to celebrate 150th year in 2012, area history included
(History continued from last week)
About 6 p.m. early last Tuesday evening a hail storm hit Cottonwood with a “Big” snap-crackle-pop. Some of the pellets were about 1 inch in size and after 26 to 27 minutes of straight hail we had 3 to 4 inches of hail on the ground. Jane’s flowers tried to hide in the ground and a couple of long stem roses ducked behind a near-by evergreen and managed to keep from joining a couple of step planters of petunias, forty or fifty petunias (already survivors of a late frost) and somehow managed to once again stick up their heads. Shades of other like storms in years past. Many of us remember storms like this and manage to “take it on the chin” and know it could have been worse.
People on the road to Keuterville near Jake and Marlene Forsmann’s house report seeing two funnel-type clouds meeting overhead and one splitting off heading to the Cottonwood area and the other petering out over the upper reaches of Graves Creek. The area around the Vern Gehring home seems to have the most damage and some areas there are “pounded” flat. Maybe this storm coming out of funnel clouds explains the “hit and miss” effect across the area.
These past 150 years of stories tell of many violent storms that have ransacked the area. Twisters cutting swaths through the timber, hail all the way to tennis ball sized and times where weird winds knocked down a mile or more of power poles. Cars, trucks and trailers being partly to completely damaged. Roofs, barns and even homes from slight to complete damage. Yes, we have memories of these nature-caused destruction stories and when we read abo0ut these things going on in the southeast and in other parts of the United States we understand some of their problems and are glad that these goings on don’t happen too often here in our area. I’m not much of mind to trade with others their area for ours! A quick tour of the area still shows much of the farmers going on as usual for this time of the year.
I’m told that the 150-year Committee will hold their meeting this week at the Museum up at the Monastery. Sam Couch has offered to help out as the Library has other things this week.
The meeting will be held on Thursday, July 26, at 2 p.m. at the Historical Museum. The main focus will be on printing and selling of Vol. I and Vol. II of the 150-year story.
In other business concerning the work on the history, we are printing a story by Jeanne Arnzen as she describes her work on the two books we plan to print. We are fortunate to have people like Jeanne who find this type of work interesting and are willing to give their time to preserve our history.
The following is submitted by Jeanne Arnzen:
First off, I can only remember one story that stated that a man came west on the Oregon Trail, of course, in a covered wagon, as well as riding a horse and walking. Others probably came that way, but the story did not mention it. Others came by train, mostly riding it to Genesee. Some families had friends or relatives to meet them there, or not, then likely, if it was a man rather than a family, he would walk from Genesee to Keuterville. Others rode the train to Stites, and then someone would pick them up, coming up the tram road to Winona and Greencreek and on to their destination. And some stayed in the Uniontown area and worked for several years before moving on to Camas Prairie. Some stories told of the family - mother and children, who would ride in the passenger car and the father and maybe older sons, who would ride in the boxcar with the animals and any farming equipment they were bringing to Idaho.
A popular stop-off place was the Gobel Cabin in the Keuterville area. One story stated that they and another family lived there for a period of time, about twenty-two people in the cabin. Might have been crowded??? To say the least…
Other stories state that buildings were moved from somewhere to make an addition on to the existing house. My grandfather moved a school house from up the draw to their house and connected it to the house, making it much larger.
Some stories told of the move to America from Germany or other European countries. The Titanic was the ship of choice, but all the stories I read, told of changing their minds, or missing the ship for any number of reasons, thereby, living to make it to America after all.
An interesting fact is how many couples were called ‘Joseph and Mary.’ In almost every family, there was at least one. And the many girls and women were named Elizabeth, a very popular name in the 1800s and early 1900s. The name Catherine, or Cathryn, Katherena, Catherina, Kathryn or Katherine, was also popular. For the boys, John seemed to be the most popular, with Henry or Frank close behind.
Some of the stories are very serious, stating just the facts. Others have a bit of humor added for light-hearted reading. All the stories are interesting, recapping the highlights of those who came to the prairie and why they came. Some came from Illinois, with the thinking that the land was worn out there, so they looked for new ground. Minnesota gave up many residents to the dreams of the west. Many came because a friend or family member had already bit the bullet and traveled west, providing a place for them to stay for a while. Living in a Catholic community was an important factor for many emigrants. If there was not an established church, they would petition the Bishop of Boise to get one started.
With all our modern gadgets, we can hardly comprehend what our grandparents and great-grandparents endured to come to such a blessed area of the United States. Why, we could just as well have ended up in the sagebrush of south Idaho, rather than the lush grass and ideal growing conditions of the prairie. Thank goodness, they didn’t get off the train sooner.
A few of the interesting individual stories are Oscar and Ann Canfield, Richard and Julia Ann Cooper and William (Reece) and Lela Graham. Stories of the Rabies Outbreak, Spanish Flu, Cottonwood and the Nezperce Indian War of 1877 and St. Michael’s Priory all add to the history of the area. Some of the younger generation may not have heard some of these stories. The progress of the area is reflected in the stories of St. Mary’s Hospital, the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude’s and the Monastery of St. Gertrude. There are even a few ‘Memories of ….’ that bring back recollections that we maybe didn’t know, or have forgotten. I guarantee you will have a hard time putting the book down, once you start reading it.
Recently, my family took a little trip to Baker City OR. We visited the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, well worth the time spent to see all that is there. If you have never been there, make it your next educational outing. The statues of the men, women and children, as well as the oxen, dogs, cows, calves, sheep and horses look so realistic. And of course, the ruts from the wagons are still imprinted on the ground crossing the Baker Valley. There are lots of videos telling of the hardships, trials and challenges of the emigrants. How bumpy is the covered wagon to ride in – well, most chose to walk rather than ride? Their shoes wore out before the trip was over.
Whether our ancestors came by way of the Oregon Trail or in a boxcar on the train, we should be forever grateful that they came here, to Camas Prairie – more specifically, to the Cottonwood, Greencreek, Ferdinand and Keuterville area. It is a great place to live and work and raise our families.
As most of you realize, this has turned into a lot bigger project
than we first planned. This is about the 45th article trying to make this
happen. Others will now handle the promotion and presale of the material
A couple of the long stemmed roses at Don and Jane Hoene’s managed to duck into the evergreen to the right and were spared from the hail last Tuesday.
The flowers in this planter were shredded by the hail while the ones in the planter in the back were just far enough under cover of the eaves to survive.
This outdoor umbrella at Don and Jane Hoene’s got shredded by the hail storm last Tuesday which brought to mind some past violent storms that have come through the area. Photos by Don Hoene.