The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., March 30, 1928, page 1


     Yesterday, March 29, Mrs. Chris Dethman celebrated the fiftieth year of residence in the Mid-Columbia district, and was the recipient of many congratulations.
     Mrs. Dethman was born in Clinton County, Iowa on August 18, 1866. Her mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. John Jetter, where of German descent and settled in Iowa in about the year 1864. Through a severe epidemic of typhoid fever when Mrs. Dethman (then Emma Jetter) was only four years old, her mother died, and her father, not being able to look after her properly, placed her in the care of the family of John Petters. Mr. and Mrs. Petters had four children of their own, yet they were delighted to take the little girl and raise her.
     John Petters had an old friend who was living at White Salmon, Wash., and he repeatedly wrote urging them to come to Oregon or Washington, saying there was a big opportunity for them in the West. He also sent them samples of wheat heads which he had grown on his place. These were of such magnificent size and beauty that they attracted much attention and interests of all who saw them. No one living in Iowa had ever seen such wheat and a number decided that they were justified in going West to secure cheap land and grow some of this fine wheat.
     It was in the early spring of 1878 that a party, consisting of Chas. Ehrck, John Kroeger and John Petters and family, including Emma Jetter, decided to move to the Far West to locate a new home. The party was to leave together on a specified date, but through some misunderstanding, Mr. Ehrck and Mr. Kroeger left a day or two sooner than the Petters family had expected. But they all met in San Francisco and continued their journey together, until they parted March 29, 1878, Mr. Ehrck and Mr. Kroeger left the boat at Hood River to locate in this valley, finally taking up homesteads in the Odell district. They are still living on part of their original homesteads.
     The Petters family left the boat at White Salmon to meet their old friends, who had been responsible for the party coming west.
     It was indeed a sad disappointment to the newly-arrived family when they reached White Salmon, as they had expected to find splendid level land that could be farmed, so that they might also raise some of that fine wheat that had lured them out west. Instead they found nothing but hills covered with timber, brush and rock boulders. Mr. Petters, however, after several months of direct contact with the fine mountain air and the beautiful mountain scenery, with an abundance of wild game in the woods and plenty of fine fish in the streams, decided that there might be possibilities if he would take up a homestead. So, with his family he homesteaded a tract of land six miles north of the town of White Salmon on what is now known as the R.D. Cameron place. The Northwestern electric power dam on the White Salmon River is located on a part of the old homestead.
     Mrs. Dethman was reared on this old homestead and received only a moderate amount of schooling, as she was obliged to go to a little schoolhouse located where the town of Bingen now is situated; this being the only schoolhouse in that section of the country. So it was necessary for the Petters children to ride two on a horse six miles to this school for about three months of the year, this being considered a school term in this particular district.
     In the summer months it became customary that Emma, the oldest one of the Petters' family, to help in the harvesting of the hay crops for friends at Trout Lake and Camas Prairie, also to help with the milking of cows which she learned to do as well or even better than most men could do.
     It was in the summer of 1884, while Emma was helping Mr. and Mrs. John H. Dethman, who were at that time operating a large hay and dairy ranch at Camas Prairie that she met Chris Dethman, brother of John H. Dethman for the first time, and on November 20, 1884, at The Dalles, Emma Jetter became his wife. Mr. and Mrs. Dethman immediately after their marriage, went to Hood River, where Mr. Dethman had previously filed a claim to a homestead tract of land on the East Side, which has since been known as the Dethman ranch.
     Mr. and Mrs. Dethman remained on this ranch until 1911, when they moved to 911 Oak St., this city, and where they have since resided.
     Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Dethman: Frank C. Herman, Anna, Alfred, Laura, William McKinley, Jessie and Fred. Anna died when she was 15 years old.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer