hheritage.html

The Enterprise, White Salmon, WA., September 18, 1980, page 3

RESIDENTS’ STORIES TELL OF HUSUM’S HERITAGE

   There are about 100 residents in the Husum area today, some newcomers and some with family ties to the first settlers. Many can relate numerous stories about some of the settlers and Indians camps that make up Husum’s heritage.
   David Cox said he has found tools from the Indian camp that used to be behind his family home. He said the Indians would sit in little “sweat huts” which they heated up with rocks and then would run out and jump into the icy White Salmon River, to rid themselves of evil spirits.
   Myrtle Overbaugh, although a resident of White Salmon, has vivid memories of the old Klickitat Indian Chief Jake Hunt who lived at Husum. "He used to ride past here every day singing at the top of his lungs, rain or shine.”
   Hunt was 100 when he died and an account of his death was published and in early edition of The Enterprise.
   "Jake Hunt Sr., Klickitat Indian aged 100 and by many thought to be 114, died on his homestead five miles north of White Salmon last Friday night a victim of old age. He is said to have been the oldest one who was on the present site of Portland before the white man came.
   "He guided two expeditions into the country. Some say that he was in the massacre of the white settlers at Cascades, but on this point he was always silent.
   "His son, Jake Jr., who came to town to get lumber for making a coffin said, "My papa old, old man say he would live longer than the big tree, smallpox came, papa die, big tree live." The big tree alluded to the is known as the Monarch of Klickitat County, situated 15 miles north of White Salmon (probably Oak Ridge Road).
   "Old Jake had three wives, all of whom are dead, six children survive, Joe, the oldest the 82, the youngest over 50. The latter was at one time a well-known a medicine man.
   "Several of the old settlers in this locale came here 35 or 40 years ago say that Old Jake looked as old then as he did two or three years ago. He owned 100 acres of land, had money in the banks and coin. Relatives had tried to locate the latter, but all attempts have been unsuccessful.
   "Jake Jr., says, "My papa leave money, but when he die he say no one have land, no one get money hide in land. We try many times to get him say where money and make will like white man, but he not do it. Papa not like White man who leave money and land to children. We hunt for gold many times but no find."
   "Until about three weeks ago Old Jake rode his pinto into town, rain or shine, with his parched, wrinkled skin he looked like a mummy and long ago persons ceased to prophecy his death."
   Another old story that is a favorite in Husum is about one of its original settlers, William Feldberg, who was called " Old Blue Eyee." Feldberg, who got the nickname because one of his eyes had been injured leading a blue scar all that side of his face, lived most of his life alone and also have the reputation of being a crank.
   Ellis Huff was one of those that didn't get along well with Old Blue Eye, who met his end in a quarrel with Huff over a fence. After the two had quarreled over the fence, Huff found Old Blue Eye there the next day tearing it down.
   Huff shot him twice and when he saw Old Blue Eye laying on the ground suffering, shot him again because he said he didn’t like him lying there kicking around. He then buried the body.
    Several weeks later Old Blue Eye was reported missing and authorities came looking for him. The found the grave and performed the autopsy, although they had trouble keeping the dogs away from the cadaver. The bullets which killed Old Blue Eye was matched to Huff’s gun and a month later he was taken to trial in Goldendale.
   To pick the jury, the sheriff knocked on doors and told residents he was looking into the shooting of Old Blue Eye. If the person said the old man who was a scroundrel and should have been shot a long time ago, then the sheriff asked them to come over and be on the jury. But if the person that said he thought the Huff boy acted a bit hasty them sheriff told them he had just come by to see what they knew about the case.
   At the trial, Huff said Old Blue Eye was waiting for him when he got to the fence and chased him with an ax. Ellis said he threw his gun over his shoulder and shot him without looking in self defense. When the Old Blue Eye fell, Huff said he turned and saw him suffering so he shot him again. The jury’s verdict was self defense and Huff went free.
   Thus Old Blue Eye is still talked about in Husum and some residents talk about putting up a marker where he is said to have been buried, deep under the landfill from the new highway.

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©  Jeffrey L. Elmer