History of Wasco County, Oregon
by Wm. H. McNeal

Chapter 13
(approximately 13 pages when printed)


     We are making no effort to give any complete history of Klickitat county but there are a few things of interest about our neighbors across the Columbia in Washington we should know more about. Fred Smith, pioneer stockman of Dallesport, loaned us his History of Klickitat County from which we quote:

     Klickitat county was established in 1859 as Clickatat county. The state of Washington was created in 1889. First settler was Erastus Joslyn at White Salmon in 1852. The 2nd settler was Alonzo Curtiss at Dallesport in 1888 and Mortimer Thorp at Goldendale the same year. Some of the 1859 cattle owners were Willis Jenkins, Ben Snipes and Wm. Murphy of The Dalles, partners, who had a ranch near Prosser in 1869 called Snipes Mountain; John and Tom Burgen, Lewis Parrott and John Golden of Goldendale. The first grain was grown in the Goldendale valley in 1861 and a sawmill erected near Goldendale in 1860. The Umatilla ferry was established in 1863 and the Maryhill (Columbus) ferry in 1868 by Wm. Hickinbotham. The road from Columbus (Maryhill) to Goldendale was built in 1860. The black cricket plague (1864-1870) made settlement impossible until March of 1870 the hills were covered with them and an early snow fell to kill them all and they have never returned! Chamberlain Flats was settled by Tim Chamberlain 1861. Pioneers say that When Ben Snipes' first run cattle in Klickitat county that he claimed all Washington territory east of Vancouver and north to Canada (1859) but that he never had a deed to any land until some years later (1869). The deep snows of the winter of 1861-62 wiped out everything he had this side of the Okanogan mountains and that Klickitat mountain had so many dead cattle on its side when spring came, that a man could walk up the mountain side (4-miles) without touching the ground! He lost thousands of head by not having any straw or hay to feed them.


     Dallesport, scene of the building of The Dalles Dam, was in 1859 first called Rockland, so named by the soldiers of old Fort Dalles who had to build the first road from The Dalles over Klickitat mountain to Ft. Simcoe in the Yakima Indian reservation and by the soldiers of the Yakima Indian War of 1856. The name was changed to North Dalles by Rev. O.D. Taylor when he platted the beautiful, but non existent, city there in 1890. Early settlers changed the name from Rockland to GrandDalles, after the big Granddalles rapids in the Columbia at Spedis (Spearfish), (from which The Dalles also takes its name) be-cause the latter name was more "dignified." The Rev. O.D. Taylor in 1891 adapted the name Grand Dalles for his paper city which name prevailed until the coming of the railroad in 1907 which adopted the old Granddalles name. Since Dalles City established their air port over there Lew Duncan and other Dalles businessmen had the name changed to Dallesport.

Alonzo Curtiss

     It was in 1858 that Alonzo Curtiss first settled at Rockland (Dallesport). He was born at Granville, Mass. the son of Samuel and Sallie (Fairchild) Curtiss and went to Ohio in 1851 where he learned the carpenter trade. He came west by boat in 1853 and to The Dalles in 1855 filing on his claim at Dalles-port in the fall of 1858, then called the Rockland Ferry Landing. He eventually acquired 4000 acres at Dallesport. He did carpenter work on old Fort Dalles for 3 years, rebuilding the garrison after the old log garrison burned. He remained as a civilian guard at the fort during the Yakima Indian war and was owner of the Watcheer hotel here in 1857. Mr. Curtiss went to Dallesport the year before the county was organized. In Nov. 1888 he returned east by boat to Los Angeles and by stage across the U.S. to Hillsboro, Illinois to marry his Sweetheart Lizzie Gould. The stage journey east was so rough and hard that they decided to return west by boat. In 1889 Mr. Curtiss erected the Diamond Flour Mill at 716 E. 2nd, street at a cost of $40,000. His wife was the daughter of John and Anna Gould of Ohio and their children were: 1. Joseph who died single; 2. Leon who operated his father's mill and farm after the elder Curtiss died in 1913 and 3. Jennie (Mrs. James Snipes) The Dalles who had business connections with the mi11. Mrs. Curtiss died in 1916.

Old Timers

     The Dalles ferry was established by James H. Herman in 1859 and it was said that his first passenger was John Golden who founded Goldendale. It is interesting to note that that first ferry was a sail and oar operated ferry. Oh windy days the sail would propel the ferry- across the river, it being steered, by oars. On still days oarsmen had to row the ferry across the river. The captain or owner operated the steering oar, his deckhand operated the other rear oar. The passengers were required to operate the 2 forward oars and "work their way across the river." Those first ferries could haul 2 wagons and their teams. Alonzo Curtiss was one of the early owners of the ferry. Traffic was not very heavy in those days and the ferry was operated only once or twice a day. Foot passengers used a row or sail boat, as did saddle horsemen, who left their mounts at Rockland.

     Matt and Martha Gilmore, 1843 emigrants who came west with that FIRST wagon train led by Dr. Marcus Whitman were early 1860 settlers at Rockland and had a family of 10 children.

     Charles H. Brune was an old German sailor who came to Calif. in 1864 then became a wood scow cap-tain on the Columbia and Dalles ferry boat operator; filed on his claim at Rockland in 1877, bought 200 sheep and with his brothers Henry and William were the first to run sheep in the Mt. Adams range. In 1867 he married Rosario Romero, a Spanish lady from Mexico and lived there until he died in 1894. Their children were: 1. Leo Brune the well known sheepman of Dallesport where he was born in 1873 and married Bertha Isham, daughter of James of Salem and their children were Charles Brune of Yakima and Bernice of San Francisco; 2. Rose (Mrs. J.M. Cummings) Sprague, Wash; 3. Josephene a nurse of Portland; 4. Grace (Mrs. D.N. Angus) Prosser, Wash; 5. Minnie (Mrs. Alex Angus) Prosser; 6. Jean of Portland. There were 4 other children who died single.

     The George Bunnell 1864 family had 10 children of Rockland.

     The Merl or "Pony" Short family of 1864 also had 10 children, of Rockland (Dallesport). -- Data on these old timers by Mrs. John Crawford of Dallesport.

First School

     These 40 children and others justified the building of the first school at Rockland (Dallesport) about where the Japanese vegetable gardens are now located on the ferry road, in the early 1860's, according to Mrs. John Crawford. The school was next located about 3/4th of a mile east of the location of the present school. It was next moved to the place now occupied by Cliff Eddins; then to the present location near Smithville. The school children are now being transported to Lyle. The building of The Dales Dam has doubled the school population and problems which will get worse.

John T. Lucas

     John Lucas was born in Canada (1840) son of John T. & Sarah (Fargher) Lucas, served in the Civil War and came to Rockland (Dallesport) as a stockman in 1879 and was also a blacksmith and county commissioner; he had married Emma Oulds, daughter of George and Mary (Hendy) Oulds of England and Cincinnati, Ohio. Their children were: 1. Fred of Heppner; 2. Frank the blacksmith of Shaniko who went to Yuma, Ariz.; 3. Robert the blacksmith of Wallula and Pasco; 4. Mary (Mrs. John Crawford) Dallesport who furnished this biography and who lives with her son Malcolm about 3 miles east of Smithville and has a son Mark of Seattle. John Crawford (1867-1933) was legislative representative from Klickitat county, son of Wm. and came across the plains at 7, driving a wagon and worked on the old Dalles-Rockland sail and oar ferry. When he came to Rockland in 1879; his brother Wm. was a Dalles wheat farmer on lower 15 Mile; 5. Addle Knight went to Calif.; 6 Terry died young; 7. Annabella (Mrs. Fred Fortner) Wasco; 8. Linden of Wasco and 9. Lucille (Mrs. Thurman Curry) Portland.

George W. Smith

     George W. Smith, stockman of Dallesport came to Rockland in 1872. He was born in Indiana (1842) son of Jacob and Sarah (Griswald) Smith 1852 pioneers by ox-team to Yamhill county where the elder Smiths had a Donation-Land claim before they moved to Salem where they died. George Smith went to the Idaho mines in 1858 and later operated a pack train from Walla Walla to Helena, Montana over the old Mullen Trail, more than 600 miles! until 1886; then he became a carpenter at The Dalles and in 1872 moved to Dallesport as a sheep and stockman. He herded sheep where Goldendale now is and built the first board school house in Goldendale. In 1893 he married Augusta, daughter of Aaron & Belinda (Bucklew) Purdy 1847 emigrants. Their children were: 1. Mable Hardin of Calif.; 2. Ada Clark of Goldendale; 3. Edna Wilson of Calif.; 4. Regina (Mrs. Ralph Curl) Portland; 5. Fritz G. (Fred) Smith of Dallesport who occupies his father's old home place, has added to it, runs stock, is past owner of The Dalles Ferry which he bought for $3000 and sold for $8000, loaned us his priceless history of Klickitat county for this record and which sold for $18.50 in 1904 ($50 in 1953); he married 1. Kate Kneckley of The Dalles and had Fred, who operates a motel at Boardman, 2. Capt. Russel Edward Smith a Columbia river boat captain and George Smith a truck driver of Portland: His 2nd marriage was to Edna Ute.

     In railroad days back in 1907 Fred Smith tells how the river was froze over for 30 days and he drove a team for Tohey Bros. contractors for the S.P.& S., who had offices in the old Shoe Factory, near the depot, and witnessed 500 head of horses driven across the ice that winter in one band. He said that Leon Curtiss always prided himself in being the first man to cross the ice, whenever the Columbia froze over, and that he took a bucket of ashes with him to "blaze the trail" for all the "tenderfoots" to follow! He led the horses at the Crane staff station above the Crawford place on the old Dalles to Goldendale road, that the 2nd station was at Happy Home (Warwicks), the 3rd at Centerville and the 4th at Goldendale. During bad weather Mike Mellvahill operated a livery barn or stage and freight station at Dallesport (Rockland). Matt and Martha Gilmore operated the Rockland stage station in 1875. After the ice became too thin to operate horses and sleds over, for supplies in 1907, Tohey brothers rigged up an endless cable and pulley arrangement and towed sleds over, much after the fashion the old Western Queen ferry's cable. The surveyors for the railroad used to have a compass mounted on their saddle horn and would follow an old mule who could walk 4 miles an hour, and in that way determined their distances without towing around so many instruments!

     Fred's History of Klickitat county says that Capt. Thomas Jordan of Old Fort Dalles was the first man to fence up ground at Dallesport (Rockland) following the Yakima Indian war, but never lived there. J.H. Alexander lived with his Indian wife at Rockland about the time Alonzo Curtiss first moved there.

Rockland County Seat

     In 1859 when Klickitat county was first established Rockland was the county seat with the court-house about 100 yards east of the S.P.& S. depot, on the railroad track. It was just a small 30 X 40 building belonging to Wm. Connell who rented it to the county for $8 a month. It served as the court-house until Goldendale became the county seat in 1878, 19 years. Amos Stark, H.M. McNary, J.T. Chambers were the first commissioners, August Schuster was the first sheriff, A.H. Summons, judge; Martin Harper was auditor and John Burgen, supt. of schools. All those men lived at or near Rockland. Peter Nelson was one of the first men to get a patent on the Crawford place, 3 miles east of Smithville on highway 830 and that place has the oldest house, made of stone, in the county and right next to the highway. The McNarys lived on the Rorick place. Capt. Peter Jansen, an old Danish sailor, lived there in those first days with his pioneer wife and 14 children, he was also ferry boat captain. In 1862 Wm. Hickinbotham family lived there. Simeon Bolton, early Klickitat county clerk at Dallesport (Rockland) operated a dairy, the first in Klickitat county, on the Curtiss place, on the west side of the road at Rockland. He sold out to Chas Frank who later operated a saloon in The Dalles (see story on the Horn saloon).

     Matt Gilmore was one of the first pioneers to die at Rockland in 1879 and he was buried in the old Gilmore cemetery, on the Fred Smith place near Smithville. The Gilmore family split up after that and some of them went to Hood River and others to Yakima. They were a very old 1843 emigrant family who came west to The Dalles with Dr. Marcus Wt1tman experiencing many hardships. Grandma Gilmore was a "walking historian" but no one ever took the time to record her wisdom.

Rev. Orson D. Taylor

     There is no chapter as amazing in the 100 years of Wasco and Klickitat county history as that pertaining to Rev. O.D. Taylor, Baptist missionary and minister of The Dalles who defrauded more than $200,000 in the early 1890's. The following was written by J.T. Rorick of The Dalles for the History of Klickitat county. The First Baptist church of The Dalles was located where the courthouse is now at 5th and Washington.

     Rev. O.D. Taylor, came to The Dalles during the railroad boom days of 1880. In the late 1880's he began buying up tracts of land at North Dalles (Dallesport). He homesteaded on a tract across from Big Eddy (Spedis) then bought 720 acres from Frank P. Taylor for $10 an acre. He obtained 105o acres from George B. Rowland for $10,500. By 1890 he owned more than 2000 acres which he had mortgaged to Dalles banks. On July 5, 1890 he organized the interstate Investment Co. capitalized at $120,000 with shares of $500 value. He retained ½ the stock himself and sold the other half in lots of one and two shares to a person, here and in the east. Rev. Taylor was president and general manager of the company.

     He platted the town of North Dalles, and sold $40,oOO worth of lots to people of Oregon and Wash. which included $9,000 in sales in The Dalles and Klickitat county! The plats were beautifully executed showing a townsite ½ X 3/4th of a mile with Columbia Ave. running north and south. Klickitat Electric Motor Ave southwest and northeast; Crescent Ave Park with streets A, B, C, & D in a wheel; with Columbia Ave. at the ferry landing and the north boundary where West Bay and East Bay Avenues,; more than 80 blocks were shown in the folder. O.D. Taylor was listed as president and general manager; J.E. Edwards was secretary; Herbert Folger was treasurer; headquarters was at 72 Washington street in Portland and in the French & Co. bank building in The Dalles. A shoe factory was shown on River Boulevard and 4th streets; a glass factory was shown on River Boulevard and Roland Avenues; the Corset factory was shown on River and Klickitat Avenues. The folder, in possession of Hans Blaser, went on to say, "The Dalles shipped 7 million pounds of wool, 2,800,000 pounds of freight; that Granddalles falls was 9 miles in length and with so much power that the Spokane river looked like a babbling brook; that the boot and shoe factory would be in operation by next February (no year mentioned) and would turn out 1500 pairs of shoes a day; that other industries were bound to follow as soon as the Boston Shoe and Leather Co. got started."

     Three railroads was shown, the Hunt railroad coming up the river from Vancouver; the Northern Pac-ific from the east and the Klickitat and Northern from Goldendale, besides a steamboat portage railroad from about where The Dalles Dam is to Wishram railroad town. The pamphlet said North Dalles would rival Spokane, Tacoma and Seattle and would be the terminal for Klickitat, Yakima and Kittitas counties. In March 1891 the Interstate Investment Co. "watered" its stock by organizing the Interstate Improve-ment Co. to which the Interstate Investment Co. transferred its bonds for a deed given by Taylor and his wife in consideration for notes of $150,000, and stock in the new company. Taylor issued 4500 shares of stock at a par value of $100 a share, which he placed on eastern markets. Taylor held 3000 shares as "trustee" besides the notes for $150,000! He changed the name of the town to Grand Dalles. He was the general manager and sales agent of the new company. He charged 25% commission on sale of lots and 10% commission on sale of stock! S.L. Skeels was his clerk. He opened offices in Cleveland, Buffalo, N.Y. and Saginaw, Mich. He sold stock and lots to the tune of $190,000 in 2 years!

     J.F. Ellis was president of the investment company and published a handsome pamphlet in 1891 which said, "Grand Dalles, the Imperial Gateway of Oregon, Washington and Idaho was head of ocean navigation on the Columbia! -- that it would truthfully answer questions about the condition and surroundings of the property." But the pamphlet actually twisted the truth or made out and out false statements without scruple! The Oregon and Washington railroad was shown as existing along the river bark from Vancouver. The Dalles, Goldendale & Northern railroad went north over the Columbia river divide (Klickitat mountain) which is too steep for a mountain goat! The Hunt railroad was pictured from the east and the portage railroad was shown. A suspension bridge was shown connecting The Dalles and Grand Dalles (about where the present bridge is being built).

     In 1891, O.D. Taylor organized a shoe company known as the Improvement Co. subscribing $10,000 and other people from The Dalles put up the same amount of money! An imposing 3-story frame building, with a high tower, was erected on the banks of the Columbia (about 300 yards east of the S.P. & S. depot near the ferry road). Machinery was installed and for 2 or 3 weeks 40 or 50 men were employed and some good shoes were made, then the creditors closed the business up. The lumber that went into the building was never paid for! Neither was the machinery and only a small part of the wages of the men here ever paid! The experiment involved about $14,000! (It stood as a memory to Taylor for about 20 years). A box factory was also erected in 1891 which never produced anything and was later used as a barn.

     In Saginaw, Michigan he sold 2 shares of Investment Co. stock to Dr. Daniel B. Cornell, physician and contracted to sell 315 lots at Grand Dalles for $32,160, the agreement being that on payment of 1/3rd of the price Cornell was to receive bonds for deeds, and upon payment of 85% was to receive full possession But Cornell discovered things about Taylor which caused him to draw back out of the con-tract. In Dec. l892 J.T. Rorick of Michigan bought one $5000 share of stock and came out to start a paper at Grand Dalles. With him came Cornell Taylor made no reports so they cornered Skeels at Buffalo, put him through the "sweat box" forcing damaging confessions. Skeels blamed Taylor for everything excusing himself on the grounds that he was only an employee, but he gave them all the evidence that he possessed and with this evidence they got Taylor removed from his office in June 1893 and secured indictments before the Multnomah county grand jury on 60 counts of embezzlement of $50,000; but the case was dropped on law technicalities!

     Then in 1895 Dr. Cornell, S.H. Blakely and Joseph Seaman of Saginaw, Mich. who had invested in Taylor stock, made a complaint in the circuit court of Saginaw charging Taylor with obtaining money under false pretenses. At the same time the 2 companies began civil action to force Taylor to give an accounting. The litigation lasted until January 1902.

     Taylor was arrested in The Dalles in July 1895 by detective Parker Owen of Saginaw, Mich. who, after a series of adventures, landed his prisoner at Saginaw. In December 1895 the case came up for trial before Judge Snow. Taylor's attorney raised technical objections touching the legality of the statue upon which the prosecution was based and the matter had to go to the supreme court where ordered the case to trial. In December 1896 the Cornell case was taken up and Taylor was found guilty and sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. An appeal was taken to the supreme court, to which body the appellants made it appear that Taylor was a second time in jeopardy for the same offense and the court ordered the prisoner released!

     Taylor beat his lawyers out of their fees and out of the money he borrowed from them and they denounced him in the press as a criminal of the first water! He was as liberty on a cash bond fur-nished by George Williams his Portland attorney.

     The only business building in Grand Dalles in 1904 was the U.S. post office!

     Rev. O.D. Taylor returned to The Dalles and preached in his church at 5th and Washington but it got so no one but his wife was in the audience to listen to him. Other members of the church with-drew and formed the Calvary Baptist church at 7th and Union. Finally Wasco County acquired the church property, razed the building and erected one of the finest court house buildings in the west. Rev. Taylor left The Dalles, according to Judge Fred W. Wilson, for Baker where he lived the remainder of his life. He had 2 sons Osman and Burnside of Portland and 2 daughters last known to be in Portland.

     Another of his pamphlets quoted Grand Dalles lots at $200, showed the bridge in colors across the river with street cars operating over it to The Dalles, clusters of beautiful houses, a glass, corset, shoe and box factory. Some emigrants came west as prospective employee's of the factories that existed only on paper; a few remained here, some returned and others went on after cussing "the man of God," who had swindled them. Many widows gave up their savings for lots at Granddalles and men left good jobs in the east. Many of the cases were pathetic. The shoe factory was railroad headquarters for Towhy Brothers in 1907 and a saloon occupied the box or glass factory in railroad days. The first improved county road to the ferry cut through many of Taylors "paper houses, streets, lawns."

August Schuster

     Another of the pioneer Dallesport families was August Schuster who first settled at Lyle in 1862 and came to Dallesport in 1867 where he lived until he died in 1894. He was born in Germany (1824) and came west by ox-team in 1852 and became the first sheriff of Klickitat county remaining in office 14 years. He married Catherine Dell and their son William Schuster was born at Granddalles in 1866 and attended that first school near the Japanese gardens, later was a butcher at Goldendale and rode range and farmed at Pleasant Valley 12 miles east of Goldendale; he married Alice Cowles and had Wm. Calvin and Sylvia May. The next son was Charlie Schuster of Seattle; 3. Mary (Mrs. Wm. Wickman) The Dalles, mother of Fred Wickman and Elizabeth Gibson; 4. Elizabeth Schanno of The Dalles; 5. Rosa Davis of Walla Walla.

     The Dallesport Irrigation Corp. was formed in 1924 by Leon Curtiss and Lou Duncan with less than 20 members. They pump water from the Columbia. In 1952 a 100 unit trailer camp was installed near the new bridge approach road for Dalles Dam workers, by the A.E. Cook, Trailer Camps on 40 acres. The Klickitat Peoples Utility District serves the county with cheap power. A housing unit near the air-port of Dalles City has several apartment houses for workers and a super market. The airport of Dalles City was erected at Dallesport because of air current conditions making a field unsafe for planes on this side of the river.


     As stated above August Schuster was the first settler at Lyle in 1862. He was followed by John Parry in 1865. In 1878 James O. Lyle bought the townsite from J.M. Williamson and laid out the town as Lyle in 1880. In 1878 the post office was called Klickitat Landing but was changed to Lyle in 1880. J.O. Lyle built the first store. James Clark built the 2nd store and Collins Elkins established a store there in 1897. In 1898 John Kure built the Riverside hotel. In 1900 McInnis McLeod established a store and John Daffron built a hotel. In 1892 Lyle sold to the Balfours of London. Fredrick Homer Balch, author of the Bridge of the Gods was the most outstanding man from Lyle.

     James O. Lyle was born in Penn (1831) son of Chas. and Sarah (Johnson) Lyle and went to Indiana in 1837 then to Iowa in 1851 where he drove stage until 1853 when he headed for California gold fields by ox-team. On his return trip to Iowa by boat he was wrecked on an island near Panama. He re-crossed the plains to The Dalles in 1863 and lived at Rowena 2 years, near the Snipes family with whom he came west as he had married (1857) Martha Snipes; daughter of Elam and Acenith (Rasson) Snipes pioneers of Rowena and later of Goldendale valley. In 1892 Lyle moved to Camas Prairie where he died in 1884. His children were Charlie, George and Sarah (Mrs. I.B. Hewett) Camas Prairie.

White Salmon

     Was first settled by Erastus S. Joslyn in 1852, of Mass. who built a cabin set out an orchard, garden and ran cattle until burned out by the Indians in 1856. He returned and lived there until 1874. J.R. Warner established the post office at Bingen Landing in 1868 (Called Warner Landing). In 1880 Jacob Hunsaker established a store and became postmaster in White Salmon. Rev. E.P. Roberts, retired minister who settled on 3 Mile at The Dalles was an 1858 settler at White Salmon near Joslyns and he sold to J.R. Warner in 1864. E.S. Turner was an 1865 settler. G.A. Thomas established a store there in 1891 which was consolidated with C.M. Wolfords. The White Salmon Enterprise was started in 1903.

The Maryhill Museum Of Fine Arts

     One of the most unusual and outstanding things in the Columbia river gorge is the Maryhill International Museum of Fine arts! One of the most universal questions asked was WHY was it put at Maryhill? This mysterious question is a challenge to tourist and native alike. To understand Maryhill museum is to understand its builder Samuel Hill.

     Samuel Hill was the Quaker son of Dr. Nathan Hill of Deep River and Charlotte, N.C., where the fam-ily lived during the slave days of the Civil war and Dr. Hill assisted slaves to reach the free north. His efforts made his well being unsafe so he moved with his family to Minneapolis. The son Samuel was educated at Harvard and a number of other prominent American schools majoring in law and, with second-ary interest in roads and highways, an almost unheard of hobby in those days. In his eternal passion for further knowledge in road engineering he attended the Munich, Germany school of engineering and traveled widely in Europe studying roads and road engineering problems. He learned German, French, Italian and attended schools in all those places. When he returned to the U.S. he was the best educated and most well informed road engineer and builder that the U.S. had so far produced! (1885-90).

     He married Mary, the daughter of James J. Hill, the railroad magnet. Their honeymoon trip included Germany and it is said that while at their hotel in Munich the King of Belgium's coach drew up in front of the hotel. Mary became breathless, pointing out to Samuel the coat of arms on the carriage and the king's action in getting out, and coming into the hotel. Samuel was quiet and composed, for he and the king were school chums. The king had came to the hotel, to make a personal call upon Samuel and his wife! He extended to them the courtesies of his realm! The honeymooners were welcomed by the Tzar of Russia! In France the president was another of Mr. Hill's personal friends, as was the Queen of Holland, the Queen of Rumania, the King of England, the King of Italy. He was received by the Pope, at the Vatican as only on rare occasions are visitors so received! In Japan the emperor was another of his friends. Yes he might have been called America's Ambassador of Good Will known and loved alike the world around by men and women in all walks of life and by rulers of great nations!

     The average person has always thought that Samuel Hill had to change his name to Hill upon marriage to Mary Hill, daughter of James Another impression was that Samuel Hills wife was wealthy, and that he married her for wealth or that obtained from her father, the great railroad builder! As a matter of fact Samuel Hill was wealthy in his own right and he even accompanied his father-in-law James J. Hill to Europe to obtain loans and money for the Great Northern railroad expansion, for the building of the S.P.& S. Oregon Trunk and other lines!

     To Samuel Hill the Columbia river; gorge and the Rhine river gorge in Germany were, in many respects identical. Along the Rhine there were many old Castles which he enjoyed visiting and studying. The banks of the Rhine was discovered with vineyards, despite their steepness. He had visions of the Columbia river banks likewise lined with vineyards. He dreamed of a castle of his own, just as all men dream of a castle. The only question was where to erect that castle and how to design it? According to Phil Perrish of the Oregonian, "Mr. Hill had engineers of Germany design and make 12 large globes of the world, which cost him $12,000, and on those globes he had those master-minds of German engineering put all the air and ocean currents of the world, in detail. With the aid of these globes he could show his friends that MARYHILL, WASHINGTON was designated by the Creator to be the GARDEN SPOT OF THE WORLD! It was at Maryhill that the warm winds of Spring struck FIRST, even earlier than at The Dalles, earlier than any other place in eastern Oregon or Washington! The winters were mild. The soil would grow the finest fruits, grapes, melons, garden, corn, wheat or livestock. These were the reasons he chose Maryhill, Wash. as the location for his 7000 acre ranch and $1,500,000 castle, in 1910. Its building and location was not the hap-hazard idea of a wealthy mad-man; rather it was quite the reverse, there was never any more carefully planned selection ever made; unless it was the building of the Pyramids of Egypt! The fact that the ancient Mound Builders, predecessors of the Indians, left their writings (petroglyphs) on the walls of the bluffs at Spedis, Tenino, Wishram, Roosevelt and other places in the gorge, fantastic figures, designs that have withstood wind, sun, rains and all types of weather for thousands of years, should be ample proof of the wisdom of the selection made by Mr. Hill!"

     Construction was started in 1910 and suspended in 1917. It was carried on again in.1932. The formal dedication ceremonies were held November 13, 1926 when Mr. Hill, with Queen Marie of Rumania made the dedication. The Queen was accompanied with the Prince and Princess who arrived by train from Spokane at 5 A.M. The ceremonies were held around 10. The Queen was introduced by Judge Nelson B. Brooks, an attorney of Goldendale and mayor of Goldendale at the time! It was Mr. Brooks, father of Zolo Brooks, as attorney for Mr. Hill, negotiated for the purchase of the 7000 acre farm. He was an 1886 pioneer settler of Goldendale who owned a brickyard, following the big fire of Goldendale, and a bank which loaned business men money to build 30 brick buildings in Goldendale. He got Mr. Corbett to spend $500,000 for the Lyle-Goldendale railroad later sold to the S.P.& S. for $900,000! Queen Marie dedicated the Maryhill Castle as an International Museum of Fine Arts. She made several, outstanding gifts for the museum, now on display. After the ceremonies, her party motored through The Dalles to Portland over the Columbia River highway, as guests of Mr. Hill. A tremendous turnout of people thronged the streets of The Dalles to see the only Queen ever to visit The Dalles! At Hood River the Queen accepted a gift of flowers from school children, according to Hans Blaser, a member of the motorcycle police escort between Maryhill and Multnomah county. Again, the date Queen Marie was in The Dalles was Nov. 3, 1926 at about 2:30 P.M. Schools were dismissed and all the kiddies was there, saying, "wasn't she beautiful?"

     During the construction of the Castle it was rumored that it was designed as an exile home for King Albert of Belgium. In 1912 Mr. Hill brought Monsieur Jusser and Madame Jusser, French Ambassador and his wife to Maryhill to view the construction and suggest a name for it. The place was then called Columbus, Wash. Monsieur Jusser suggested the name of Maryhill, in honor of Samuel Hill's daughter Mary (now deceased). It was always rumored that the place was named for his wife Mary.

     Samuel Hill was a Quaker and tried to form a Quaker settlement at Maryhill. He built a church, school and homes for several families, installed an irrigation system, bought good blooded cattle for the 7000 acre place. He built Meadow Lark Inn to accommodate visitors. He erected a very remarkable STONEHENGE as a veteran memorial May 30, 1929. It is an exact replica as to shape, size, design and position, with reference to stars, as the Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England. The origin of the Stonehenge is shrouded in mystery and built in the Stone Age or Bronze Age. It con-sists of large stones, set in 2 circles and 2 ovals, with a large altar stone in the center. The outer circle is 108 feet in diameter; made of 30 upright stones, each 16 feet in height and 16 feet in circumference; with 30 similar stones placed horizontally on their tops. The inner circle consists of 40 single upright stones, each 9 feet in height. The ovals are formed on 5 pairs of trilithons, standing separate from each other and rising gradually in height from east to west. Standing to the east of the main structure and outside the outer circle, is a stone that is variously known as the "Friar's Heel", the Hele or Sun Stone. This stone casts it's shadow on the altar stone on the day in summer solstice, usually June 21, each year, and only on that one day! The Stonehenge is always open to the public. It is a challenge to the "wise men of 1952" from the wise men of the sunken continent of Pan 25,000 years ago! The circles represent the Creator who has no beginning or end and the posi-tion of the stones helped them determine the seasons. The savage Druids of England used the altar as a place for sacrifices to their war gods so Hill erected the replica, at Maryhill to remind us all that we are "still reeking human sacrifices to the Gods of war."

The Museum

     On Nov. 3, 1926 Queen Marie of Rumania dedicated Maryhill Castle as Maryhill Museum of Fine Arts. The long rectagonal concrete building of 40 rooms, 1000 feet above the Columbia river, is like a Castle in the Alps. The Flemish design of the Museum can be seen for miles up and down both sides of the river. The Hill endowment funds, income from the 7000 acre ranch and tourist admissions maintain the museum which cost 12 million dollars. The gifts include those from King Albert of Belgium; from members of the French Royalty including relics of Napoleon, of Queen Victoria, Pope Pius Xl, King of Greece, Serbia, relics from the Mayflower, art collections, sculpture collections, Indian relics, rare books worth $90,000, statuettes from the Cathedral of Norte Dame, authentic coronation robes, crowns, thrones, gold and silver filigree; hand writing of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln; the 12 foot long Roghi, the Moroccan pretender being carried in an iron cage on a camel and accompanied by 162 soldiers on foot and 21 mounted on horses valued at $l0,000, bronze wax casting! The 83 figurines of fashion will attract any child from 8 to 80; the basement Indian room is one of the best Indians collections in the west; some of the givers being M.Z. Donnell, George Bunn, Leo Brune, J.T. Barton, Dr. G.N. Gamon and Walter Klint all of The Dalles; the relics, of Columbia river steamboats given by Fred Wilson of The Dalles.

     Among the directors are Capt. A. Leppaluto and Dr. Thomas E. Griffith of The Dalles. Daniel B. Hill of Seattle is President, Z.O. Brooks of Goldendale is secretary and C.R. Dolph is manager.

Columbus or Maryhill

     The first settler at Columbia (Maryhill) was Capt. Stanton H. Jones in 1859 who was born in Ohio in 1830 and went to the California gold mines and later to the Fraser river mines then became a stockman at Columbus and Goldendale. He married Hariett Boots and had a son George. A.G. Davis operated the first store at Columbus. In 1881 the Northern Pacific railroad built 2 miles of grade at Maryhill. In 1583 Paul Mohr built 518 miles of railroad for portage purposes to Columbus and operated 2 steamers but went bankrupt by 1900.


     The railroad village of Wishram, named for the Indian village of Wishram at Spearfish was established by the S.P.& S. railroad in 1911 as Fallbridge and changed to Wishram in 1926. The rail-road division point was at Cliffs about 11 miles up the Columbia from Wishram from 1907 to 1911. With the extension of the Oregon Trunk railroad up the Deschutes in 1910-11, trains were barged across the Columbia by the steamer Normal in charge of Capt. Haywood, between Clark (Wishram) and Moody (Miller) at the mouth of the Deschutes. Fallbridge (Wishram) had 8 families living in tents and shacks in 1910 and had a 2-room school with 10 children. In 1926 the Columbia River Historical Society asked the railroad to change the name of the town from Fallbridge to Wishram; in honor of the old Indian village of Wishram and the railroad complied.

     George Bunn of The Dalles is the oldest or first resident of Wishram. He worked for A.E. Lake in The Dalles in 1908-0910 and went to Wishram in 1911 to start a clothing store. He bought $160 worth of clothing and was given credit for $250 more by Fleshman Meter of Portland. Having no home and with little money he slept under the counter of his store at night and ate in the railroad chop house. He was the son of George Bunn, 1879 farmer of Wasco who moved to The Dalles in 1896. Mr. Bunn said the original plan of the railroad was to bridge the Columbia at Miller's Island but the Fallbridge site was so much cheaper they put the $5,000,000 span across at Tum Water falls.

     Harry Green had all the property at Wishram, that the railroad didn't own, for sale and sold it to Mr. Bunn for $4000 which seemed like a lot of money to a pennyless struggling young business man but he was able to borrow enough from his brother-in-law Ferd Deisel in Portland to pay Green off. Green was then a banker and often wished afterwards that he had retained at least ½ interest in the town property now worth ½ million and financed Mr. Bunn himself for the other half.

© Jeffrey L. Elmer All Rights Reserved