to celebrate 150th year in 2012
(Cottonwood history continued from last week)
In and around town names like Jorgens and Martins (drug store), Nuxoll and Stubbers (general merchandise), Goldstone (dry goods), Simon (meat market), Joe Schober (beer and brewery)
The last few years of the century were filled with stories of miners and their “finds” and there was at least one large pack train a week sent into the surrounding mountains to keep them supplied.
Meanwhile some of the first settlers on government land were selling their small farms at a nice profit while the newcomers often consolidated these early farms into larger acreage.
It was within this time-frame that a meat packing plant was opened and, due to operating problems, later taken over by the Simons as a slaughterhouse and meat processing plant. It was also at about this time that farm animals were driven to Stites to be shipped out on the rail. There was also a number of stock, both cattle and hogs, driven to the rail at Genesee.
It was about this time the Eckerts came and purchased several small ranches and became the center of horse roundups often sorting out several thousand head of horses in a year along with their farming operations.
Geo. Seubert bought and enlarged the Chenowith place. Later it converted to the Jenny Ranch. Matt and Mike Seubert worked for the Eckerts and also drove freight wagons.
In the Keuterville area Gehrings, Ennekings, Jungerts, Buettners, Hoenes, Romains, Bosse, Hendricks, Rads, Bruegemans, Coopers, Hussman, Teffts, Juthers, Sonnens, Stubbers, Uptmors, Schroeders, Schmidts, Rhoads, Lightfields, Biekers, Uhlenkotts, Nuttmans, Poxleitners, Forsmanns and many more started to make “their mark” and are represented by their heirs today.
In November 1895, the reservation was opened and Ferdinand and Greencreek became prime land for settlers and anumber of people who had land in either Cottonwood or Keuterville joined in the rush for this desirable land. The people of Ferdinand and Greencreek immediately made plans for their own churches and schools.
As quite often the Indians burned off timber land to improve the hunting and help to grow the forage, the settlers spent many hours fighting timber fires on the big (Cottonwood) butte and also on the small (Convent) butte. Sometimes these men just took a bedroll and some light lunch and were gone from their own spread several days. People were very conscious of their neighbors and readily helped one another. It was this feeling of unity that grew within the area and is evident even today. No one was “in it” alone – this struggle to make this land work for all.
This author was going though old family letters to the folks back in Illinois and found many things that might be of interest to the people of today. About 1895 to 1900 “the way it was.”
August 13, 1899—Dear mother and father, “We arrived in Lewiston at 3 p.m. and Frank, Joe Nuxoll and Jos Schmidt picked us up with two spring wagons and one big farm wagon. We got to Greencreek shortly after dinner and I had a job already that afternoon. There are very nice farms for sale here – all 160 acres priced from $1300 to $1800 and in a few years prices will be $2500 to $3000. Pay on a threshing crew is about $2 a day (½ cash, ½ wheat). This country isn’t at all like there. We are surrounded by big tall mountains and it’s very pretty all around. Whiskey in the salon is 12½ cents a drink! I had to pay 13½ dollars for a pair of work shoes! We went up on the Butte to get a load of wood. It took all day as the snow was 1½ to 2 ft. deep. This winter I will spend up there at Keuterville as working in a sawmill. I will make maybe $1.75 to $2 per day while sawing. The logs are up to 4 feet in diameter but the big ones are hard to saw. There are 5 or 6 sawmills in the area and they saw 10 to 15 thousand ft. per day. Making fine wood only pays 80 cents a cord.
I think there are plenty of girls here to match the boys. My friend built a house here, 12x22, and the lumber cost $45. Shingles cost 15 cents per 100. For a bed a straw sack for $1.15 and a quilt for $1.30” (More about prices next week).
School lasted only a couple of months at various locations. Usually the parents paid $1.50 per student per month. Usually the teacher paid $15 for board. If there were 20 or 25 students, the teacher won’t take home much for his family.
The Schnider Mill, built in Rustic (5 miles northwest of Cottonwood) was the “biggest & best” for its time of 1888. It was a big mill setting up the draw just off the Westlake-Cottonwood stagecoach trail. It was running at full capacity to keep up with the demand. As they say, “the mill was having a big time of it”-lumber was shipped by horse and wagon and the goings and comings kept the old wagon road busy in all directions. Lumber, rough cut, was a lot easier and cheaper to work with than logs. $50 worth would build a modest size house to start with. In most cases $4 to $6 would get you a modest wagon load of split firewood. All the heating was done with wood which led to many home fires in which all possessions were lost. Instead of chasing the yellow gold, most families farmed till the snow flew then made 6 to 10 cords of wood for the winter and spring months.
At about 1899 there were 6 or 7 small sawmills in operation in and around Cottonwood Butte. Very often one of them would be lost to fire and have to start over. A few of these early mills were brought with the settlers or were shipped in by train from back east.
Schoolchildren at Cottonwood School in the late 1800’s. Families included Forsmann, Nichols, Rhoads, Wren Seubert, Nuxoll, Terhaar, Rooke, Martin, Dixon, Schober, Miller, Eckert, Libbey, Turner, Anderson, Chicane, Farthing, McKinley, Stodard, Lancaster, Cansan, Ecker, Price, Butler, Lester, Moore, Long, Hincliff and Reed.
150 year committee meets
On October 13 the working meeting of the 150 year committee was held at the Prairie Community Library at 2 p.m.
There were 16 members of the committee present.
Jim Gehring turned in history regarding the Moughmer families, the first homesteaders on Moughmer Point.
Our working list of people to contact for history numbers about 500 names. I’m sure we have missed some that should be on this list. Anyone that feels that we have omitted some names that should be included, as in you were not contacted about your family, please contact Deb Clark at U.S. Bank or any one working on the committee. Don Hoene and other committee members have outlines to use when writing these family histories.
We are also looking for the exact location of the McKinley School that was used in 1883 to 1886 for Cottonwood area children. Pictures or stories? The school was approximately 3 miles east of Cottonwood.
Other hard to find histories were discussed and Deb Clark announced that we should add a “Remember When” to our articles in the paper.
Remember when Turner Drug had a soda fountain? When the Rooke Hotel had a bowling alley? When streets in town were all mud?
After 1½ hours we finished the present list of histories to discover and went to some of those missed.
The next meeting will be in two weeks, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. at the Library. All interested people are encouraged to attend and help us with this project.