A Journey

The first thing I saw was Crow. It was almost as if I was looking through a camera, and Crow put his face right up to the lens. He put his eyeball up to the lens, and then his beak, then his whole face, and then he vanished.
The next thing I saw was an enormous, gorgeous, perfect rose, free floating in mid-air. It was very dark pink, almost red, and then it became a lush, deep, dark red. It had petals like a peony, but it was a rose. The rose became larger and larger, and as it grew, it opened to reveal a velvety center of infinite petals.

I was on the edge of a forest. Eagle appeared, in a fierce emanation. I got onto his back.

Thunderbird Petroglyph, Horse thief lake, OR.

Thunderbird Petroglyph, Horse thief lake, OR.

Then he and I climbed into the rose and were immediately transported up into the sky on a strong current of wind. Raccoon came running up behind us, and at the last minute grabbed onto the rose and came flying with us. Crow flew up beside us and flew along, by our side. As we climbed high into the sky, I looked down and saw two dead animals at the forest’s edge; a doe and a kit fox. I could see smoke coming from the treetops and I realized there must be a forest fire. It appeared that the doe and the kit fox had possibly died of smoke inhalation.
We were scaling a mountainside. There was a cliff jutting out, way above us. It was above the cloud line. We went through the layer of clouds, very swiftly, and landed on the edge of the cliff. Grandmother Rose was there. She had been waiting for us. There was also a leathery old medicine man. He was half man and half crow, and he called himself Crow Dancer. He had a man’s head and was wearing a crow feather hood with a crow beak. He had crow wings, and he wore a fringed elk hide robe. Rose had been preparing for this retrieval.
First, she pulled out a wonderful medicine blanket that she made for as a gift. It was very long, and when she unfurled it, the length of it tumbled over the cliff for many yards. As she began to gather it back up into a neat roll, she smiled lovingly. She had spent many moons making this blanket, and each stitch contained a prayer. This blanket had very powerful protective medicine. She placed the rolled-up medicine blanket into the saddlebag on the Eagle. Then she handed me a magic compass. The compass was made entirely of quartz crystal. She showed me precisely how to use it for navigation. The face of the compass was completely blank, empty of all markings. It had a clear crystal face, with a quartz crystal needle. The compass would guide us on our journey. Finally, she handed me a key, carved out of jade. I placed the key in my medicine pouch. Crow Dancer danced around and flapped his wings and stomped his feet and made a blessing for the journey, and we were off again.
As soon as we started flying, we were joined by a magnificent phoenix. It came swooping from around the back of the mountain, began flying beside us, and then quickly pulled out in front of us and began to lead the way. We flew downward now, like bullets, and plunged into the ocean with incredible force and speed. We went down down down to the very bottom of the ocean and came to the mouth of a cave.

Paul Kane painting of Loowit (Mt. St. Helens), which was a symbol of rebirth to the Cowlitz People.

Paul Kane painting of Loowit (Mt. St. Helens), which was a symbol of rebirth to the Cowlitz People.

The cave was guarded by a blue dragon. The phoenix approached the dragon and requested permission to enter the cave. The dragon asked the phoenix what business he had in the cave, and the phoenix replied that he had come to “get his boy.” The dragon gave him three challenges. He challenged him to a game of chinese checkers. The phoenix won. He challenged him to a fire breathing contest. The phoenix won. And finally, he asked the phoenix to guess his name. The phoenix went up to the dragon and whispered something in the dragon’s ear. The dragon looked at him, utterly astonished, and granted entry. The dragon breathed fire up into the ceiling above the entry of the cave, and a trap door opened. We all went in. We found ourselves in a very narrow, tight tunnel. It was so narrow and tight that we barely had room to move. The only way was for us to make ourselves smaller and to keep moving, otherwise we would get stuck. I couldn’t see a thing. There were so many twists and turns that it made me dizzy. I remembered the magic compass. As soon as I pulled it out of my medicine pouch, the needle on the compass began to glow and pulse. The needle quivered for a moment and then pointed very strongly in a particular direction, which we followed. After that we were fine. We just followed the glowing compass needle through the labyrinthine tunnels and eventually came out into a part of the cave that had a large central clearing. There were several openings and cave mouths all along the perimeter. However, the compass showed us precisely where to go. We followed it’s guidance to one particular little cave entrance, with its door locked up tight. I took out the jade key and placed it in the lock. It fit perfectly, and with one turn of the key, the door flew open and there we found a little boy. He was curled up in a corner, lying on his left side, with his arms around his knees, huddled up against the cold, wet corner of the cave. He had his face to the corner of the cave and his back to us, and even though he heard us come in, it took a long time for him to stir.

Crow teachers. Public domain photo

Crow teachers. Public domain photo

He looked to be around seven years old. He had long dark hair, and he looked terribly sad. His eyes were large and melancholy and he would not make eye contact. Crow went up to him to try to make eye contact. Then he hopped up onto the boy’s left shoulder and told him that we were here to take him home, if he would like to come with us. The boy just sat there as if he hadn’t heard a word. Crow asked the boy if he liked it there, in the cave. The boy shook his head slowly. “No, not really.” said the boy. “Would you like to come home?” asked Crow. “I don’t know.” Crow explained to the boy that things were different now, and that he would be safe. He told the boy that he had been missed and that he was loved, and that he would be welcomed back home with open arms. The boy indicated that he would like to come with us. I reached into the saddlebag for the medicine blanket, and wrapped it around the boy. He knew who had made it. I didn’t have to say a word. Now, when I looked at his face, he looked older, closer to maybe eleven years old or so. After this, his face would change, and his features would become those of a younger boy, then an older boy. But he was always somewhere between seven and eleven years old.

Crow stayed on his left shoulder. Phoenix stepped forward so the boy could climb onto his back. I followed with Eagle and we quickly exited the dank cave. As we left, Phoenix dropped a colorful tail feather, as an offering to Dragon, and Dragon picked it up and waved. We shot back up through the ocean, just as we had shot down, and we found ourselves back at the cliff. Grandmother Rose was there. Crow Dancer was there. Grandmother Rose embraced the boy for a long time. She pulled him onto her lap and rocked him and kissed him and hummed to him. She pulled the medicine blanket snugly around him and sighed. Crow Dancer placed a breastplate of porcupine quills on the boy and gave him his elk skin robe. Grandmother Rose took the boy’s long hair and divided it into three sections. She made three braids, and then braided those three braids into a single braid. She talked about the power of three, that three was the number to keep in mind. Crow Dancer placed three big shiny black crow feathers in the boy’s hair. Phoenix placed more feathers in the boy’s hair, magnificent feathers of brilliant hues; red, orange, yellow, violet, blue, green…He gave the boy a walking stick on which was carved: “NOW IS THE MOMENT OF POWER.” Grandmother Rose told the boy that it was important to forget the past, and to not worry about the future. “Life is short,” she said. “All we have is this moment.” Spider made an appearance and wove a cloak of scintillating light around the boy. It sparkled and shined with a pure radiance. She said that all he ever needed to do, if he ever got scared, was to ask Spider for a cloak of light, and she would weave something up for him. He will always have access to protection. All he has to do is ask.

Mesa near Taos, NM.  H a v e n © 2016

Mesa near Taos, NM.
H a v e n © 2016

There were embraces and acknowledgements and blessings, and then it was time to say goodbye. We climbed down a ladder made of rainbow light and came to an open, grassy field. It was just outside the same edge of forest from which our journey had begun. Many animals began to appear and quickly disappear; Raccoon, Red Tailed Hawk, Bighorn Sheep, Unicorn, Coyote. As we landed on the grassy field, we joined a fire ceremony that was being held in the boy’s honor. The boy stood at the fire, wearing a white mask. Raccoon came up to him and took off the boy’s mask and tossed it into the fire, where it was consumed. There was another mask underneath. Again, Raccoon took off the mask and tossed it into the fire. This went on and on, mask after mask. The first masks were completely opaque, but as they continued to be peeled away they became more transparent. I could see through the final mask, and I saw that the boy was weeping. Raccoon stood there and looked at the boy with great compassion. Raccoon was not going to take off the final mask. The boy wept for a long time at the fire. Finally, he reached up and slowly removed the final mask, and placed it quietly into the flames. The boy’s face softened and he stopped crying. Everyone laughed and cheered and came over and embraced the boy. He was glad to be home.

Valentines Day | The Drive

The time is nigh for the Cupids of the world to indulge themselves in hallmark chocolate and prompted flower buying.

The modern market for Cupid.

The modern market for Cupid.

Why this one day to lay
our souls on the line to our sweeties? Why the mass love fest on febuary, the 14th? Well.. Let’s go for a drive.

The origins of the chocolate orgy we call, “Valentines Day”, came from the Romans, who celebrated a ritual called, Lupercalia. Lupercalia dates way back, even before the Romans decided to get arrogant and help invent Imperialism, the Romans celebrated Lupercalia. It was a ritual that was observed on February 13 through 15, to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. How did they do this?

The Lupercalian Festival in Rome (ca. 1578–1610), drawing by the circle of Adam Elsheimer, showing the Luperci dressed as dogs and goats, with Cupid and personifications of fertility

The Lupercalian Festival in Rome (ca. 1578–1610), drawing by the circle of Adam Elsheimer, showing the Luperci dressed as dogs and goats, with Cupid and personifications of fertility

The festival began with the sacrifice by the Luperci (or the flamen dialis) of two male goats and a dog.[10] Next two young patrician Luperci were led to the altar, to be anointed on their foreheads with the sacrificial blood, which was wiped off the bloody knife with wool soaked in milk, after which they were expected to smile and laugh.

The sacrificial feast followed, after which the Luperci cut thongs from the skins of the animals, which were called februa, dressed themselves in the skins of the sacrificed goats, in imitation of Lupercus, and ran round the walls of the old Palatine city, the line of which was marked with stones, with the thongs in their hands in two bands, striking the people who crowded near. Girls and young women would line up on their route to receive lashes from these whips. This was supposed to ensure fertility, prevent sterility in women and ease the pains of childbirth.

Now, let’s go buy some chocolates.

The Hatfield and McCoy’s of Skamania County

ALL NEIGHBORS NOT GOOD IN COUNTY’S EARLY SETTLEMENTS (Published in Skamania County Pioneer January, 1949)

“Neighbors” in the pioneer days of the county were not always “good neighbors,” according to Henry Metzger, pioneer Carson resident who this week recalled some of the occurances enlivening the early days in Skamania County.

The Hatfield clan from the famous Hatfield and McCoy conflict.

The Hatfield clan from the famous Hatfield and McCoy conflict.

“Much has been, and still is, said and written about the pioneer spirit, the spirit of neighborliness, mutual assistance, courage to take and solve difficult problems as if, and it is true, much of that has been and still is in evidence in this neck of the woods, but it would be folly and serve no good purpose to tell the now growing up generation that everything was sweet peace and harmony among the early settlers, for such was not always the case. Fact of the matter is that, in my opinion at least, there is now much more harmony among the neighbors than there was only about a half century ago. The reason for this I contribute to a much higher standard of education and to the fact that country life is getting more and more like city life, where you often do not know your next door neighbor.

Random photo of a fellow on Larch Mountain during the 1930's.

Random photo of a fellow on Larch Mountain during the 1930′s.

“Maybe I can best illustrate the pioneer spirit by telling of an incident that, I am told, happened in Skamania County about 60 years ago. There were two prominent citizens, joint farmer-neighbors, who could not get along together well. They could not smell one another, so the saying goes. They were not on speaking terms and when they met at public meeting they would oppose each other even if they were of the same opinion on the subject under discussion. It so happened that one of those farmers had hay on, ready to haul in when it looked as if the weather would turn to rain. He started hauling in hay, him on the wagon and his wife, a frail woman, pitching on the hay. But soon his ‘despised’ neighbor appeared and walking up to the woman said in a harsh tone, ‘Give me that fork and you go to the house, that’s where you belong,’ and he started in pitching on the hay and these two men worked for hours together, never speaking a single word to each other, not even would they say ‘thank you’ or ‘good bye’ when they parted after the hay was all in the barn.

“This is what I would call the ‘the Pioneer Spirit in the Rough’.”

Mt. Shasta and JC Brown’s Lost City

Mt. Shasta | ©2014 H a v e n

Mt. Shasta | ©2014 H a v e n

According to legend, JC Brown was a British prospector who discovered a lost underground city beneath Mt. Shasta in 1904. Brown had been hired by The Lord Cowdray Mining Company of England to prospect for gold, and discovered a cave which sloped downward for 11 miles. In the cave, he found an underground village filled with gold, shields, and mummies, some being up to 10 feet tall.

Thirty years later, he told his story to John C. Root who proceeded to gather an exploration team in Stockton, California. 80 people joined the team, but on the day the team was to set out, Brown did not show up. Brown was not heard from again.

Why there are no snakes on Takhoma | Cowlitz Legend

A long, long time ago, Tyhee Sahale became angry with the people. Sahale ordered a medicine man to take his bow and arrow and shoot into the cloud which hung low over Takhoma. The medicine man shot the arrow, and it stuck fast in the cloud. Then he shot another into the lower end of the first. He shot arrows until he had made a chain which reached from the cloud to the earth. The medicine man told his klootchman and his children to climb up the arrow trail. Then he told the good animals to climb up the arrow trail. Then the medicine man climbed up himself.

mt rainier admiralty inlet 1792

mt rainier admiralty inlet 1792

Just as he was climbing into the cloud, he looked back. A long line of bad animals and snakes were also climbing up the arrow trail. Therefore the medicine man broke the chain of arrows. Thus the snake and bad animals fell down on the mountain side. Then at once it began to rain. It rained until all the land was flooded. Water reached even to the snow line of Takhoma. When all the bad animals and snakes were drowned, it stopped raining.

After a while the waters sank again. Then the medicine man, and his klootchman, and the children climbed out of the cloud and came down the mountain side. The good animals also climbed out of the cloud, Thus there are now no snakes or bad animals on Takhoma.

Keeper of the Fire

Long ago, when the world was young, all people were happy, The Great Spirit, whose home is in the sun, gave them all they needed. No one was Hungry, no one

'Keeper of Fire' | © 2015 H a v e n

‘Keeper of Fire’ | © 2015 H a v e n

was cold. But after a while, two brothers quarreled over the land. The elder one wanted most of it, and the younger one wanted most of it. The Great Spirit decided to stop the quarrel. One night while the brothers were asleep he took them to a new land, to a country with high mountains. Between the mountains flowed a big river.

The Great Spirit took the two brothers to the top of the high mountains and wakened them. They saw that the new country was rich and beautiful.

“Each of you will shoot a arrow in opposite directions,” he said to them. “Then you will follow your arrow. Where your arrow falls, that will be your country. There you will become a great chief. The river will separate your lands.”

One brother shot his arrow south into the valley of the Willamette River. He became the father and the high chief of the Multnomah people. The other brother shot his arrow north into the Klickitat country. He became the father and high chief of the Klickitat people.

Then the Great Spirit built a bridge over the big river. To each brother he said, “I have built a bridge over the river, so that you and your people may visit those on the other side. It will be a sign of peace between you. As long as you and your people are good and are friendly with each other, this bridge of the Tahmahnawis will remain.

Building of the the modern day Bridge of the Gods, ca. 1925

Building of the the modern day Bridge of the Gods, ca. 1925

It was a broad bridge, wide enough for many people and many ponies to walk across at one time. For many snows the people were at peace and crossed the river for friendly visits. But after a time they did wicked things. They were selfish and greedy, and they quarreled. The Great Spirit, displeased again, punished them by keeping the sun from shining. The people had no fire, and then the winter rains came, they were very cold.

Then they began to be sorry for what they had done, and they begged the Great Spirit for fire. “Give us fire, or we will die from the cold,” they prayed. The heart of the Great Spirit was softened by their prayer. He went to an old woman who had kept herself from the wrongdoing of her people and so still had some fire in their lodge.

“If you will share your fire, I will Grant you anything you wish,” the Great Spirit promised her. “What do you want most?”

"Eternal" | ©2015 H a v e n

“Eternal” | ©2015 H a v e n

“Youth and beauty,” answered the old woman promptly, “I wish to be young again, and to be beautiful.”

“You shall be young and beautiful tomorrow morning,” promised the Great Spirit. “Take your fire to the bridge, so that the people on both sides of the river can get it easily. Keep it burning there always as a reminder of the goodness and kindness of the Great Spirit.”

The old woman, whose name was Loo-wit, did as he said. Then the Great Spirit commanded the sun to shine again. When it rose the next morning, it was surprised to see a young and beautiful maiden sitting beside a fire on the Bridge of the Gods. The people, too, saw the fire, and soon their lodges were warm again. For many moons all was peaceful on both sides of the great river and the bridge.

The young men also saw the fire–and the beautiful young woman who attended it. They visited her often. Loo-wit’s heart was stirred by two of them–a handsome young chief from south of the river, whose name was Wyeast, and a handsome young chief from north of the river, whose name was Klickitat. She could not decide which of the two she liked better.

Wyeast and Klickitat grew jealous of each other and soon began to quarrel. They became so angry that they fought. Their people also took up the quarrel, so that there was much fighting on both sides of the river. Many warriors were killed.

The Dalles, Oregon. ca. 1884

The Dalles, Oregon. ca. 1884

This time the Great Spirit was made angry by the wickedness of the people. He broke down the Bridge of the Gods, the sign of peace between the two tribes, and its rocks fell into the river. He changed the two chiefs into mountains. Some say that they continued to quarrel over Loo-wit even after they were mountain peaks. They caused sheets of flame to burst forth, and they hurled hot rocks at each other. Not thrown far enough, many fell into the river
and blocked it. That is why the Columbia is very narrow and the water very swift at the Dalles.

Pre-dammed Cascades. 1912(?) author unknown.

Pre-dammed Cascades. 1912(?) author unknown.

Loo-wit was changed into a snow-capped peak which still has the youth and beauty promised by the Great Spirit. She is now called Mount St. Helens. Wyeast is known as Mount Hood, and Klickitat as Mount Adams. The rocks and white water where the Bridge of the Gods fell are known as the Cascades of the Columbia.

——-Clark,Ella (1953) Indians of the Pacific Northwest (renewed 1981). The Regents of the University of California

A Mount Adams Story

A Mount Adams Story

Pahto | © 2010 H a v e n

Pahto | © 2010 H a v e n

Mount Adams (12,307 feet in altitude), the second highest peak in Washington, stands in the southwestern part of the state. The Klickitat and Yakama Indians called it Pahto. They claimed it as their mountain.

This legend was told by Chief Jobe Charley, with his granddaughter, Hattie Wesley, acting as interpreter. Now eighty-six years old, Jobe Charley heard the story when he was a little boy. When he got his first horse, he rode to Mount Adams and climbed it. Until he saw the eagles up there, he had not believed the story. Many eagles are hatched in the caves in the east side of Mount Adams.

Back when the mountains were people, Sun was a man. He had five mountains for his wives. One was Plash-Plash, where the Goat Rocks are now. Plash-Plash means “white spots.” Another was Wahkshum, west of Satus Pass. The others were Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens. The Indians called all of them Pahto, which means “standing high.” Wahkshum and Plash-Plash were once known as Pahtoes also. I will call only Mount Adams Pahto in this story, for Rainier and St. Helens are not important in it.

Mt. Adams post card from the 1920's.

Mt. Adams post card from the 1920′s.

Sun traveled from east to west, of a course. So Wahkshum was the first wife he talked to every morning. Plash-Plash was the second, and Pahto was the third. Pahto became jealous of the other two and made up her mind to get rid of them. Jealous and angry, she fought them and broke down their high heads. All that is left of Plash-Plash is goat rocks. All that is left of Wahkshum is the mountain called Simcoe Mountain and the little huckleberry bushes on it. Rainier and St. Helens were so far away that Pahto left them alone.

For a while after she had broken the heads of Wahkshum and Plash-Plash, Pahto was happy. Every morning she was the first wife Sun spoke to. She was the tallest mountain around, and she was proud and strong. But she did not remain satisfied. She made up her mind to go across the river and take what she wanted from the mountains south of her.

Mt. St. Helens. ca. 1920's

Mt. St. Helens. ca. 1920′s

So she went down there and brought back all their grizzly bears, black bears, elk, deer, pine nuts, huckleberries, roots, and herbs. From the rivers and creeks she took the salmon and trout and put them in the streams which flowed sown her sides. She planted the berries and the pine nuts and the roots all around her. She turned loose the elk, deer, and bears. That is why there are plenty on Mount Adams today.

All this time the great was watching. He saw the wrong things Pahto was doing. He thought to himself, “There must be a law that any wrongdoing shall be punished.”

But punishment did not come yet. Pahto was so strong and tall that the other mountains said, “We’ll not do anything about what she has done. We’ll just let it go.”

But Klah-Klahnee-You call them the Three Sisters- said among themselves, ”Pahto is too proud and greedy. We must do something.”

Wy'east.  Postcard, ca. 1920's

Wy’east. Postcard, ca. 1920′s

The came up north and said to Wyeast, Mount Hood, “Why don’t you destroy Pahto? Why do you let her get the best of you? You are tall and strong. Some day there will be people on the earth. When they find that we have let Pahto destroy us and steal from us, they will make fun of us.”

That is how Klah-Klahnee caused Wyeast to fight Pahto. “If I get the best of her,” Wyeast promised them, “I’ll take all that she has stolen from us.”

But first Wyeast said to Pahto, in a nice way, “I want you to give back half of what you took from us. When the new people come, those who live in are part of the country should have the same food that people near you will have. I am asking you now, in a nice way, for only half of what you took from us. If you give it to me, the new people will have food.”

But Pahto was greedy. ” No, I shall never give you anything,” she said.

So they fought.

Paul Kane painting.

Paul Kane painting.

Up to that time, Pahto had a high head. Wyeast hit her from the east side and knocked her head off. Today on the north side of Pahto there is a pile of fine rocks about a half a mile long. These rocks were once Pahto’s head.

The Wyeast thought, “I’ll leave here and there a little bit of everything she took away-elk, deer, berries, I’ll put some here, some there. Pahto can’t have everything.” So Wyeast shared with the other mountains.

The Great Spirit saw all that happened. He did not try to help Pahto. ”She deserved that punishment,” he thought. “She deserved to lose her head because she destroyed the heads of Wahkshum and Plash-Plash. That will be the law. If people do wrong they will be punished in the same way.”

But after Pahto lost her head, she became mean. Whenever she became angry, she would send a big thunderstorm and much rain. In the winter she would send big snows, and in the spring there would be floods. All through the Yakama Valley there were lakes from the big floods. When the first people came to the earth, they lived only on the mountains.

The Great Spirit was watching. He saw all that happened. At last he said, “I shall make a new head for Pahto. Then she will not be so mean.”

So he sent down a big white eagle with his son, a red eagle, riding on his right shoulder. He put the two eagles on top of Pahto, to be her head. Then he said to her, “I am sending white eagle and his son to you, to be your head. Don’t have hard feelings toward the other mountains. And don’t flood the earth again. Remember that you are the daughter of the Great Spirit.

Pahto answered, “I am glad you have given me the eagles. I will forgive the other mountains, and I will not flood the country anymore.”

Then she raised her right hand and said, “I did not know that the Great Spirit is my father. I am sorry for all wrong things I have done.”

Then the Great Spirit replied, ” I gave the world to you mountains. I put you here and there, where I wanted you to be. Some of you I made high. Some I made low. You should have never destroyed Wahkshum and Plash-Plash.”

Source: (http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/FOLKLORE/2000-09/0968495643)


Editor of The Pioneer:
(Published in Skamania County Pioneer, January, 1946)
In your editorial “52 Years Old”, which you published on December 21st, last year, you stated among other things that mail came in to Stevenson around 52 years ago via boat from The Dalles or Portland. Permit me, please, to correct that statement. At that time the mail came to Stevenson via rowboat from Cascade Locks. The steamboat, then plying between Upper Cascade Locks and The Dalles, did not carry mail any more after the railroad on the Oregon side of the Columbia River was in operation, which was about in l880.

John Skaar and an unidentified man.

John Skaar and an unidentified man.

When I came here in 1883 there was no post office on the North side of the Columbia River between Cascade (now North Bonneville) and the White Salmon country. The first post office in that area was established in either 1891 or 1892, near the mouth of Nelson Creek about one mile East of Stevenson and was named “Nelson Creek”. I well remember how happy we settlers were at that time because we could from then on walk (part of the way over a trail) right to the store and post office. No longer was it necessary to make the very inconvenient and often dangerous trip by rowboat to Cascade Locks or to send or receive mail, or to buy groceries. A few years later a post office was established at Stevenson and the post office at Nelson Creek was discontinued. In 1893 the post office “Carson”” was established in Wind River Valley with a twice-a-week mail service and of course we settlers were very much pleased when that event took place.

Carson, as far as the lower valley flat is concerned, had two periods of settlement. Aside from the few very early actual settlers (the Greers, Monaghans, Esterbrooks and St.Martins) the first and temporary settlement took place between 1880 and 1886, at which time a sawmill was in operation where the town of Carson is now. As that sawmill had capacity of sawing 30,000 feet per day, many men were employed at times when the mill ran full time. This sawmill concern took the timber off of more than 1,000 acres and more than half of it they cut unlawfully from government owned land and they got away with it, but once they did not “get by with it” and that incident is worth telling.

It happened in 1886, a short time before they moved the mill to Underwood. There was a stand of timber half a mile west of the mill which they wanted yet. The homesteader who claimed that timber would not, and could not legally, sell the timber, but they were determined to have it and one day they sent in the fallers. The homesteader ordered them off of his land but they threatened to do him bodily harm if he did not leave them alone. The next morning when they came to work they found the road, where it crossed the line, fenced and inside stood the homesteader’s wife with a shotgun threatening to “shoot to kill” anyone who should attempt to cross the line — that helped, they left that timber alone after that. The fact that the shotgun was not loaded they, of course, did not know.

The second and permanent period of settlement started in 1887 when actual settlers took up the logged over land as homesteads. Old Carson photo st. martin sourceIn September, 1887 when I moved onto my homestead there were, in all, eight families and five bachelors living in Wind River Valley. As
we could not make a living on the land at first we had to work out or make cordwood, drive it down Wind River once a year, ship to The Dalles by scow and trade it off for goods mostly, as cash money was very hard to get those days. With the turn of the century came a turn for the better to us settlers.

Pioneering had its charm as well as its hardships. We did not know anything about the modern improvements that the modern people now have and we were happy without them.

How Pe Ell Got It’s Name.

There have long been several versions of how Pe Ell was named, none of which can be authenticated.

 'Main St. Pe Ell, looking north' | ca.1906

‘Main St. Pe Ell, looking north’ | ca.1906

One of those versions, and the more accepted one, is that the name comes from the attempts of the local Indians to pronounce the first name of an early French-Canadian settler, Pierre Charles, who was an ex-Hudson Bay employee. This version has it that the Indians could not pronounce Pierre, and their attempts turned it into Pe Ell. Another version is that P and L were the first initials for Pierre Charles and his Indian wife. Two words were made from the initials: “Pe Ell”. Another distinct version is that Charlie Pershell, a Frenchman, settled in the area and married an Indian maiden. The Indians found it difficult to sound out the “sh” in Pershell so it became Pe Ell. In 1897, the North Pacific Railway built a railroad depot in the town. In 1907 Pe Ell’s population was around 1,000 — larger than it is today. The rich agricultural and timber resources of the region attracted farmers, millworkers, and loggers. By 1909, the town had a bank, three dry goods stores, two general stores, three grocery stores, two barber shops, five saloons, four hotels, a newspaper, a blacksmith, and even an opera house.

Pe Ell was officially incorporated on March 9, 1906.

(excerpt from wikipedia)

Mr. Bojangles and the Spider.

I am not sure where he fell from. Some would say it was from heaven, others would say bridges and slums and vans that sleep many lonely nights in impound yards.Spider pointing towards Canada

Spider is his name. Born in 1948 and raised on the promise of a great America- he grew restless and left the dream. He wanders with a purpose but the wind steers him off course easily and the bottle has laid a heavy anchor on his heart. He says that he is on his way to Port Townsend, Washington to see his grandson, who has just turned 15, and to take him fishing, or surfing. He says that he is on his way to a new journey and often mentions the ‘bucketlist’ and point blank says he is ready and at peace to die. This all may sound heavy but there is a joy and innocence to his demeanor. He suffers from late stage alcoholism and often forgets where he is at or who you are, but always remembers songs and tends to communicate best through his minstrels. Today, I take him to detox, where he is going to ‘try on sobriety again’, because, he said, ‘I miss living.” His van is for sale, he says he wants to sell it so he “can get some wings, eh?”

Mapping the universe.

Mapping the universe.

I sat with the old timer for several hours a day, recording his music and stories, hanging on to his words like air itself. I became very attached to the old tramp. It was strange. I felt like I was visited by an apparition, a ripple in the matrix. We connected like kindred and he reminded me to breathe and create and would say, ‘don’t do what I done..” Mr. Bojangles dances down the avenue of life, and I know our paths shall cross again. Thank you Spider, may the wind now be at your back!

A snippet of our visit together: