The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., November 16, 1905, page 1

Only Three Oregon Survivors
Hans Lage Came Next Day - Went Out to See the Country and Got Lost in Deep Snow

     Thirty years ago yesterday, November 15, the Hood River colony landed on the sand bar that extends along the Columbia river opposite the now thriving town of Hood River. There were fourteen families in all, and there being no accommodations for housing them they made a camp and later built a building resembling a barracks and all lived together. Of the original colony all that are left in this part of the country are Mr. La France and Lyman Smith of Portland, and M.B. Potter of this city, at present living with his son at Percy, Ore., and who is over 90 years of age and very feeble.
     On this account it is rather difficult to get many of the details of this episode in the history of Hood River, which would otherwise be intensely interesting. Many of this little band of pioneers not being able to with-stand the hardships of frontier life, returned to their native towns or went to more settled parts, and some have passed away. This was, however, the first organized effort to establish a town at the mouth of Hood River.
     Thirty years ago today Hans Lage, with his wife and three children and his father-in-law, Mr. Hock, stepped from the boat at what is now Bingen, but then White Salmon. Mr. Lage came to this part of the country from Davenport, In., and traveled via the Union Pacific to San Francisco and from there to Portland by steamer and on up the Columbia river. He says that it cost more to transport his household goods from Portland to White Salmon than it had to have them brought all the rest of the way. In addition to this he had to pay $10 a piece fare for his family for this ride of 60 miles up the river.
     On the 17th of November its snowed all day and there was 18 inches of snow in White Salmon and three back in the country. On the morning of the 18th with his brother-in-law and another companion, he started out to see the country. Hearing that the people in the back country had bread but no butter to put on it, they purchased a roll and started out. After trapping about all day they tried to return, but search as they would they could not find the trail. Night came on -- a beautiful clear, moonlight night, and as they all had matches they tried to make a fire by lighting the pine needles, which they grubbed out of this now. In vain effort. Match after match was struck and applied to the needle, but they refused to burn, for they were wet with snow. Despair now settled down on the party and they floundered on aimlessly hallooing as loud as their shortened breath would permit.
     At last they stopped, exhausted, with courage almost gone, and gave one more shout, when afar off in the distance they heard the faint bark of a dog. Shouting and walking they trudged on toward the point where they could still hear the dog answering their cries. Finally they heard the welcome hello, of a man's voice, and going on encountered Mr. Gilmer, one of the oldest settlers in this part of the country, who, hearing their shouts, had come out to look for them. It was then about 9 o'clock, and after walking for an hour or more, they arrived at a log cabin, which was the home of Mr. Gilmer.
     On entering the cabin the party found it in darkness, Mr. Gilmer having no oil to make a light. The walls where the bare logs, unplastered, through which the wind swept untempered. The men were ravenously hungry, and soon made this fact known to their host, who, with many apologies, explained that there was nothing in the cabin to eat but a few dry biscuits. These were brought forth, and opening the roll of butter which they had clung to through all their vicissitudes, the party fell to, and we have Mr. Lage's word for it that no banquet or feast that he ever sat down to tasted half as good as this simple fare.
     After supper the unbidden guests could no longer keep awake, and their host, again apologizing, said that the only covering he could give for the night with a horse blanket apiece. So they went out to the barn, wrapped themselves up in the blankets Mr. Gilmer covered them up with hay, where they slept soundly until morning. As they had eaten everything in sight the night before there was, of course, nothing for breakfast. So Mr. Gilmer led them out to his potato patch covered with three feet of snow, which they shoveled away and had potatoes for their morning meal. After this was done they butchered a calf and included veal steak in the menu. Breakfast over, Mr. Gilmer hitched up his team and brought the stragglers back to White Salmon. Mr. Lage declares that he has never appreciated anything so much in his life as he did the hospitality of Mr. Gilmer.
     Mr. Lage remained at White Salmon until the following March when he bought the place he now lives on, comprising 160 acres, from a homesteader, and moved over on this side of the river. He had since cleared 120 acres of it entirely by hand. At that time Mr. Lage was the second settler from the river, his brother-in-law, Mr. Hock, being the first, on what is now known as the Joe Divers place. His nearest neighbor was D.A. Turner, two miles away.
     He has seen many changes during his long residence in the Hood River valley, and despite the hardships and struggles of his early life, is as optimistic as a boy of eighteen.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer