They said if the Indians were coming down the creek they just as well try to save their hides.’’Well, we got work for every one to get to town somewhere, that the towns would be guarded. So then all prepared to go to Umatilla. That memorable day was the 4th of July. We had gone some six miles, I think; we saw someone in a hack coming down a grade in the road. It was narrow, we could not pass; so stopped for it to get down; about half way they stopped. The woman began to scream and said, “Oh, my child is dying. Have you any water?” We had a canteen. As I was sitting with my feet op on the sideboard I jumped down with the water. The girls called to me, “Maybe it is diptheria” I asked her; she said, “No.” She says, “What shall I do? Go on home?’ I said, “No, every one is leaving the meadows.” But she said, “My Father is Dr. Teul.” I said, “Stop right here and send for him.” Well, “ she said, “there is a house right back here and I know the people. We will go in there.” She had a baby also and her half-brother, about twelve and a half-sister ten, so the boy got on one of the horses and went with his papa. It was about noon then. We were doing all we could for the child; it was in fits from fever. So our folks stopped there and people seemed to know her; I think her name was Mrs. McCoy. She said she had lost a child in March and her husband was across the Blue Mts. She did not know if he was alive, as the Indians were so bad. We staid till some men came from Umatilla to help them. It was near dark when we got to town. The Dr. got the boys so he could be moved before midnight; he took them home. With him at home, the Indians would not harm them as he had doctored them; they knew him. But the came in town afterwards. Mrs. McCoy hear of her husband coming and was so overjoyed, but he was murdered near Pendleton. She could not believe it when they told her he was killed, she thought they were joking.. There was considerable excitement in town; it was just a small place but the steamboats ran there. There were a good many got on the boats and went where it was safer but we stayed there and did not know but we might be attacked most any time. There was a gun boat with a gatling gun on it ran up and down the river and shot at Indians that came in sight. There were two stone warehouses that they expected to use for the women and children in case we were attacked and there were some battlements on top some four feet high that was to be the mens place to shoot from. One great trouble was the guns. They were there but were shipped for Idaho where the war commenced. I don’t know if there was any telegraph line to Idaho then, but think not. But they finally made some arrangements and let out the guns to quite a number of people who was responsible for them if not returned when called in. Ourfolks got four and bought the cartridges.
About this time the Indians were murdering lone men wherever they found them. There was about twenty men killed in Umatilla Co. They robbed houses and burned some in the “Web Slough country. The Indians commenced near Grangeville, Idaho, crossed the Lolo trail over the Mts. East then went south in Harney County Oregon, in Stein Mts. And then north in Grant Co. then in Umatilla. Where they finally were conquered but the Umatilla Indians finally helped the whites and killed old Chief Eagle and brought his head in and then war was settled for sure. They have not troubled here since. They did lots of stealing and robbing. There were several hundred Indians and General O. O. Howard was in command of the troops. I do not know how many he had, but they sent troops from California up here, Out on Long Creek, Oregon, there was some people forted. Some thirty or forty. The Indians surrounded them and they fought until their ammunition was about run out. When Howard sent out a scouting party of thirty. They found them and Lieutenant Howard told his men to dismount and tighten girths, mount and charge. He was over a hill, the Indians did not see them . They charged shooting and yelling; the Indians thought the whole army was there and they scattered and ran, so the people were saved. They talked strong of courtmarshalling Lieutenant Bernard for disobeying orders, but if he had gone back to report, the people might all have been killed. Out there they killed a sheepherder, then killed his sheep and piled on him There was a Mr. Cooms was killed about a mile of our house and a Mr. Nelson and Mr. Skelly were killed six miles of our house and thrown in the duck pond; and Mr. Jewel, our state senator, was shot the same morning the others were killed at Nelson ’s place. He had sheep in the Mts., was going up with four guns and four hundred rounds of cartridges. Had them packed on a horse, had one himself and had seen Mr. Nelson and Skelly that morning at Vincent. They said, “We will go on and get breakfast.” When he rode under the shed at the barn, got off and stood his gun against the barn, the Indians shot him under his horses neck. He ran around the house and got in the brush; they had shot him twice. That was Tuesday morning and he was there till Friday evening before he was found. He crawled out, got a milking stool, wrote on it he was crippled in the brush, to hollow, he would answer, and put it in the road. Mr. Jewel was taken to Pendleton but died on Sunday. The Willow Springs fight was only eight miles of our house. They were a bunch of volunteers; Mr. Harrison Hale was killed there and the Captain— but several were shot up some. It was a close call for them. At Willow Springs the volunteers stopped to eat dinner, put out guards. The guards came and reported Indians; they laughed at them and sent them back. Soon they came running with the bullet whistling around them. There was one little log cabin and sheep corals and sheds was all the protection they had. The Indians had them surrounded and were over the hills for protection. They would crawl up where they could see and perhaps some were well protected behind rocks as it was a rough grazing country, and shoot and fall out of sight. They killed the Captain at the start, some one took command and they sure had to fight for their lives. They had started to join Howards command but they were in it more than Howard. They fought till after dark, their ammunition was running low. They consulted and concluded to try to get out of there. There was most of their horses killed. They put the wounded in the wagon and started. The orders was for everyone to fall to the ground when the Indians fired the signal gun, as they always fired one for them all to shoot, then their fire would go over them. Then for them to shoot. They had three or four volleys, would advance between volleys. Mr. Hale said he could not shoot that way and was supposed to have stood up; he was killed, some three bullets had struck him. So there was a brave man gone, one of our neighbors and left a family. The rest got out; I think one of the pickets went the other way when the Indians first fired on them and went to Pendleton and there some more went to their rescue and they were saved from a cruel massacre. There was no women and children killed in our part of the country, but there was some badly scared and their houses looted and what they did not want they destroyed. The Indians would pass some houses and not touch anything, then maybe the next one was looted of everything. Ours was not touched, but Wm.’s brothers’ house was looted, all but one room – think they were there in the dark and did not discover that room. Well, we were in Umatilla a week and my little girl Edith got sick; she had fever. There was a lady come along with a bucket of lemonade, said, “Give her a drink of that, it would be good to cool her fever.” I did and soon her nose began to bleed and I could not get it stopped and had to call the Dr. He was close, he told me what to do till he went to the store for something to stop it. He brought some tannin and said that was all they had and him hired there to take care of the wounded if fighting was there. I tell you they sent a telegram to Portland to send him medicine on the next boat. There got to be so many sick that the Dr. wanted all that could to get out of town; it was dreadful hot and just about bread, meat, dry beans, and coffee was about all we had to eat, so it was not much of a lark. The reports came in every day from the war zone and it was more encouraging. Our folks left the sheep in the corals and we did not know anything about them so Wm. and two brothers and our herder thought they would make a trial to go up. They got about twenty-five miles out and saw a lot of Indians. They watched them a short time. The Indians tried to cut them off from the Umatilla River as there was timber and brush there. Our herder was riding a little mule we had for to go with the sheep and it could not run very fast at the best it could do but they made it. As soon as the Indians saw they could not cut them off, they stopped. So they did not try it again for awhile. We told them if the sheep broke out, they would get feed, and if not they would be starved anyway and it was no use to run the risk There was about fifty all told that thought they would try to get out where it would be better for all on account of sickness. A widow lady, Mrs. Rayley, had a brick house on the meadows and they picked on her place on accountof the house in case of an attack, and there was lots of wool sacked that they would use as barricades around the yard. So they got very busy and one man said he could shoot through one, so they set one up and he shot through it. They then hauled rails and made a barricade with them but they did not come, and we were there a week, then we went— that is part that was there went up to Mr. Taylors and was there about a week or ten days. During the time, the two weeks was up to wash and dress Grandpa Stroud’s hand, which I did. But the way we had to live and the hardships he went through, his hand got very bad swollen and turned purple spotted. I was afraid he would lose it, so he and Mrs. Taylor which we were there said poultice it with hoar hound and bran. I was very afraid to and told them so but they insisted and I did for about a week and I never saw anything do better. It took all the swelling down and all the purple out and it just got along fine. So I have been partial to hoar hound poultices. Two or three of the boys ventured to go up home. They did not see any Indians. The Sheep had broke out so were not starved but had eaten up the crops which let them suffer later. Mr. Taylors folks thought sure their herder was killed, and mourned him as dead, one day their adopted children and mine were out playing and saw someone coming down the hill. They watched a few minutes and saw the shepherd dogs and came running in and said, “Oh, Green is coming.” We all went out to see. Sure enough, he was with his faithful shepherd dogs. He had walked so far he could hardly walk for some days. His feet swelled until he could not get his shoes on for a few days. Then he told how his band of sheep got so big he could not get them in the corrals and he went over to the saw mill to inquire about it. When he got there, there was no one there and the table just as they had got up from it. He knew there was something wrong but did not know what. So he started down home and when he got to the Willow Springs and saw so many dead horses he surmised what was up. He had seen no one so did not know of the Indian war. He had his gun with him but had got the bead knocked off, so he was afraid to use it. He did not see any Indians till he got in ten miles of home. He saw two going towards the Columbia River; he just dropped down in the big sage brush until they went on out of sight. Well they sure was glad to see him all right. Things was getting settled then and the boys came and reported they did not see any Indians, so we went home. They all went to our house and worked together for awhile, what sheep they found around there our herder herded there and the other boys rode and gathered. Took all up to a place the called the Pot, all the sheep was driven there and separated. Every ones sheep was branded with a wool brand.
One day our boys were looking for sheep and saw some red object across a canyon a mile or so away. They got off their horses and watched it some time and could not see it move. They were on the look out for Indians too. So went over and it was two men had been murdered by the Indians. They supposed they had staked them down alive had drove stakes through their hands and one through mouth and head. It had been some weeks since it was done and coyotes had eaten on them. They had nothing to dig a grave, so reported it so they could be buried, and after we heard their names, Johnny Crisp and Earnie Camel. The red object was a red undershirt. There were some straggler Indians still around. Our herder saw about twenty one day while out with the sheep but did not tell us
women, thought it would scare us. That evening when the boys got home I had supper for them as they did not take any lunch with them. What they saw made them so sick they could not eat anything that evening. Wm. estimated our loss all told at fifteen hundred dollars, but we never got anything for our loss. I heard afterwards that the Government paid the peoples loss but we never got a dollar for our loss. Some of our neighbors had serious times. One neighbor girl told me her experience of one night, she was among those that forted the previous summer, Miss Mattie Hall was her name. She said there was a woman visiting them when they got the word to leave on account of the Indians. This lady had two little children and for some cause the men folks were not at home. Her mother was in poor health so it all devolved on her. So she hooked up the horses to an old wagon that one wheel was in a manner broke down; it had a cover on it. She went to Mr. Nelsons place, no one there but they thought they would stay there that night. She had put up her horses and was mixing bread for supper when about thirty Indians rode up. They told her to go to Pendleton. She told them she was getting supper, they told her to hurry, go right away and she said she hooked up the team, got the folks in under the wagon cover and started. There was a high bluff just below Nelsons house and road run along by it. The Indians all had guns and there was sloping ground on both sides of the bluff. The Indians all rode up on to the hill and got off and sat down on the bluff. She said she never expected to live to pass that bluff. She said, “Oh Mother, I will be killed first as they can see me.” She was in front of the cover. But they let them pass and then came down behind them and would ride up and say, “Hurry, go to Pendleton.” At Vincent the road left the creek and run out a hollow some miles, then on the ride. She expected to be killed in that gulch, but was not attacked and every turn of that wagon wheel she expected it to give way. They got in to Pendleton at two o’clock in the morning. There were many sad times— stock destroyed or stolen, houses burned or looted, crops of hay or grain eat up by the stock, and all the time the one armed hero O.O. Howard after them. If he got in sight of the Indians he would stop and pray till they would go on and do more devilment. One of my nephews was with his company as assistant cook. He staid in the mountains they would stop for night, they could see the smoke from where they camped the night before. So the Indians just had a picnic. Of course Howard and all the officers got double pay all the time of war, I don’t know if the common soldiers did or not, but I do know the settlers had a hard time and if it was not for the common farmers and stock men , where would the money come from, as what comes from the mines is very little compared with them. Why is it the farming class is looked on as hay seeds by the city dweller? Is it because they are taught they are better than working people or is it because their brain is too small to comprehend where their living comes from. Oh why is there not more people with good common sense and good morals. What a grand old world this could be if all lived true honest lives and did not try to live on others by some hood or crook. It seems the finest clothes, the finest cars, the finest times they can get, not “now I can get that and pay for it” but must have it any way if never paid for; going in debt has been one great drawback to this country. I have heard some blame the merchants for letting them go in debt and if they had not they would blame them. If one has not stamina enough to keep out of debt it is their own fault and they will have to stand the consequences. Well, we staid on our place and with the sheep, but Wm. brothers had enough of the Indians and they left there. It was lonesome for me as I did not get away from home often. My work for seven kept me pretty busy but I believe I tried to do what was right. I was often so tired out I could hardly keep going but kept up til in the fall of 1879, then I had a complete break down and was not able to stand alone for five long weeks. It was a hard old time for me. I was sure we were not able to keep a hired woman, so the men folks and children did the work in a way. As soon as I was able to stand on my feet long enough to mix a mess of biscuits I did it, so did not gain very fast. I felt I could never get well that way and told Wm. I could not, there was too much work for me. So he finally sold his part of the sheep and we went to Columbia County, Washington. I think often too much is required of the mother and housewife. Her work is so complicated and care of the children is too hard a strain on them if they are true mothers and helpmates and the husbands should have more consideration and honor for the ones that have given their lives in their care. It gets to be too monotonous to just work and no change. I have not been off the place while on Butter Creek for six months at a time. That is too hard for the human system to stand up to. I don’t doubt there is many in the same way and I pity any woman that has it to go through and I don’t wonder at so many that has to be sent to the asylum. Shame on the man that wrongs Gods best gift to men. There is more ways of wronging the wife and mother than one. If I had the making of some of the laws one would be if a man did wrong his wife it would be cause for her to have a complete divorce. Now don’t mistake me; a wife should do her duty too and be a helpmate for him and family just as well as him, but not a slave for him or children. Well, in March 1880 we started to Washington. We went in a wagon and camped on the way. It was not very pleasant for me after being sick all winter and was not a bit well then. It took us some days and in camping I took cold and when we got to my sisters I could not walk alone had to be helped in the house. I had not seen my sister for some years and was glad to see them all, but it was sad too as her boy, some 14 years, had just got his leg broke and it gave her such a shock. She thought it would have to be taken off, and she was so rheumatic anyway that she never got well. She suffered for sixteen long years and had rheumatism in all forms and it finally went to her heart and killed her. No one knows what she suffered, only ones in the same condition and I surely pity anyone in that condition. It is a living misery to them, but she was so cheerful when not in too much suffering, would talk and joke and make the best of it. Well, me not well, Roy with a broken leg, my sister with rheumatism, Mother made her home there, she was very poorly, and three children and the men folk made a large family for a while and none of us women well. It was not pleasant for any of us, but all realized it and all did the best we could for the time. In about three months all began to get a move on them. They were building the Northern Pacific Railroad then and brother Milt says, “Bill, lets go up there and work a while.” Mother wanted to go along but she was so poorly Milt did not want to take her but did not want to make her mad. So he said, “Mother, if you can ride in a wagon I’ll take you.” She said, “Yes, put my rocking chair in. I’ll go.” So he did and she took the girl we had got along Mandy Burnett to take care of her. We went to Big Lake first, they did not get on the work there and Mother wanted to go to Medical Lake so we went there but it did her no good. She got so sick brother Milt went to Spokane for a Dr. and he said, “Get her home as soon as you can.” So Wm. bought his grain he had brought to feed on and he started home with Mother and Mandy but she got better and lived several years but had sick spells every once and a while. My nephew was along with us and we wanted to find us a location for a home, so we went on. We had been at Medical Lake two weeks and we heard of the spring where Davenport, Lincoln Co. Washington is. We went there and it was located, at least there was a cabin there. We were there two or three days. My nephew Henry Brown went out southeast, found some good land and wanted Wm. to go and look at it and they both take all they could but he would not go. So we went on west and north, camped one night at a small lake that was made by a spring. It was early but an ideal camp. Some big pine trees, good water and grass knee high. What more should one want for a camp. It did look good for camp after riding and tired and thirsty and we got supper, stretched our tent made ready for night. We had four horses and a saddle mule and Henry had two horses. They turned all loose but one, staked it. We went to bed early and mosquitoes rose early that evening. They were hungry and crawled through the grass under the tent edge. We smoked them out put bedding and things around the tent but no good.; they sure acted like they were going to have a feast and I think they did and we all felt as if they feasted on us, and not only on us. When we got up in the morning all the horses were gone but the one that was staked. Henry got on it and went to hunt the horses. He did not get back till near noon. The horses were some miles off and they too showed the effects of the great mosquito feast, for all but one were welted all over from as large as my thumb nail to as large as my palm of hand, poor things. Wonder if it was bad on them as us. One had no welts. We went from there to where Wilber now is. It did not look good to us. There was a squaw man there with his family, I think they called him Wild Goose Bill. He had a kind of a grocery store I think and stock. We went from there to Wilson Creek. There were a few new settlers there. We spent the 1 th of July there and it was so foggy we could see no distance and the settlers had some grain in, it was only two or three inches high then in July. So we started on the back track. We came to the cross roads some four or five miles west of Davenport and camped at a lake close and the men started a well. If we could get water there we would stop there and start a little store. While at work there, there came a bunch of Indians along and wanted to know what they were doing. Wm. told them and one said he could show him a good place about three miles west of there, a spring and some meadow land, some small wood. There was no lived near there and I was afraid. It had not been two years since the Indian war or about that so we did not go to look at it. Then we were sure on the back track and I sure felt blue. I was not very strong then. We came down to Crab Creek and stopped there a day or two. There was lots of nice trout in the Creek a foot long but when you threw in your hook a crawfish would get it. They kept the water roiled up all the time so we did not get many fish. Then we came on to Sprague; it was just starting up then; we camped at a spring about half mile away and was there some six weeks. We heard they wanted men near Pine City to break sod. I wanted we should go there but he would not and the men generally rule. Finally Henry got promise of a load of freight from Lyons Ferry. He went down there, he heard his brother was sick so he went on home and did not come back. I told Wm. we must get out somewhere and prepare for winter so he bought some horses and drove them along. I guess his intention was to go to Dayton but there was a place at edge of Union Flat that we saw as we went up that was vacant and it was only one and half miles of school and our children never had much schooling then and it looked good to me – but he managed to keep off that road.
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