This article was submitted for use here by its author, Mrs. Carolyn
The article also appeared in The Heritage, Winter 1981 issue.
Mrs. Trygstad has added additional information to this article. Those additions are included within [ ].
GLENWOOD COMMUNITY DESCRIBED IN 1974 ESSAY
The Glenwood community was the subject of an essay written
in 1974 by a young student, Carolyn Trygstad, after interviews with her
grandmother, Mrs. Tillie Hyden, and others, plus research covering a dozen
printed sources. With a few minor deletions it follows, as a hypothetical
What does Justice William O. Douglas of the U.S. Supreme Court have in common with two members of the Jesse James gang? All have had an intimate interest in the law, albeit for different reasons, but more to the point-all have lived in Glenwood, Wa.
Where's Glenwood? That's not easily told, a fact much to the point also where these men are concerned.
Washington was admitted to territorial status 20 years before a spurt of immigration, coinciding with collapse of Indian resistance in the 1870s, brought settlers to this portion of the state. Those who first came to the valley were searching for rich farmland where they could establish homesteads. The chance to homestead is now gone, but the solitude which has become such a valuable commodity in recent years is still to be found in abundance.
Whether we travel by armchair or by car (no buses, trains or planes are going our way) our journey will begin along the Columbia River near the Hood River bridge where Washington S.R. 141 begins its brief 33-mile course northward. We'll travel only one-third of this distance, however, before turning right toward Gilmer on the Mt. Adams loop highway. When we reach Gilmer and think back
Over the terrain we've been covering since leaving the river and imagine ourselves to have been riding in a stagecoach, we can appreciate the importance of this settlement to early day travelers to Glenwood. It was here that the stage coming north from White Salmon met the south-bound stage [Grandpa Harry DeVoe drove the stage] from Glenwood at noon. The travelers were fed, fresh horses hitched up and, following the exchange of passengers and mail, both drivers returned to their respective home bases.
Continuing on, we'll come to a side road to Laurel. We won't pass through Laurel today but our predecessors, the stage riders, didn't have a choice. Now we're catching glimpses of Mt. Adams through the trees, but between us and the mountain a vast prairie stretches 15 miles to its base. The scene seems to have a clarity known before only when we've had a change made in our prescription lenses. We've left the sight and smell of industrial pollution behind.
If we stop to consider the mountain as it rules the prairie we can understand why the Indians personified this 12,307-ft. white-headed giant. His name was Klickitat. He was one of two sons of the Great Spirit, the Sa-ha-ee Ty-ee. Because of quarrels of jealousy over a woman, the brothers were changed into mountains. The older brother is Wy-east, other-wise known as Oregon's Mt. Hood and legend has it that even after the transformation they continued to shoot fire and rocks at one another.)
Entering the valley we'll catch a glimpse of Conboy Lake and its national wildlife refuge. When settlers first came this lake area was so blue with wild camas lilies they called it Camas Lake and the valley Camas Prairie. The Indians dug camas roots for food and when the water went down in the spring the settlers cut the wild grass which covered the lake for hay. The first permanent homestead in this end of Camas Prairie was filed on by Peter Conboy in 1872 and it is his name the lake bears. While we are less than an hour away from the "Civilization" of White Salmon, even the full day's travel time required by the stage coach to reach this site was not sufficient for Peter Conboy [Grandma DeVoe was raised by Peter's son, John and thought her name was Conboy until she started school. When told she was a Jebe, she spelled it Jaybee]. He traveled no less than two days over Indian trails to reach is homestead. We can see his home at the head of the lake, still used as a private dwelling.
Almost 100 years after giving this land in homesteads the government chose to retrieve it in 1964 for the creation of a wildlife refuge. Valley farmers were extremely critical of the manner in which thousands of acres of farmland were acquired by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission and, as a result, the matter is still in the courts ten years later. We're prompted to think of what Samuel J. Spray, a government surveyor who came into the valley in 1873, wrote: "The land is a level prairie marsh, soil first rate. The marsh part of what is known as Camas Lake, the water of which is one to six feet deep and spreads over several thousand acres. When this tract is drained, which will be done in time and recovered for agriculture purposes, it will be a region of great fertility and productiveness." Not yet, Samuel, not yet.
We are in an area once known as Lakeside. Dairying was the leading industry in early days. Because butter was the easiest to move to the river over early day trails, it was salted down in wooden kegs for preservation and then shipped to markets in Portland. Later, Glenwood boasted its own cheese factory.
Crossing the valley toward town, tumble-down remains of old farm buildings and split rail fences stand side by side with modern buildings and dwellings. Although no sign indicates this, we are on Poverty Lane. In reality, many of Glenwood's best farms border this lane but when Mrs. J. 0. Shaw became Glenwood's first postmistress she was required by the government to describe the location of her office and on a whim, she dubbed the road Poverty Alley.
With Mt. Adams always visible now, we can imagine the settlers stepping from their doorways to study it for indications of a change in the weather just as we might study a barometer. The amount of snow on the mountain determined the time for both the planting and harvesting of grains. Tiny white clouds hovering about the summit meant stormy weather was coming. Knowing that had weather was coming and coping with it were two different things. Early in January of 1881, seven feet of snow fell in three days, followed by rain which lasted a week. Noah Chapman, one of the early settlers, was tending 2,000 sheep for their Portland owner. Rail fences across the valley were covered with water and the log barn (with sheep inside) collapsed. In the spring, 13-year-old Cody Chapman and his friend, Johnny Conboy, salvaged the wool from 1,200 dead sheep.
The church on our right as we enter town is worth examination. The congregation was established Oct. 24, 1895. The Rev. A.J. Goodfriend, a slender little man in his 60s, walked 18 miles from Trout Lake to meet with his parishioners. On June 9,1912 the church bulling was hauled by horses to its present location on Poverty Lane A smaller church from Laurel was also brought to the site and the two were joined in an architectural fiasco. Windows didn't match and eventually some very un-Gothic flying buttress-type supports were added to correct its list, which resulted in its being called the Little church on Crutches. The Ladies Aid raised money to buy a bell, but when it came it was too heavy to put in the steeple so another addition was built to house the hell. The bell was more than just a call to worship. A continuous pealing called the towns people to fight fires with heartbreaking regularity, and it tolled farewells to the pioneers it had served. Twenty years ago (1954) the "New" annex and rebuilding were completed so that the building and the faith it represents could continue to serve the community.
At this point . . . we'll turn left and follow the road about three miles to the cemetery. In the early days, typhoid was the scare word instead of cancer or heart attack. Studying the lifespans carved in the rough stones, we find many an untimely death that might have been prevented with the aid of "modern" medicine available to city folk in Portland, which was so near and yet so far. Here we find the grave of Margaretha Jebe, the first Glenwood citizen to be buried on this site and exhumed years later when it was discovered her grave was not within the boundaries to be encircled by the fence [Her coffin was opened when exhumed to convince her husband of her death because it happened so suddenly of unknown causes and he refused to believe]. We also find the Cole brothers. H. D. Cole was a member of the Confederate Army and his brother, Sam, was a member of the Union Army. Although they homesteaded across the road from each other, as far as anyone knew they never spoke to each other. Here, too, lies Anthony Wellenbrock who was the forerunner and leader of a German colony in the valley around 1890. About 35 families emigrated to Camas Prairie after a socialist paper in Chicago published information written by Wellenbrock. The name Snipes recalls tales of Ben Snipes, the uncrowned king of cattlemen among the white men and Indians alike in the upper Columbia River basin country. A small mountain to the east of Adams carries his name.
Doubling back toward town, we'll watch for the road on our left to Camp Draper (Draper Springs). Among the early settlers, differences among races and creeds were not outstanding problems, but as in the song from Oklahoma, the "sheepmen and the cowmen" couldn't be friends. Draper Springs was established as the ultimate boundary line beyond which the sheepmen who were bringing their flocks into the country for summer grazing were not to be permitted. Notices scrawled with lead pencil on tablet paper were tacked to boards and nailed on pine trees along roads leading from the farming district. They read:
All land in woods past Draper Springs
is for settlers cattle. No sheep is
allowed. Sheep men take notise.
On the other side of town was a skillfully-painted warning that was worded in stronger language:
TURN YE TURN YE
FOR WRY WILL YE DIE
It has been reported that as many as 150,000 head of
sheep were brought in annually (100,000 from within the county, 50,000 crossed
on ferries from Oregon). While no deaths resulted from the warring of these
factions, there were fights, burn-outs, and a near-lynching when the "sheep
king," Bill Crofton, attempted to pass the boundary with his flock and was
caught by a band of fifty settlers in flour-sack masks at the springs. In
1908 President Roosevelt set aside the land around Mt. Adams as the Columbia
National Forest (now Gifford Pinchot National Forest) [Following a 10-week
course, Grandfather DeVoe was made a State Forest Ranger for this job]. Now
the sheepmen and the cattlemen each were appointed their own range for summer
grazing. Two men, a packer and a herder, accompanied each band of sheep and
a forest ranger counted each band on and off the range and kept track of
their movements during the summer. It was the packer's job to cook, tend
camp, and go to town for groceries. The economy of the town got quite a boost
from the packers who brought great strings of pack horses to carry their
provisions to their camps, after patronizing the stores, hotels and dance
Near here we'll also find the road that will give us access to the beautiful camping and hiking spots of the Mt. Adams Wilderness Area. Many of these sites, including Bird Creek Meadows with its self-guiding nature trails through over 400 species of wildflowers, are administered by the Yakima Indians. Their reservation encompasses 1.2 million acres and is one of the largest in the nation. Maps lost after the signing of the Treaty of Walla Walla in 1855 and boundary markers set incorrectly compounded the problem of the exact reservation boundary for years. The Indians had refused compensation of 50 cents an acre -- the price of the land at the time they went on the reservation -- for 98,000 acres of rich farmland around Glenwood which had been sold by the government. In 1972, 21,000 acres claimed by the Indians were returned to them by a directive of President Nixon.
Going back to the town itself, it's difficult to imagine the bustling activity that once took place here. A bowling alley, two hotels, a dance hall, a movie theater, a card room, and various types of shops have all had a place on the main street over the years. It is just within the last generation, however, that electrical kitchen appliances, central heating, indoor plumbing and mechanized farming methods have come into widespread use. A central water system originating in McCumber Springs north of town was completed last year (1973) which put an end to dependence on the uncertainty of private wells.
The school was completed in 1955 and is a far cry from the original two-room log school house east of Glenwood. The first school district was organized in 1876 and the old record states that the boundary was "the Klickitat River on the east, the Columbia River on the south side, the White Salmon River on the west, and the north line as far north of Camas Prairie as to include all settlers." The children walked for miles to attend school during the three months of the year that weather was unfit for clearing land or homebuilding. The year 1918 saw the erection of a two-story school building on the present school site.
Continuing (eastward) past the school, we come to the Mt. Adams Scenic "Highway" on our left. This road was once a shortcut to Toppenish. Now access to the road is controlled by the Yakima Indian Agency at Toppenish and permission from (that authority) will be needed to travel beyond the border of the reservation. Before coming to the reservation, however, we'll find the cabin in the pines previously occupied (in summer) by the Douglas', and the Flying L Guest Ranch [Originally the homestead of Mary Jebe - my Great Grandmother] where a bed and two meals a day are available at reasonable prices.
A detailed map indicates a point on the Klickitat River to the right of the road, designated as Parrott's Crossing. As already mentioned, the settlers were determined to keep sheep from the valley. Until they found they could not deny the sheepmen use of public highways, they attempted to keep flocks on the east side of the Klickitat River and formed a posse to head off those that crossed at Joseph Parrot's bridge.
In the distance to the right is Signal Peak. Early settlers told of seeing night fire flashes and smoke signals used by the Indians to broadcast the conditions of the huckleberry crops and the location of big game to tribesmen in teepees along the Yakima River. During the Indian wars, U.S. troops used it for flashing heliograph signals.
Going hack to Main St., we'll turn left and travel (eastward) about three miles to the cutoff leading to the state salmon hatchery. The straight and level road leaves us unprepared for the view awaits us at the end. The hatchery snuggled in a sharp bend of the looks so small as it lies far below us that we are tempted to think some child has misplaced (a set of) model railroad buildings. Across the canyon is Borde Flat, named for Vincenz Borde, a famed big game hunter in the county. The school bus which carries ten children from hatchery families won't attempt the grade. A sign at the top warns us to "use low gear." It occurs to us that even in low gear, a brake failure would be the end of us but, curiosity being what it is, we'll attempt the descent.
The hatchery and fishway were begun in 1949 and completed at a cost of $822,000 [Leonard Hyden, Grandma DeVoe's 2nd husband was Superintendent here] . With an annual capacity of 10 million Chinook and Silver salmon, the hatchery makes the Big Klickitat River one of the major salmon-producing streams in the Pacific Northwest. The spring water used by the hatchery maintains a temperature of 48-53 degrees year-round. Spawning time is perhaps the most interesting, when the interior of the hatchery building glows with a pink light from the millions of eggs hatching in their trays. At other times there is a buzz of activity when extra workers have been hired to sit with their hands in cold water by the hour as they clip an identifying mark on the fins of the small fish to be released in nearby streams.
Leaving the hatchery and returning to the road again, we'll turn left for about two miles to Outlet Falls. Here we stand at the top of a bluff to admire Outlet Creek as it plunges on its way to meet the Big Klickitat River about a mile farther on.
Now where? It might be of interest to continue on this road to the county seat at Goldendale and to visit the Presby Museum there, or we may withdraw by the same route which brought us to the valley. Either way, we are richer for having visited this area where the past and the present meet.
© Jeffrey L. Elmer