The Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., April through October 1950

The Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., April 3, 1950, page 2
Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway

     "Deer, dear and elk roamed at will through the park-like forests; cougar, wolves and coyotes were in plentiful evidence; grouse and pheasant were found in abundance, while the streams were filled with trout and the river with salmon. Nature was indeed lavish. . .
     Winter . . dreary snow and storms . . . unable to provide sufficient sustenance to properly care for his dumb beasts . . . anxiety hovered over the pioneer's home . . . watched for the first signs of the coming west wind that meant warmth and strength to his famished stock.
     "Summer . . . seemed to smile upon him. Distance rumors chilled his blood. They came nearer and nearer, until an Indian war in all its horrors was upon him. The sickening, monotonous beating of the war drum, the yells of the infuriated savages, the blazing walls of his neighbor's home . . .
      "Imagine if you can the little log cabin almost buried in snow, and surrounded by hundreds of starving cattle; the desperate fight for life itself; the sickness, hunger and cold within, and then tell me if you can the quality and number of joys that paradise should hold to requite the pioneer, even in part, for the privations he has undergone"
     With this foreowrd Henry C. Coe, son of the pioneer who made that succeddful attempt to settle at Hood River, starts his account of Hood River 50 years ago, printed in a Glacier of April, 1903.
     Now the story of Hood River continues, from hearsay, experience, and from the leaves of an old family diary.
     In addition to the excerpts fropm this account which will appear in the columns of the Sun, I have a likely market for a longer article -- by material for illustration presents a problem. If any of the readers have pictures or records suitable for illustrating this story, the greatest care would be taken, the pictures copies, and the originals returned immediately.
     The original article has photos of William C. and Mary Yeargain Laughlin, first settlers in Hood River; Nathaniel and Mary White Coe., parents of the author; E.S. and Mary L. Joslyn, first settlers at White Salmon; and John Slibinder, Indian. There is also a picture of the first house in Hood River, built by Nathaniel Coe in 1854, near the site of the Laughlin cabin.
     (Mrs. Ordway can be reached by phoning 1615 or writing to her at 1321 Columbus Street. -- Ed.)

Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., April 4, 1950, page 2

Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway

     In the Hood River Glacier of April 2, 1903, Henry C. Coe begins an account of Hood River 50 years prior.
     "I am under many obligations to Mrs. Elizabeth Lord, daughter of Judge William C. Laughlin, the pioneer settler of the Hood River, for a very graphic and thrilling account of their awful winter's experience in our valley."
     Then, from Mrs. Lord's account, "Hood River was first settled by William Catesby Laughlin and his wife, Mary Laughlin . . . They crossed the plains to Oregon in 1850, lived in The Dalles two years and moved to Hood River in the Fall of 1852.
     ". . . Mr. Laughlin . . . Dr. Farnsworth, an old friend and family physician . . . concluded to settle at Hood River, then called Dog River . . . loveliest spot on earth."
     ". . . in October they engaged a flatboat to take the families and supplies down the river, the doctor going down with them. Mr. Laughlin (with three others) drove the stock (about 400 head, their own and others they had contracted to winter) over the trail. The boat . . . made the run in one day . . . the stock took two days. They drove the stock across Dog River, . . . and the next day crossed the river by fording with ox teams.
     "Mr. Laughlin built a small log cabin. Owing to the lateness of the season and the serious illness of his eldest son, James, who had typhoid fever, he hastened to get a shelter over his family. Dr. Farnsworth took more time and built a better and larger cabin ." -- and thus the first settlers came to Hood River.

Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., April 5, 1950, page 2

Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway
(Number Two of a Series)

     From the Hood River Glacier for April 2, 1903, Mrs. Elizabeth Lord tells of her parent's first winter at Hood River.
     "In October . . . located and built. In November a very heavy snow fell, and . . . remained on the ground until March. The cabin was on the edge of a beautiful grove . . . of fir trees, and all of the cattle from far and near made their way to that grove. There were several men down near Mitchell's Point herding over 500 head of cattle, and they all came up to the Laughlin cabin".
     She continues to tell how the starving cattle crushed in the cabin door, the pandemonium and terror. There were 400 head of horses and cows of their own, plus the herd abandonded by the men from the Cascades.
     "The cattle stayed in that grove until every one died. All of Dr. Farnsworth's and all of Mr. Laughlin's but 14 head . . . a deep ravine running from just below the spring down through the grove, by spring was full of dead cattle.
     "After Christmas Dr. Farnsworth became discouraged, so he and Mr. Laughlin felled a large fir tree, dug and burned and hewed out a very large canoe, in which he loaded everything he had and drifted away from Hood River forever.
     "This left Mr. Laughlin's family very forlorn . . . a winter of struggles and hardships. With the help of Indians whom he hired he felled trees to make corrals to separate the weaker cattle . . . try to save some.
     "Flour gave out." A little shorts was secured, despite cheating of Indians. "Very soon this, too, was gone."
     "Mr. Laughlin dug out a small canoe for himself and went up to The Dalles for supplies. While there he made arrangements . . . to lease land for a farm on the government reservation (the same land which he afterwards held as a donation claim).
     "As soon as the snow had gone off he gathered what horses were left and hired the Indians from White Salmon, who had five canoes, to take the family up the Columbia to The Dalles, while he and his son James drove the pitiful handful of stock back over those hills where so few months before they had driven such a large herd."

Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., April 6, 1950, page 2

Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway

     In the Hood River Glacier for April 2, 1903, Henry Coe tells of his first view of Hood River, in 1854, on the occasion of a family escursion from Portland to Fort Dalles.
     ". . . left Portland for Fort Dalles, at that time head of navigation on the Columbia River. The first day's ride was on the little side-wheel steamer Fashion . . . an alll day's trip brought us to the lower Cascades. The Bradford's were then in the transportation business at the Cascades.
     "The portage of six miles was a rather complicated business. Freight . . . was first loaded in schooners, which, when the wind blew sufficiently strong, were driven to the landing then known as the middle blockhouse, but now called Sheridan's Point . . . unloaded onto a tram car that hauled up by a windlass run by a very patient and intelligent mule . . .
     "This mule discovered he could safely nap when our of sight of man, so he soon "seriously interfered with the transportation business." A fireman had to be added to the list of trains hands.
     "At the upper Cascades the Bradford's had just completed a small schooner . . . At this point stood Bradford's store, where two years afterward a handful of brave, fearless men for three days held at bay the savage hordes of Indians in what is known as the Cascade massacre."
     "Aboard the schooner . . . about noon reached Hood River, then known as Dog River . . . father determined to return . . . with a view of locating . . . reached Fort Dalles that evening.
     "The trip down the river was a rough one, and after an all-day battle with winds and waves we reached White Salmon, then the only settlement between Fort Dalles and Cascades. The sole white resident here was E.S. Joslyn . . . It is remarkable how a man's personality is reflected in everything that surrounds him, and the welcome extended to the hungry and tired passengers and crew . . . seemed to extend down to even the old watch dag.
     "The morning proved pleasant and the rest of the trip was uneventful."

Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., April 7 1950, page 2

Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway
(Number 4 of a Series)

     Henry Coe, son of the first permenent settler on Hood River, gives his version, of the naming of Hood River, in an article in the Hood River Glacier of April 2, 1903.
     "Hood River was originally known as Dog River, and obtained its name in the following manner. A band of cattle was being brought down from The Dalles and reached the river at dusk. The cattle were driven across the river, while the party camped on the east side. In the night a heavy rain storm came up, and in the morning the river was too high to cross. The rains continued for a number of days, and the party ran out of food and were compelled to kill old Towser, the dog". Henry Coe was unable to give the date of the occurance, but in 1903 states "I conversed with a man only a few years ago who was one of the party."
     "My mother, Mrs. Mary W. Coe, objected to the name, and as the stream had its head in Mount Hood, she proposed to call it Hood River. This name was thought very appropriate and was adopted by everyone".

Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., June 12, 1950, page 2

Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway

     The eyewitness account of the Indian war along the mid-Columbia area in 1856 is taken from a letter written to the Glacier of November 7, 1897, by Henry Coe.
     "The year 1856 was one of anxiety to the few and scattered inhabitants of Eastern Oregon and Washington. Rumors of an impending Indian outbreak filled the air  -- came with the winter's snows, but did not go with them. For a year the columns of the Weekly Oregonian had been filled with accounts of the barbarous tortures inflicted upon helpless immigrants who fell into the hands of the hostile hordes in the eastern part of the territory. The question then with the wretched prisoners was not how long before a ransom or exchange would set them free, but how long before death would release them from the infernal tortures inflicted by their captors. Once in their clutches few escaped to tell the awful tale.
     "The powerful Yakima nation, led by the noted Chief Kamiken, were practically on the war path, and their emissaries were everywhere urging the Columbia river tribes to join in a war of extermination against the whites. The Klickitats, an important branch of the Yakimas, withstood for a time the importunities of their inland brothers and gave up their arms to the authorities without a word; but the maggot of unrest was industriously working in the "military brain," and the arrest of three of the principal chiefs of the tribe was decided upon. Mr. Joslyn, the pioneer settler of White Salmon, a warm-hearted Christian gentleman and an earnest friend of the Indians, protested in vain against the outrage. The unsuspecting chiefs were easily trapped, loaded with chains, sent to Vancouver and placed in charge of the regular army. They soon found means to evade the vigilance of their guards and returned to the tribe, who, with a few notable exceptions, at once joined the hostilities.

Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., July 14, 1950, page 2

Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway

     Howling Indians gathered on the bluffs across the Columbia struck terros to the heart of an eleven-year-old Henry Coe. He recalls his childhood experience in a letter first printed in the Glacier November 7, 1897:
     Cavalry was being sent from The Dalles to aid the Hood River settlers. "The hostiles had been unusually active that morning, and the boy Woodburn Hawks and myself had been sent out to gather up the cattle and drive them home. We did not much like the job, but could not help it; but before we found the cattle we saw the smoke from Joslyn's house and barn and hurried home as fast as our feet could carry us. We found the cavalry had arrived, and their coming was the signal for the burning. The valorous lieutenant marshaled his forces on the sand ar, and hailing the steamer Wasco on her way to The Dalles, started for the seat of war. My two brothers and the two Bensons had gone with the troops, also Amos Underwood, who was on his way to the Cascades, was one of the party. How the Indians did yell! The cliffs were alive with them, and their war whoops echoed and re-echoed across the river. The valiant lieutenant, ere he reached the landing, suddenly remembered that he had orders not to molest the Indians in Washington, but merely to protect the settlers and their property at Hood River, and ordered the boat to land him again on the Oregon side. Discretion in this case was certainly the better part of valor, for it undoubtedly saved him his scalp and that of every member of his party that was to have landed on the hostile shore."

Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., July 31, 1950, page 2

Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway

     Fifty years after the Cascade massacre, Henry Coe wrote his memories for the Hood River Glacier; in April, 1903:
     The Hood River settlers were fearful they be the next victims of the marauding Indians. "A council was at once called, friendly Indians included. They on their part promised to station guards all along the river and send couriers to the Cascades, and this promise was faithfully executed. After they had gone it was unanimously decided that we should at all hazards attempt to reach The Dalles. We had all confidence in the Klickitats; they had been proven, but were satisfied the others could not be trusted. Our only route was by the river, and the craft, a large Chinook canoe which had been hid in the brush near where the present wagon bridge crosses Hood River, and was owned by an old Indian named Waucusha. This canoe was an exceptionally fine one, capable of carrying 30 or 40 passengers.
     "At about midnight the entire white population of Hood River left their homes and marched in single file to the river, where we met the canoe and started our lonely journey. As we quietly paddled our canoe through the silent water, we heard the Indian guards signaling along the shore from one to another until far up and down the river came the answering calls. We had been discovered, and in less time than it takes to read it, every camp had been appraised of our flight."

Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., August 8, 1950, page 2

Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway

     The white people pf Hood River flee from the warring Indians, and are trying to reach The Dalles by canoe, as Henry Coe continues his narrative, as told in the Glacier of April 9, 1903:
     "About noon the next day, when near Klickitat river, we met both little steamers, Mary and Wasco, fairly blue with soldiers, and loaded to the guards with cavalry and munitions of war, on their way to the relief of the Cascades. They stopped as they came to us, inquiring for news. We gave them what we had heard from the courier the night before, and they hurried along. How their polished rifles and bayonets gleamed and shimmered in that noon day sun! And their clanking sabers made sweet music to our care-worn ears. How fierce and brave and good they looked! Oh! would they be in time? About three o'clock we reached The Dalles, where almost the entire population turned out to meet us, inquiring for the news. And here our journey ended.
     "I cannot close to this article without a tribute of praise to those true and loyal Klickitats, who so bravely stood by the whites in that trying year. Truer-hearted men never lived. Tried by the test of battle, they proved themselves men even though their hearts beat under a dusky skin. They have nearly all passed over to their happy hunting grounds and scarcely a remnant of their race remains. Among the most prominent of them were Johnson, Queumps, Yallup, Snataps and Johnnie. There were others that I cannot call to memory. Among the Hood River Indians only two or three remain -- Old John Slibender and Charley Copiax, and both were unwavering in fealty to the whites. There is still another, whose character as a friend to the pale face is open to serious doubts. His own admission places him in the fight against Major Haller on Simcoe mountains. By the evidence of all others, his hand applied the torch that fired the Joslyn houses, and by implication that same right hand was crimsoned with the blood of innocents at the Cascade massacre. I refer to Old White Salmon Dave, a notorious beggar and would-be pensioner of Brother John Cradlebaugh."

Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., August 14, 1950, page 2

Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway

     Henry Coe, in the Glacier for April 9, 1903, closes his account of the Indian War of 1856 with a bit of unwritten history:
     ". . . that wily old chief, Kamiaken, decided upon war. His plan was first to capture the Cascades, then leaving sufficient force to hold that place, come up the river and attack The Dalles, compelling all the Indians to join him. And there is no doubt in my mind that, with few exceptions, all the tribes will have joined his standard. From The Dalles the movement was to continue eastward until the entire country east of the Cascades was clear of whites. The campaign was well planned but poorly executed.
     "All that saved the Cascades, however, was a very unfortunate accident, one of those happenings which seems to be the direct work of Providence. A large body of United States troops was on its way to the eastern part of the territory, and Kamiaken was fully informed as to the intentions of the troops. Couriers on fleet horses waited the movement of the troops, and on their departure from The Dalles the horses of the couriers were urged to their utmost speed to Kamiaken's camp, who at once started his warriors for the Cascades. But the troops only made a three-mile march and went into camp to await the arrival of arms and ammunition which had been detained at the Cascade portage, and were to have been shipped by the steamer the very day of the attack. So the detention not only furnished those in Bradford's store with an abundance of arms and ammunition, but detained the troops within easy reach of the boats. This information regarding Kamiaken all came through the Indians that had escaped from Chief Showaway's clutches.
     ". . . you can now little realize the situation then ot the constant fear that for over a year was in every breast. It seems to me now more like a dream than a reality."

Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., August 22, 1950, page __

Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway

     Henry Coe's family kept a meterological record commencing in February 1857, but no family record until June, 1858. From these old accounts come these notes, published in the Hood River Glacier of April 9, 1903:
     Sunday, October 15, 1857. -- Thermometer broke by the first frost that touched it. Henry remarks. "This was a serious loss, as we were unable to obtain another one until the following June."
     June 3 -- "Took 19 bushels potatoes to Dalles; sold for $2.5O per bushel.
     Farm hands came high those days. From an old account book I read: William Paige, by work commencing May 1, 1857 to October 22 - 5 mos., 22 days - $238.00" (or $40 per month and board). This man Paige was an old English sailor whom my father picked up in Portland and hired for a year at $40 per month and board. He afterwards obtained unenviable notoriety by his connection with the noted Magruder murders near Lewiston, Idaho, about 1884 or 1865. Paige, with three others, brutally murdered a packer named Magruder and his entire party of five or six ,for their money, and escaped to California. They were captured in San Francisco and taken back to Lewiston. Paige turned state's evidence and saved his neck; his three companions were hanged. He was afterwards shot dead in a saloon brawl.
     August 10, 1858, a young man by the name of Arthur Gordon, who, with his cousin Henry, had been at work on the river, took up the claim afterwards known as the Peter Neal place, and my brother Eugene took up a claim he afterwards sold to Jesse Neal, a son of old Peter.

Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., September 25, 1950, page 2

Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway

     Henry Coe, in an account published in the Hood River Glacier of April 9, 1903, tells of early day Indian incidents:
     Another case (of the peculiar ideas of Indian justice) was that one of Chief Mark's tribe, of The Dalles, who was killed in a drunken brawl by one of Chief Wal-la-chin's men. Wal-al-chin ruled half a dozen camps located about three miles west of Hood River. Chief Mark at once demanded satisfaction either by delivery of the guilty party or a satifactory number of ponies. Both demands were refused on the ground of contributory negligence. Mark, without further delay, marshalled his warriors and started for Wal-la-chin's camp on a strictly business proposition. About 10 o'clock one bright spring morning the beating of tom-toms notified us of their arrival. They had crossed Hood River near its mouth and marched single file down the entire length of the sandbar. There were 50 or 60 of them on horseback, armed with flint-lock muskets, bows and arrows, etc., and made a procession one-half a mile long. It is needless to say that old Wal-la-chin capitulated at once, and in the afternoon they returned with the blood-money horses, leading them away in triumph.

Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., October 2, 1950, page 2

Hood River - One Hundred Years Ago
By Marguerite Ordway

     Henry Coe, in an article published in the Hood River Glacier of April 9, 1903, tells of early-day lumbering:
     In the fall of 1860 Peter Neal visited Hood River valley and decided to locate on the abandoned Gordon place, and in the spring of 1861 moved down with his family, including his son-in-law, Jerome Winchell. If I remember rightly, Hardin Corum came to Hood River the same spring and built the saw mill for Neal. The East Side then abounded in magnificent pine timber, and the Neal's made use of it, cutting it wherever found, regardless of location. Uncle Sam then made no kick at those who despoiled his forests. Neal's lumber business was run very much on Uncle Sam's protective tariff plan. We paid $10 and $l2 per 1000 for his lumber here, though he would ship better lumber to The Dalles and sell at $6 and $8 per 1000 there. That is we could buy identically the same lumber at The Dalles, and pay freight back to Hood River as cheap as we could get it at home; but that was one of Uncles Pete's little ways, and we could buy it or let it alone, just as we chose. Jesse Neal, son of Peter Neal, took up a place adjoining the Butler place, which was afterwards purchased by John W. Hinrichs, and a year or so Corum took a farm west of Jesse Neal's and built a saw mill on a branch of what is now known as Odell creek.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer