Posts Tagged ‘Josie’
Posted on July 16, 2010 - by Nadia
July 15, 2010
Sumner wrap up
Been here three days trying to verify Josie’s existence here, to get a sense of the place and its surround, the get a feel for EJ Whit. Vicki Connor at the Ryan House and the Heritage Quest Research Library on Main Street have been very helpful.
SUMNER — Almost at the end of the reel. Almost at my wit’s end. I found her: Josie. Josie! I almost yelled my relief out loud.
For two full days I’d wandered through the year that brought the summer of 1890 to the summer of ’91. On the big screen microfilm, The Local Matters section of the Sumner Herald – the only section that really mattered to me – read like a year-long 19th century Twitter feed:
Seed potatoes hard to come by.
Weather for walking alone with the moon.
By way of a mild suggestion we would respectfully call attention to the present condition of the walk in front of Ryan’s hall.
The Sumner baseball club will play a match game with the Puyallup club on the latter’s grounds tomorrow, (Saturday) morning Bet on the Sumners as success is sure unless energy fails.
A.M. Rousseau returned Tuesday night from a two weeks’ visit to friends at Tenino. During his absence he devoted his time to hunting, fishing and getting sunburnt.
Never mind that the man she would marry, who would become, among other things, my great grandfather, was present on almost every page. Elmer John White founded the Sumner Herald in 1889. He owned half of it, served as editor to his partner’s publisher, and wrote columns under the pen name Eli, and some people called him that, though he generally went about daily life by his initials, EJ.
He is a funny guy who urges temperance. Any topic that gets too heated deserves to be taken with “sugar and lemon.” He is well liked. Well enough to run far ahead of the rest of the Democratic ticket in his 1890 bid for the state house, but not well enough liked to to actually win, as Republicans swept Pierce County, as they were wont to do back then.
I enjoyed getting to know EJ in Sumner, but I’ve always known more about him. In the life that lies ahead of him, he keeps writing in his distinctive down-home, third-person style and is noticed and written about, so it’s fairly easy to feel like I know him. It’s her about whom I know so little. Every confirmation of a fact is a bit of grout that holds the fragile tower I’ve been building together. Every correction knocks a clinker to the ground and puts the enterprise on stronger footing. (more…)
Posted on July 10, 2010 - by Nadia
Day 36: July 9, 2010
Goldendale to Pine Creek Bar and RV campground
The last noodle of common sense left in my noggin after yesterday’s heat advised me to stay off the road until today cooled down. I did that, pedaling just far enough to set myself up well for an early start to Yakima tomorrow. Highway 97 gains almost 2,000 feet between Goldendale and the summit, mostly in pleasant, staged rolling hills with a wide shoulder.
In 1870, Calvin and Jenny Keys and their four kids lived and farmed and kept house in Klickitat County, near Goldendale, Washington. When the census taker came knocking on their door, the oldest son was nine, the youngest, a girl, three months. Calvin was 40, Jenny was 34. They were starting over. Done were the days of drought in southern California. Done were the endless rains of the Olympic peninsula. Here, cattle ranged free with few acres plowed or fenced to keep them out. There were enough people to make it feel settled, but not enough to be unsettling.
This is where Alice Josephine would be born in the hot summer of 1872, after a winter that recalled, for the few who had been around then, the devastating freeze of 1961-62. That was the year the livestock died and settlers were left with no choice but to move on. That was the year people started talking about planting hay, about sewing flax, about putting up feed and barns that would allow them to weather such a winter. This year, 1872, was the year they really got serious about such things. Josie was born onto the high country north of the Columbia River in the year that it got settled. Where there had been a few hundred living, now there were a couple of thousand. Fences went up almost as fast as cabins, and the frustration of open range ranchers like her father Calvin grew.
The Keys clan stayed in Goldendale as long as they could stand it. Time was money, for now. The ranch wasn’t big, but it was worth almost $1,000. That was enough to pull out and start over again someplace less crowded. Before Josie was a year old they had done just that, heading south to Pueblo and Trinidad, the ranching towns of southern Colorado that offered more range, and less snow. It was the beginning of Josie’s life on the move.
In 1902, Winthrop Bartlett Presby figured he had what it took to show the world that Goldendale was no backwater. He sunk $8,000 into a fine house, with 22 rooms and fireplace tiles imported from Spain. Today, the Presby Mansion is a museum featuring the everyday doings of turn-of-the-century Goldendale. It is beautifully restored and maintained and includes a research library with indexed census, marriage and death records, among other things
Outside, the old carriage house features a frontier school room and newspaper press shop as well as a collection of threshing and farming equipment.
The Sentinel, Goldendale’s newspaper, is the fourth oldest in the state and its progression is represented in a pressroom display featuring an early printing press, linotype machine and printers lead.
Architecturally, the house is over the top, with its widow’s walk so far from the sea, it’s wrap around porch, and its stifling third floor. Its hard not to imagine that Mr. Presby had a pretty big ego. Apparently, it was at least a bit bigger than his income. Household gossip tells that he died in debt, and the house was seized by his lien holders. His wife held no claim to it, as she had divorced him earlier, on grounds that he was an insufferable grouch.
Roll on, Train fans
I won’t be here for the Train concert at Maryhill Winery tomorrow, but Jesen gave me a hint of what I’ll be missing in his family’s RV at the Pine Creek Inn, 13 miles south of Goldendale. Belting out a full-on rendition of Hey Soul Sister, the Spokane teen had a rapt audience singing along, watching his every move. The RV was humming, and that’s how it should be the night before going to see a big concert – a little show, with a lot of friends.
Selena and Scott saw me roll into Pine Creek and struck up a conversation while their three kids paced the gravel driveway, watching for their friends to drive up in their deluxe RV ride. When Jim and Gina and their five boys arrived, the stage was set and I was just lucky enough to be invited in for a bit. Selena and Scott are from Portland, Gina and Jim from Spokane, and a few times a year they find an excuse to get together. This year, the excuse is Train and the first concert ever for the three Portland kids. Oh, what a time tomorrow night will be!
Jesen brought the musical talent, but everyone threw something into the pot. Jared did a backflip standing right there in the RV. In his socks. Brett and Andrew lured the herd of lop eared rabbits that lolled around the parking lot into the lair they made of celery and bread. Sam and Brock held down the couch, Kate bravely yawned and claimed the sole girl spot in their big bunch of boys and everyone sang along with Jesen.
Camping. Regardless of tent size, it’s summertime in America if there’s a singalong, the burgers are a little burnt and old friends welcome a new one into the circle. Thanks gang. Have a great time at the show.